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

How to Vary Your Running Efforts

Barker recommends the following four types of running workouts to switch up your routine. Each run takes 45 minutes or less to complete, including warm-up and cooldown. You can spread out the different efforts over two to three weeks, so week one could include two or three days of steady runs and one day of hill sprints, week two could include one track and field workout, one 20 minutes x 100 meters workout, one steady run, and so on. If you're brand new to running or returning to running after a very long layoff, dedicate three to five weeks to completing only easy or steady-paced runs to avoid injury and make sure your body is ready for more challenging efforts.

More: How Beginners Can Make Running a Healthy Habit

Run Workout #1: Track and Field

Find an open-to-the-public track that has an adjoining soccer or football field. If your local track doesn't have an adjoining field, the inner ring of most tracks are made up of grass, or you can run the field parts of the workout on a nearby sidewalk.

  • Warm up with an easy jog for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Run one lap around the track at a steady "up-tempo" pace—not an all-out sprint, but a pace that's challenging enough to get your heart rate up but not so hard that you can't complete the lap
  • Exit the track and complete one loop around the grassy field at a steady, even pace
  • Head back to the track and complete another up-tempo lap
  • Complete another steady loop of the field
  • Repeat three or four times, or for as many repetitions as you have the time and energy for
  • Cool down with 5 to 10 minutes of easy jogging, followed by five minutes of easy static stretching

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