Are short runs worth it?
Short might be sweet
While many runners – shoeguide staff included! – have put in the big miles and hard yards over the years, ridiculous amounts of training is not the way forward for most of us. In fact many of us would be better if we broke down training into smaller more manageable components in order to maintain motivation..
A study carried out at Boston Sports Clubs found that people who exercised for 20-30min at a time were more consistent than people who did 45-60min sessions. In other words you’re more likely to stick to a routine where you do short sessions than longer ones.
There are probably several reasons for this.
- Many people go too hard too soon and after an initially wave of enthusiasm/over-exuberance are physically and mentally wiped out. So a more sensible progressive approach is more effective – some of those who were sticking with the 45-60min sessions were probably those who built up gradually.
- Lives are busy. If it’s 60min or nothing it could well be that you decide you have time for nothing
- Large chunks can be daunting. If you are feeling tired you can easily be put off by the idea of a long session and so do nothing. A short session is more manageable.
If you are tired or busy don’t go for all or nothing. A 10-15min run is better than no run. If tiredness is the problem you may feel better once you have been going a few minutes.
If you are tight on time short does not mean easy. 5min jog followed by alternating 1min hard with 1min easy before jogging a 5min cool down is very hard but only takes 30min door-to-door. For other short, sharp and effective sessions, see here.
A consistent period of training builds fitness far more effectively than being sporadic in your exercise.