Why is 10-20-30 Interval Training Effective

December 02, 2023 3 min read

Why is 10-20-30 Interval Training Effective

Are you looking for a more effective way to improve your running performance and overall health? Look no further than 10-20-30 interval training. A recent study conducted by the University of Copenhagen has shown that this type of training can significantly enhance your running times and overall fitness, even if your sprints are only at 80 percent intensity.

What is 10-20-30 Interval Training

10-20-30 interval training is a unique approach to running that involves alternating between low, moderate, and high-intensity intervals. The numbers in the name refer to the duration of each interval: 10 seconds, 20 seconds, and 30 seconds. During the low-intensity intervals, you jog or walk, during the moderate-intensity intervals, you run at a moderate pace, and during the high-intensity intervals, you sprint at your maximum effort.

Why is 10-20-30 Interval Training Effective

The effectiveness of 10-20-30 interval training lies in its ability to challenge your cardiovascular system and improve your running economy. By incorporating short bursts of high-intensity sprints, you stimulate your body to adapt and become more efficient at utilizing oxygen. This leads to improved running performance and increased endurance.

Additionally, the variation in intensity helps to prevent boredom and keeps your workouts engaging. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who struggle to maintain a consistent exercise routine.

What Does the Study Show

The study conducted by the University of Copenhagen involved 19 recreational runners who were divided into two groups. 

To determine the effects interval training on running performance, scientists enlisted 19 male runners who all completed these intervals. They divided the group, with half of the participants exerting maximum effort on the sprints and the other half performing the sprints at approximately 80% of their maximum capacity.

Participants conducted a 5K run on a treadmill and underwent a VO2 max test before and after the six-week study to assess performance. Interval training was performed twice a week throughout the study period.

The reduced effort group achieved a 42-second improvement in 5K running time compared to their starting time. The faster, all-out group only improved their original 5K time by 24 seconds. Both groups saw a 7% increase in maximum oxygen uptake.

How to Incorporate 10-20-30 Interval Training into Your Routine

If you're interested in trying out 10-20-30 interval training, here's a simple way to get started:

  1. Warm up for 5-10 minutes with a light jog or brisk walk.
  2. Perform a 30-second jog, followed by a 20-second run at a moderate pace, and finish with a 10-second sprint. Repeat this sequence 5 times.
  3. Take a 30 second recovery break by walking or jogging slowly.
  4. Repeat the 10-20-30 sequence for a total of 5 sets.
  5. Cool down with a 5-10 minute jog or walk.

Beginners should start with a 1 x 5-minute training. For more established runners, start with 2 x 5-minute periods with a 3-4 minute break. As you get used to this type of training, you should increase speed during the 20- and 10-second intervals as well as gradually increase the number of 5-minute intervals and reduce break time.

Remember to listen to your body and adjust the intensity and duration of the intervals based on your fitness level and goals. It's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or certified trainer before starting any new exercise program.


10-20-30 interval training is a highly effective method for improving your running performance and overall health. Whether you're a seasoned runner or just starting out, incorporating this type of training into your routine can lead to significant improvements in your fitness levels and race times. So why not give it a try and experience the benefits for yourself?

Creating Your Consultation

If you wish to contact us for any reason, our dedicated team of customer service experts are here to help.

Please either fill in the contact form or send us a message using our online chat at the right-hand side of the screen. Our Customer Service Online Chat is available 7 days a week from 9am-8pm. If your enquiry relates to an existing order, please include your order number.