Sunday, November 11, 2012


In case your are wondering, no, this particular blog post is not about what happened on 30th October, 2010. The 30-20-10 refers to a new workout suggested by researchers in a recently published article in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Experienced runners who follow the workout improved their 5 km timings by 4 % in just 7 weeks while doing the 30-20-10 workout three times a week. Other than improving their performance, their blood pressure & LDL cholesterol also decreased. Their 1500 m times improved by 6%, whilst decreasing weekly mileage by a whopping 54%.

Interested now? Well, here's their workout. After a warm up of about 1.2 km, the runners studied jogged 30 sec, ran their normal training pace 20 sec and sprinted 10 seconds. They repeated this cycle another 4 times, running one continuous five minute repeat. This was followed by a 2 minute jog and then repeating the five minute workout three more times. The runners in the study did no cool down. All in all, they ran about 9 miles a week (or about 14.4 km in a week).

The control group runners continued their normal training and of course showed no improvement after 7 weeks.

What's the main difference between the 2 groups? The control group did not spend any time running close to the maximum heart rate whereas the 30-20-10 group spent about 40 % at or near their maximum heart rate.

The researchers concluded that the intense 10 second speed intervals have a major impact on performance.

No GPS, no heart rate monitor needed, just run by feel. Hope this helps you in your training.


Gunnarsson TP and  Bangsbo J (2012). The 10-20-30 Training Concept Improves Performance and Health Profile in Moderately Trained Runners. J App Physiol 113(1) : 16-24.

* Picture by RS @ 2012 National Schools B Division 800m girls final


  1. Hi, I will be interested what did the control group runners do. If basically they just did easy running and comparing that to a group of runners who implement some sprints, then it is clear why one group did better than the other one. Moreover, this training probably has a more significant impact in short or middle distance events and do not apply to long distance events.

    1. The control group did their regular training as mentioned in the post above (and did not run near their maximum HR). This is what a control group is for. If not the interval training group will not have any group for comparison.

      The distance the runners were tested for was 5 km.

      If the runners improved their 5 km timing, they would then be able to hold their pace better for 10 km. If they run a better 10km, then that means they can run a faster half marathon with sufficient training. With a better timing for the half marathon and proper long runs you can definitely improve your marathon timing.