You are now convinced that you should be sprinting because you are aware that high-intensity training, or HIT, is more effective than moderate paced or leisure exercise. If done properly, sprinting reduces your risk for chronic musculoskeletal injury, helps you lose weight faster and will improve your overall health better than traditional jogging or walking.
Before you get started:
- Make sure you wear athletic/running shoes.
- Wear comfortable athletic clothing.
- Optional: Purchase a stop watch to help you keep track of your average sprinting pace.
How to Sprint
- Find a place to sprint. Because sprinting is a brief exercise, you do not have to worry to much about hurting your feet, knees or other joints from repetitive pounding on the pavement. You can choose to virtually on any surface you desire, from sand to pavement. However, you want to make sure that the ground if free of divots, potholes or other obstacles that may cause you to twist your ankle, or fall. Your running surface should be flat a free of debris.
- Decide how far you will run. For starters, I recommend running only 40-50 yards or so. Don’t have a tape measure? Don’t worry, because the distance does not have to be exact. Just count out 40-50 large steps to determine your distance. As your health and endurance improves, gradually increase your distance to a maximum of 100 yards.
- Perform a warm up jog. You must warm up with a 3-5 minute jog before you begin sprinting. Otherwise, you increase your risk for injuries, such as a hamstring strain.
- Choose the number of sprints you will perform. As a beginner, you should start out with only performing about 5-7 sprints for the first two to three workouts. If you have never sprinted, or it has been years since your high school track star days, you have to ease into this program. After the first three workouts, you can gradually increase the number of sprints your perform for each workout to a recommended maximum of about 20 sprints at a time.
- Go easy on the first few. No matter your level of training, the first few sprints should not be at full intensity. Again, it is important to make sure that your legs are warm to prevent injury. I recommend gong at about a 50-60% pace for your first 2-3 sprints. After that, increase your intensity to 70-80% for the next 2-3, and then push yourself to 90-100% for your remainder sprints.
- Allow yourself adequate rest between sprints. Sixty to 90 seconds is optimal rest time between your sprints. With that being said, don’t begin your next sprint if you are gasping for air and significantly out of breath. If you have to take a few additional seconds to recover, no problem. It is more important to have enough energy for a good sprint than to hurry up and get the workout finished.
- Rest between workouts. Give your legs 48 hours of rest to recover after a full sprint workout routine.
Buy in to making a sprint workout routine the base of your cardiovascular workout profile and you will never have to worry about being “unfit” again!