Most runners are already familiar with the speed- and strength-building benefits of interval training, which involves short high-intensity bursts of output with low-intensity recovery work. Running intervals increases lactate threshold, boosts aerobic capacity and burns fat—plus, it makes you faster.
According to new research, there's another big benefit of interval training: it's a huge time saver, too.
A new study claims that incorporating a simple 30-minute routine into your workout can help your PR, your heart and your mood—all while cutting your training time in half.
Researchers from the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences at the University of Copenhagen recruited a small group of “moderately trained” runners (i.e., individuals who had been running for several years) and asked them to replace all of their training with a 10-20-30 interval training module (details below). After seven weeks, race times dropped dramatically (up to a full minute faster in the 5k), both blood pressure and cholesterol levels decreased significantly and stress levels fell lower than those in the control group who maintained their normal routine.
"The results show that the very intense training has a great potential for improving health status of already trained individuals," said Professor Jens Bangsbo, the Department head for the project.
Try it yourself.
Begin with about a mile of low-intensity warm-up. Then, switch to intervals at the following pace:
First 30 seconds: Run/jog for 30 seconds at low intensity
Next 20 seconds: Pick up your pace to a moderate intensity rate
Final 10 seconds: Run at near maximum intensity
Repeat to five minutes total. This is one interval.
Take a two-minute rest period; repeat for a total of three to four interval blocks.
Think you’ve got it down? Clear up about 30 minutes to run the 10-20-30 out and see if it works for you.