Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
January 29, 2014

19 Tips for Avoiding Injuries During Sprint Sessions

By Mark Sisson
93 Comments

Safety FirstSprinting is a powerful asset to any training program. It’s brief and effective and long-lasting and reverberates throughout multiple aspects of health and performance. If you sprint regularly, you’ll likely improve your body composition, strength and fitness levels, metabolic flexibility, stamina, and explosiveness. Since sprinting is “going as fast as you can,” it’s infinitely and instantly scalable to your ability level. Anyone who can sprint but does not is making a huge mistake.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. You have to do it right. Sprinting actually isn’t very dangerous compared to other athletic pursuits. You’re more liable to get injured playing a team sport, where you’re responding quickly to unpredictable changes in the game, moving laterally and vertically, diving and leaping for balls or discs, jostling for position. Sprinting is linear, straightforward. You go from point A to point B. However, the very thing that makes sprinting work so well – the fact that it represents the highest intensity your body can muster – can lead to injury if you’re not prepared.

So make sure to be prepared. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Raise your body temperature.

Literally warm yourself up a bit. This could be a short, brisk walk, a few minutes on a bike, rolling around on the floor like a kid, or even a really light jog. Just get warm. This is why sprinting in really cold weather requires extra prep – your body is really, really cold, which can increase injury risk. Heck, it might even mean taking a hot bath before training.

2. Don’t static stretch before.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to construct a controlled trial testing the effects of different stretching modalities on sprinting injuries. You’d have to come up with an “injury-inducing”, and that’s just not ethical. What we do have is plenty of research into the effect of various types of stretching on sprint performance. Generally speaking, improved performance is a barometer for good technique, which is a fair representation of safety and protection from injury. Most studies suggest that static stretching before sprinting impedes performance.

3. Instead, do dynamic stretches.

Dynamic stretches are active stretches that involve movement through the full range of motion. Some sprint-specific ones include:

A couple rounds of those should suffice. Do about 10-20 meters for each move per round.

4. Do dynamic stretches before, but not too many.

Dynamic stretching before sprinting improves performance, but there is a limit. One study found that while one to two sets of 20 meter long dynamic stretch drills improved subsequent sprint performance, three sets impaired performance by inducing fatigue. Do enough dynamic stretching that you feel energized and ready to go. Stop short of doing so many that you start getting tired.

5. Do a few depth jumps.

This is a depth jump. In one recent study, subjects who performed three depth jumps a minute before sprinting improved their performance. Three depth jumps are enough to “shock” the nervous system and get it prepared to move your body, but not enough to impair your performance or fatigue your legs. A few deep squat jumps should work, too.

6. Do a few trial ramp up runs.

Run several half sprints before your real session starts, starting at about 50% intensity and steadily increasing it until you hit 80% in the last one. These are all rough approximations, of course. Just work up to near-full intensity. Beginners may want to hold off from hitting full intensity for a few sprint sessions as they get used to it.

7. Use proper technique.

Good technique is paramount. It won’t just make you faster; it will protect you.

  1. Maintain a balanced center of gravity at all times, never overstride. When landing don’t let your feet land way out in front.
  2. Stand as tall as possible – never collapse weight into ground.
  3. Torso and hips should face forward at all times.
  4. Arms swing fore and back – never side to side – locked at 90 degree angle.
  5. Bicycle style stride: flex foot immediately after takeoff and snap foot back onto the ground quickly.
  6. Generate explosive force with each footfall: midfoot landing, Achilles snap to touch ground, explosive midfoot takeoff. Foot on ground as short a time as possible.

The difference between Usain Bolt and you the reader is more explosive force per stride and less time on ground per stride. Stride frequency is nearly identical believe it or not. Your turnover is almost identical to Usain Bolt but you only generate half as much force per stride. Hence, Usain’s strides are 9 feet long due to the explosive force.

