It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of doing as little training as possible to get the results I want as a runner. And this approach has worked well for me, twice, using a training program I base off the Run Less, Run Faster model. I’m also a fan of this approach because it helps keep me from getting injured.
But now there’s a new workout in town that boasts impressive gains through a minimal investment of time. The series of intervals, dubbed the 30-20-10 workout, is based on research that showed performance and fitness gains in moderately-trained runners. The best part? The workout requires only 30 minutes and is incredibly easy to remember and follow.
Yesterday, I decided to try this one out on the treadmill, since I figured it would be easy to keep track of time that way during my first attempt. This article from Runner’s World explains how to do the workout, and here’s how I did it, all at a 0.5% incline to simulate running on the road:
- Run 5 minutes to warm up (5.8–6.0 mph)
- 3 times through the following: 5 x 1 minute, where each minutes is broken down into :30 moderate (6.0–6.2 mph), :20 hard (7.0–7.4 mph), :10 fast (8.0–8.5 mph), then follow the 5-minute continuous run with 2 minutes easy jog to recover (5.6–5.8 mph)
- After 3 sets of the above, cool down until the clock reached 30 minutes (5.8–6.2 mph was comfortable for me)
Depending on how hard you decide to push yourself, this could range from an easy, manageable speed workout to a barf-inducing gut check, especially while you’re working your way through the third 5 minutes of continuous intervals. I chose to keep things somewhere in between. And dare I say I actually had fun on the treadmill? The mix of speed work and recovery is just about right, and 5 sets of the 30-20-10 combination is just enough to feel difficult without being unbearable or like the workout will never end. I ended up with 3.14 miles total for 30 minutes, which is right on par for me for that amount of time, yet a longer distance than I’d normally run if I were focusing on running 400-meter intervals or sprints alone.
I’ll be trying this workout soon in the open, and my only concern is how much I’ll have to pay attention to my Garmin to keep track of the time. There might be a way to set up a workout on the watch to beep at each interval, but I’m not sure and will have to look into that.
Given the research proving the potential gains in speed—around 1 minute in a 5k!—and fitness from this workout, I think it’ll definitely stay in my rotation, and perhaps even as a substitute for running regular intervals or Yasso 800s. If you’re looking for something new to mix up your summer training routine, or if you are looking for a good beginning/intermediate speed workout, I’d highly suggest you give 30-20-10 a try.