Sprint Training – My 3 Simple Sprinting Workouts (Part 2)

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In the second part to this article series on sprint training, I’ll be explaining the three sprinting workouts I use to get fast results. If you haven’t read Part 1, check out Sprint Training – My 3 Simple Sprinting Workouts (Part 1).

Now for the good stuff: the sprinting workouts. These are not new by any means but I have found them to be very effective.

For those who have never stepped on a track and don’t understand the distances on the track, here’s an overview:

1 Lap = 400 m
1 Straight Part + 1 Bend = 200m
1 Straight Part = 100m

See the image below for a better idea.

Sprinting Workout 1 – All About Distance

  • Perform warm-up and dynamic stretches (outlined in Part 1)
  • Sprint 400 m, Rest (2 – 3 min)
  • Sprint 200 m, Rest (2 – 3 min)
  • Sprint 100 m, Rest (2-3 min)
  • Cool-down

This workout can be repeated. I typically perform this routine twice in one session (apart from the warm-up and cool-down). Make sure you maintain the same pace throughout the whole sprint. Remember that it will only be effective if you are full-out sprinting. This means pushing yourself to run your fastest for the entire distance.

Sprinting Workout 2 – All About Time

  • Perform warm-up and dynamic stretches (outlined in Part 1)
  • Sprint for 1:30 min, Walk for 1:30 min
  • Sprint for 1 min, Walk for 1 min
  • Sprint for 30 s, Walk for 30 s
  • Cool-down

Once again, this workout can be repeated and I try to perform the routine twice in one session. It’s ok if you can’t sprint for 1:30 min. Just go at the fastest (consistent) pace you can for that time period and try and improve on the distance you cover in that time period.

Sprinting Workout 3 – All About Placement

This workout requires you to set up cones at each of the corners as shown below. It’s OK if you don’t have cones. Simply use the connection points (where straight part meets bend) as visual markers.

Session 1:

  • Perform warm-up and dynamic stretches (outlined in Part 1)
  • Start at cone 4 and sprint to cone 1
  • Light jog from cone 1 to cone 2
  • Sprint from cone 2 to cone 3
  • Light jog from cone 3 to cone 4
  • Repeat for 3 laps (no stopping)

Rest 5 min before next session.

Session 2:

  • Start at cone 4 and light jog to cone 1
  • Sprint from cone 1 to cone 2
  • Light jog from cone 2 to cone 3
  • Sprint from cone 3 to cone 4
  • Repeat for 3 laps (no stopping)

Finish off with a cool-down.

These two sessions can be repeated as you progress.

My cool-down consists of:

  • Jog 2 laps VERY lightly (getting rid of lactic acid build-up)
  • Statically stretch all major lower-body muscle groups: hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves, abductors, abdominals

Remember to always go at your own pace. It takes time and practice to become a good sprinter. The benefits of sprint training FAR outweigh any excuse you have for not trying it. Drink lots of water, warm-up and cool-down properly and listen to your body-if it doesn’t feel right, stop!

There you have it. Three simple sprinting workouts! This completes my article series on sprint training.

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Comments

  1. Nice post. I agree that sprint training is a great was to increase your metabolism. I use it to increase my speed so that I can cover more ground on my longer runs.

    Darren@MorePrimeTime.com

    • Darren, that’s an interesting point. I never thought about it that way, but sprinting does provide benefits for your aerobic training days as well. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Love sprinting workouts! I used to do the 3rd one (sprint the straightaways, jog the turns) when I ran track in H.S., plus many, many 400 m/200m workouts throught H.S. and college. I was a distance runner and not super fast so I hated these workouts then, but now I realize how awesome/effective they are for getting in shape and achieving a fit body :D

    • I’m well aware of the love/hate relationship between short distance running and long distance running. Both have their advantages but I find sprinting to be way more effective.

  3. Srdjan, have you tried doing the Tabata protocol for a sprinting workout?

    It was the method used for the original study of interval training study back in 1996 I believe.

    When you’re strapped for time, I find that Tabata’s are the best. It only takes 4 minutes to do 8 intervals and that’s it (one cycle is composed of 20 seconds of going all out and then 10 seconds of rest).

    • I do, in fact, use the Tabata protocol very often. Not only for sprinting, but for a lot of my training. It’s crazy how in even under 10 minutes you can get the most incredible workout of your life.

      The second workout I outlined above utilizes the concepts of a Tabata protocol, but there are days where I do things like sprint 15 seconds, jog 15 seconds and continue alternating this for 3-5 minutes. I would do 4 or 5 sets of this depending on the day. The whole workout would last 20 minutes (everything included) and the results are insane.

  4. Nice one,

    Sweet set-up, easily understandable even for the complete beginner !;-)
    I like your Track-Graphic!

    Sprinting, especially on sand, is totally one of the best exercises for HIIT, isn’t it?

    But again, the ingenious thing about Interval training is you can do it with just about anything that suits your mood or circumstances: bodyweight drills, rowing, weights, stairclimber, swimming …

    It’s great for variety!