8. Only run barefoot if your feet are conditioned.

Barefoot sprinting is one of life’s greatest joys. I do all my sprinting barefoot (on the beach), in fact. But if you’re not accustomed to going barefoot, sprinting can introduce an excessive amount of loading to your tissues. Remember: it takes awhile to undo a lifetime of shoe-wearing.

9. Never run barefoot on rubberized tracks.

Those tracks are made for traction, but you don’t really want that much traction applied to your bare feet. You’ll rip the skin clean off (I’ve seen it happen). They’re great when you’re wearing shoes, though.

10. Stop while you’re ahead.

Think you’ve got “one more in ya”? Stop. End your workout. That’s exactly when you need to quit. Sprinting should not be done to failure, because failure means fatigue and fatigue is when systems fail, technique breaks down, and injuries occur. Stopping just short of that point is ideal for injury prevention. I always stop my workout right when I figure I have another one or two in me. It’s just not worth it.

11. Optimize your rest intervals.

When I sprint, I usually try to recover as completely as I can between sprints. If I’m running 30 second sprints (rare for me these days), I’ll usually rest for at least four minutes. If I’m running 10-15 second sprints, I’ll rest about two minutes. If I’m doing real short 3-5 second bursts, I’ll only rest about 20 seconds or so. I go by how I feel, though – not the numbers or some formula. When I’m rested and ready, I sprint. Folks looking to maximize their cardiovascular fitness will probably want to reduce the length of their rest periods, but full recovery is safest.

12. Sprint when fully recovered from the last workout.

Don’t sprint after heavy deadlifts (your hamstrings will be fried). Don’t sprint two days in a row (you won’t have recovered). Don’t sprint after a sleepless night (your balance and proprioception will be impaired).

13. Choose the right surface.

Generally speaking, natural surfaces are better for sprinting than manmade ones. In a comparison of plantar loading forces, running on natural grass resulted in lighter loading on the rear and forefoot, while running on asphalt placed considerably more stress on the rear and forefoot. Many top sprinters, including Usain Bolt, even promote training on grass tracks to reduce the impact to joints and bones. I love sprinting in sand. It’s harder (since your feet are sinking into the sand) and easier (since the sand is dampening your foot’s impact) at the same time. Lower impact, more difficulty.

The only time I sprint on pavement is uphill (which significantly reduces impact forces). I usually advise against it. Most of us aren’t sixth graders with invincible bones and joints playing freeze tag on the blacktop playground anymore.

14. Don’t sprint on a treadmill.

Some people pull this off, but it can be pretty dangerous – far more dangerous than sprinting out on solid ground. For one, it changes the kinematics of the hamstring and increases the risk of hamstring pulls. Two, it’s hard to go all out on a treadmill without overshooting, falling off, or holding back. I’ve never been able to really go for it on a treadmill. Something lingers in the back of my mind and holds me back. If you’re sprinting in the gym, use an exercise bike or a rower instead of the treadmill.

15. If you’ve got a prior history of hamstring pulls, knee pain, or other lower body injuries, favor hill sprints over flat sprints.

The number one risk factor for a pulled hamstring while running is having had one previously. The best way to pull a hamstring while sprinting is to overextend your leg so that your foot is out in front of your center of gravity when you land. Pretty easy to do during flat sprints over level ground, but very difficult when running hills, which prevents the full extension of the hamstring. Hill sprints generally result in lower ground forces.

16. Don’t neglect eccentric strength training movements.

Sprint-related hamstring strains can often be caused by inadequate training of the eccentric portion of movements. That means you shouldn’t just focus on lifting weights, but also lowering them. For the hamstring, a great strength builder that incorporates both concentric (lifting) and plenty of eccentric (lowering) is the Romanian deadlift.

