What is 10:20:30 Training? And Can It Make You Fitter and Faster?

I’m currently working on a series of blog posts which see me exercising every day for a month in an attempt to get my fitness back up. Each day I’ll try a new workout or a different tip I’ve read and today is something I found in a study from Denmark  I was to try an approach that saw me running for 30 minutes on the treadmill of an approach called 10:20:30 Training.

woman running down a country road in a pink top and black leggings

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What is 10:20:30 Training?

Also known as 10:20:30 running, it’s a technique developed at Denmark’s University of Copenhagen.

10:20:30 training sees you doing a 1km warm-up run and then doing…..

10 seconds running at high speed – 9 out of 10

20 seconds at a moderate speed – 6 out of 10

30 seconds at a low speed – 3 out of 10

You do that five times, then walk for two minutes, then repeat for two or three cycles (20-30 minutes).

Why Would You Do It?

Because it has the ability to make you fitter, faster and healthier.

In their trials people replacing their normal workouts with 10:20:30 Training for seven weeks, improved their speeds enough to cut 1 minute of their 5km run time – they also lowered blood pressure, cholesterol and stress.

My Verdict on 10:20:30 Training

This is brilliant – I get bored on a treadmill very fast so normally keeping me on a treadmill for 30 straight minutes would require a drip-feed of little chocolate treats or at least turning the blooming thing round so I could watch the blokes in the weights room rather than view the car park.

With this approach, I had to concentrate on so many things – adjusting the speed, counting how many sets I’d done – I didn’t register how long I’d been on there for.

I could have easily done ten more minutes but I had to a bus to catch and round here where they don’t run that regularly, that’s a big deal!

I started with my high speed as 12km an hour – but that felt too slow, I was just getting into my stride when the 10 seconds was up so I cranked it up to 13.5km which was just right.

My moderate speed was 10km an hour, my slow speed 8km an hour – I might crank up the moderate next time and see what happens.

The one thing I did learn – fast – was that you have to adjust the speeds well in advance to ensure you’re doing the right amount of time at each level – note to anyone trying this, it takes about 1 second to crank up by 1km, so if you’re going from 8km to 13.5km you need to start changing speed at 55 seconds into your interval to ensure you’re at speed when your 10 seconds starts.

As I said, 10:20:30 Training was great, I really enjoyed it and I go off the treadmill feeling like I’d done a proper workout – that doesn’t normally happen. Definitely going to try this one again – maybe on a cross trainer where you could really play with the speed.

If you like this tip, you’ll find it – and 51 similar ideas – in my e-book Gym-spiration. Click on the cover below to check it out (or buy it) on amazon.

You can see some more fun workout examples from the book here

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Who is The Wellness Nerd?

My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.

3 thoughts on “What is 10:20:30 Training? And Can It Make You Fitter and Faster?”

  1. Interesting. I had a bit of a go at this and found it a bit fiddly with the treadmill, but that may have also been because I was listening to a podcast at the same time and my headphones kept falling out so that was all a bit awkward. I may have another go tomorrow and see if I can do it effectively with your tips!

  2. Hi Helen. I too am playing with 30,20, 10 training and loving it. Have also used it to great effect with my mixed-ability running group on the playing fields. Everyone can run at their own ‘levels’ within each interval without ending up miles apart. I recommend sticking with it once a week if you are doing other cardio training. I don’t think it’s necessary to replace all traditional cardo with it and in fact when I interviewed Bangsbo, the lead researcher, this is what he recommended.
    cheers, Sam Murphy

    • Hey Lady Murphy, nice to hear from you – see if only I had time to interview them as well, I’m having enough trouble getting out there! Today is a tough one as I really just want to go sit in the sun…


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