Yes, if you are reaching your 300 second limit you can use SSH to import your sample data into your Magento database(much faster anyways). Use the following as a guid,. if you use cPanel.
You have to upload the file to the public_html directory via FTP then login to your server via SSH, enter to the directory by the following command:
username: the username of the cPanel account.
Then enter the following command to import to the database:
mysql -u dbusername -p database < filename
dbusername: the username of the database
database: the name of the database
filename: the filename such as magento_sample_data.sql
Here is an example command:
mysql -u beta_admin -p beta_magento < magento_sample_data_for_0.7.15480.sql
If anyone needs help with this, shoot me a PM.