17. Cool down.

There are many ways to cool down after sprinting. The easiest, and my favorite, is to simply walk followed by a minute or so of Grok squatting. Walk for about 5-10 minutes, then sit in a squat, maybe grabbing your feet and pushing your thighs out with your elbows to get a little stretch going. Biking, rowing, jogging, it all works. Whatever you do, do something.

18. Use a lacrosse ball, foam roller, or other self myofascial release tool at night.

At night after your sprint workout, get the SMR tool of your choice and do some hunting for tender spots. Focus on the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves – about a couple minutes per body part. The research is inconsistent, but I’ve always found this stuff really does seem to help break up adhesions and promote improved mobility.

Better yet, get a regular sports massage if you can swing it.

19. Choose the right vehicle for sprinting.

Not everyone is ready for traditional sprinting. Some will never be ready, and that’s okay. Choose your method wisely. Defer to the safer option with less impact if you’re not sure. Consider:

  • Exercise bikes
  • Road bikes
  • Swimming pools
  • Rowers
  • Ellipticals

All are viable. All will give you the “sprint effect.”

I don’t mean to overwhelm you guys. Sprinting does work best when performed safely, however, and the rewards are worth the investment. If you don’t want to worry about traditional sprinting, remember that you can always get most of the same health benefits from doing sprints on a bike, rower, and other more forgiving, more user-friendly machinery.

Let’s hear from you. Got any additional tips for safer sprinting? Let me know in the comments!

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

93 Comments on "19 Tips for Avoiding Injuries During Sprint Sessions"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Primal_Alex
Primal_Alex
2 years 10 months ago

Don’t do it on a wet surface 😉

Jamie
Jamie
2 years 10 months ago

Is there any recommendation for how often to sprint? It seems most fitness blogs recommend once per week, but I have never seen a reason. Is there any harm in sprinting 3 times a week? The only adverse effect I have experienced is crazy hunger. I am amazed how much sprinting on a stationary bike has helped my overall performance when running a 5k or downhill skiing at high altitudes.

Nicole
Nicole
2 years 10 months ago

I’ve read and experienced that if you can sprint more than 3 times a week, you’re not working hard enough. When I put my all into my sprints, I CAN only do it 2-3 times a week.

Jamie
Jamie
2 years 10 months ago

Totally agree. I have to really push myself to do that third sprint. I’m not sore, just dread the work I have in front of me.

Matt YLBody
2 years 10 months ago

Jamie – take into consideration your goals. For instance, if you’re trying to do a personal record for squats or dead lifts you’ll probably want to avoid sprinting before or after those days where you plan on doing heavy weight lifting. Instead – opt for rowing sprints to give your legs a break.

Jason
Jason
2 years 10 months ago

As a former competitive rower, if you are using rowing to give your legs a break, you are not rowing correctly…

Josh Frey
2 years 10 months ago

It really depends on who you are individually.

Some people recover faster than others. Some people have better movement patterns than others and are therefore less likely to be injured. And some people are just in better physical shape than others.

I’d recommend doing some self experimentation and tracking how you feel with different volumes of exercise. It’s easy to give rough guidelines, but ultimately you have to be the judge.

crazycowgirlcorral
crazycowgirlcorral
2 years 10 months ago

What about using an exercise trampoline for sprints? I had bad shin splints years ago and to this day even walking really fast on hard ground makes them flare up but I can jog on a trampoline.

Chika
2 years 10 months ago

eeww #9 just left a nasty visual impression …that’s definitely a tip worth knowing, thanks Mark!

Warren
Warren
2 years 10 months ago
Chika: I would like to add my own experience with sprinting on rubberized “all-weather” tracks. When I first tried sprinting 200 meter sprints on an all weather track, I had that experience of ripping flesh from my soles. But after toughening my soles after several weeks of barefooting on these tracks, I had no further problems. A couple of caveats: It makes a big difference what the temperature is. I run in Fairbanks, Alaska, and if it is below plus 50f, the tracks have a much more abrasive feel, so I will wear my NB Minimus. Above 60f, I never… Read more »
paleocrushmom
2 years 10 months ago

No. 10 is an excellent advice. Know when to quit and cool down. Avoid bulking up the heart muscle. It leads to diminished cardiac output, cell damage, cardiac scarring and conduction abnormalities. The latter can result in different degrees of heart block and we know how that can end. This is why sprinting is so superior to long distance running.