    Mark

    • Mark, I’m glad you found the post useful! I’d have to agree that for quick, effective results, there is no better method of training than HIIT. Regardless of the exercise you choose (although I think sprinting is the most effective), you can build an incredible workout utilizing HIIT. Skipping rope is another one of my favorites – a good mix of high intensity and low intensity is highly effective.

  5. Wow!

    Those are some awesome sprint workouts. I will definitely have to implement some of those into my routine. Great Post.

    Greg O’G

  6. am i supposed to do all three workouts in one day or is that a 3 day workout?

  7. Sprint workouts are a great way to burn fat and is becoming a popular way to train for elite as well as recreational exercisers. Sprint workouts really work but what is very important is to take plenty of rest between workouts. It is a good option for those who want to improve their cardiovascular system but do not have much time for exercise.

  8. Very interesting articles. I have been running on a treadmill for the last 3 months trying to get my cardio in between lifting weights. I usually start off with a warmup of walking 5 minutes at 4mph and go to 3 minutes at 8mph and 2 minutes at 7mph and then get off the treadmill and doing something like 10 pullups or 45-50 pushups in between the running. I get back on the treadmill and repeat these steps. I go up to about 30 minutes and do a 2 minute walk at 4mph to cool down. I have been talking to several people I work with and they said that combining these is a good total workout. I never liked to run but it has shown great results. I guess my question is are these speeds adequate for a good SPRINTING session or should I step them up. Also, what is a good meal to eat prior to running. I have been experimenting and would find any examples beneficial.

    thanks

    • Hey Steve. What you’re doing seems more like a combination of circuit or interval style training (it’s an interesting mix), but 7mph might be too slow to be considered sprinting. This really depends on the person.

      You are sprinting when you’re pushing yourself to the limits when you run – putting in a 100% effort and running the fastest you possibly can for a short distance. Only you know if you can push yourself past 7mph. I’ll note that it’s very difficult to simulate ‘real’ sprinting on a standard treadmill (they do have some new versions that can) because the machine forces you to run at a set speed. I would suggest doing your sprints outdoors or on a track somewhere if possible.

      I always try to eat 2 hours before a sprinting session. I’ll get some quality carbohydrates (I’ll go for oatmeal with fruit, for instance) and give it 2 hours to digest. Simple carbs will usually do the trick prior to any running session.

      I hope that helps man! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  9. Alejandro Rosales says:

    Nice post, I’m a high school sprinter and I want to improve my times before track season arrives. Last year my 100m time was a 12’00, my 200 was at around 24-25 and my 400m was at 56 sec. However I timed myself recently and those times went up: 14, 29, and 1’10 respectively. Anyway I’ll keep training to lower them. I would like to know if lifting weights will hurt my speed (I been lifting for the past 2 months).

    • I wouldn’t necessarily say lifting weights would hurt your speed, Alejandro. I think HOW you’re lifting weights might play it’s part. If the purpose of lifting weights was to improve upon your speeds, weight lifting for power and explosiveness would help you out big time. But if you’re lifting for other reasons, then there’s a chance it might hurt your running times.

  10. Alejandro Rosales says:

    I been lifting to increase strenght. I have been working in my chest, bíceps, tríceps, and back: 8 reps, then 10, and Last 12 (each time with less weight). Im wandering if increasing my weight (due to muscular mass increase) will reduce my speed.

    • Increasing your muscle mass should not reduce your speed. There are some big dudes in the NFL for example (300lbs +) that have really good speed, so size necessarily doesn’t hold them back. Your speed is determined by your body’s ability to generate power so always make sure you are supplementing your training regimen with some explosive training.

  11. Thanks for this article, I have always had a deep hate of distance running and so I’ve been looking to impliment sprinting as my cardio workout but wasn’t sure how to go about it. However, I do have one question – what’s a good way to perform your sprint drills if I can’t get access to a track? No doubt I’d destroy a treadmill running hard and fast on it in my gym

    • Hey Neil. It’s nice to have access to a track, but it’s definitely not a necessity. All you need is an open field (hopefully they have some around your area). Mark off roughly 40 yards and sprint the distance ten times, walking back to the start each time. I’ll be putting together a post soon to show a few more sprinting workouts you can do when you don’t have access to a track. Stay tuned!

      • Great article. I need some tips though man.
        I am a 15 yr old kid at 5’11” and weigh 230,pretty big (mostly fat). I’ve list about 15 lbs on Atkins. But I need more help.
        So I want to get In shape to play soccer in november. I was wondering what I should do and how often should I do it.
        Please help

        • Hey Anthony! Congrats on making the big decision to make a change. However, my methods are very different from the quick-fix diets like the Atkins diet. I help people build positive habits that help them build better bodies. If that’s something you’re interested in, send me a message on my contact form and I’ll help you out. Cheers!

  12. How do you feel about doing telephone pole sprinting workouts? Sprint from pole to pole, jog to the next pole, sprint to the next pole ect. Does anyone have a good telephone workout that they can share? How do you feel about bleacher work? I really enjoyed your write up, I am starting tonight!!!!!!

