30 minutes is the perfect time to get fitter than ever
To get you up and running for our 30-minute challenge, science and coaches have some good news for you as a runner: 30 minutes is the perfect time to get fitter than ever.
As runners we all love heading out for a long run, exploring new routes and checking out sights, mentally unwinding – all brilliant and what being a runner is all about. But when it comes to getting quicker it’s best to think shorter – just half an hour is your optimal window.
How do I structure my 30 minutes?
It can be as simple as warm up for 5min, run 20min quite fast (around the pace you imagine you could hold for a flat-out hour), then cool down for 5min. That simple formula forms the basis of all successful distance running – hard, but not so hard that it damages you physically and mentally!
Of course, there are many, many ways of using this half hour.
- Premier football teams like Arsenal use a session of continual short sharp sprints to adapt players’ recovery systems to the 20 or 30-metre efforts football consists of.
- Similarly, explosive sports like Rugby 7s use a similar theory to prepare players for instant efforts. The science is solid. It makes you a stronger runner when it comes to endurance, biomechanically efficient and perhaps most important of all, it’s hugely rewarding.
- Or how about taking part in the RunTogether and England Athletics Weekly30 challenge? The goal is to simply run as far as you can in 30 minutes on Saturday or Sunday each week (following government guidelines while running) and take on other RunTogether groups (with others in your group) and individuals. Run every week or only when it's possible!
You can register free via the dedicated Weekly30 Run Challenge section of the OpenTrack virtual running platform.
How do top runners use their 30 minutes?
We spoke to a selection of England’s top runners and here’s a variety of ways they use 30 minutes to maximum effect, something even footballing legends like David Beckham fully understand. He loves nothing more than a blast of Plyometric exercises, or movements that use body weight quickly and efficiently. They are his go-to for getting in a workout when time is short. Plyometric exercises require no equipment and can be done anywhere. He’s also talked about how he enjoys short sprints for conditioning.
Laura Weightman @LauraWeightman
A great session for something like a Parkrun is 5 x 3.30min on the road. I love it!
Emily Diamond @EmilyDiamond11
I like a split 400 (200m, 60s recovery, 200m) or a fast 350m. I really feel this gives a good indication of where I am and I although it’s painful and fills you with lactic, I still love it!
I always like a cut down like: 12min, 8min, 6min 4min. Or some sets like 3x(5min, 3min, 2min)
Kirsty Longley @LONGKIRS
I like 2min hard 1min easy continuous for 30min off-road.
I like a fartlek (something like 10x2min on, 1min float)
Elliot Giles @ElliotLeviGiles
Something like 6x300metres in 35-36sec. They won’t all be that fast but as long as the first four or five are, then I know I’m in shape.
Weekly30 Run Challenge
*Don’t forget, it’s easy to get involved with the Weekly30 CHallenge, simply register free via the dedicated Weekly30 Run Challenge section of the OpenTrack virtual running platform.