Jacob
Jacob
2 years 10 months ago

“bulking up the heart muscle. It leads to diminished cardiac output, cell damage, cardiac scarring and conduction abnormalities”

Care to elaborate? Curious about this but am having trouble finding information… do you have any links I could start with?

paleocrushmom
2 years 10 months ago

Jacob, I will post a few links for you but it will likely take a little time for this site to moderate a comment with links.

paleocrushmom
Annie S
Annie S
2 years 10 months ago

What you referenced here is endurance athletes… almost the opposite of what Mark is talking about. He says we’re NOT to be cardio junkies, but to have a more balanced attitude toward exercise. I hardly think the 3-11 hours of single session exercise referenced in this study are what I would call balanced…

Starling’s law says that the more you stretch the cardiac muscle, the more forcefully it can contract. Health doesn’t have to be bad. And stretching cardiac muscle is a good thing! In moderation, of course!

paleocrushmom
2 years 10 months ago

Annie S, you need to look at the beginning of the discussion why endurance athletes were referenced.

Don
Don
2 years 10 months ago

I think you may have misinterpreted data. One of the main reasons we want to perform sprints is to bulk up the heart muscle which increases cardiac output. The exact opposite of what LSD running does.

paleocrushmom
2 years 10 months ago

No, I have not misinterpreted the data. The discussion turned to endurance athletes and complications like cardiac hypertrophy, cardiac dysrhythmias and heart blocks as opposed to sprinters. cardiac output = stroke volume x heart rate. if you develop ventricular hypertrophy, your stroke volume will drop all things being equal. your heart will compensate by dilating (enlarging) the lumen of the chambers. not exactly a good thing.

Aaron
Aaron
2 years 10 months ago

So I have a question about #6: The warmup is from 50% to 80% of effort. So are all sprints at 100%?

Nicole
Nicole
2 years 10 months ago

Typically, yes. Though 100% at the beginning of a Tabata looks a lot different than at the end!

Jenna Felicity
1 year 7 months ago

Agreed. My first vs 10th sprint look vastly different! Bit like burpees 😉

Colleen
Colleen
2 years 10 months ago

I agree-speaking from personal experience-don’t sprint barefoot on a treadmill. It was more of a setback than a workout.

Janet
2 years 10 months ago

Love #18 and my foam roller. And a massage! Too bad my health care plan doesn’t cover a weekly massage – maybe if they knew it was recommended by Mark 🙂

Will
Will
2 years 10 months ago
The best warmup is simply ramping up to a full sprint. Do about 1 minute of dynamic movements. For example, when I sprint it’s 20 reps. 1.) Reps 1-3 are a barefoot walk 2.) Reps 3-10 are barefoot jogs, gradually getting faster. So the 10th rep is a decent stride near 70% of your top speed. 3.) Put shoes on now if your feet are not ready. Reps 11-20 are sprints. The best part about the first 10 reps is that they are diagnostic. If something feels “off” when you hit your 6th jog rep and you are only going… Read more »
Martin
Martin
2 years 10 months ago

20. Run hills.

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 10 months ago

21. Run on dirt.

RobLL
RobLL
2 years 10 months ago

I started sprinting at 67 or so and did very well. I did notice that once a week of14 laps on a 114 meter indoor track was enough – sprint one, walk as slow as needed to recover breath. My feet seemed to be the weak point. A likely Rx problem put a stop to it. I hope to start again.

Jenna Felicity
1 year 7 months ago

67? That’s inspiring!

