Interval Training for Beginners: An Interval Workout to Get You Started

Interval training is a great way for beginners and those looking to change up their routine to increase their overall fitness, speed, or simply stop workouts from becoming dull and boring. Interval training is a style of training where you work hard (or at least at a moderate rate) for a period of time (10 seconds – 3 minutes) and then ease off to an easier rate of effort for another period of time (10 seconds – 3 minutes). 

For example, if you are running on a treadmill you may run uphill or increase your pace for 30 seconds, then run at an “easy” pace for one minute, then repeat. You can vary the level of effort and duration of each interval as you see fit. 

Often, designing your own interval training plan is daunting, so below you’ll find some great beginner interval training plans you can utilize in your own workouts to mix things up or achieve your fitness goals. 

Beginner Interval Workout

The interval workout outlined below is suitable for any form of cardio you wish to do; walking, jogging, running and cycling indoors or outside, on the elliptical, swimming, and anything else you can think of! 

Warm Up: 5 minutes at an easy to moderate pace (example: 5 minutes brisk walking on the treadmill or an easy jog) 

Interval 1 Activity: 30 seconds fast pace (example: a maintainable running pace)
Interval 1 Rest: 30 seconds moderate pace (example: a good jog)
Repeat this for 4 rounds 

Rest Period 1: 1-minute easy active recovery (example: a brisk walk) 

Interval 2 Activity: 1-minute fast pace
Interval 2 Rest: 30 seconds moderate pace
Repeat for 4 rounds 

Rest Period 2: 1-minute easy active recovery 

Interval 3 Activity: 45 seconds at maximum effort (example: near sprint pace)
Interval 3 Rest: 15 seconds easy active recovery (example: light jog or brisk walk)
Repeat for 3 rounds 

Rest Period 3: 2 minutes easy active recovery 

Repeat if you have the energy to go again 

Cooldown: 5 minutes slowing the pace gradually 

In many cases, the machines you use will have a setting where you can enter your requirements so it will automatically change the pace or effort for you. If you choose to do this workout outside, a fitness watch or interval app on your phone will help you immensely. 

It’s key that you listen to your body throughout this workout, and give yourself a longer rest period when necessary. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, and if you are using a machine or are wearing a watch that measures your heart rate for you, use that to check in with how much effort you are exerting. 

Once you’ve done this interval training workout a few times you’ll be able to set up your own interval workouts to best suit you and you’ll be able to constantly improve your fitness, speed, and burn extra calories!