Running with a twist : HIIT workout to rescue


I am an undergrad student and started following this routine one year back as I didn’t have time all day long in my schedule for any other physical activity. This routine for me has been great in keeping my weight in check and especially no belly fat. So if you are a millennial working 9 to 5 or a mother of a toddler or someone else who can’t get the time for self-care not even on weekends, then you should give this routine a try.

Why Running?

It comes the most naturally to us as it does not require anything extra like special equipment and can be done anytime, anywhere. Studies show it is one of the most effective ways to burn calories for weight loss as it is a workout for the whole body in one go. Also, running builds our lung capacity and core endurance. A bonus, it can be done inside on a treadmill but if you run outdoors, you benefit from exposure to nature which can reduce stress and boost your mood. At last, you can run by yourself for peace and solitude or with others for social interaction, if you want.

HIIT Running Workout –

HIIT stands for High-intensity interval training- physical activity in any form that consists of both short periods of intense exercise and short periods of rest in between the routine. Why this? The higher the heart rate the higher the oxygen consumption and the faster you sweat and lose extra fat in the body.


Warm-Up – It’s very necessary to warm up your muscles not only it prevents injuries but also helps to get the heart rate up helpful in pushing oneself.
  1. Warm-up with a 5 min walk.
Just walk on your normal pace and try to relax your body.

  1. 30 seconds sprint
For 30 seconds run at your best.

  1. 3-minute jog
Slow down to jogging.

  1. 30-second sprint
Again run at your maximum.

  1. 1-minute walk
Now this time, start walking at your normal pace.

Repeat 4 times

Total time : 5+4*5+5 = 30 minutes

In the end, walk 5 mins again slowly to cool down your body and ready to stretch.



The quad stretch helps in slimming calves and thighs.

Without stretching any workout is incomplete. It releases the tension in our muscles and plays a vital role in maintaining the flexibility of the body.

Lung stretch

1. Do a lunge position. 2. Extend the hips forward with hands until you feel a stretch in thighs. 3. Hold 30 to 60 seconds, then switch sides.

Quads stretch

1. Stand straight, lift the foot of your right leg behind you, and grab your foot with the right hand. 2. Pull your heel toward your butt, feeling a stretch. 3. Keep your left leg straight and knees close together. 4. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Change side and repeat.

Ankle circles

1. In a standing position, extend your right leg forward. 2. Rotate your ankle in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. 3. Change side and repeat.

How to get started?

First, form the habit then push yourself.

Make It Manageable

You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself that you never want to run again. Take one step at a time in the early phase. If you are running or going out after a long time, then simply run for the first few days to get into the habit. Also, During each run, try to keep a comfortable pace where you can talk to your fellow runner. If you can’t speak in full sentences without losing your breath, slow down. If you don’t have anyone, simply talk to yourself. In this routine, consistency is the king, rather than how fast you can run or how much distance you can cover. You can start with making a weekly schedule with a planner either in your diary or phone. Mark each time you go running.

Social Interaction

When you are out or using public gym space, talk to people and make friends. Seeing a friendly face and with whom you can share experiences is very helpful for the lack of enthusiasm. Talk about your body or anything you are struggling with. You may find these common and maybe you will find a group of your age and interests. Also, involve your family. My mother makes sure to kick me out for a workout in the morning, even when she has to drag me off the bed. Your family keeps your good habits in check. Another way is that you can use social media to record your journey and let others keep you motivated. Still now, I and my friend send each other our running face picture for motivation and track our progress. It helps. You can do this with a friend or form a group chat to achieve your specific fitness goals.


Journaling is a great way of not only keeping track of your habit but also to write down how you feel about it. Write down your feelings in a journal after you come home. How tired and lazy you felt while going out and how you feel after completing today’s routine. Write about how you feel about the body and how you want to see yourself in future. It is your journal, you can write anything you feel but most importantly appreciate yourself after every day, week or month. Review this the night before, you will feel motivated for next morning workout.

No need to be an early bird

My sister struggles a lot with early morning run as she is not a morning person. Don’t worry, aim to get into the habit first. Although, the early hours of the day are best to go out and breathe fresh air. But if you are not a morning person or have early work or school hours, you can do this routine in evenings an hour before dinner or two hours after dinner if you live in a safe neighbourhood. Also, if you have a treadmill nearby you can access anytime then you are in luck.

Proper Form

  1. While running, breathe in through your nose and mouth so you can get the most amount of oxygen.
  2. Keep your posture up and straight. Your chin should be up and shoulders level but relaxed. Maintain a neutral pelvis and don’t lean forward or backwards.
  3. Do not let shoulders to hunch over. It leads to upper back pain and restricts breathing.
  4. Arms should swing back and forth from the shoulders. Keep a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Keep hands relaxed by not clenching them into fists.
  5.  If you feel pain in sides, slow down, breathe in with mouth closed and keep a palm over stomach as it moves out. Do not run again if pain persists.
  6.  When in the rain, snow or dark wear bright colours, if you run on roads, to help drivers see you.
  7. Stop being a toe runner or a heel-striker. Try to land in the middle of your foot while running to avoid injury.

Tips –

1. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that are not too tight, especially on your belly. 2. Don’t gulp down the water when thirsty but take small sips. 3. Follow the same pattern for the first week then make some changes. 4. When on periods, do routine less no. of times but if you are in pain then don’t. 5. You might feel under-confident by looking at other people. Everyone has a different body, so don’t compare yourself. Also, they might be doing for months, what you started. It is never that difficult but how much we make it by worrying over it. Be consistent and happy while following this routine and trust the process.

Deeksha Ojha

Namaste, I am a student of English Literature living in the capital of India. I love to write about my passions including being a bookworm, dancing on Bollywood beats, trying new Zumba routines and healthy recipes, binging on k-dramas and world cinema while documenting my travel wonders. I write while keeping a keen eye on the world around me and like talking about my experiences.