How to do sprint training

Speed is:

Stride Length x Stride Frequency

In order to run faster, you must increase one or both parameters.

Stride Length How to do sprint training is a product of limb length, power output, and flexibility. Typically, the best means of increasing stride length is by producing more power . This happens by increasing strength, power , and core stability .

It may sound a little bit funny, but many athletes actually increase stride length when they work to prevent “over striding.” Over striding occurs when you reach in front of your center of gravity in an effort to increase your stride length . This is a common mistake by novice runners and can really hurt your ability run fast. Just simply changing some sprint technique in this example can make an immediate impact on your performance.

PUSH, PUSH, PUSH.

The human body is designed to be much more efficient at pushing its center of gravity than pulling it. The primary movers of our body are the quads, glutes, and calves. They all work very well at moving the body by pushing the center of gravity either up or forward. The hamstrings are not very useful in propelling the body. So, if you attempt to lengthen your stride by reaching out in front of your body while sprinting, you have to first use your hamstrings to pull your body over your foot, then use your primary movers to propel you forward. This pull, then push approach is much less efficient and more time consuming than allowing your foot to drop right under your center of gravity, and then focus on pushing the entire time. Such a technique can also lead to chronic hamstring injury .

Train for Power

Solid Foundation

Hip position is also instrumental in stride length . Many of us have very tight hip flexor muscles (the muscles on the front of your hip which lift your knee). The problem with tight hip flexors is that they have a tendency to rotate your hips into a position which research shows can shorten your stride length . You see this in a lot How to do sprint trainingof athletes who bend forward at the waist when they run. This forward flexion has been shown to decrease stride length by 1 inch for every degree of tilt at the pelvis. From experience, we can tell you that a 4 degree tilt is not very much, but it can translate to 4 feet of difference during a 40 yard dash.

Back in the 1990’s, many people criticized Michael Johnson for his awkward, upright running style, until he re-wrote the record books. The truth is, Michael Johnson had something figured out that many others didn’t – by running in an upright position with his hips and pelvis in a neutral position, he can maximize his stride length , and consequently his speed . You can emulate his running style by stretching your hip flexors and staying tall while you run.

The Ultimate Flexibility Guide

Knee up, Heel up, Toe Up

Stride length is also affected by your ability to recover to the “triple flexed” start position during the running gait. This triple flexion occurs when you reach the “knee up, heel up, toe up” position during the running cycle. Getting to this position places the primary movers in a slightly stretched position which essentially stores energy in the muscle to be called upon by the nervous system . From here, your body is ready to apply maximum force into the ground when your foot comes in contact with it.

Training your body to get into the triple flexed position is best done through running drills, such as the A march, A skip, High Knee run, and leg cycles. Repetition in these drills will help with any hip mobility issues that you may have and teaches the neuromuscular system to get your legs where you need them quickly and efficiently.

Understand the software of your body

Quality vs. Quantity

Recovery is King

Stride Frequency is improved by moving your legs through the leg cycle faster than it is used to doing. This is usually done by trying to get your legs move through the flight phase of the running cycle more quickly. The flight portion of the running cycle is defined as when your foot is in the air.How to do sprint training

Teaching your legs to recover through flight faster is done by strengthening the hip flexor and core muscles and training the nervous system to work very quickly and efficiently. This can be done with plyometrics and jumping exercises , or with overspeed training. We recommend high speed treadmill training for attaining an overspeed effect, but it can also be done with cords, harnesses, pulleys, or by running downhill. Whatever method you choose is up to you, but the key is focusing on performing short, quick exercises which encourage the nervous system to work more quickly.

EXSpeed™…The Ultimate Tool for Speed Training

Other Factors

There are also a lot of other factors which affect your ability to run fast. Many are surprised to find out that your upper body and arms have almost as much to do with running fast as your legs do. Your legs can only move as fast and arms do. So, if you have slow arms or poor range of motion at your shoulders, it will affect your ability to run fast.

Your arms should move from the shoulder, not the elbow. In fact, your elbows should remain locked at 90 degrees with your hands relaxed while sprinting. Focus on pushing your elbow back as far as you can while running. It is very rare to see an athlete push their elbows too far back, but it is very common to see athletes raising their hands too high in the front. Your hands should never go above your chin level. Nor should they ever cross over the middle of your body. Stretching your upper body and taking time to work on upper body mechanics while running are the keys to improving this area of running.

