Tabata's are great, but full recovery sprints are useful tools as well, especially if you are just beginning. There are several methods of doing this:
• Sprint for 45 sec - 1 min/walk slowly for 45 sec-3 min. Repeat for 6-10 intervals.
As you progress, you can do a interval ladders:
• Sprint 200 meters/ rest 1-3 mins
• Sprint 400 meters/ rest 1-3 mins
• Sprint 600 meters/ rest 1-3 mins
Personally, I have maintained lean muscle mass while losing body fat (taking weekly measurements) with these sprinting techniques, a.k.a. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Plus, they are quick! No more 2 hour workout sessions! I spend 10-30 minutes interval training 3-4 times a week.
When you get ambitious, find some bleachers or a tall building with multiple sets of stairs! Sprint up and walk down (or take the elevator). Repeat a few times! Steep hill runs are also wonderful for building muscle while losing fat!
Recovery and rest are important for you to fully give your all in each interval. Less can be more. Mix up tabatas and full recovery sprints to train yourself across a more complete range of possibilities.