There are few forms of exercise that can transform your body composition and power output like sprinting. The demand sprinting puts on your body will torch calories while having a full body strengthening effect.
But don't rush into them. The last thing we want is a muscle tweak that puts you on the sidelines for a few days. There are two ways I like to introduce sprinting each year when it's time to push the pace.
My number one go to are hill sprints. Find a steep hill (or hop on a treadmill and jack up the incline) and you are set. Don't worry about the length in the beginning though a hill lasting 30+ yards would be ideal.
The incline of the hill naturally slows you down, lowering the intensity and resulting in less force production which reduces the risk of an injury. This natural intensity limit is beneficial for us, especially as we are just getting started as our bodies aren't use to this style of exercise.
The steeper the hill the better in the beginning in my opinion. Over time feel free to lower the incline (if on a treadmill) or look for a flatter hill. Unless you are a sprinter though I wouldn't worry too much about sticking with a steep angle.
The amount of reps will depend on the length of the hill and your fitness level. I've done anywhere from 2-20 reps in a workout. The 2 repper was a steep hill of ~160 yards that left me about to puke upon completion. The 20 repper was a steep hill of probably 20 yards. I'd aim for 4-6 sprints going about 70-80% effort the first week or two. From there gradually build up both your effort level and the numbers of sprints until you are challenging yourself sufficiently.
The other option to add sprinting into your program is to start with Charlie Francis' "Tempo Runs" on a football or soccer field. Tempo runs are typically 50-400 yards in length. They are ran on soft surfaces like grass to reduce the impact forces (preventing injury) at an effort level of 60-75%.
This may mean a beginning workout consists of a few 100 yard runs at a fast jogging pace. Once again do not rush into sprinting. Take a few weeks to let your body adapt to the exercise before pushing your limits. With tempo runs I like to perform about 1000-2000 yards per workout. In the beginning I'd recommend people start in the 400-800 yard range.
If you want to spice up your tempo training feel free to put some push-ups, crunches, or other exercises in between your sprints. This is a great way to build up your work capacity and train efficiently.
Sprinting is one of the biggest bang for your buck exercises there is.
We are Amber and Jordan Kirbey. We are excited to share our experiences and ideas with you!