top of page

Coaches Blog

Try a Tabata!

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

It is often important in endurance training to make sure that you go slow in order to go fast. There is also something to be said for going fast to go fast as well… but that’s another topic.

One of my favorite things to include in High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the Tabata interval. The short bursts of VERY high intensity with brief recoveries built into an overall workout can yield quality results in moving the athlete’s neural system needle in a positive direction. Remember, we are not only training our cardiovascular and muscular systems. We are also honing our nervous system. And Tabata intervals, when incorporated safely, can really help the nervous system develop resistance to fatigue.

In case you were wondering, "Tabata" comes from Japanese scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata. He and his team from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports studied high intensity exercise to find the best way to condition the human body.

Back to our Tabata workout. Remember that run workouts are workouts with a goal in mind. When completed as prescribed, they help the athlete improve fitness while also avoiding injury. Here is an example of a way to safely incorporate Tabata intervals into a full run workout.

HIIT Track (Or Similar Course) Workout With Tabata Intervals (BSE = Best Sustained Effort for a given distance). This workout assumes a 6-Zone Aerobic to Anaerobic Energy System from Recovery at Zone 1 to VO2 Max at Zone 5 and for VERY brief intervals, the Phosphagen Energy system.

Workout: (On a Track)

EZ Warm: with dynamic stretching incorporated.

Do as:

200 Meter EZ running warmup, incorporating the following:

- 25 Meter Jogging Hamstring stretch (alternating legs)

- 25 Meter EZ run

- 20 Cherry Pickers

- 25 Meter EZ Run

- 30 Seconds of Ankle/knee, and 30 Seconds of hip rotations

- 25 Meter EZ Run

- 10 Lateral Leg Swings per leg

- 25 Meter EZ Run

- 10 Back and forth Leg Swings per leg

- 25 Meter EZ Run

- 25 Meter High Knee Skips

- 25 Meter EZ run

Main Set:

5 x 50-meter Pickups running at BSE with 50-meter recovery to EZ after each pickup.

Tabata Intervals:

Build to a max effort by the end of each to VERY briefly activate the phosphagen system:

- 8 minutes of work (16 Reps): 20 seconds HARD/10 seconds REST

- 1600 Meters EZ Cooldown to recover

Now wasn’t that fun?


Mark Turner (aka Coach MarkT) is a Houston, Texas Metro area based Coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II and Paratriathlon Certified Coach, IRONMAN University Certified Coach,VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and Mental Strengths Performance Coach. Coach MarkT absolutely loves coaching and helping the athletes achieve their dreams. MarkT is also a US Veteran having served in the United States Marine Corps. He is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. In addition to endurance sports, his interests include history, science fiction, and cooking. He can be reached at


bottom of page