Stella got her groove back. B.O.B. turned his beast mode back on. And Brett Favre made one of the most impressive comebacks the NFL has seen (wait...what??) But what about you?
You used to sprint. You used to run fast and chase things. You used to not sit on your ass all day getting fatter, weaker, and generally more bowling ball like.
Get your groove back...get your sprint on my friend.
We already know why sprinting is awesome...and if you don't just go here.
So, now, the most important part...how to add it your day to get the most out of if and make it work for you. Sprinting isn't just a spring or a summer time activity. Though, yes, it is much more rewarding doing sprints on the beach and then being able to jump right in the water.
But for those of us who lived, and still live, where winter seems to last for 95% of the year we know that life doesn't stop because it's cold and snowy outside.
How to Sprint Inside
Here you have two options...1) find a place that has a big enough space inside that you can run, or 2) find a place with treadmills. Obviously being able to run outside is ideal, but we can't always make that happen.
Option 1 is to find a spot with enough open space to sprint. At the very least you would need a basketball court. The ideal is to find a university with an indoor track.
You're typical college court is 28.65 meters long, and your local high school court is 25 meters long. Both are the same width, 15.24 meters.
So, if this is what you have available, you're essentially limited to short sprints of 10m, 15m, or 20m if you're cool with stopping yourself by running into a wall.
This is assuming that the court you have is the only on in the facility and the walls are right there. Most universities have a field house where multiple courts are laid out next to each other. If this is the case, you can do longer sprints. But for sake of people who are stuck with just a single court surrounded by walls, we'll assume that this is what we're working with.
Step 1 is to warm up properly. Sprinting is a high intensity and a highly explosive movement. If you try to just waltz into the gym and knock out 12 15m sprints you will get hurt.
At the very least, jump rope for a few minutes and then do some dynamic stretches focusing on your hamstrings, hip flexors, and glutes.
Or...download KINETIC: Phase 1. It goes into excruciating detail about how to properly warm up for sprints (or any workout really) and is something you simply follow along.
After the warm up you're ready to sprint. BUT...I've found it to be much, much more effective to do 3-4 "workup" sprints before I start for real. These are simple sprints where you gradually build up your speed along the distance you're running.
Now you're ready to get on with your workout. Here are just a few of the options you have...
- 8 x 10m w/120s Rest, 8 x 20m w/120s Rest, 4 x10m w/ 60s Rest, 4 x 20m w/ 60s Rest
- 20 x10m w/ 90s Rest
- 5 x 5/10/15/20m Ladder (sprint 5m, walk back, sprint 10m, walk back, etc. ) w/ 120s Rest between ladders
For those stuck on the treadmill, you have a few different options. After the same warmup you can do a workup on the treadmill by starting with a slow jog with at least 4% of incline. Every few seconds kick up the speed by .5 or 1 until you're at about 80-85% of your top speed.
From there, since the treadmill takes forever to adjust speeds, you'll do these workouts based on time. For the sprinting parts you'll, obviously, be sprinting on the belt. For the resting parts, you'll grab the handles in front of you and jump off to the side rails on either side of the belt. When the rest is over, grab the handles again and jump back onto the belt.
- 45s sprint with 15s rest x 5-10
- 30s sprint with 30s rest x 5-10
- 10s sprint with 50s rest x 5-10
As you can see, the treadmill limits our options by about a factor of a bazillion. For the most part, if this is all that you have, you're best bet is to use the treadmill for shorter bursts of 5-10 minutes of conditioning (you won't build pure speed on a treadmill) and either wait for a nice enough day, or just brave the elements and get outside for some real sprinting.
How to Sprint Outside
Now this is the fun part...feeling the sun beat down on you as you fly across the track with your windswept hair...it's just...incredible.
Before you can begin you'll need to find a place to run. This really isn't that hard, just find an open area that is mostly flat and free of any sinkholes. A beach is fantastic, your local baseball/football/soccer field will work if you're keeping it under 100m, and a 400m track (or any other circular track) works best when you're getting up and over 100m.
If you want to go over 100m but don't have a track nearby, a trail can work, but also can prove to be tricky with tighter turns and roots on the surface. My suggestion is, if you can't get to a track, keep it under 100m.
Step 1 is the same as if you were running indoors (or any workout, really) warm up properly. Has to happen. No questions asked. Kinetic: Phase 1 will give you all you need to know in that department so go get your copy here.
After you're nice a warm it's best to take 3-4 workups, just as you would running indoors, before you start your work sets. Aside from a proper warm up, this is the best way to make sure you don't pull a hamstring while sprinting.
Now you're ready to sprint!
You can do the same as above...
- 8 x 10m with120s Rest, 8 x 20m with120s Rest, 4 x10m with 60s Rest, 4 x 20m with 60s rest
- 20 x10m with 90s rest
- 5 x 5/10/15/20m Ladder (sprint 5m, walk back, sprint 10m, walk back, etc. ) with 120s Rest between ladders
But you can also stretch out the distances a bit...
- 3 x 20/40/60/80/100m ladder (sprint 20m, walk back, sprint 40m, walk back, etc) with 120s rest between ladders
- 5 x 100m workups with 120s rest
- 100/200/400/200/100m pyramid with 120s rest between sprints.
Really, sprinting isn't hard to do as long you understand that resting between sprints is just as important as the actual sprint and that the best gains will come not from running all out, but from keeping the pace between 70% and 90%.