When Coach Lee Wratislaw was creating “Descent,” a workout for the GOLD’S AMP™ digital coaching app, he wanted to create something that would max out the results in a short period of time.
This HIIT running workout is perfect for the outdoors. “It’s a descending intervals workout at burn pace,” he says. This means the amount of time you’re running decreases in steps, from one minute to 50 seconds to 40 seconds and so on, and the pace is at 75 percent effort.
“The strategy is to have hard running intervals that get shorter and shorter every time.” This makes sure you stay at a pace that enables your body to use more fat for energy instead of glycogen. Plus, it helps get you to that 10,000 steps mark. “It is a challenging pace!” Wratislaw says.
Why it works
The descending intervals help you keep the intensity high, all the way to the finish. As your body gets pushed more and more, the shorter intervals allow you to keep giving maximum effort.
Descending intervals are a tool to help boost your calorie burn. “They’re one of the best techniques in cardio,” Wratislaw says. “They’re great for shorter amounts of time.” Even though you’re running at a hard pace, descending intervals give you time to catch your breath while still pushing the calorie burn. That helps boost your EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which keeps your calorie burn going throughout the day.
The easy-to-remember technique is to repeat the times on your intervals, so you start with two one-minute intervals, move to two 50-second intervals, and then do two 40-second intervals, etc.
Where to go
“I like to find a track or trail, somewhere scenic, where I can just focus on the running,” Wratislaw says.
If you’re running in your neighborhood, watch out for traffic. And try to run in a place without distractions to keep your intervals on point.
The most important thing? Just get outside and enjoy the fresh air. “Being outside can just change the whole dynamic.” Wratislaw says.
Download the GOLD’S AMP™ app so you can try this workout on the go, backed by music that will keep you moving.
After you find a good spot for a 20-minute run, follow these paces and intervals for running.
GOLD’S AMP™ uses four different paces.
- Base: A comfortable working pace at 50 percent maximum speed
- Burn: A faster pace at 75 percent effort, which is tougher but not completely maxed out
- Max: Running as hard as you can
- Active recovery: A slower speed that allows for recovery — generally anything below 50 percent effort
The paces are like gears. During the workout, you’ll shift between them. The entire workout takes 20 minutes to complete — in the breakdown below, the total elapsed time of the workout in progress is in parentheses.
- Warm up with light jogging for 3 minutes. (3:00)
- Run 1:30 at base pace. Switch to active recovery for 30 seconds. (5:00)
- Run 1 minute at burn pace. Active recovery for 1 minute. (7:00)
- Run 1 minute at burn pace. Active recovery for 1 minute. (9:00)
- Run 50 seconds at burn pace. Active recovery for 50 seconds. (10:40)
- Run 50 seconds at burn pace. Active recovery for 50 seconds. (12:20)
- Run 40 seconds at burn pace. Active recovery for 40 seconds. (13:40)
- Run 40 seconds at burn pace. Active recovery for 40 seconds. (15:00)
- Run 30 seconds at burn pace. Active recovery for 30 seconds. (16:00)
- Run 30 seconds at burn pace. Active recovery for 30 seconds. (17:00)
- Run 20 seconds at burn pace. Active recovery for 20 seconds. (17:40)
- Run 20 seconds at burn pace. (18:00)
- Cool down with active recovery for two minutes. (20:00)
After the workout
If you’re looking to add more to your training day, Wratislaw suggests pairing this workout with a strength session.
After your run, you can move on to any of the GOLD’S AMP™ app strength workouts, such as an upper-body dumbbell workout like the “Armory” (which is led by Wratislaw) or “Iron Arms,” both of which include video coaching.
And the next time you run, check out “Descent 2” with Wratislaw, which builds on this first outdoor running workout.