HealthTraining & Performance

30-Minute Holiday Workouts

Traveling and time-crunched? Sneak in these 30-minute workouts to maintain your cardiovascular fitness, strength, and sanity this holiday season.

You don't have to get this intense to stay fit this holiday season. (Photo: Scott Rosenfield)

“A 30-minute workout can be a great way to mentally take the pressure off of feeling like you are working out,” says your coach, Gina Kehr, a former pro triathlete with five top-10 finishes at the Ironman World Championship, and a coach for Endurance Corner and Stanford University’s Triathlon team. “With limited time, it is good to make it count.” Below, Kehr shares seven triathlon-inspired workouts designed to do just that.


1. The 30/30 Workout
High-intensity interval training has been shown to improve aerobic capacity as effectively as continuous endurance training at moderate intensity—in less time.

  • 10-minute warm up
  • (30 seconds fastest sustainable effort, 30 seconds rest) x 10
  • 10-minute warm down

2. Lower-Body Strength Workout
“Leg, glute and hip strength is what you are targeting,” Kehr says. Building strong hips and glutes, in particular, will help improve knee stability (read: avoid knee injuries) and power on the bike. Note: A $2.00 mini band can increase the resistance of this workout twofold.

  • 6 x (30 seconds of Y squats, rest 30 seconds)
  • Rest 1 - 2 minutes
  • 6 x (30 seconds of lunges alternating legs, rest 30 seconds)
  • Rest 1 - 2 min
  • 6 x (30 seconds of climbers, rest 30 seconds)
  • Rest 1 - 2 min
  • 6 x (30 seconds of jump squats, rest 30 seconds)


3. The 30/30 Workout

  • 10-minute warm up
  • (30 seconds fastest sustainable effort, 30 seconds rest) x 10
  • 10-minute warm down

4. The Build Workout
Progression runs can train your body to go faster without inducing the fatigue and greater recovery time often associated with long runs at race pace, and hard track workouts.

Start at an easy pace and build for approximately 7 minutes to 85-90 percent of VO2 Max (10k pace). Once you reach that pace, maintain it for 20 minutes. Use the rest of your time to cool down and walk it out.

Strength and Flexibility

5. Full-Body Workout
As the American College of Sports Medicine notes, strength training helps prevent injury by making bones, connective tissue, and muscle stronger. Strength training can also improve power, speed, and agility. This routine is designed to hit every major muscle group in your body to help make you a better, bomb-proof athlete.

Note: As with the lower body strength routine above, a $2.00 mini band can increase the resistance of the workout twofold.

  • 10 pull aparts
  • 10 push-ups
  • 30-60 second plank
  • Repeat the above exercises 3x through
  • Easy 60 second jog, rest 30 seconds


Try using to find a pool near your zip code. Alternatively, iPhone users can use the SwimRadar app to browse more than 17,000 places to swim around the world.

6. The 30/30 Workout, swim style

  • 10-minute warm-up
  • 10 x 25 yards or meters, 30 seconds rest between each 25
  • 10-minute cool down

7. Kick Improvement
“A 30-minute swim can be used to work on a skill we all can improve: kicking,” Kehr says. A good kick can keep hips and legs from dragging in the water, thereby improving your body position, and overall speed.

  • Warm up 5 to 10 minutes
  • 6 min of 30 seconds fast kick, 30 seconds easy
  • 200 easy
  • 6 x 100 as: 25 fast kick, 30 sec vertical kick, 25 sprint free, 50 easy 
  • Rest 20 seconds between each 100
  • 200 easy
  • 3 min of 30 seconds fast kick, 30 seconds easy
  • Cool down
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