Relax and Enjoy the Speed

Other areas which play factors while running are your head and neck. If you ever watch Olympic level sprinters, you will notice that even while running very fast, their face and neck are extremely relaxed, even to the point that their cheeks often look as though they are flapping in the wind. This is a concept called differential relaxation. Differential relaxation refers to an athlete’s ability to relax one part of their body (in this case their upper body), while working very hard and exerting extreme effort with another part of the body (the lower body here). Creating this separation can also be instrumental in sprinting .

John Honerkamp is an RRCA and USATF certified running coach, celebrity marathon pacer, and recognized leader in the New York City running community.

How to do sprint training

If you want to get fit faster, consider adding sprint training to your schedule. The high-intensity effort of a 30-second sprint workout can give you impressive results. Sprint workouts are great for people who don’t have time for long, steady, endurance exercise but want the same (or better) cardiovascular benefits.  

Overview

Although many exercise guidelines recommend up to 60 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week, most people fail to get that much exercise for many reasons, including lack of time and lack of results. If you’re short on time, but want to improve your heart health and overall fitness, sprint workouts might be a perfect solution.

Evidence shows that short, high-intensity sprint workouts improve aerobic capacity and endurance in about half the time of traditional endurance exercise.

Sprint Workout Science

Sprint training can be used effectively by both elite athletes and recreational exercisers. A recent study on sprint training with cyclists showed greater performance improvements in less time when using high-intensity sprint training in replacement of usual speed workouts.

These short bouts of intense exercise (not unlike interval training) improve muscle health and performance comparable to several weeks of traditional endurance training. The results of the study showed positive changes in metabolic markers like K+ concentrate (the amount of potassium in the blood) and lactate accumulation, which researchers believe may have delayed fatigue and enhanced performance.

Other findings have shown that short, high-intensity exercise burns more calories than the same amount of moderate-level cardio exercise.

Preparation

Sprint workouts can be done while running, swimming, cycling, or almost any other cardiovascular exercise. The following precautions should be considered before adding sprint training to your schedule.

  • Safety: Because this is a high-intensity exercise it is recommended that you check with your doctor and review the physical activity readiness questionnaire (PAR-Q) before beginning a sprint workout.
  • Base fitness: It’s also important to have a strong base of fitness in the activity you are using for sprints. To build a base of fitness, follow the 10 percent rule, and gradually increase your training volume.
  • Frequency: Because of the intensity of these workouts, most athletes shouldn’t do sprint work more than three times a week.
  • Muscle soreness. Launching into a sprint program may be difficult or cause delayed onset muscle soreness if you haven’t done much training prior to this workout. We recommend having about 3 to 4 weeks of base fitness before beginning.

Step-by-Step Guide

Before your sprint workout, be sure to complete a thorough warm-up. Injuries are more likely if your body isn’t properly prepared.

Perform sprint workout routines three times a week. Allow at least one to two days of rest or another easy exercise between sprint workouts.

  • Warmup. Before sprints, warm up thoroughly with easy exercise for 5-10 minutes. Perform the same exercise you will be using for your sprints.
  • Sprint. Perform your first sprint at about 60 percent max intensity. If you feel any muscle tightness or joint pain, back off and continue to warm up.
  • Recover. Recover for 2 minutes by slowing to a comfortable pace, but keep moving. This can be an easy jog or a walk, depending on your fitness.
  • Sprint. Perform your next sprint at about 80 percent max intensity.
  • Recover. Recover for 2 minutes.
  • Sprint. Perform the remainder of your sprints at 100 percent max intensity or all-out efforts of 30 seconds. You should be pushing yourself to the max for each one.
  • Recover. Recover for 2 to 4 minutes after each sprint to allow your breathing and heart rate to slow to the point that you can hold a conversation without gasping.
  • Repeat. Repeat the sprint/recovery routine 4-8 times depending on your level and ability. For your first workout, you will want to stop at 4 sprints. That’s fine. Try to build up to 8.

Schedule

The goal is to do this workout six times in two weeks, then back off to twice a week for maintenance for six to eight weeks before you change your workout. On the days following your sprint workout, do easier runs of 20-30 minutes to help recover but maintain your mileage.

If you like your results, you can continue with this routine longer. But it’s a good idea to vary your workouts every few months, and throughout the year. Feel free to modify the routine as you like; see for yourself what works best for you.

