More training means better results for runners, right? Turns out less is more for improved health and run performance when it comes to how much you should train.

Better performance and health can be achieved for runners in as little as thirty minutes. This new training method cut down times and also decreased blood pressure as well as lowered cholesterol in runners.

The new training method, dubbed the 10-20-30 training concept, is being developed by Dr. Jens Bangsbo from the Department of Exercise and Sports Sciences at the University of Copenhagen. Researchers tracked the performance of 18 runners who were considered moderately trained and had been running for several years for seven weeks.

The researchers examined the performance of these 18 runners as they ran 1500-meter and a 5K run. Using the 10-20-30 training concept, the runners on average were able to shave 23 seconds off of their 1500-meter times and nearly a minute off of their 5K times. Blood pressure was also lowered in the runners as was their cholesterol after seven weeks.

The 10-20-30 training concept is based on varying intensity levels as you run. The training begins with a low intensity 1-kilometer warm-up. After warming-up, runners run for 5-minutes followed by 2 minutes of rest, this should be done three or four times. These 5-minute blocks are broken down into five individual minutes that consist of 30-seconds of low intensity running, 20 seconds of moderately intense running and 10 seconds of near-maximum intensity running. This increase of intensity is repeated for each minute of the five-minute block.

The 10-20-30 training concept has real-world implications since it can be readily applied to even the busiest of people. All speeds, and levels of intensity, are based on the individual's fitness and training levels. The 10-20-30 also allows a lot of time for rest and low-speed running, which makes training with other people, with different fitness and training levels, a lot easier.

Not only can the training concept help the physical health of the performers, it could also improve the mental health of a runner. The study's runners and a control group, following their own training routine, were asked to fill out questionnaires in regards to recovery-stress. The study's runners had reduced emotional stress when compared to the runners who followed their normal training routine.

This training concept could help beginners, or individuals who want to lose weight, but find the idea of running for miles to be too daunting, to start running. For established runners, the 10-20-30 training concept would be an alternative to their normal routines that could see them get past plateaus in their performance.

The study was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Funding was provided by Nordea-fonden.