How to take minutes off your running time


Want to up your running pace? Feel like you have plateaued? Then Jessica Ennis-Hill’s audio HIIT runs will help you increase your speed while injecting fun into your next run session. Here’s how…


According to Jennis Fitness member @melibry1 (Melissa Bryant), she’s shaved almost a minute off her mile time by doing regular Jennis audio HIIT Runs, taking her average pace from 8 minutes 30 seconds per mile to 7 minutes 38 seconds per mile in just four weeks.


By anyone’s calculations that’s a huge improvement, so what’s going on and how can the sessions work for you? Here, Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill explains the philosophy behind her guided run sessions and explains the science behind the running gains.



Hey Jess. So, what are the Jennis audio HIIT Runs?

My guided audio HIIT runs take you through a series of sprints and fast runs alternated with recovery runs or walks, and take between 20 and 29 minutes. This might not sound like a particularly long session, but the contrast between sprints and walks – where we take your heart rate right up and back down again – is what really gets results.



What are the benefits to the body of running at different speeds?

If you always run at the same pace or the same distance, your body gets used to it, you don’t challenge it, and you won’t see improvements in your fitness or speed. In contrast, my HIIT Runs blast your body into getting fitter by constantly surprising it with ramped up activity in the form of fast runs, followed by rest.



It’s a great way to improve your running endurance and challenge your muscles, and studies have found that this type of training burns more fat than running at a steady pace.



OK, so how can doing HIIT Runs make you a faster runner?

By hitting your body with different speeds and pushing yourself to accelerate even when tired, you force your muscles to adapt and improve, with an outcome of that being increased speed. It’s a concept that’s based on Fartlek training.



Hang on, what’s Fartlek?

Fartlek is Swedish for ‘speed play’ and is a training method developed by Swedish athlete Gustaf Holmer in 1930. It’s something that I used a lot during my professional training and challenges the body to adapt to various speeds, conditioning you to become faster. My coach, Toni Minichiello, was a big fan of the technique throughout my career, as it’s proven to knock seconds off your finish time. For me, it also mixes up a running session to make it more interesting.



What if I am training for a marathon?

Even if you are training for longer distances, this kind of running philosophy can definitely help you get faster and stronger if added to your training regime at the right time.



Do I need a stopwatch to run a Jennis HIIT Run?

Nope, you don’t need any equipment or timers – just some earphones and your HIIT Run session of choice (there’s Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced). I’ll talk you through when to run or sprint and when to walk or jog, so all you need to do is focus on giving it your best. You can find the session on the Jennis SoundCloud and YouTube channels.


How do the sessions break down? You can find out more detail on how my sessions break down and the difference between Advanced, Intermediate and Beginner sessions here.



Find out more about Jessica Ennis-Hill's Jennis Fitness exercise app

Sign up to Jessica Ennis-Hill's Jennis Fitness app for iPhone and Android


Listen to Jessica Ennis-Hill's HIIT Run coaching sessions on SoundCloud

Listen to Jessica Ennis-Hill's HIIT Run coaching sessions on YouTube

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