This 15-minute run trick will bring your endurance to a new level

There is not much any of us can do while practicing social distancing due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, but experts say it is important to find time to get outside and continue exercising. Thankfully, even those in shelter-in-place situations are allowed to go outside for exercise.

The current situation probably means you have more time in your schedule since you’re not commuting, getting together with friends, or going to any events. It’s your choice how you use that time, but we think working on your endurance is an excellent way to stay sane and active.

You may have heard of the 7-minute workout, but now it’s time for the 15-minute run. Nike Run Coach Jess Woods recently spoke with Well+Good to break down the 15-minute workout that cycles through five-minute intervals that will help make it so you can run longer distances.

“For this workout, we’re trying to push endurance, but we’re still going to take some quick recoveries so it’s not a continuous workout,” Woods told Well+Good.

The 15-minute workout to increase endurance

This exercise, which can be done outside or on a treadmill if you have one at home, uses intervals. At each interval, you will run at slightly different speeds for one- or two-minute spurts.

Starting with a warmup, which is either a light jog or a brisk walk, you will then kick it up to 60% and 70% effort. After a brief recovery period, you will go back to 60% effort and increase your effort every two minutes until you hit 90%. Then you will have a two minute cool down period.

During the run, you should keep your head up, shoulders back, and core tight.

Here is a break down of what your 15 minutes should look like:

2 minutes: Warm up
2 minutes: 60 percent effort
2 minutes: 70 percent effort
1 minute: 60 percent effort
1 minute: Recovery
2 minutes: 60 percent effort
2 minutes: 70 percent effort
2 minutes: 80 percent effort
1 minute: 90 percent effort
2 minutes: Cool down

How do you define different effort levels?

Warm up and recovery: walk or jog
60% effort: Long run/marathon pace
70% effort: 0.5 miles per hour faster than 60 percent pace/half marathon pace
80% effort: 0.5 miles per hour faster than 70 percent pace/10K pace
90% effort: 0.5 miles per hour faster than 80 percent pace/5K pace

How do you know how much effort you are exerting?

If you are using a treadmill, you can increase the speed on the treadmill when it comes time to increase your effort.

If you are running outside, you can use a fitness tracker to track your speed and push yourself harder as the intervals go up.

You can judge your effort by paying attention to how out of breath you are. At 60% effort you should be able to hold a conversation, 70% effort should be comfortably hard, 80% and 90% should leave you totally out of breath.

Does this 15-minute method really work?

I tried this method myself while on a run in Central Park. While I’m not sure the long-term effects just yet (I’ll probably need to try it a few times a week for a month or so) the short-term results were surprisingly good.

As someone with asthma, I can normally only run at 80% effort or above for a minute and then I’ll drop it back down to a walk. But with this method, I was able to sustain the speed, knowing that it would only last for two minutes, and then catch my breath when the effort level dropped. The recovery period was an especially nice time to catch my breath. I was extremely excited that I made it all the way through the 90% effort period.