    • Hey Aaron! I actually love pole to pole sprinting. Although if I’m gonna be sprinting, then I’ll sprint all out from one pole to the next and then WALK to the next one (not jog). I can put together some ‘telephone sprinting workouts’ for you if you’d like.

      I don’t really have any bleachers around my area, so I do a lot of hill training instead (sprinting up hills). Both can be very effective tho!

      • Srdjan if ya get time share your pole workout. Just got done with your track sprinting workout as we speak, I feel awesome right now, I even through in some pushups and squat thrust at the end!!!!!!!

  13. shannon says:

    Hi there! I am a 43 year old female needing some advice about sprinting. I do not need to lose weight, I just want to tone and firm. I am 5’2, 107 pounds. I am heavier on my bottom half, so it seems to me that weights make me bulk up there and I don’t want that. Will sprinting get me firm , tight and toned? If so, will you advise me on how to start the sprinting? Also, what would you recommend for a pre-workout meal before doing sprints? Thank you so much for your time!

    • Hey Shannon! Sprinting can definitely help you get in great shape. If you need any help getting started or setting up your routine or diet feel free to email me and we can chat!

  14. How many times a week should I sprint?

  15. Suleman says:

    Hi nice videos. I watched a vid of yours on skipping and I was wondering if skipping would be a good element of a sprinter’s daily training. I’m thinking of doing 5 minutes skipping as fast as I can every morning. Also I am 17 years old, 6ft tall and only about 9 stones in weight (60kg), and my 100m time is 12.8. Starting Monday I’m going to be training every day for 40 weeks and massively increasing food intake with the intention of breaking the school’s 100m (11.1s), 200m (22.5s) and 400m (49.5s) records in April 2013. Will you be able to give me any advice and to aid me in what will most certainly be the most challenging undertaking of my life.

  16. Hey I was wondering what you would have to say on training for competitive 400 meters. I’m in wrestling right now so I wanted to get runs in after practice what do you suggest ?

    • DJ – I would start off with running shorter distances after practice (at lower intensity) and then progress as your wrestling practices die down. Be careful of over-training as it can do more bad than good.

  17. The article was great! Thank you. But I had a question. I’m a 16 year old 5’4 Senior in high school about 130 lbs but am pretty fit. (I believe I have more muscle than fat) I currently do basketball and we’ve had intense conditioning (sprints, long distance, weights, squats and more) and our 2 hours practices are pretty intense which consists of mostly running. I want to train for track but I’m not sure how intense I should make it considering the fact practices are 6times a week. I don’t want to over exert myself but I don’t wanna use that as an excuse not to still train for upcoming season.

    What should I do as a precursor for season without doing too little or too much?

    • Hey Rayelle, that sounds like an intense schedule!

      It really depends on what track event you’re training for. Regardless, you definitely don’t want to over-exert yourself. If you’re training for short distance sprints (like 100m), then try throwing in some 10m sprints every now and then. These will help you with developing your starting acceleration but won’t exhaust you (or cause over-exertion) because the activity is super short and quick. This is actually how some top football players train for their 40yard dash. If you’re training for long distance, I think you’re already doing more than enough!

      Hope that helps!

  18. Sprinting Workout 1 – All About Distance

    Perform warm-up and dynamic stretches (outlined in Part 1)
    Sprint 400 m, Rest (2 – 3 min)
    Sprint 200 m, Rest (2 – 3 min)
    Sprint 100 m, Rest (2-3 min)
    Cool-down
    Is this type of sprinting done just once ( I mean whole routine ) or u firstly done it just once,then you got to 2/3/4 as you progress couse I dont think that you need more then 4 repeats of this routine,right?

  19. How often do you do the sprint work out? every other day or something else? Would You still suggest sprint training (and at the same frequency) if one’s main goal (at least for short term) is to lose weight?
    Thanks, Mark

    • Mark, I try to do sprinting once a week. On odd occasions (depending on what other training I’m doing), I’ll throw in a second day in the week. Even if you’re aiming to lose weight, I wouldn’t recommend more than twice per week (especially if you’re a beginner) as it’s a very taxing form of training.

  20. Mark I dont know how often Srdjan do it,but I will tell you if you are professional athlete you could do it this 2/ max 3 times,but if you are doing this just for recreation/fun/weight loss or anything else trust me just once a week will be inuff since it will burn your body to the maximum ;)

  21. Srdjan,
    Is it necessary to do all sprinting workout(1,2,3) in one day?

  22. Srdjan,
    I am a Oldie newbie sort to speak. I’ve sprinted in high school, but that was 15 years ago. I’m looking to get back in shape, and drop this extra stomach i’ve been carrying around. Do you think it is a good idea to sprint maybe once or twice a week, and surround that with a basic weight lifting workout?

    • Hey Isaac, I think mixing up sprinting with weight training, stretching, and walking throughout the week is the best way to go for an all around training strategy.

      Just make sure that before you get into full out sprints you spend some time doing some corrective stretches and basic bodyweight exercises to prepare your body for sprinting.

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