Are Sprinting Workouts Right For You?
One could roughly divide sprinting workouts into two categories, workouts with competition in mind, and workouts as a part of an overall conditioning and training program. Most adults who work out to maintain their physical well being, do just about everything except sprint workouts. Even those who competed in sprints in high school or college, tend to leave those enjoyable experiences behind, probably figuring that sprinting is a talent that will no longer be needed. After all, most wild animals that could harm us can usually outrun us anyway, so why bother?
Sprinting workouts for competition usually follow a rather well-defined regimen, designed to improve stamina, and improve speed by working on sprinting mechanics. For the person who is merely trying to stay in shape, or get into better shape, the mechanics of sprinting can take a back seat, while the focus is more on building stamina and burning calories.
One cannot argue against the fact that running several miles a day or even jogging a half an hour to an hour a day can significantly help tone the muscles and keep the weight in check. Running does not do a great deal for the muscles in the upper body, so is generally supplemented with work on free weights or machines. The same can be said for sprinting, although the upper body is far more involved in dashing 100 meters than in running a mile.
Those who competed in the sprints in college usually remember the fall sprinting workouts the most as these workouts concentrated on building up stamina rather than on sprinting mechanics, and included the dreaded "wind sprints", run hard for 200 meters, walk for 200 meters, run hard for 200 meters, and so on. No fun on a cool or rainy day, or if one wasn't in good shape.
A Simple Routine - Sprinting workouts to get you in shape are in effect wind sprints, but one works his or her way into the regimen gradually, first by jogging one hundred meters, walking, and then jogging another 100. Soon it will be a matter of running 100 meters, and eventually going all out, and feeling the exhilaration of the 100 meter dash, several of them in fact. When this point is reached, several sets are run during each workout, and the first set or two should always be done at a jogger's pace, the last 2 or 3 sets at an all out dash, and those in the middle at a speed somewhere in between.
By following sprint workouts in this manner, one will avoid becoming unnecessarily fatigued, one will avoid injuries, like a hamstring pull, and one will benefit from the calories burned and the fact that this kind of workout keeps the metabolism in high gear long after the workout has been completed. It probably should be mentioned at this point, than when middle-aged men or women consider sprinting workouts, it is always a good idea to consult with their doctor first.
Sprinters Are Not Lazy - Even though some may say, with more than a grain of truth, that true sprinters don't like to become fatigued, it's not a matter of laziness, but when one becomes overly fatigued, sprinting form begins to deteriorate as the mechanics break down, something a competitive sprinter cannot tolerate. For the rest of us, becoming overly fatigued is seldom helpful, and when sprinting workouts are completed one should feel tired but feel good, and should be able to recover quickly.
Nothing Magic About 100 - If you're uncertain as to how far 100 meters is, it's about the length of a football field, including the end zones. If you do your sprinting workouts at a local high school stadium, the track, which usually runs around the football field, is 400 meters, or ¼ mile long. Obviously you don't have to stick to 100 meters, 100 yards or 100 anything. Sprinting workouts of 50 meters can do wonders for the leg muscles, while sprinting 200 or 400 meters will build stamina very quickly. You can really design your own workout, but just remember to always start slowly, get warmed up, and don't overdo it.