How Often Should You Sprint? Interval Training for Strength and Happiness
Getting into sprinting is a difficult thing. It requires stamina as well as a strong drive to succeed, and the only way to succeed is through plenty of practice. No one is able to simply start sprinting for it takes time.
You will start off by building your strength through long walks, then feeling comfortable enough to go on brisk jogs, then runs, then eventually sprinting. But how much is too much?
Sprinting is an excellent add-on to your training:
- During sprint training, you run fast bursts, then walk or stop for a while to recover.
- It’s an efficient way to burn more calories.
- It requires little commitment (10 minutes).
- You don’t need to do it daily (2-3 times per week is acceptable).
It is necessary to know how often you should sprint for your own benefit and we will be further delving into this in this article.
Reasons To Sprint
Sprinting is a great way to build strength and stamina. However, it is not for everyone. It requires plenty of skill as well as plenty of training in order to sprint effectively.
Whilst many view sprinting as running, the two activities are actually very different.
They both are high-intensity exercises that work for the same muscle group.
But sprinting requires a lot more power and speed. Sprinting can only be done in short bursts.
With this said, why should a person sprint? Sprinting has a variety of BENEFITS which is enough to convince any runner to try it out.
1. Great For Fat Loss
If you are running but not losing weight, then sprinting may be the answer you are looking for. Because of its high intensity, sprinting works wonders when it comes to losing body fat.
This is mainly because of the amount of effort involved in sprinting in short bursts and the consistency of the activity.
As sprinting requires plenty of stamina, you will find yourself working much harder than you would do even with running.
2. Good For The Heart
When sprinting, your heart will instinctively pulse harder, therefore increasing the heart rate. This is great for the heart as it is keeping the organ healthy and exercised.
Moreover, having a healthy heart from sprinting means having a reduced risk of cardiac arrest, high blood pressure, and other heart failures alike.
3. Builds Muscle
You will notice that Olympians who sprint have well-defined muscles, and this is because sprinting enables this strength.
When sprinting, you will be gradually building up muscles and these muscles are targeted at the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
If you are wanting to both feel and look stronger, then sprinting is key to reaching this goal.
4. Helps Mental Health
Just like with any exercise, sprinting is a good way to improve anyone’s mental state. Sprinting allows the body to release a chemical called ENDORPHINS. Endorphins help people to handle stress and pain.
This, in turn, allows for a better mindset as you are not having to go through any stress.
How Often Should You Sprint?
Sprinting takes a lot out of a person, so it is important not to OVERWORK yourself when taking on this activity.
- If you are new to sprinting, it is recommended that you only sprint 1-2 times a week.
- Once your body has adapted to the activity, you can sprint 3 times a week.
When sprinting, you will only need to do so in short bursts of no more than 12 seconds.
By doing short, frequent bursts, you will not be overworking the body and still have enough energy and strength to carry on.
Tips For Sprinters
Sprinting is not easy, especially if you have not mastered the technique. For someone who isn’t experienced in the sport, sprinting may seem just like running extra fast but this is not the case.
Sprinting should be done correctly in a way that will be accurate and cause less harm.
1. Arm Movement
Sprinting involves various areas of the body including the arms. The arms need to be ADAPTED to your sprint in order to help with your stride.
Swing your arms from your SHOULDERS, not elbows. Set your elbows at an angle of 90 degrees. Move your arms forward and backward. Do not swing your arms across your body.
Your shoulders, as well as your hands, should always be relaxed when running.
2. High Knees
When sprinting, it is very important that you are keeping your knees high with every step you run.
Your feet should hit the ground directly below your hips and this will help to implement more speed and stamina.
It is necessary to have the correct positioning for sprinting.
Do this by gently leaning forward with your upper body. Relax your shoulders to bring you into a more comfortable position.
How To Start Sprinting
If you want to start sprint workouts, then the first thing you should think about is the shape you are in.
- If you are older or have any pre-existing health conditions, it is worth going to a physician.
- Once that’s all checked out, you can then go on to sprinting.
When it comes to sprinting, it is better to have a plan to follow.
The first part of the plan will be to do your warm-ups.
Warm-ups are very important, not only because they will prepare you for your sprint. It will help to prevent any injury.
- The easiest warm-up is a short, brisk walk (5-minutes) and a light jog.
- Do some simple butt kicks or high knees to stretch. They are in line with the movements of sprinting.
- For more stretching, try arm circles, leg swings, and lunge with a twist.
- Don’t do static stretching.
Next, find a suitable location for you to do your sprints. Somewhere quiet with a flat track will work best.
- Start off slow and try not to rush the process.
- Start with shorter sprint segments with a moderate pace (30 yards).
- The length of a sprint can be 12 seconds. Sprints should be high-intensity, short bursts.
- You don’t need to put it all out. Aim for 80-90 % of your maximum.
- Walk for 30-60 seconds between sprints.
- You can aim for 5 sprint / rest phases, when you are starting out.
- Sprint workouts should not last longer than 10-15 minutes, including walking times between sprints.
At first, you will work slowly. Eventually, you will have produced enough strength to sprint faster (don’t try to sprint any longer than 10 to 15 seconds).
The Bottom Line
Sprinting takes time to master. At first, you will be slow but with time you will speed up.
It is also essential that you do not try to rush the process. All that is required is short bursts of speed for a successful sprint.
Note that the difference between sprint and fartlek training is that you don’t need to stop or walk for recovery in a fartlek run. During fartlek runs, you vary your pace by alternating between short sprints and longer jogging sessions.