Even dedicated fitness enthusiasts may neglect a sprint workout, which are sometimes the missing piece of the puzzle. Even those who post daily gym selfies, keep exercise logs, and top their Strava leaderboards may overlook the importance of completing regimens. Some people believe that running is too dangerous. They recall the image of an Olympic sprinter pulling up short with a strained hamstring during a gold-metal race. Other people believe that sprints are too short to be effective.
Those concerns are understandable, but there is no basis for them.
The advantages of sprinting are substantial. By improving your speed, you can realize fitness improvements in many areas, including endurance and ultra-endurance events. While sprinting undoubtedly carries a greater risk of injury than low-intensity exercises, it’s also quite safe when done correctly.
We’ll discuss what we will train today-developing a safe and effective sprinting routine that provides all the fitness, fat-burning, and longevity-enhancing benefits you need with minimal chance of overdoing it and getting hurt.
Sprint Workout Basics: How to Construct a Sprint Workout
Properly complete a sprint workout by having the procedure as follows:
Most people make the mistake of skipping the warmup or cooldown (or both), which results in an insufficient warmup. Since this is a sprinting workout, warmup, recovery, and cooldown will account for most of their time. The sprint representatives themselves comprise only a small fraction of the total workout.
The second mistake people make-and this is a huge one-is failing to keep their sprints short, explosive, all-out efforts. I recommend doing only a small number of sprints, no more than eight or so, each lasting 20 seconds or less for running sprints. No human being can do a sprint workout for more than about 30 seconds before needing to slow down, and the damage required to maintain maximal effort for long periods of time is substantial.
The third mistake is not allowing sufficient time to recover between workouts. Each workout must be performed to the best of one’s ability. Thus, your first and last runs of each day should be relatively similar. You will not see a drop in form, and you should not need to slow down. Either of those two signs indicates it is time to take a break. In order to produce consistently high results, you need to completely recover from a break between work so that you are able to start each run with fresh determination and maximum effort.
First Things First: Preparing for Action
We advise you to prepare yourself by feeling 100% rested and energized before each workout. You’re asking your body to perform at its maximum. If you have even the slightest feeling of impaired immune function or muscle stiffness or pain, postpone your exercise until you are feeling great.
First, you need to warm up and prime body and mind for what is ahead. Warming up is crucial for any workout, but it becomes even more critical for sprinting because of the increased demands on muscles, joints, and connective tissue.
The warmup for a sprint workout consists of a five to 10-minute period of very comfortably-paced cardiovascular exercise that rates a 1 or 2 on a 10-point exertion scale. For the fittest folks, this is a brisk walk, maybe a simple jog, or an easygoing spin on a stationary bike.
The goal is to break a light sweat and increase heart rate and respiration rate in order to be prepared for the second part of the workout. A gentle warm-up allows blood concentrated in the organs to circulate to the extremities. This prevents the hostile nature of transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one.
2. Dynamic Stretches and Preparatory Drills
A simple cardio warm-up is sufficient for most workouts, but high-intensity sprinting requires a more extensive warmup before launching into the workout itself.
You’ve probably heard about the problem with static stretching before exercise. Dynamic stretches are distinct. You are moving your muscles through an expanded range of motion but exerting minimal force.
Do 10 to 15 repetitions of each movement on each leg.
I also suggest completing a few preparatory drills that are quite difficult on their own but serve as an excellent workout for improving stamina and mobility. These exercises also develop the readiness needed for sprinting. Again, perform 15 to 20 reps on each leg.
3. Wind Sprint Workout
After your intense exercise session, you should be feeling loose, fluid, and explosive. Wind sprinting is a brief burst of speed up to nearly full speed followed by a quick deceleration back to the easy pace. ”
This is also the time for a true assessment of how you feel and whether you are qualified for the main set of sprints. After the warm-up, dynamic stretches, preparatory drills, and a wind sprint workout, the goal is to feel nothing less than eager to run. If you are exhausted after working out during windy conditions, you should terminate the workout.
Trust me, I’ve made this mistake countless times by thinking I could handle a sprint workout. Guess what happened to me? These are the workout sessions during which I modify or tear something or undergo greater muscle fatigue and soreness in the days afterward.
Now we are moving on to the main event. I greatly enjoy sprinting, though I sometimes use a treadmill or a stationary bike. If you are worried about running sprints, search for an activity that can permit you to deliver a burst of all-out effort. There are many options for sports that fit the bill. Pick a container that suits you.
In general, the primary set will consist of between four and 10 participants each doing anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds. You should stay on the low-end of reps and length if you are a beginner sprinter, if you are a sprinter training explosive sports, or if you are running sprints because of their high-impact factor. You can push yourself to the high end of performance if you are doing low- or no-effort runs or training for a marathon.
Between each race, you should take a recovery period that allows you to return to near baseline heart rate and respiration rate, though this may take several minutes. I find that 50 seconds is sufficient for a sprint workout of short duration, but feel free to extend it if necessary on the last few races. You should be completely ready to begin another marathon before you begin a new training.
During the rest periods, you can choose to sit still or walk (or ride a bike at a leisurely pace), but do not flop on the ground.
Ending Your Sprint Workout
For example, if your first 50-yard run of 10 seconds feels like an 8 and your subsequent run takes 10 seconds, your goal for your last 50-yard run should be similar in effort and time.
Even a small amount of exhaustion is acceptable, such as 11 seconds of exertion at a rating of 9 for your final effort. However, if you become fatigued and find it tougher to perform the same task, end the workout session, even if that means you completed only three or six reps. Similarly, if you experience mental distraction or if your physical energy decreases, it’s not a good idea to put in more reps.
But be careful not to overdo it if you feel well. I think two to four sprints are all you need. If you “pay more” as you become more fit, you should focus on improving performance rather than increasing reps or increasing duration.
When training is finished, cool down by engaging in five to ten minutes of light cardio such as a fast walk, a light jog, or a light pedal on the bicycle with light resistance.
Where You Can Go Wrong with Sprinting
The most important rules to remember are:
The other point I want to highlight is that several protocols advertised as “sprint workouts” are HIIT workouts (high-intensity interval training). If you are really going all out, you can only perform a handful of repetitions before you’re no longer able to tap into your top-end speed and power. AMRAP “sprints” or hour-long “Tabata classes” where you do 10-second “max” exercises with 20 seconds of rest in between for 20 minutes (or until you drop) are nonsensical.
Cardiovascular exercise isn’t interchangeable with anaerobic exercises, which are the maximum type of workout to perform. However, HIIT is just as effective as any other form of exercise and produces excellent results.