How to Get Fit Quickly in Less Than 3 Hours a Week

"This workout is something to have fun with," says Barker. "It's an unfettered kind of running where you go by how you feel. It's not as precise as doing intervals on the track, but once you've done it, you have a benchmark. The next time, see if you can add one more time around the track or field, or see if you can improve your time for two or three of the loops."

More: 6 Fartlek Workouts for 3 Training Phases

Run Workout #2: Attack Hills

Find a route that includes several hills with varying grades and lengths—the hills can be as spread out or close together as you'd like—that will take you 35 to 45 minutes to complete (the hill portion should be about 20 minutes long).

  • Warm up with an easy jog for 10 minutes
  • When you get to each uphill, attack the hill. Run as hard as you can up each hill
  • Jog slowly down each hill
  • Try to maintain a steady pace on the flat portions of your course
  • Cool down with 10 minutes of easy jogging, followed by five minutes of easy static stretching

"This is a good way to get in a variety of hills—you're not just going up and down the same hill," says Barker. "Hills work your range of motion and recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers, and that's going to help you with any athletic thing you do. For example, if you want to get in better shape to play tennis, doing hill sprints will help your coordination, and your body's ability to recruit muscles to get more power."

More: 7 Hill Running Workouts That Increase Power

Run Workout #3: Steady-Pace Run

Find a relatively easy course where you can complete a steady-paced run.

  • Warm up with an easy jog for five minutes
  • Run for 30 minutes at the same steady pace
  • Cool down with five minutes of easy jogging, followed by five minutes of easy static stretching

"If you run this effort on the same course over a couple of weeks, you'll be able to track your progress, and can try picking up your pace if you feel up to it once you get comfortable with the effort and duration," says Barker.

More: Boost Your Endurance in 7 Simple Steps

Run Workout #4: 20 Minutes x 100 Meters

Complete this workout on a track or grass field that's approximately 100 meters across.

  • Warm up with an easy jog for 10 minutes
  • Run 100 meters at an up-tempo pace that you could sustain for 1 mile
  • Walk for 10 seconds or 100 yards to catch your breath
  • Repeat the 100 meters and 100 yards recovery until you've been running for 20 minutes
  • Cool down with 10 minutes of easy jogging, followed by five minutes of easy static stretching

More: How Do I Get Faster for My Next Race?

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