Julia
Julia
2 years 10 months ago

Yikes. I pretty much can do running sprints only on a treadmill. I don’t usually maintain speed when I’m outside. Too much distraction and unpredictable surfaces.

Laurie
Laurie
2 years 10 months ago

Same here! I do enjoy sprints barefoot on the beach when the weather is nice but this winter have been sprinting on the treadmill (in shoes!) with no problem. When I go all out, I feel more secure holding on to the sides of the treadmill. Maybe that’s not good form, I don’t know, but works for me, and I’m 60-something so maybe I need to hold on, ha! Also have a mini tramp and sometimes run in place or jump fast on that. But eager for nice weather to get back to the beach!

Lars
Lars
2 years 10 months ago

Perfect timing.. pulled a glute sprinting on Monday…

Luke
2 years 10 months ago

I usually sprint like #6. No need to be 100 percent out of the gate each time. Start slow and ending at full speed for the first few sprints will warm me up and keep me from straining anything.

If you’re just starting off, be easy on the number of sprints. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but you’ll be sore!

Gary Deagle
2 years 10 months ago

Great read, I am loving all the sprint lovin’. I personally always run either hill or sand sprints to limit the risk as well.

kay
2 years 10 months ago

great post, especially since I’ve just started my primal journey. it’s been staying way below zero here in Minnesota where I live, so my usual hiking in snow, snowshoeing around the lakes, etc. are not viable. would jump rope work as a sprint?
used to love it as a kid, but am not sure how to make it sprint-like when I would have to be considered a beginner with it right now.

JJ
JJ
2 years 10 months ago

Or what about stairs? Can us living in snowy climes use stairs as a sprint workout? .

Pastor Dave Deppisch
2 years 10 months ago

I miss my outdoor hill running in this extra cold weather– but on a tread mill I raise it to 4.5 and do 30-40 seconds at a 7.5-8.0 pace (

And I’m an old fart!

Jade
Jade
2 years 10 months ago

Thanks Mark, tons of info here! I have a rower but never thought to do sprints on it! And glad you approve of the foam roller…I love mine!

waterfall
waterfall
2 years 10 months ago

Would jump squats or burpees to exhaustion work as sprints?

Peter
Peter
2 years 10 months ago

Waterfull – just pick a Body weight movement (like the jump squats or no push up burpee or full push up burpee if strong enough) and go hard for 10-20s.

If you want to replicate sprints you need high intensity, short duration – especially with BW movements otherwise it becomes a ‘slog’ which is NOT a sprint and you won’t get the benefits of ‘sprinting’.

Besides which Sprinting = Cool…. Slogging= 🙁 not so much

waterfall
waterfall
2 years 10 months ago

Thanks so much! I love squat jumps—I think I’ll start calling them squat joys. Squat JOY! Squat JOY! Squat JOY!

Mihnea
Mihnea
2 years 10 months ago

I guess Mark mentions burpees in connection with Tabata sprints. I’ve been doing Tabata sprints with burpees for several months now and boy they give you a hard time!

Tania
2 years 10 months ago

I enjoy grass hill runs with my dog, they kick my butt. I am easing into running in Vibram shoes, although it’s a challenge and my feet are sore days later.
Anyone have suggestions or comments on the Vibram shoes for running?

Stace
2 years 10 months ago

Patience. Lots and lots of patience. Take it slow and don’t overdo it! Also, walk in them, a lot. Like, all the time. Focus on your cadence and where you land on your feet (should be the front, not your heel). Do it until it becomes a habit.

Laurent
Laurent
2 years 10 months ago

Question about #3:

In the video, is it just me, or are the butt kicks and high knees exactly the same movement?

Walks
Walks
2 years 10 months ago

The best machine I’ve found that is very safe is a VERSA CLIMBER! I have bad knee’s, bad hips, bad shoulders, and a bad back. All from years of over training (hockey). It’s the only way I can do sprint work period!
Happy training,
Cheers!

ab82
ab82
2 years 10 months ago

Is sprinting once weekly a good idea during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy?

