30 minutes is the perfect time to get fitter than ever

To get you up and running for our 30-minute running 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. Running 30 minutes in a day is great for mentally unwinding, which is 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 minute run?

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. Your 30 minute run should be hard, but not so hard that it damages you physically and mentally!

Of course, there are many, many ways of using this half hour.

How to maximise your 30 minute run?

We spoke to a selection of England’s top runners and here’s a variety of ways they use 30 minutes to maximum effect. Making the most of running 30 minutes in a day is 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 30 minute run 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!

Charlotte Dannatt

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.

Rebecca Johnson

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.

For more useful information about running, visit our tips and advice page. If you would like to try the 30 minute running challenge with other runners, find a local running group near you.