Results of the sprint experiment

A couple of months ago I posted a blog about sprinting. I’ll avoid spending too much time recapping, so you can click the link if you’re curious what the post was about.

Basically I decided to test the positive effects of sprinting that I’d read about. I set up an experiment comprised of sprinting at least two times a week for six weeks. I mainly used my mile time before and after to judge the effects. (I had intended to use hip and waist measurements as well, but I kept forgetting to take the measurements at the end. Oops.) I recruited two other people to try it out with me; my friend Aimee, and my husband.

To see all of our sprint data, click here.

That's basically what I looked like whenever I did my sprints. ;)

That’s basically what I looked like whenever I did my sprints. πŸ˜‰

Now, when I was trying to recruit people to try this experiment with me, a lot of them said no because they were training for races. At the time, I thought this was a pretty good reason not to get into sprints,Β but I was so wrong.Β 

The one MAJOR thing that sprinting did for me was improve my running stamina, and not just a little bit… a hell of a lot.
When I started, my mile time was 10:15, and when I stopped it was 9:07 – after just SIX weeks.
Before the sprint experiment I had “run” two 5k’s, and by that I mean I had struggled through two 5k’s and failed to run the whole distance.
When I finished the experiment, I ran a 5 mile race with my mom and ran my first 5k without stopping – I got a time of 30:06.

That’s something I absolutely NEVER thought I’d accomplish.
I had never considered myself a runner. I used to HATE running. It exhausted me very quickly, it hurt, and I lost my breath and became very uncomfortable after less than 3 minutes of running. I just couldn’t fathom running a solid mile… much less 3 of them.

Now though? My cardiovascular health has improved so much since starting the sprint experiment, and as far as running stamina, my mile time speaks for itself. I actually almost ENJOYED the 5k I ran today. That is huge for me. So, for everyone who wanted to avoid sprints due to race training – maybe you should consider adding sprints as PART of your training!

As far as the other results go – after sprints my calves, hamstrings, and abs were alway sore. Those are three areas that I have trouble effectively training in the gym, so it was extremely beneficial for me to find an exercise that targeted them so well. I was especially happy to find an ab exercise that I actually ENJOYED since I pretty much hate all other ab exercises. I know… it seems weird that sprinting would be a good core workout, but it really is. Just give it a try, you’ll see. πŸ˜‰

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For anyone curious about how I approached sprinting as a beginner:

I started with short 15 sec sprints and 90 second rests for 6 sets.
Rather than keeping my eye on my watch, I mapped a distance that took 15 seconds to run and I ran the distance.
Over time, I increased the difficulty by reducing the rest time. I never sprinted more than 15 seconds outdoors.
(Once it warms up outside I’ll be going out and working on my outdoor sprint times.)
By the end my outdoor sprints were 15 sec sprints and 30 second rests for 6 sets.

I started out with 45 sec sprints and 60 second rests at 9.0 mph.
This was pretty difficult at first, but slowly just became tedious.
Sprinting on a treadmill is much different than outdoors… I upped the speed to increase difficulty at first.
Then once I found a challenging enough speed, I began reducing the rest time.
By the end of the experiment I was doing 30 sec sprints with 20 second rests at 9.3-9.5 for 6-8 sets.
(I’ve continued doing treadmill sprints after the close of the experiment- I now run 30 sec sprints with 30 sec rests at 9.5-10.0 for 7-10 sets.)

There are multiple ways to up the intensity – listed in order of difficulty:
(1) Decrease rest time
(2) Increase sprint time
(3) Increase amount of sprints
(4) Increase the speed/distance of the sprints

I increased the difficulty in some way each time I did a set of sprints.Β For anyone else trying sprints for the first time, I would suggest the same, especially because you’re probably going to start small. *Also, if you already run, you can probably start out with more challenging sprints than I did. I had a very weak cardiovascular system when I started, so I had to really ease into it.*

It took me 6 weeks of sprinting to get the results I did, so don’t give up on them too soon if you choose to try them. πŸ™‚

I would love to hear your results/opinions if you give sprints a try!

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Pura vida and stay strong, Fit4Reviwers!