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  • Writer's pictureJacob Puzey


Regardless of the distance or surface of the goal race for which you are training, CRUZ INTERVALS can help you develop muscular endurance, agility, stamina, speed, and strength all in one workout.

This workout was one of the orIginal HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts.

Namesake - Olympic Gold Medalist Joaquim Cruz

JOAQUIM CRUZ, a Brazilian 800m Olympic Gold Medalists (1984) and one of the only men to ever run under 1:42 for 800m, did workouts like this when he was training for basketball, soccer, and track as a teen in Brazil.

Cruz and his coach believed in training the whole body and becoming a complete athlete. Cruz was fortunate to have the same coach as a teenager and later as an olympian. They did variations of this workout as he progressed throughout his storied career.

Variations on a Theme

Depending on one's objectives, the phase of training, and the distance and surface of your goal race, there are several variations of this workout that you can do.

Warm Up is Key

One key part of the workout that is not included in the video is to precede the exercises and faster running intervals with an adequate warm-up of at least 15 minutes of easy running and dynamic stretching.

CRUZ INTERVALS as a Dynamic Warm-Up Routine

One way to incorporate CRUZ INTERVALS into your training routine, is to include them as part of a dynamic warm-up routine.

For example, after 15 - 30 minutes of easy running, alternate between 10-20 x the agility exercises (jumping jacks, lunges, etc.) and the running intervals as 15-30 second strides or accelerations. Effort for the STRIDES should be between 75-85% of max effort.

This routine, along with other DYNAMIC DRILLS AND STRETCHES will serve as an adequate warm-up before longer, more intense workouts.

CRUZ INTERVALS as Mid-Run or Post-Run Stride Routine

Another way to incorporate CRUZ INTERVALS into your training is to simply add them to the middle or end of a run as you traditionally would add strides or accelerations.

For example, alternate between 10-20 x the agility exercises and the running intervals as 15-30 second STRIDES or ACCELERATIONS in the middle or toward the end of a 30-60 minute EASY RUN. Effort for the STRIDES should be between 75-85% of max effort.

Increase Muscular Endurance at Critical Velocity

CRUZ INTERVALS can also become a longer, muscular endurance session if you extend the run intervals to 90 to 120 seconds or up to 400m at Critical Velocity (30-40 minute race pace).

Specificity & Simulation

You can do CRUZ INTERVALS on any surface: track, grass, paved path, dirt road, treadmill, etc. They don't have to be precisely measured by distance or pace. The important part is to practice running hard, under duress.

Doing the entire workout on a track is not necessary. In fact, performing the workout on grass may add a bit more of a challenge while giving your legs a break from harder surfaces. Doing the agility exercises on the grass also increases the difficultly of the exercises while simultaneously making the activities more specific to trail or cross country racing.

CRUZ INTERVALS are a great way to help you transition to trail running or simulate trail running without regular access to the trails.


Limit recovery between exercises and harder running efforts. This will allow you to practice transitioning between hard running and more skill specific activities without the need for recovery.

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