Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Change Your Running Style!

Recently researchers from the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Copenhagen conducted a research project that shows that small changes in your running routine can improve your "running performance and health, despite a significant reduction in the total amount of training."1
The research project, which was eventually published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, took two groups of moderately trained runners.  In one experimental group the runners trained in a 10-20-30 concept.  This consisted of a 1 km warm up at low intensity followed by short 5 minute blocks that were separated into 10, 20, and 30 seconds of running at maximal, moderate and low intensity, respectively.    The other group ran at a moderate pace for more than 45 minutes.  Over a short period of 7 weeks  runners in the '10-20-30' group "were able to improve performance on a 1500 meter run by 23 seconds and almost a minute on a 5 km run."1  Interestingly those in this experimental group also had decreased cholesterol levels and lowered blood pressure, both predictors of heart disease.  These changes were compounded by the fact that all the runners in the study were seasoned veterans, running on a regular basis for years. 

The interesting point in the research, especially for the working class who seem to be more and more crunched for time, was that a 20-30 minute workout was all that was needed to see the beneficial changes.  So go out there and change your running routine to one that mimics a high intensity interval training (HIIT) type of running; it could make you healthier and shave time off your runs if you are training for an event.

Be sure to contact your local physical therapist if you have any questions or concerns regarding entering a new exercise program or changing your existing one.

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