Short runs during lunchtime are a win-win option. A study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise revealed that worker productivity, work quality, moods and the ability to meet deadlines improved substantially on days when participants exercised. In addition, anaerobic sprints were found to improve learning ability by 20 per cent more compared to aerobic runs, according to another study.
Plan Your Run
All you need is an hour. Give yourself five minutes to change into your workout attire, 15 minutes to clean up after and 10 minutes to have a quick bite, and you’ll have 30 minutes to slot your workout in. “Beginner to intermediate runners are usually able to see an improvement in their running performance by simply running more – both in frequency and distance,” says Philip Tan, an exercise physiologist and strength and conditioning coach from Changi General Hospital. “Experienced runners have to increase their training intensity to observe further improvements.”
Up The Intensity
“Short, intense runs are excellent for sharpening one’s pace,” says Adrian Mok, endurance athlete and general manager of Polar Electro Singapore. While intense runs can comprise various kinds of training, fartleks and tempo runs are most suitable for flat terrain – the kind you’ll find in the city, or in industrial parks.
Try using landmarks to map your progress while you do this workout in the city. After a thorough warm-up, begin with a jog and then accelerate to a fast pace for a set length (say a 50m stretch), then slow down to a jog for another set length before upping the ante again. Pick a path that goes in a loop to best execute this workout.
Tempo runs are typically run at 20-40 minute stints. The catch is, you’ve got to do tempo runs at a sufficient intensity for it to work. As a gauge, do your runs at around 80-90 per cent of your maximum heart rate, says Mok.
Know Your Limits
Still, intense training might not be suitable for everyone, says Tan. “Although research concludes that intensity is the major parameter that influences the cardio-respiratory benefits you can reap, many other factors also play a part,” he says. As a rule of thumb, no more than 5-20 per cent of your weekly mileage should comprise intensive runs, he says. Studies have also illustrated that “high intensity training is poorly tolerated, due to the larger amounts of stress placed on the body.”