Many of us lead busy lives. There is no getting away from this fact, the world is a busy place. In addition, many more of us are becoming more aware of health and fitness. As a result, there has been a large increase in those getting out and trying to improve their fitness by running. It is no surprise then, that many of these people end up wanting to take part in races or challenges and improve their performance. So we have busy people, trying to cram in hours of running alongside their already hectic schedule! Sound like you? What if I said you could get just as fit, in a fraction of the time?
Sprint Interval Training
This type of training is based on short intense and or near maximal sprints. It has been shown in past research that using this type of training can improve running performance. There have been reports of enzymes that relate to longer distance running, increasing within 2-4 weeks.
However, a number of studies have measured performance on cycle ergometers rather than running. Further, the prescription of sprint intervals has varied across studies so it is a little harder to draw conclusions.
Recent Research (2018)
In a more recent study, 16 participants took part in 2 week study to assess the effects of sprint intervals on longer distance running performance. Their program looked like this:
- 4–7 x 30 secs maxi intensity sprints
- 4 mins rest
- 3 times a week
They were tested on MAS (max aerobic speed), time to exhaustion in a long distance run and a 3k time trial.
Can 6 Sessions Actually Improve Running Performance?
The results of the study may surprise you! Maximal aerobic speed improved by 2.3%, their 3k time trials were 6% quicker and time to exhaustion was whopping 42% longer. So yes, you can improver longer distance running performance with only 6 training sessions. More importantly, 6 short, sprint training sessions.
It is important to note the the participants in the study were all trained runners who completed a total weekly distance of at least 50 k. In addition, they did not complete any interval training for 3 months prior to the study. It would be interesting to see whether they improved as they had hit a plateau with long distance steady state.
I would expect to see similar if not higher improvements for beginners, due to the new stimulus leading to “beginner gains”. However, the lack of running experience may effect beginners negatively, so it would need to be studied!
It Works For Personal Training Sessions
As a Leading Personal Trainer in Surrey I will try to build in shorter based interval training within my session. Why? Because it is time effective, requires minimal equipment and is more fun! If you’re paying for a session with me, you probably don’t want to go for a 45 minute long, slow jog!
If you are short on time, try implementing some sprint interval training!