My FAVORITE Cardio Interval Workout

by Sarah on August 15, 2012 · 18 comments

Here it is, my new favorite cardio interval workout. It was one of the most challenging activities that I have done in a long time! Check out the video and workout below.


  • Interval workouts force your body to tap into fat stores more than steady state cardio helping aid weight loss.
  • It will help you improve your 5K, 10K or half marathon time.
  • Intervals beat boredom! If you get cardio ADD, try interval workouts.

The Workout

  • Warm up for 5 minutes
  • 10-sec SPRINT
  • 20-sec STEADY
  • 30-sec SLOW JOG
  • Repeat the 10:20:30 interval 5 times total then WALK for 2 minutes
  • Repeat this 7 minute circuit 3-5 times total for a 26-40 minute workout

How To Do It:

  • I create the interval using RunKeeper on my iPhone, but you can also count in your head, look at your stop watch or use a Gymboss. If you use the Gymboss, I would suggest setting your timer for two 30 second intervals and just try to remember to sprint for the first 10 and then cruise into a fast paced jog for the first 30-second interval.
  • To create the workout on RunKeeper, go to Coaching and at the bottom, select “Create New.” Next, select add new action, select fast and 10-seconds. Click “back.” Select “add new action” again and this time do Steady 20-seconds.  Once more, click “back” and then “add new action.” Finally adding the 30-second Slow interval. Do this 5 times, then add a 2 minute slow interval. At the bottom, select repeat 4 more times. Click to select a 5-minute warm up and you are ready to go.


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mel August 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Thanks Sarah! Do you have any other tips on how to use the RunKeeper app? I just downloaded it and added this interval workout. Does it do any other cool things I don’t know about?


2 Kristy Doyle August 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I remember you talking about this interval workout a while back, maybe on your Tumblr blog, and I LOVED it! It’s also a great workout for the treadmill because it takes out the boredom factor. Thanks for reminding me!


3 Laurie Mackeson August 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm

When I get a running bug, which seems to be once a week, I incorporate random intervals into my training. Running between poles/signs/parked cars with a pre-determined intensity pattern – slow, med, fast OR fast, walk OR Walk, medium, fast are the most typical speeds. I am also enjoying varying the street track so I don’t run the same course two days in a row. It is usually (a minimum) of 3-5 days between attempts on the same course. In addition, running on paths, grass areas as a way of changing up the surface in order to vary the intensity is something I have enjoyed. Combining hill runs with variable intensity intervals is enjoyable for me. All you need is a uphill street with 1 or more streets off that one. Run from the bottom to each corner and walk/slow jog back to the bottom and repeat until you get to the top- repeat 5-10 “laps”. Finally, “intuitive running” is what I am getting into more and more at the moment. If you want to know what this means, how I do it, just ask ;-)


4 Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut August 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I love running intervals—it’s just getting the motivation to DO them is the hard part! But this is a good reminder of how effective they are. I’m definitely going to try this workout this weekend!


5 Becca August 16, 2012 at 11:25 am

Thank you for the details on how to set this up on runkeeper! Im a techno idiot so if u have any other tips please post!!! Cant wait to try this workout :)


6 Laura August 16, 2012 at 12:31 pm

running intervals is probably one of the harder workouts i do each week, but they’re always the most rewarding. i’m always super winded and super sweaty and i feel like i’ve definitely gotten a good workout. intervals have DEFINITELY improved my overall ‘pace’ and stamina on long/steady runs. i recommend intervals to all my friends when they ask me what’s the best way to loose weight.


7 Laurie Mackeson August 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Running Increases the chances of a calorie balance if you don’t eat more after the activity (than you normally would have). I have found that as my body has become more efficient (better able to handle less calories) I can miss 1-2 sessions a week and cut out the equivalent of 1 meal (1000-2000kJ) each day and lose weight an not have any performance issues. I say performance because exercise mostly is about training the body to be good at that task. Hope this is helpful in some way to you.


8 Cat August 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm

This looks awesome! Do you find that running with your iPhone is a bit of a pain? I’m only asking because I haven’t used my iPhone to run with yet because I’m afraid that it will feel super bulky if I wear it on my arm. Right now I use a super lightweight mp3 player that I love but I really want to switch to my iPhone for running/cardio workouts.


9 Laurie Mackeson August 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

The main reason I run with my iPhone is because of the GPS tracking app that I use. It is a little issue having it on my am in the ‘brace’ that I bought but tue benefits defineltly outweigh the negatives. Carrying the phone hasnt slowed me down, but I have had to replace the pouch once, after 6-8month (approx) because of the amount of times I use it. If like you I had a sufficient mp3 player and I didn’t care much for tracking my runs, I would easily be happy to run with a mp3 player only, saving my phone battery and “escaping the world” by leaving te phone at home. I live the feeling of no gps, phone, music and running! Hope my long response has been helpful.


10 Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut August 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I did this workout this morning! (Well…3x) I’m helping my bf train for the NYC Marathon and he’s starting to get faster than me so I’m secretly doing intervals so I can stay on top. HA! A little competition never hurt, right?!


11 Caitlin August 17, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Did this workout this morning and loved it! Thanks for posting it I love finding new ways to incorporate intervals!


12 Jess August 18, 2012 at 9:19 am

Sounds like a great workout! I had never even heard of that running app! Intervals are so good for improving your speed.


13 Alyssa August 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I love interval training. I feel it’s the best type of workout for your whole body and overall fitness. It definitely helps with improving running times.


14 Natalie September 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm

this interval workout is awesome, thanks Sarah. I get running ADD and this one kept my attention with the speed changes. I am a treadmill runner so I did 8mph:7mph:5mph. My treadmill takes about 6 seconds to get up to speed I timed it accordingly so that I got a full speed 10 second sprint.


15 Sarah September 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Me too! I can’t do treadmills for that reason. A few people asked me how to modify for a treadmill so I’m glad you were able to adjust make it work. You’re so fitfluential! lol :) Hope all is well. We need more weddings to play together at!!!


16 Jayme October 3, 2012 at 3:17 am

Hello Sara
I have been attempting your workouts, but failed due to an injury. I am having surgery to remove an extra bone in my foot in a couple weeks, and am wondering how I can still try to get in shape when I will be non weight barring for 2-3 weeks and its a 3-6 months recovery, Do you have any suggestions? THanks


17 Jeff March 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Found your site on google while looking for interval plans for runkeeper. Thanks for the workout! I’ve added the 2 minute walk as 2 minutes of slow at the end of the program, is that how you do it? I wish they had a 4th speed or the ability to change the 5 minute cooldown to 2 minutes…



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