Is there a word (in the context of exercise) to describe short bursts of running?

My first thought was to use the term "running circuits", but that involves other activities in between the running, whereas I'm looking for a term to describe short bursts of only running.

Example: Sprint for 60 seconds, walk for 60 seconds, sprint again for 60 seconds, etc.

  • Back in high school when my friends and I used to walk everywhere, we used to refer to this as wogging; walk/jogging. That's probably not a good one to use widely though, because the word wog has too much other baggage.
    – Brendon
    Jul 25, 2011 at 4:36

5 Answers 5


I asked this question of a runner and according to them it's referred to as running intervals.


Thanks for the other great answers.


I have heard the term wind sprints used to label the activity you describe (run, walk, run, walk).

In my school and military days, though, the term was used entierly differently: it described a specific drill involving sprinting from point a to a+10, reversing direction and sprinting back to a, reversing direction and sprinting to a+20, reversing direction and sprinting back to a, repeating this to about a+60. The lines of a basketball court were used as the direction-changing markers.

  • We did this exact exercise in my high school's gym classes. We called it (not kidding) "suicide" Jul 24, 2011 at 8:19

You might just go for a short run. Or, your "circuits" might be a sprint or a dash; both of these connote running quickly for short periods of time, and while they refer to racing, they can be used for single runners.

If your pace is a bit slower, perhaps you are running a lap at a time (particularly if you are repeating the same territory). You might go for a short jog, but jogging usually means a slower pace for a longer time.

  • 2
    +1 for dash, though I can't really see why OP wasn't happy to stick with the word sprint since he obviously already knows it. Jul 24, 2011 at 2:59
  • 1
    I wasn't happy with "sprint" because I didn't think it captured the regular breaks in running, it sounded continuous.
    – The Matt
    Jul 24, 2011 at 7:44

When I was on the high-school cross country team, we used to call this type of training fartlek which comes from Swedish, but I think the term "interval training" is more common.


What you describe sounds similar to "wind sprints."

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