Sprint workouts are intense, and you may need to take a break and perform some longer slow workouts for a while

A Word From Verywell

Sprint training offers an option for those who don’t have much time for exercise, but still, want to improve their cardiovascular system. While this type of training is demanding and requires a high level of motivation, it can lead to dramatic improvements in a short period of time.

Build power and speed with these training plans for the track, road, and treadmill.

How to do sprint training

Achieving goals and tracking your progress is one of the best parts about fitness. There are tons of physical accomplishments that feel great time after time, like nailing a heavy lift, or beating a previous time on a benchmark workout. And of course, picking up the pace when you run and feeling super fast.

If you want your training plan to be well-rounded, you’re going to need to include sprint workouts. Speed training, often referred to as interval work, should have a place in every athlete’s routine if you ask Steve Finley, Nike+ Run Coach and head coach of Brooklyn Track Club in New York City.

How to do sprint training

“A good speed session is exactly the same thing as a hard lifting session, and brings the added benefit of being a great cardio workout,” he says. “Small segments of interval work can make a major difference if you add them into your training, whether you’re an avid runner or someone who would rather be lifting weights in the gym.”

Don’t just take Finley’s word for it. Research agrees. Interval training can improve heart health, including capacity and lowering resting heart rate, according to one small study. Another limited study found that this method of training can also lead to improvements on both anaerobic and aerobic capacity.

Want to channel your inner Usain Bolt? Here, Finley offers up eight different workouts that can be done everywhere from the track to the treadmill to help you kick your speed into high gear.

One quick note: if you’re not a seasoned runner, you might not be familiar with the pace estimates Finley suggests for these workouts. That’s okay. You can use a calculator tool to figure out what this means to you, or run by feel. Think about the fastest pace here (5K), as working hard enough that you would not be able to hold a conversation, and adjust from there.

Sprint Workouts at the Track

How to do sprint training

Workout 1 – 10 x 200 meters

  • Rest: 60 seconds
  • Pace: 5K

Finley says: “This is a great workout for you to get to know the track, feel how it feels to accelerate around the line and the turn and ride it out for a steady pace, striding down the straightaway. The 60 seconds of rest will add up quickly. Done in this format, this workout is a cardio fitness, aerobic effort. If you were to go for 2:00 rest instead, I’d suggest really picking up the pace working down toward your goal mile effort, which makes this more anaerobic.”

Workout 2 – 8 x 400

  • Rest: 90 seconds
  • Pace: Start at 10K and working down

“This is like the advanced version of workout one. Your goal is to get progressive as time goes on. Ideally by the end of this workout, you should be hitting at or below your best mile time.”

Workout 3 – 5 x 800

  • Rest: 60 seconds
  • Pace: Start at 10K and working down

“This is one of those workouts where you’re in the effort for a solid amount of time, and you want to turn your brain off. Get into a rhythm. Think of this like a tempo run that feels super relaxed and calm.”

Sprint Workouts for Running on the Road

How to do sprint training

Workout 4 – Hills, 8 x 45 seconds

  • Rest: Jog down hill
  • Pace: Hard effort, about a 7 our of 10 on the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) scale

“This workout is all about working on explosiveness, as your goal is to get farther and farther up the hill you’re working with for each rep. Think about driving your knees and working your arms. Hill work is speed work in disguise. By working the muscles in your posterior chain, you’re actually becoming faster. A lot of runners feel guilty that they don’t do big lifts, but often times if they’re doing hill work, they’re reaping a lot of the same benefits.”

Workout 5 – 12 x 1:00

  • Rest: 1:00
  • Pace: 7 out of 10 on the RPE

“You could call this a fartlek. This is an easy workout you could do after traveling, after work, if you’re not feeling that great — because the intervals are really manageable. It’s really about just getting your heart rate up, and then on the one-minute rest, you’re bringing it back down. Don’t go into this with any big expectations or pressure. Just enjoy it for what it is.”

Workout 6 – Segment Run x 6

  • Rest: 90 seconds
  • Pace: 7 out of 10 on the RPE

“Segments, or specific areas in your neighborhood, can be great for repeat work. I would prescribe this segment to be done at a decent effort, but really, you can make this what you want. Similar to the hill workout, see if you can get farther with each repeat. If you really want to crank intensity, find a segment with an incline.”

