What if you could get your workout done in a quarter of the time, and be fitter for it? Who wouldn’t want that? Especially when science proves intense exercise is better for your health than endurance training (1).
The answer? Speed intervals. Or sprintervals, as we like to call them.
A gentle 3-minute run at 70% effort, followed by 15 seconds sprinting all out. Lean your body forwards, drive your knees up and race as if a tiger was chasing you: that fast. Then return to your easy pace for another 3 minutes to catch your breath, before you belt out another sprint. Repeat these sprintervals for 15 minutes – that’s four rounds in total.
Swap running for spinning, rowing, skipping, swimming or the cross-trainer every so often. Each different movement challenges your body in a new way, so you’re always improving.
Whatever cardio you choose, maintain the 3 minutes steady / 15 seconds sprinting ratio.
If running is all about headspace for you, keep doing it. To improve your PB, throw a couple of 15-second sprints into your regular running route and you’ll push off the plateau.
Sprintervals give you all the health-boosting benefits of an hour’s run, without the back pain, boredom and – ouch – chafing. Oh, and because sprintervals only take 15 minutes, you’ll be showered, changed and curled up watching Netflix while the old you is still plodding around the park. Winner.