Storm
Storm
2 years 10 months ago

Probably best check with the doctor on this one – but it may be the same advice for trampolining when preganant – ie, dont do it – anything that involves rapid jolts or accelerations is generally not considered a good thing when pregnant as there is a chance of ripping the placenta from its wall – not good – so yes, flying high G’s in a jet fighter is also out until after bubs is born…

John
John
2 years 10 months ago

#14
I agree completely. Dangerrrrrous.
Added to that, for me running on a treadmill for more than just a few minutes (a warmup) isn’t the greatest. Seems to put stress on kneecap tendon. You can imagine why.

Dan Williams
Dan Williams
2 years 10 months ago
Thanks for the post, Mark. In a reply to a comment I posted yesterday, I suggested exactly this kind of post. Timely and helpful. Here are some suggestions based on my experience: 1. Do not skimp on the warm ups. I always walk for 15 minutes at a good pace then do at least 3 runs of about 30 seconds with 30 seconds recovery. I do each run at a slightly faster pace and try to keep the whole process as gentle as possible while getting joints lubed up, heart rate elevated, and muscles warm. Patience and progressiveness is the… Read more »
David Marino
David Marino
2 years 10 months ago

Your advice (all of it) is very good and exactly what I have found to be most useful over the years.

Dave
Dave
2 years 10 months ago

Would add jump rope to #19. Can warm up to a sprint level using various techniques and steps. Not to mention double (triple+) unders.

kay
2 years 10 months ago

would you say a bit more on jump rope workouts ?

Dave
Dave
2 years 10 months ago
Hi Kay – I alter jump rope, jog and sprint workout with the rope getting most of my cardio if you will (I know cardio is a bad word in some circles). There are lots of resources out there, but it is a great activity that works all major muscle groups. I have attached a few vids to youtube the basics. A good rope (I prefer the speed rope models that have a cable that is encases in a protective barrier), a forgiving surface (stay away from concrete/asphalt/tile… Wood flooring is best) and some patience. I started working 30 second… Read more »
waterfall
waterfall
2 years 10 months ago

Hey Mark,
How about a post on “Stay in One Place Sprints”— jump rope, squat jumps, burpees?

Paleo-curious
2 years 10 months ago

Yes, I’d love more about jump rope especially– I loved it like crazy as a kid, but now it hurts my knees– some advice to work my way back into it if possible, or whether I should just avoid it… ???

wildgrok
wildgrok
2 years 10 months ago

I sprint once a week, usually two sets of 8 sprints (80 meters approx) with 2 min rest between sets, on the grass. I started with 3 sets of 4, did not measure rest time then. But now I do the total 16 intervals in less time than the original 12!

Corey B. (Long Beach, CA)
Corey B. (Long Beach, CA)
2 years 10 months ago
I sprint on beach sand 3 or 4 times for 20- 30 seconds during 1 hour jog 2-3 (down from 3-4 at Mark’s suggestion–I think?) times a week, plus a few sets of 30-40 step stairs (from sand to street along Long Beach, CA). Don’t sprint on sidewalk or asphalt or hills (up or down) due to fear of injury. (Signal Hill where I jog alternate days with beach is pretty steep in spots). No problems so far and wind is much improved. Do incline pushups and squats and dips but not strong enough to do pull- or chin-ups. (I’m… Read more »
Carol
2 years 10 months ago

How about kettle bell swings as a sprint?

RobLL
RobLL
2 years 10 months ago

I would say the kettle bell swings are like half way between sprints and ‘cardio’.

Carey
Carey
2 years 10 months ago

A bath isn’t a ‘warm up’, apart from raising the skin’s surface temperature.

It’s a core temperature increase we’re after, but more importantly a NEUROLOGICAL change. That’s why a bath is NOT a useful warm up, and neither is static stretching. But as Mark points out, dynamic stretches are an ideal warm up.