Sprint Workouts for the Treadmill

How to do sprint training

Workout 7 – Ladder: 5:00, 4:00, 3:00, 2:00, 1:00

  • Rest: 90 seconds
  • Pace: Progressively working down from half-marathon to goal mile pace

“I love ladder workouts. Your goal here is to start conservatively. You definitely don’t want that first 5:00 block to be too hard. So, start at something slower, like a half-marathon mph pace, then bump it up about .5 or 1.0mph with each rep, depending on how you are feeling.”

Workout 8 – 4 x 4:00

  • Rest: 90 seconds
  • Pace: Start at half-marathon and progressively pick it up

“With the increase from rep to rep here, bump it up only about .2 to .3 each time. This workout is about turning your brain off, you could even call it a meditation style run. You’re zoning out, purposely trying to listen to your breath, and focus on not being the space you’re in. This is what makes tread running beneficial. This zone out, it’s something we teach through long runs as coaches, but it can be taught through long intervals.”

Sprinting is one of the most explosive workouts you do and popular among celebrities. It can help you build your legs and abs, burn fat and more.

Power Up with BodyFit

How to do sprint training

BodyFit is your solution to all things fitness. Join today and unleash the power of BodyFit!

  • 2,500+ expert-created workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Exclusive workout tips from the experts
  • Access to Workout Plans
  • Access to BodyFit App
  • Store Discounts

How to do sprint training

How many times have we seen a track meet where there were sprinters competing and we were amazed on how sculpted their legs and abs were. Well this doesn’t happen by just waking up and stepping on a track. The reason behind this is the incredible training that is involved in becoming a proficient sprinter.

Sprinting is one of the most explosive and amazing workouts you could ever do. As a matter of fact, it is gaining a lot of popularity right now among celebrities who workout to stay in great shape.

The specific body parts that sprinting targets are the butt, hips, hamstrings, quads, calves and abs. It is a complete body workout and can be done outside the gym in any local park or track.

The Benefits Of Sprinting

Sprinting is great for fat loss and it increases your metabolic rate for several days. High intensity sprinting will burn calories long after your workout is complete. It is an exercise that can be done by men or women. In fact, many fitness and figure competitors incorporate sprinting in their training because of how positive the results are in building a lean long lengthening muscle.

Sprinting is arguably the best way to firm your legs and butt without incorporating resistance training. Don’t get me wrong, doing squats, lunges and hack squats are also great ways to train your legs. But sprinting is the best alternative to these leg exercises.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, we all get bored sometimes and going to the gym every day and lifting the same weights and doing the same exercises is no different.

The day you get bored and feel your workout is too monotonous is probably the day you need to change things up. The best way to change your workout is to try sprinting and see if this change can help you.

Sprinting Workout

Before you start to sprint you want to jog a lap around the track to get your legs and body warmed up. After doing that you want to make sure you’ve stretched those quads and hamstrings before sprinting.

If you fail to stretch those specific areas you definitely can be susceptible to injury because of the high impact of the training. After 10 minutes of stretching you should be warmed up to start your workout.

For beginners, it is advisable to start sprinting at 50% speed until you feel comfortable and gradually increase your speed after every sprint. A typical sprinting workout that any average person should be able to do is 6-10 100-meter dashes. Each 100-meter dash can be done at any speed.

After each 100-meter dash, you should walk back to the line slowly; your rest between each sprint is your walk back to the starting line. When you get to the line if you are still fatigued then rest a minute or two before starting again.

After completing this workout your legs will be incredibly pumped and your abs will feel worked. Matter of fact, it will feel like you just finished doing a serious squat or leg press workout.

Remember that every time you lift you lift your leg in the air. When you’re sprinting you also work your abs. A world-class sprinter covers 100 meters in about 44 to 47 steps and the average person would probably cover that distance in about 57 to 60 steps. So think about this: you’ve just worked your abs in one 100 meter sprint 57 to 60 times.

That’s incredible since most people don’t do that many sit-ups in one set or even an entire workout. You should be able to finish this sprinting workout in about 30 to 40 minutes.

How to do sprint training

How to do sprint training

The biggest factor that changes when you take your sprints from the treadmill to outdoors is the control over speed. “You can set your speed, and you know that you’re going to hit that exact number every single time,” says Selena Samuela, Peloton Tread instructor. You also don’t have to worry about tripping over a pothole or avoiding cars when you’re on a tread. “On a treadmill, you have no active obstacles,” she says. Plus treads are “easier on the joints,” she adds, which is why outdoor running (and definitely sprinting) can feel more intense on your body.

