Best Running Workouts for Endurance, Speed & Conditioning

30-minute running workout

Believe it or not – long runs are not the only running workout that will improve your endurance and conditioning.

Similarly, short & fast runs aren’t the only running workouts that will improve your speed.

In fact, varying your running workouts is the best way to improve your running. Take it one step further and add in some strength training and you can really take your running to the next level.

In this article, we’ve got 3 20-30-minute running workouts to improve your endurance, speed, and conditioning.

running workouts to improve endurance

3 Best Running Workouts

The great thing about all 3 running workouts? They can be done anywhere.

These can all be a track workout, a gym workout, or an outdoor running workout. Our main measurement we’re going to use is perceived effort level.

Perceived effort is a great metric because it translates to different venues and requires no added equipment to track it.

For all of these running workouts, we’re going to use a scale from 1-10 to measure perceived effort. 1 is very little effort, you could do it forever, and 10 is your maximum possible effort.

No need to be exact on this. Just use your best judgment and how you feel as a guide.

Having said that, if you know your running pace well and want to convert these effort levels into pace times, feel free to be more specific.

If you’re going to do the workout inside a gym on a treadmill, your effort levels will naturally need to be more exact.

As a result, treadmill workouts can be a great tool for holding yourself accountable and tracking your improvement.

If you are focusing on pace, remember that there is no “good running pace.” Instead, effort level can be a great tool to indicate where you are in your training.

And over time, interval workouts like the ones below will increase your running speed and endurance.

Be patient, train regularly, and before you know it you will be running at your desired pace – which looks different for everyone.

1. 30-Minute Interval Run Workout for Speed

What You’ll Need

All you need for this workout is a clock. We are going to measure the intervals in seconds, so be sure your watch or clock shows them.

Pre Warm Up

Before we get to the running warm-up, be sure to get your body ready to run properly.

Pre-run stretches and movements to get the blood flowing are wonderful to prepare you to run injury-free.

Now that we are ready to run, we’ll get started by warming up with a jog. You’ll take the following:

Warm Up

  • 2-minute jog at a perceived effort level of 4/10
  • 2-minute jog at a perceived effort level of 5/10
  • 2-minute jog at a perceived effort level of 6/10

Main Set

Now onto the main set. You are going to repeat this set 3 times. The general format: decreasing interval time while increasing interval effort.

We will always be recovering by jogging at 4/10 perceived effort level.

  • 60-second run at 7/10 perceived effort
  • 60-second jogging recovery at 4/10 perceived effort
  • 50-second run at 8/10 perceived effort
  • 50-second jogging recovery at 4/10 perceived effort
  • 40-second run at 9/10 perceived effort
  • 40-second jogging recovery at 4/10 perceived effort
  • 30-second run at 10/10 perceived effort
  • 2-minute FULL RECOVERY

Remember – we are repeating that set 3 times.

Once you’re finished, be sure to incorporate a cool down. This helps you reap the benefits of your run, and to avoid injury.

running workouts to improve speed

For a cool down on this interval speed workout, take a 5-minute walk.

In addition, remember that staying on top of your mobility work is crucial to recover properly and to improve your speed.

2. 20-Minute Interval Running Conditioning Workout for Speed

If you don’t have time for a 30-minute workout, no worries. We’ve got you covered.

This interval running conditioning workout will help you improve your speed. And it only takes 20 minutes.

Again, we’re working with perceived effort levels here. And be sure to do a proper warm-up before you dive into the running portion below. Here it is!

What You’ll Need

Again, all you need here is a clock that displays seconds. This running interval workout is specific to the second so be sure to keep an eye on the clock.

