HomeRun8 HIIT Running Workouts for Speed

8 HIIT Running Workouts for Speed

Running!  Some people love it some call it a necessary evil.  Whichever it is for you really doesn’t matter because in the sport of triathlon you have to do it.  As a side note, if you’re looking for some running gear deals, check out our deals section. People are always asking me how to improve on their run times in a triathlon.  Well, I’m not a running coach by any means but three things stick out.

Number one you have got to have quality speed work (note not quantity), an overdistance day, and the rest should be easy recovery runs.  Number two you have to be able to run after a hard bike.  And number three you gotta have fun.  I read an article by Matthew Brick once that said too many amateur athletes do too much moderate tempo work and never go hard often enough or easy often enough.  

First let me make it clear that I am not knocking Hazen’s low heart rate training.  I believe in it, it has gotten me back into shape after injury, but I also think after you achieve that “base” you need to push yourself at or near race pace occasionally.

Many of these workouts I am going to share with you left Hazen and I gasping for air in the muggy Charleston streets.  That said, please use caution when attempting to add speed work to your routine.  Especially if you’ve never attempted it before or if you lack adequate base mileage.  Try to use a heart rate monitor to gauge your effort and workout with a buddy whenever possible. This is not a set “schedule” just try some of these as your weekly need for speed session. Remember, these are supposed to be FUN

*note: consider your aerobic zone as follows upper limit=180-age, lower limit= upper limit-10.


Warm up for 10 minutes (at or just under lower limit), run 20 minutes at or near upper limit +5-10 bpm; cool down 10 minutes (at or below lower limit).


Warm up 10 minutes, run 5 minutes in aerobic zone, run 5 minutes at upper limit, run 5 minutes at upper limit +5bpm, run 5 minutes at upper limit +10bpm, cool down 10 minutes.


Warm up 10 minutes, run 5 minute at upper limit +5-10bpm/recover 5 minutes at 5-10 bpm less than lower limit, run 4 minutes/recover 4 minutes (as above), run 3 minutes/recover 3 minutes, run 2 minutes/recover 2 minutes, run 1 minute/recover 1 minute, warm down 10 minutes at recovery pace.


Warm up 10 minutes, run 4×400 meters at upper limit +5-10(recover 200 jog at or below lower limit between each 400), easy 400 jog after 4 repeats. Repeat 2-3 times. Cool down 10 minutes.

5. ALTERNATE 600s  


Warm up 10 minutes, run 6-9 600 repeats as follows: odd 200 hard, 200 easy, 200 hard; even 200 easy, 200 hard, 200 easy; Run 200 easy recovery between each 600, cool down 10 minutes easy.    Hard should be 5- 10 bpm over upper limit, recovery 5-10 bpm less than lower limit, cool down 10 minutes.


Warm up 10 minutes, do 3-4 repeats of 1 mile at 5-10 bpm above upper limit, rest period should be roughly half the time it takes you to complete your mile, cool down 10 minutes. Can be done on road or track.


Warm up 10 minutes, do the following repeats (work interval at 5-10 bpm above upper limit, recover at 5-10bpm below lower limit): 200 with 100 recovery, 400 with 200 recovery, 600 with 300 recovery, 800 with 400 recovery, 600 with 300 recovery, 400 with 200 recovery, 200 with 100 recovery. Cool down 10 minutes.


(my very favorite workout of all time!)

Grab your running shoes, stick them in a packback and warm up to your favorite track. Run a mile at your lower limit. Now get ready to rock and roll. Ride at race pace for 3 miles (on the road or right on the track if an asphalt surface), dismount and transition to running gear, run 1 mile at 5-10 bpm above upper limit.

Rest for 3-4 minutes. Repeat above 3-4 times. Beginners to brick work may want to start with 1.5 mile bike/half mile run repeats. This is a great workout and also helps give you numerous times to practice your transition from bike to run. One hint: drink a lot of fluid, I would even take my water bottle out of the cage and slurp some down during the first 200 of the mile (talk about race like conditions!).  For those in the city or who find it hard to haul everything down to the track, these can be done at home on the trainer and with a run up and down the block (you’ll get the same effect but not near the intensity)

Well that’s about all I have for now. Hope that keeps you busy. You didn’t think I would give away all my training secrets did you? Have fun and stay healthy!

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Steve Elton MS
Steve Elton MS
Steve Elton is a physical therapist for Body Pros, strength and conditioning specialist, coach, and triathlete. He received his MS from the University of South Carolina and holds certifications through the NSCA, NASM. Steve is a former elite triathlete with racing experience from sprint to Ironman distance.


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