Besides external factors, sprinting outdoors versus indoors means that you’ll be using different muscles within your body, so the way that your run will subtly change. “Sprinting on treadmills is primarily quad-based, and when you run outside, it promotes your natural mechanics more, which means that you pull on your hamstrings way more,” says Meg Takacs, fitness trainer and founder of the #RunWithMeg app. “This is because outdoors, you’re creating your stride cycle, which is why you find a lot of people putting their incline up to one percent on a treadmill to simulate outdoor running.”

To make sure that your outdoor sprints are as efficient—and safe—as possible, keep scrolling for expert-approved tips on doing them properly.

How to start sprint training outdoors

1. Find the right spot to train: “If you’re sprinting outdoors, and not on a track, the key component is to know your route and the area where you’re training,” says Samuela, who recommends finding locations where there are as few obstacles as possible. “You want to find long straightaways, so that you can just focus on your sprint and nothing else.” She also suggests sprinting on stable ground—not rocky terrain. “Try to avoid unpaved or rocky roads—those are not recommended for sprints,” says Samuela. “If there are rugged rocks jutting out, that’s a pretty easy way to injure yourself.”

2. Don’t go too fast, too soon: According to Takacs, sprinting outdoors calls for being more aware of how fast you go in a given interval. “You want to not go too fast, too soon,” she says. “It’s important to gradually increase to your max effort to the last 15 to 20 seconds.” This is because going at your max speed can get you above your aerobic threshold, which means your body starts cycling lactic acid, which is hard to recover from, she explains. “It’s really important when you’re sprinting to take breaks so that your body can recover and bring your heart rate back down. This way, your body is ready to power those fast-twitch muscles again.”

3. Watch your foot strike and your form: As you could imagine, your foot placement is different when you sprint versus when you’re running at a more steady pace. “Your foot placement and cadence are different with sprints,” says Takacs, who recommends aiming for a forefoot strike as opposed to midfoot, as this lets you “peel through your toes so that you can use your hamstrings in a stride cycle.” This also makes your impact phase very quick, which means that you’re not releasing a lot of body weight into the ground (which makes you run lighter on your feet, and therefore faster). “A lot of people think that they should extend their stride and make it bigger when sprinting, too, but you want to take more steps so that you’re landing under your center of mass, which is your hips,” says Takacs. “You don’t want to land in front of your body and pull your bodyweight from behind you.”

4. Try hill sprints: For an added sprinting outdoor challenge, try doing it on a hill. Samuela suggests trying one of her go-to ways to train: “sprint hill repeats,” in which you find a hill to continuously sprint to the top of. Takacs says that sprinting on hills adds in the element of increasing your VO2 max, which is the amount of air that your lungs can hold. “If you’re working on speed and increasing your power, I’d do sprints flat. But if you’re looking to increase power, speed, and your VO2 max, I’d do hill repeat sprints,” she says. That’ll improve your lung capacity, which will benefit your endurance in every other workout that you do.

5. Take it easy: Even though sprinting outside is fun (it is!), it’s not something you should necessarily be doing every single day. “You don’t want to do speed work every day,” says Takacs. “It’s important that your body uses different energy systems throughout the week.” Sprinting, she points out, introduces a lot of lactic acid throughout your body, which takes time for your body to repair afterwards… so don’t forget about your rest days.

P.S., here’s how to have proper running form:

Here’s a running endurance workout that you can mix in between your sprint training days. And this is how to avoid running injuries, especially if you’re running outdoors.

Sprinting is one of the most explosive workouts you do and popular among celebrities. It can help you build your legs and abs, burn fat and more.

Power Up with BodyFit

How to do sprint training

BodyFit is your solution to all things fitness. Join today and unleash the power of BodyFit!

  • 2,500+ expert-created workouts
  • 3,500+ how-to exercise videos
  • Exclusive workout tips from the experts
  • Access to Workout Plans
  • Access to BodyFit App
  • Store Discounts

How to do sprint training

How many times have we seen a track meet where there were sprinters competing and we were amazed on how sculpted their legs and abs were. Well this doesn’t happen by just waking up and stepping on a track. The reason behind this is the incredible training that is involved in becoming a proficient sprinter.