The Running Conditioning Workout

  • 2-minute warm up jog at 3/10 perceived effort
  • 2-minute run at 6/10 perceived effort
  • 2-minute rest (walk or jog)
  • 90-second run at 7/10 perceived effort
  • 90-second rest (walk or jog)
  • 1-minute run at 8/10 perceived effort
  • 1-minute rest (walk or jog)
  • 30-second run at 9/10 perceived effort
  • 30-second rest (walk or jog)
  • 1-minute run at 8/10 perceived effort
  • 1-minute rest (walk or jog)
  • 90-second run at 7/10 perceived effort
  • 90-second rest (walk or jog)
  • 2-minute run at 6/10 perceived effort

And again, be sure to make time for a cool down here.

While it may not always feel like it, running injuries are totally preventable. You just need to put in the work to prevent them.

Take 5 or 10 minutes after your running and strength workouts to mobilize and repair your body.

A good post-run routine will be crucial in running for a long time.

3. 20-Minute Treadmill Running Endurance Workout

If we’re focusing on endurance, incline is a great way to build running stamina. And good news: this one is only 20 minutes as well.

If you usually aim for 30-minute workouts, 20-minute running endurance workouts are a great way not to fall behind on your mobility.

A 20-minute running workout will give you 10 extra minutes to be sure you are warming up and cooling down properly.

And a proper and warm-up and cool down is often more beneficial than additional training in reaching your long term running goals.

The Running Endurance Workout

In addition to focusing on perceived effort level here, we’re also going to add a more tangible metric: grade.

For this endurance workout we will be running and/or walking on incline.

What You’ll Need

All you need for this endurance training program is a treadmill. Be sure that your treadmill’s clock displays seconds.

If you’d like to do this running workout outside, you’ll simply need to find some hills, and bring a stopwatch of some kind.

You can eyeball grade percentages, or you can use a slope calculator app to measure the hills with your phone if it has that capability. Let’s get into the workout.

3 Minute Warm-Up:

  • First Minute: 5% grade, 2/10 effort (walk/light jog)
  • Second Minute: 4% grade, 3/10 effort
  • Third Minute: 3% grade, 4/10 effort

Main Sets:

  • Number 1
  • 90 seconds at 2% grade, 6/10 effort
  • 30 second REST at 2% grade, 3/10 effort
  • Number 2
  • 90 seconds at 2% grade, 6/10 effort
  • 30 second REST at 2% grade, 3/10 effort
  • Number 3
  • 90 seconds at 2% grade, 7/10 effort
  • 30 second REST at 2% grade, 4/10 effort
  • Number 4
  • 90 seconds at 2% grade, 7/10 effort
  • 30 second REST at 2% grade, 3/10 effort
  • Number 5
  • 90 seconds at 2% grade, 7/10 effort
  • 30 second REST at 2% grade, 4/10 effort

4 Minute Climb:

Set the treadmill to 3% grade. Use speed to find a 5/10 effort. You won’t touch the speed again over next 4 minutes.

  • First Minute: 3% grade
  • Second Minute: 4% grade
  • Third Minute: 5% grade
  • Fourth Minute: 6% grade

3 Minute Cool Down:

  • First Minute: 3% grade at 3/10 effort
  • Second Minute: 2% grade at 2/10 effort
  • Third Minute: 1% grade at 1/10 effort (walk/jog)

Running Workouts for Sustainable Training

The best approach to running training: aim for sustainability. Whether you are training for a marathon, a half marathon, a 5K, or a one-mile run, sporadic training won’t get you across the finish line.

As you design your running training plan and incorporate the workouts above, aim for sustainability.

While it may seem reasonable to mimic race-day conditions often in your training, doing this can actually lead to injuries and burnout.

On another note, training in the same way all the time can lead to over-use injuries, and under-use weakness.

While running is a full-body workout, it is a repeated motion. This means that it is not working your muscles in a versatile way, and certain muscle groups can grow weak from neglect.

30-minute running workouts like the ones in this article allow longevity in your training so that you can stay injury-free and regular.

These small, sustainable improvements will lead to big progress over time.

Whether you are trying to drop your pace time or up that mileage, don’t count out the 30-minute running endurance workout or speed conditioning workout. It is an effective tool for runners of all levels!