Sprints are a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, strengthen your lower body, and to aid with weight loss. A sprint is simply running at your full speed, giving it your all. This could range from a fast walk if you are just getting started, all the way to the speed of a car giving it a little gas, it all depends on how fast you can run. An interval is a stop and go style of training and is typically measured in periods of time or distance. This means a sprint interval is running as fast as you can for a specified distance or time, taking a short break, and then sprinting again. This type of high-intensity interval training can benefit you more than normal jogging due to the resultant increases in power, speed, and strength that normal running will not give you.

There are two primary ways to setup your sprint interval workout: time and distance. If you chose to time your workouts, you will choose how long you will be sprinting for, and how long you will conduct a slow jog for. When you’re first beginning, a good goal is to sprint for 10 seconds and jog for 50 seconds. Every minute on the minute you will start a new sprint. Continue doing the intervals until you reach your total workout time, which if you are a beginner may be about 10 minutes. Distance based intervals work best on a running track. Choose how many laps you want to sprint and jog, and use the track to determine your flow. On a quarter mile track it is fun to jog the turns and sprint the straight away.

While everyone’s sprint interval workout will differ due to one’s own abilities, it is always good to begin with a few interval periods where you keep it at a slow jog. Once you are warmed up, then you can begin the sprints. Jumping straight into a full speed workout can lead to an injury, so make sure you properly warm-up.

You can mix and match distances and times however you want! For example, a common sprint interval workout is to sprint for 200 meters, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat 5-15 times. Do what works for you, but ensure during your intervals you are running at full speed during your sprints.

You can also do sprint intervals with other exercises besides running. Try doing sprint intervals while swimming, cycling, ellipicalling (I think I made that word up), or rowing.

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Posted by Scott Edward

Scott is a Certified Personal Trainer and a member of the International Sports Science Association.

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