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The 30-Minute Marathon

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Map by Kagan McLeod  

Faster, Stronger, Sweatier
Three experts, three sub-30-minute workouts.

Completion times will vary depending on your speed, but the key is to run these routes at a high-intensity level, generally 85 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate. (To calculate MHR, subtract your age from 220.) During slower stretches, you should be working at 60 to 70 percent of your MHR. If you don’t have a heart-rate monitor, just rate your effort on a 1-to-10 scale, with 10 feeling like you’re sprinting to escape a mugger and 6 or 7 like you’re hustling across a platform to catch a train.

1. Beginner Run
Designed by: Angela Corcoran
Exercise physiologist
Duration: 15 to 20 minutes
Start at the intersection of Broadway and West 86th Street. Jog to Central Park at an easy pace—about a 5 on the exertion scale. At the park entrance, book it for the reservoir, as if trying to catch a boat about to push off. It should feel like a 9. Once there, scale back to 7 and run in a counter-clockwise direction for four minutes.* Switch to high speed for two minutes and then down for four minutes; alternate until you’ve gone once around the reservoir.

2. Intermediate Run
Designed by: Brady Crain
Running coach, Chelsea Piers
Duration: 16 to 20 minutes
From Pier 60, run south along the West Side Highway, taking the first half-mile (to about Horatio Street) at a 5. Keep your eyes forward and shoulders and body relaxed, “like you can wave to a crowd,” Crain says. Accelerate to a higher-intensity speed—about a 7—for the next quarter-mile, to Christopher Street. Take the next half-mile to Canal Street at a lower-intensity pace, a 6; then ratchet it up to a 9 for the next quarter-mile to Chambers Street. Finish off with an easy run to the Chambers Street subway station. Feel free to jump onto the train to get home.

3. Advanced Run
Designed by: Ariane Hundt
Founder, Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp
Duration: 25 to 30 minutes
Begin on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge and run nice and easy (about a 4) toward the bridge’s first tower. Sprint at a 9 from the first tower to the second—“You want to feel uncomfortable,” Hundt says—and then ease up to a more manageable 5 or 6 pace to the top of the stairs on the Brooklyn side. Run up and down the steps three times as quickly as you can. Catch your breath for a few seconds. For the rest of the run back to Manhattan, alternate between a super-quick clip (an 8 or 9) and a moderate pace (a 5 or 6) at every other lamppost.


*This article has been corrected to show that runners should go counter-clockwise around the reservoir, not clockwise.


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