24-Minute Rosary Workout - HIIT Routine for Runners

Are you looking for a HIIT workout made for runners? How about one with the rosary thrown in, too? This 24-minute rosary workout is a HIIT routine for Catholic runners. You'll get max cardio effect and prayer time, too.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that there are two types of people in the world: those who run because they like it, and those who run to get away from bears.

I was the second kind.

Did I hate exercise in general? No - I loved it, actually. I was a dancer through elementary and a varsity cheerleader in middle and high school; I fell in love with cardio kickboxing in college and kept it up once I had my first child. The summer she was six months old, though, we headed south to my mother’s old beach house. It’s been replaced by a much sturdier, multi-level colonial, but the original home was a saltbox built in 1945.

Two bedrooms, one bathroom with a septic tank that frequently backed up. The roof leaked, the subfloor was weak in places, and no matter how much love we patched it with (and there was a lot of both), kickboxing was out due to its potential for destruction.

But! There were miles of empty, river-breeze field roads.

I have no idea what possessed me - maybe too much ice cream the night before? But in any case, I laced up my shoes and asked my husband to watch the baby, then went for a jog around the block.

In all honesty, I wondered if I might die when I got started, but fortunately, I survived my little beach town jaunt. What’s more, I kind of liked it, and running became a common occurrence when we got home. I learned I could actually run a mile without something chasing me, and I could add another mile, and then a third. Three years later I was still running, albeit 34 weeks pregnant. It made me feel better, and I didn’t want to give it up.

Until I did.

When Running Gets Tough, The Tough Get Praying

My second was nine months when I hit a wall. Running had grown monotonous and lost its initial sense of challenge. There were other issues, too, like the fact that I didn’t have a decent watch or a smartphone, so I never really knew how many miles I had gone. I also didn’t know how long I would be out, and on occasion, I’d be back earlier than I had hoped. I needed something not only to rekindle that excitement but to help me keep track of what I was doing while I was out for a run.

Enter my first Rosary HIIT workout. I didn’t have fancy toys, but I had my faith and a desire to grow closer to Jesus through Mary. Praying the rosary while I ran and adjusting my speed accordingly seemed like a decent venture, and let me tell you - six years later it’s been a huge win.

HIIT is short for High-Intensity Interval Training.

By pushing yourself at varying degrees of exertion for set time periods, you not only get the same benefit of an hour-long workout in half the time, your body’s physical fitness level grows in leaps and bounds. For me, I’ve shaved 2:15 off my previous 10:30 mile. And since I’m timing myself with the prayers of the rosary, running isn’t just a physical workout - it’s a balm for my weary soul.

A lot of women struggle with the idea of the rosary the way they struggle with the idea of running. It can be monotonous. It’s time-consuming. And if you didn’t grow up in a home with a devotion to the rosary, it can seem like a strange way of growing closer to Jesus - aren’t we supposed to pray to Him alone? But the beauty of the rosary is its rhythmic quality, carrying you on Mary’s journey like the verses to a song. When you are out on the road or the trail and it’s just your heart and your feet beating, that rosary is music revealing Our Mother’s heart for her son. The synchronicity between your mind, body, and soul help you let go of anxieties and frustrations, and you become more fully with the Lord.

Renewing My Runner's Spirit with the 24-Minute Rosary HIIT Workout

But as with all things exercise-related, my first Rosary HIIT workout started to get too easy. I was pushing myself faster and faster during intervals but not seeing continued improvement in speed or agility, so I decided to switch things up.

My new 24-minute Rosary Workout - a HIIT Rosary for Runners - takes the basic idea of my first routine and (ahem) runs with it, adding a bit more speed and intensity as you go.

  • The HIIT Rosary for Runners consists of four interval cycles, each one 3 minutes each

  • You can run the four cycles straight through and then repeat them

  • Or you can repeat each cycle once before going to the next one

  • If you’d like to add a warm up or cool down, feel free to add a 3-minute jog/walk interval at each end

  • You don’t need to carry a rosary or even a watch with you; you can count on your fingers, and one Haily Mary is roughly 15 seconds in length

How it Works:

Every woman’s individual fitness level and speed is different, so I’ve used three terms to help lay the routine out.

  • Rest: Walk

  • Base: Your normal jog speed

  • Push: A more moderate pace

  • Sprint: All out

As I said earlier, each cycle is 3 minutes. You’ll begin with a 2:30 interval run. At the end of the decade, you’ll walk 30 seconds as you pray these prayers:

  • The Glory Be

  • Oh, My Jesus

  • The Our Father

And then you pick up running where the next interval takes off.

For handy, pinnable reference, I’ve included this graphic you can print out:

Run-with-the-Rosary.png

Just like there are two types of people in the world when it comes to running, I think there are two types of people when it comes to prayer.

For some, prayer is a struggle, a constant thing to become better at. For others, it’s a simple matter of the heart.

For me? I’ve got the best of both worlds, and I’m excited to share it with you.

Here’s to running your way to better health. Our Lady is looking forward to the journey, too.

Ginny Kochis is a Catholic wife and homeschooling mom to three from Northern Virginia. She writes about Catholic motherhood, homeschooling, and Gifted/Twice Exceptional Parenting on her blog, Not So Formulaic, and loves to hang out with friends on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.