Run Faster: The 30-20-10 Interval Training Formula Brings Big Benefits to Runners

Run Faster: The 30-20-10 Interval Training Formula Brings Big Benefits to Runners

Tried Tabata Training check. HIIT training check.  Yasso  800 repeat Training check.  So what is new to write about when I am running out of time to find a new challenge in my cardiovascular workouts? Well I can now give gratitude to the Danish, not for their delicious desserts, but for their research on a new running formula called the 30-20-10 or the 10-20-30 interval training method. The best part is you can complete this intense workout in less than 35 minutes. And it can be a total calorie burning blast.

Exercise researchers at the University of Copenhagen, in Copenhagen Denmark, recently published an article in the Journal of Applied Physiology detailing the concepts of training at an easy to moderate pace for 30 seconds, a hard challenging pace for 20 seconds, and an all out anaerobic or breathless pace for 10 seconds.  The alterations in training from regular endurance pace to intense interval training were examined on the health profile of runners for a short period of time over a consecutive 7-week period to test running performance, muscular adaptations, maximum oxygen uptake (VO2Max), and overall training time.

30-20-10 formula is running on a treadmill, outdoors, or using a stationary cardio machine  (recumbent bike, elliptical, or Stairmaster) for  5 x1 minute intervals for 3 or 4 times, interspersed with a 2 minute easy/recovery pace between sets. Seen this formula in a spin/indoor class and it produces serious sweating for a 15-20 minute stage, motivating to those riders who  take inspiration from the tour de France cyclists.

Eighteen moderately trained exercise enthusiasts (12 males and 6 females) were divided into 2 groups. Ten people were placed in the high intensity 30-20-10 training category and eight people were place in the controlled category, which was resuming their normal running regimen.

By week seven, researchers concluded that the high intensity group had reduced their training time by 54%, their VO2Max was 4% higher, and their 1500 meter and 5k run speed was shaven off by 21-48 seconds. Blood pressure and cholesterol significantly lowered in this category as well. No alterations or performance changes were found in the controlled category. By running so strongly in the last ten seconds of a minute, faster results in athletic performance and physiological adaptations progressively impacted the goal of a training session.

We at Fitness Goop challenge you to try this 30-20-10 interval training formula out for yourself. If you go on a run outside give your self 5-10 minutes of warming up at a moderate pace at a jog. Once the body is warmed up pace yourself with a brisk walk for the first 30 seconds, run hard for 20 seconds, then polish off the minute with an all out 10 second sprint. Repeat for 5 times, which times out to a minute then recover 2 minutes between sets, aim for 3-4 sets.  Do the math and 20 minutes of your workout is right there, with 5-10 minutes left to take a cool down and incorporate recoveries. It is crucial that you recover fully to gain back the speed and strength needed for that intense burst of speed.

Treadmill runners (my preference) can complete this half hour interval training workout remaining true to time. Just keep in mind that when you change the speed (MPH) it takes a few seconds for the treadmill to hit its exact increase or decrease of speed or incline. Hang onto the side rails when making a large change in speed or incline if your form starts to waiver. When you are at your new speed or incline work the full minute at that exact setting and push yourself in to monitor the moderate, hard, and breathless zones of your intensity.

Here is a sample of a treadmill workout that made us want to channel our inner Olympian doing the 30-20-10 set for all fitness levels to endure.

  • Incline is at 2% Speed is 3.5-5.0 walkers/beginners
  • Incline is at 4% Speed is 6.0-9.0 runners

However, increase the variations of speed and inclines will be up to you.  Try to hold each setting and make the changes with each minute by  .5% in incline or speed, even adding higher levels can bring on a boost of challenge. Remember to warm-up moderately for 5-8 minutes and then complete 3-4 rounds of 5×1 minute sprints, and always take the full 2-minute recovery between the sets by reducing incline and speed to gain back the oxygen depleted, which was lost in the10 second sprints.  Cool down significantly and congratulate yourself on a run/walk well done, all compliments of the Danish!

Vancouver Health Coach