There are many training concepts that runners use to improve their performance as well as their health. Runners often engage in long and frequent bouts of training. However, recent conclusions based on research from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark help justify the old adage “Less is more” by introducing the new 10-20-30 training concept. With this concept, if you have 30 minutes per day to train, then you have all the time you need to boost performance.1
The study encompassed a time span of seven weeks in which eighteen moderately trained runners, some of whom had been running for several years, were able to improve their performance on a 1,500 meter run by 23 seconds, and by nearly a minute on a 5km run. The runners achieved these feats despite a 50% reduction in their total training. Another great benefit the runners experienced during this duration was a significant decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol in the blood.2
A PhD student named Thomas Gunnarsson also added that the emotional well-being of the participants saw an improvement during the project. “We found a reduction in emotional stress when compared to control subjects continuing their normal training based on a recovery-stress questionnaire administered before and after the 7-week training period,” explained Gunnarsson.3
The 10-20-30 training concept is quite simple. This concept consists of a 1km warm up, which is done at a low intensity, accompanied by three to four blocks of five minute running interval, with two minutes of rest intermingled. Each block contains five consecutive one minute intervals divided into 30, 20, and 10 seconds of running at a low, moderate and then near maximal intensity, respectively. This new concept focuses on intensity, which the head of the project, Professor Jens Bangsbo, touched on. “The results show that the very intense training has a great potential for improving health status of already trained individuals,” said Professor Bangsbo.4
The 10-20-30 training concept can easily be adapted into a busy daily schedule since the time required for the training is low, according to Professor Bangsbo. Only 20-30 minutes, including warm up, is all that is needed for the training method. One of the participants, Katrine Dahl, said that the training was “very inspiring.” Said Katrine, “Today I am running much faster than I ever thought possible.”5
Imagine the possibilities if athletes were able to incorporate the 10-20-30 method into their regimen. This could potentially free up time for them and allow them to focus more attention on other areas such as strength and conditioning.