Have you heard about this recently devised, simple workout? I read about it on Runner’s World Daily and thought it sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a go.
My rule since hitting my 40s is not to do speed work on my traditional day (Tuesday) after a race. I just don’t recover like I used to, so this gives me a little cushion. If my legs are ready to go by Wed. or Thurs., then I’ll add in the speed. If not, I skip it for the week.
Since I raced last Saturday, I didn’t do speed on Tuesday, but my legs felt pretty good on Wednesday. I thought this might be the perfect time to try the 30, 20, 10 workout. Here’s how it goes: After a warm up, you run normal speed for 30 seconds, pick it up a bit for 20, and then all-out sprint the last 10. You then repeat the sequence four more times for a total of five. That’s one set. You take two minutes of recovery running and then repeat the entire set. I did four sets yesterday.
There was a small study recently that showed some impressive results from this speed work when done over the course of seven weeks. I’m not going to read too much into the study, but I will say that I liked the workout. For one, it’s incredibly easy to remember (this helps at my age!). And while it might seem like it wouldn’t be very challenging, it really is. How often do you sprint full out? I can say not very often in my case. Yet the 30 second recovery was sufficient enough to allow me to ramp back up again every time. I just had to be careful not to let my mind wander (it did a couple of times) during the recovery because before I knew it, it was go time again.
I like doing fartlek like this on the road because it means you get a different challenge with each set. My first set was on relatively flat ground, for instance, while my second set was on hills, making recovery more challenging. Set number three was on a descent, so I got to work downhill running hard, too. This is one I’ll do again–you can’t beat its simplicity and it delivers a great challenge.
Have you tried the 30-20-10 workout? What are your thoughts?