A Little Bit Goes a Long Way
Of course, the downside to sprint training is that it’s hard. It leads to lung-heaving, muscle-burning torture, even if it doesn’t last very long. The good news is, you don’t have to subject yourself to excessive self-flagellation to take advantage of the performance benefits of sprint training. “Always remember that sprinting is about helping your body utilize the fitness you already have,” Di Stefano says. “Sprint one to two days a week, but run easy three to five days per week. And remember, the more fit you are, the shorter your sprints should be.”
This means if you’re brand new to a running program, you shouldn’t hit the track for a series of 100-meter sprints. Sprint training for a new athlete may be as simple as alternating between an easy jog for three to six minutes followed by a one- to three-minute walk. On the other hand, a very fit athlete may be able to sprint as fast as possible for 30 seconds, followed by an easy one- to three-minute jog. Repeat the series four to 10 times and call it a day.
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