Sprinting is one of the most explosive and amazing workouts you could ever do. As a matter of fact, it is gaining a lot of popularity right now among celebrities who workout to stay in great shape.

The specific body parts that sprinting targets are the butt, hips, hamstrings, quads, calves and abs. It is a complete body workout and can be done outside the gym in any local park or track.

The Benefits Of Sprinting

Sprinting is great for fat loss and it increases your metabolic rate for several days. High intensity sprinting will burn calories long after your workout is complete. It is an exercise that can be done by men or women. In fact, many fitness and figure competitors incorporate sprinting in their training because of how positive the results are in building a lean long lengthening muscle.

Sprinting is arguably the best way to firm your legs and butt without incorporating resistance training. Don’t get me wrong, doing squats, lunges and hack squats are also great ways to train your legs. But sprinting is the best alternative to these leg exercises.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, we all get bored sometimes and going to the gym every day and lifting the same weights and doing the same exercises is no different.

The day you get bored and feel your workout is too monotonous is probably the day you need to change things up. The best way to change your workout is to try sprinting and see if this change can help you.

Sprinting Workout

Before you start to sprint you want to jog a lap around the track to get your legs and body warmed up. After doing that you want to make sure you’ve stretched those quads and hamstrings before sprinting.

If you fail to stretch those specific areas you definitely can be susceptible to injury because of the high impact of the training. After 10 minutes of stretching you should be warmed up to start your workout.

For beginners, it is advisable to start sprinting at 50% speed until you feel comfortable and gradually increase your speed after every sprint. A typical sprinting workout that any average person should be able to do is 6-10 100-meter dashes. Each 100-meter dash can be done at any speed.

After each 100-meter dash, you should walk back to the line slowly; your rest between each sprint is your walk back to the starting line. When you get to the line if you are still fatigued then rest a minute or two before starting again.

After completing this workout your legs will be incredibly pumped and your abs will feel worked. Matter of fact, it will feel like you just finished doing a serious squat or leg press workout.

Remember that every time you lift you lift your leg in the air. When you’re sprinting you also work your abs. A world-class sprinter covers 100 meters in about 44 to 47 steps and the average person would probably cover that distance in about 57 to 60 steps. So think about this: you’ve just worked your abs in one 100 meter sprint 57 to 60 times.

That’s incredible since most people don’t do that many sit-ups in one set or even an entire workout. You should be able to finish this sprinting workout in about 30 to 40 minutes.

How to do sprint training

How to do sprint training

The biggest factor that changes when you take your sprints from the treadmill to outdoors is the control over speed. “You can set your speed, and you know that you’re going to hit that exact number every single time,” says Selena Samuela, Peloton Tread instructor. You also don’t have to worry about tripping over a pothole or avoiding cars when you’re on a tread. “On a treadmill, you have no active obstacles,” she says. Plus treads are “easier on the joints,” she adds, which is why outdoor running (and definitely sprinting) can feel more intense on your body.

Besides external factors, sprinting outdoors versus indoors means that you’ll be using different muscles within your body, so the way that your run will subtly change. “Sprinting on treadmills is primarily quad-based, and when you run outside, it promotes your natural mechanics more, which means that you pull on your hamstrings way more,” says Meg Takacs, fitness trainer and founder of the #RunWithMeg app. “This is because outdoors, you’re creating your stride cycle, which is why you find a lot of people putting their incline up to one percent on a treadmill to simulate outdoor running.”

To make sure that your outdoor sprints are as efficient—and safe—as possible, keep scrolling for expert-approved tips on doing them properly.

How to start sprint training outdoors

1. Find the right spot to train: “If you’re sprinting outdoors, and not on a track, the key component is to know your route and the area where you’re training,” says Samuela, who recommends finding locations where there are as few obstacles as possible. “You want to find long straightaways, so that you can just focus on your sprint and nothing else.” She also suggests sprinting on stable ground—not rocky terrain. “Try to avoid unpaved or rocky roads—those are not recommended for sprints,” says Samuela. “If there are rugged rocks jutting out, that’s a pretty easy way to injure yourself.”

