Get in shape for summer with this 30-day walk/run interval training plan (no gym required)

Work on steadily increasing your distance in just 20 minutes a day, plus build muscle with a no-equipment strength training routine for the park.
Woman running in urban park
Interval walking or jogging will help you steadily increase your speed and distance over time. Adam Hester / Getty Images/Tetra images RF
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By Stephanie Mansour

Summer is a time that many people feel reinvigorated and ready to get moving. It may be that shedding the layers draws our attention to areas we're self conscious about, or that more laid-back schedules afford us more free time to focus on ourselves and our fitness goals.

Whatever your reason, getting outdoors to walk or run is one of the most accessible places to start — it’s free, requires no special equipment, and can be done anywhere, anytime you’re able to fit it in.

But having a plan before you lace up your sneakers can help you get more out of every walk or jog, and gradually add speed or distance. That’s why this month we’re dedicating our focus to walking and/or running outside. Since not everyone has a fitness tracker that counts steps or distance, but everyone has a phone or a watch, this workout is based on time.

Another reason I love focusing on time over distance is because I see many people getting overwhelmed by the thought of running a 5k, or even walking a mile, if they have been sedentary for awhile. Committing to 20-minute walk or jog feels more manageable.

The workout structure

For simplicity, we’re breaking this down into two groups: the walkers and the runners. (And providing a beginner and intermediate workout for each group). Plus, we’ve put together a short strength training routine you can perform in the park or at home a few times each week that will help you sculpt lean muscle that will improve your walking and running performance.

Download your printable calendar here. Hang the calendar on your fridge, or keep it in your purse or car, for easy reference.

Day 1: Basic

Day 2: Basic

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Basic

Day 5: Step It up

Day 6: Rest

Day 7: Basic + Park Strength

Day 8: Basic

Day 9: Rest

Day 10: Basic + Abs

Day 11: Step It Up

Day 12: Rest

Day 13: Step It Up

Day 14: Basic + Park Strength

Day 15: Rest

Day 16: Basic

Day 17: Step It Up + Abs

Day 18: Rest

Day 19: Basic

Day 20: Rest

Day 21: Step It Up + Park Strength

Day 22: Rest

Day 23: Basic + Park Strength

Day 24: Rest

Day 25: Step It Up + Abs

Day 26: Basic + Park Strength

Day 27: Rest

Day 28: Basic + Park Strength

Day 29: Rest

Day 30: Step It Up

Basic Walking Interval Workout

Always start with a 3-minute slow walk as a warm up.

  • 1 minute speed walking as fast as you can
  • 3 minutes walking regular pace

Repeat 4 times total.

Intermediate Walking Interval Workout

Always start with a 3-minute slow walk as a warm up.

  • 1 minute speed walking as fast as you can
  • 1 minute walk regular pace

Repeat 2 times.

  • 2 minutes walking as fast as you can
  • 2 minutes walking regular pace

Repeat 2 times.

  • 2 minutes walking as fast as you can
  • 1 minute walking regular pace

Repeat 2 times.

Basic Running Interval Workout

For running, always start with a 3 minute fast-paced walk or light jog to warm up.

  • 1 minute sprinting at ½ speed
  • 3 minutes jogging

Repeat 4 times total.

Intermediate Running Interval Workout

For running, always start with a 3 minute fast-paced walk or light jog to warm up.

  • 1 minute sprinting at ½ speed
  • 1 minute running at jog pace

Repeat 2 times.

  • 2 minutes sprinting at ½ speed
  • 2 minutes running at jog pace

Repeat 2 times.

  • 1 minute sprinting at full speed
  • 1 minute running at jog pace

Repeat 2 times.

Park bench strength training routine

Complete 10 repetitions of each exercise, and then move on to the next. Cycle through the exercises three times total to complete the circuit.

Step ups

Stand facing a park bench. Step up on to the bench with your right foot and then bring your left foot up to meet it. Then step down with your right foot and bring your left foot down to meet it. Repeat 10 times like this, and then switch to let the left foot lead.

Modification: Toe taps

Instead of stepping all the way up onto the bench, lift the right leg up so that the sole of your right foot taps the bench, and then put the foot down. Lift the left leg up so that the sole of the left foot taps the bench, then put it down. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Push-Ups

Place both hands on the bench shoulder distance apart (either with palms flat or with fingers on the bench and the palm curling around the edge of the seat — whatever is more comfortable for you). Step both feet back so that you are in a plank position. The further you step back, the more you will engage the core and the more challenging it will be! Pull the navel in towards the spine, and then bend the elbows out to the sides. Lower your chest towards the bench, performing a push up, and then press down through the hands to return to the starting position.

Modification: Half push-ups

Same as above, except only bend the elbows halfway and then come back up to starting position.

Tricep dips

Facing away from the bench, place both hands on the edge of the bench so that the palms are resting on the seat and your fingers are facing towards your body. Hug the elbows in towards your sides. With your knees bent at 90 degrees, bend the elbows straight back, lowering your butt towards the ground, and then press down through the palms to bring yourself back up to the starting position. To make this more difficult, you can walk the feet out further away from you. Just make sure to keep the back straight up and down in front of the bench.

Ab Crunches

Sitting on a park bench with your hands gently holding on to the edge of the seat, bend the knees in towards your chest. Then, slowly lower them down towards the ground so that your feet almost tap the ground. Slowly bring the knees back in towards the chest by using your abdominals.

TRY THESE FITNESS ROUTINES

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