Move from general movements i.e. joint rotations and dynamic stretches (leg raises in three directions) to specifics (slow jog, fast jog, run, then sprint).

An excellent author on stretching is Thomas Kurz.

Brian Stanton
Brian Stanton
2 years 10 months ago

Not sure if this was a response to my comment, as I said a “sauna” is a good warmup, not a “bath”. I think a bath could be helpful too, like Mark mentioned in his post.

There are tons of studies that demonstrate the benefits of heat for loosening up muscles…here’s one!

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18796753?dopt=Abstract

Brian Stanton
Brian Stanton
2 years 10 months ago

Thanks for sharing the knowledge Mark – especially the rest-interval and dynamic stretch advice..
I’ll quickly say.. 10-15 minutes in the sauna is a great warmup at the gym. I have some significant musculoskeletal issues in my back…and standing / dynamic stretching in the sauna beforehand helps me loosen up.
From my experience, the recumbent bike is great for those with back issues…it provides support and helps keep the back still during intense intervals.

BadWolf
BadWolf
2 years 10 months ago

Pulled my groin first time i did hill sprints. Went to hard first time out. Lesson learned!

Joe
Joe
2 years 10 months ago

Mark,

I really like your Point 19. Thanks for being flexible in the choice of “sprint vehicle”.

Grok On!

Nate
Nate
2 years 10 months ago

Found this article helpful after pulling a hamstring during sprint training a few months ago.

https://www.defrancostraining.com/ask-joe/41-strength-training/177-indestructible-hamstrings.html

Leg curls are not enough to protect you from pulling a hamstring. Straight leg “kickbacks” have been working for me. Also, really stretching out your glutes(your butt) and hip flexors is an important preventative move. I’m talking about incorporating those moves into your routine in general. Not before a sprint session.

Paleo-curious
2 years 10 months ago

I know I sound like a broken record, but hoop dance is the BEST warm-up ever!

Elizabeth Agren
2 years 10 months ago

Hula hoops are a fantastic warm up!

Susan
2 years 10 months ago
I didn’t read all of the comments, but for us winter folk, here’s where I have been with it: snowshoe sprinting. Your last blog got me to thinking I really can do this, so I have been in a corn field sprinting up the snowy rows, uphill. I walk down first, about half a mile, then do short bursts back up. Just rubbed down my thighs with a small wooden thing with balls on it and it felt great! Thanks for encouraging those of us who may be intimidated by ultra-athlete activities. I have been getting up to about 10… Read more »
Peter
Peter
2 years 10 months ago

I’m jealous! That sounds like heaps of fun! 🙂

jim
jim
2 years 10 months ago
Surprised to read the recommendation against using the treadmill for sprinting. Actually it’s the second time I’ve read it in the past few weeks. I read that Mercola is against it also. Unfortunately, running on ground aggravates a lower back issue I have (reason I gave up jogging years ago) and for whatever reason the treadmill doesn’t. I’m pushing 60 and I’ve been doing tabata sprinting ever since I read about it several months ago in The Primal Blueprint. It’s worked well for me and I’m pretty much addicted to it. The level of intensity was brutal in the beginning… Read more »
K Jackson
K Jackson
2 years 10 months ago

I’ve fallen victim to mistake #9. It was my junior year of high school, and I was preparing for the regional 400 meter dash. Ripped up the bottom of both my feet. I still competed, but I did not repeat that mistake my senior year.