2. Don’t go too fast, too soon: According to Takacs, sprinting outdoors calls for being more aware of how fast you go in a given interval. “You want to not go too fast, too soon,” she says. “It’s important to gradually increase to your max effort to the last 15 to 20 seconds.” This is because going at your max speed can get you above your aerobic threshold, which means your body starts cycling lactic acid, which is hard to recover from, she explains. “It’s really important when you’re sprinting to take breaks so that your body can recover and bring your heart rate back down. This way, your body is ready to power those fast-twitch muscles again.”

3. Watch your foot strike and your form: As you could imagine, your foot placement is different when you sprint versus when you’re running at a more steady pace. “Your foot placement and cadence are different with sprints,” says Takacs, who recommends aiming for a forefoot strike as opposed to midfoot, as this lets you “peel through your toes so that you can use your hamstrings in a stride cycle.” This also makes your impact phase very quick, which means that you’re not releasing a lot of body weight into the ground (which makes you run lighter on your feet, and therefore faster). “A lot of people think that they should extend their stride and make it bigger when sprinting, too, but you want to take more steps so that you’re landing under your center of mass, which is your hips,” says Takacs. “You don’t want to land in front of your body and pull your bodyweight from behind you.”

4. Try hill sprints: For an added sprinting outdoor challenge, try doing it on a hill. Samuela suggests trying one of her go-to ways to train: “sprint hill repeats,” in which you find a hill to continuously sprint to the top of. Takacs says that sprinting on hills adds in the element of increasing your VO2 max, which is the amount of air that your lungs can hold. “If you’re working on speed and increasing your power, I’d do sprints flat. But if you’re looking to increase power, speed, and your VO2 max, I’d do hill repeat sprints,” she says. That’ll improve your lung capacity, which will benefit your endurance in every other workout that you do.

5. Take it easy: Even though sprinting outside is fun (it is!), it’s not something you should necessarily be doing every single day. “You don’t want to do speed work every day,” says Takacs. “It’s important that your body uses different energy systems throughout the week.” Sprinting, she points out, introduces a lot of lactic acid throughout your body, which takes time for your body to repair afterwards… so don’t forget about your rest days.

P.S., here’s how to have proper running form:

Here’s a running endurance workout that you can mix in between your sprint training days. And this is how to avoid running injuries, especially if you’re running outdoors.

Whether you’re an athlete training to improve performance on the field or someone looking to get into good shape for health reasons, sprints are widely regarded as a better option than running. Sprint drills can help you increase explosiveness, overall speed, and even endurance if you train properly. These drills will help you do all of that. Alternate these drills by training with sprints twice a week. You should notice measurable improvements within a couple of months.

10 in 10

This is a drill for beginners who are new to running. You go to a track and warm up by alternating jogging and walking for two laps. Then you start your clock. You sprint the straight stretches as hard and fast as you can until you reach the first turn. You then rest by walking, or jogging if you can, around the turn until you get to the next straight. Sprint again until you reach the next turn. Repeat this pattern until you need to stop and catch your breath. Your goal is to complete 10 sprints of the straight stretches within 10 minutes. If you can do this, you will have run over a mile in less than 10 minutes, which for a beginner is a good goal.

Parachute Sprints

You can find these parachutes at your local sporting goods store. The idea is that you run as hard as you can when the parachute opens up and catches and creates resistance. This helps you increase the amount of force you can generate in your hips and legs, because you will get stronger as you combat the resistance. Try to perform the 10 for 10 Drill with the parachute or try to run the entire track with the parachute for time.

Back and Forth Drill

This will help you with coordination and body control. Instead of taking off from your usual starting point, begin at your finish line and run backwards to the starting position. Backpedal as fast as you safely can. Once you reach the starting point, take off and sprint back to the finish line. Once you reach the finish line, repeat if you have the energy, or take a brief rest to catch your breath, but repeat as soon as you can. Continue for a total of 30 minutes. Try to complete as many sprints as you can in that time.

Instinctive Sprint and Jog Drill

This is an advanced drill. You set a time of 30 minutes and after warming up, you start with a full blown sprint. Sprint as hard and as long as you can until you are unable to continue. Once you feel like you can’t run at full speed anymore, slow to a jog until you’re able to resume sprinting. Once you’re able to run at full speed again, gradually pick up your pace until you are back to a full sprint. Repeat this pattern until you must stop. Once you stop, you have one minute to completely recover. Start with a walk and gradually increase your speed until you are back to sprinting again. Repeat until time expires. Measure your overall distance and make it a goal to beat it the next time you attempt this.