Storm
Storm
2 years 10 months ago
As an extra challenge you can try running in the pouring rain in a muddy field – but do at own risk – its a exhilararting experience though. Make sure your path is not near any solid objects like trees or fences in case you slip and go for a slide… I am guessing Grok may have had days where he had no choice but to sprint and evade a predator in woodlands regardless of the weather conditions, where a slip would have meant him becomming dinner. I also picture that scene in the movie “Apocalypto” where they play the… Read more »
Bob
Bob
2 years 10 months ago

I also like HIIT on the treadmill, but only uphill. My routine is 30 sec work/90sec rest x 8 at 15 incline and 7.5 to 8 pace. Awesome workout and no hammy problems. I get close to max heart rate.
Also, 3 x’s /wk. A butt-kicking workout!

dave
dave
2 years 10 months ago

What is an Usain Bolt?

Bob
Bob
2 years 10 months ago

HE is the fasted human on the planet. Won about 6 Olympic Gold!

dave
dave
2 years 10 months ago

So he is. Thanks.

Does hockey qualify for sprinting? All those twenty-somethings are pretty quick.

Walks
Walks
2 years 10 months ago

Absolutely

JulieCVT
JulieCVT
2 years 10 months ago
Vibrams on a soccer field – flat, softer impact than sidewalk or asphalt, and great traction (as long as it hasn’t been raining). When I sprint I am also thinking about every single movement of my body and I try to do all the movements with mindfulness and deliberateness. I find it’s great for the mind as well as the body! When I think about only speed I find i tend get a little clumsy. It might slow me down a hair to concentrate so much on my movement, but I am consciously engaging all muscles, carefully placing my feet,… Read more »
Leslie W
Leslie W
2 years 10 months ago
Know when to quit and choose the right surface! So, while everyone is walking around the park in the mornings my dog and I are busy with our sprinting…I throw his ball and he sprints after it and I take off sprinting for a tree across the park. It’s my goal to beat him to the tree and I usually make it. Today, I didn’t quit when I should have. I looked my dog in the eye and said “one more? ok, boy, one more”… It was very embarrassing when I took a full on face first digger in the… Read more »
Cathie
Cathie
2 years 10 months ago

Love this information. I sprint every 7-10 days, 8 x 20 seconds with 1 minute rests as per your book. I hadn’t thought about any other way to do it for the best benefits. Luckily I have an excellent beach out front most of the time and sprint at low tide when its a perfect hardness for barefoot sprinting. With the wind in your face its very exhilarating. When back in the city I sprint on grass with runners on. I feel every part of my body come to life.

Tim
Tim
2 years 10 months ago
I do sprint intervals on a spinning machine with a flywheel. Crank it to a medium resistance, stand up and go hard. 30 seconds ten times. The first 2-3 reps, I get going after 30-45 seconds of rest in between. Then, as I get tired, I end up resting about 60 seconds inbetween each sprint. I look at a big clock on the wall with a second hand to time myself. I had been a runner from 1974 until I rolled my ankle really badly a few years ago. I feel certain that I’d be prone to injuring myself (again)… Read more »
Mark
2 years 10 months ago

I used to sprint on a treadmill cause I didn’t want to look silly out in public.

Now i know it is the only way to go. And never underestimate a proper warmup. And sometimes you have to do “slow sprints” for a few weeks before going all out.

Emma
2 years 10 months ago

Thanks, a comprehensive list of advice. I especially liked number 19. I haven’t thought about sprinting with any device before. It’s good to know that you can do it on a gym too. It’s too cold to go out side and run in the snow and ice 🙂 Besides, I wouldn’t dare to risk falling down.

Serena
2 years 10 months ago

That was a great list of tips to avoid injuries during workouts! Hats off for your dedication and your fitness tips are really outstanding. Thanks for the post, worth reading!

Anna
2 years 9 months ago

#10 Stop While You’re Ahead – Definitely my biggest downfall! That extra repeat has resulted in injury for me a couple of times 😮

I’d also suggest:

#19 Sprint Uphill.
Due to the angle of the ground, sprinting uphill is lower impact than on the flat, and of course downhill. Because it’s uphill, although you’ll send your heart rate through the roof, you will also go a little slower, therefore reducing injury risk even more 🙂

wpDiscuz