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    erica057's Avatar
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    Progression for sprint intervals?

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    Does anyone know of a progression, Couch-to-5K-style, for sprint intervals?

    I'm in shape, and I run shortish distances (usually 5k, best 5k race time was 25:25), but I don't have experience sprinting. Conditioning (joint strength, etc) isn't a huge concern because I do lots of plyometrics, jump rope, heavy weight lifting, and so forth. I would love a progression like you see in C25K, just to help guide me and keep me on track. Does anyone know of such a thing? I'm near a university track and would much prefer distance-based intervals rather than time-based ones ("run 200 meters" rather than "sprint for 30 seconds").
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    Velocity's Avatar
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    Well, obviously it's best to start with lower distances. For absolute beginners, something like 40-50 yard sprints (or "as fast as you can go") is generally a good place to start. More rest between sprints is good too.

    But for someone wanting to begin to up the sprint distance... starting at a distance with which you're comfortable (e.g., 100 yards) is a good point. First session, do enough sprints so that you're in the neighborhood of 1000 yards (the upper limit for a conditioning session length-wise, per Jason Ferruggia). Take two minutes between sprints. If that's too easy, take the rest periods down. Keep in this vein until you reach the point where sprints are followed by 45-60 seconds rest. If you're crazy, you could go to 30 seconds but generally that's not necessary. Once you reach that threshold, move up 25 yards. So, you'd aim for eight 125-yard sprints. Start with two minutes' rest between each, and then progress. Once you get to the one minute rest, move up to 150. Do six or seven per session. etc. etc.

    But as your distances get longer, let your initial rest period get longer. If you get up to 250 yards, try resting for three minutes or so the first time. Once that becomes easy, then begin to tone down the rest periods. By the time you get to 400 yard/meter sprints, you'll only need about 3 (maybe 4) sprints per session with a few minutes' rest between each.
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    erica057's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
    Well, obviously it's best to start with lower distances. For absolute beginners, something like 40-50 yard sprints (or "as fast as you can go") is generally a good place to start. More rest between sprints is good too.

    But for someone wanting to begin to up the sprint distance... starting at a distance with which you're comfortable (e.g., 100 yards) is a good point. First session, do enough sprints so that you're in the neighborhood of 1000 yards (the upper limit for a conditioning session length-wise, per Jason Ferruggia). Take two minutes between sprints. If that's too easy, take the rest periods down. Keep in this vein until you reach the point where sprints are followed by 45-60 seconds rest. If you're crazy, you could go to 30 seconds but generally that's not necessary. Once you reach that threshold, move up 25 yards. So, you'd aim for eight 125-yard sprints. Start with two minutes' rest between each, and then progress. Once you get to the one minute rest, move up to 150. Do six or seven per session. etc. etc.

    But as your distances get longer, let your initial rest period get longer. If you get up to 250 yards, try resting for three minutes or so the first time. Once that becomes easy, then begin to tone down the rest periods. By the time you get to 400 yard/meter sprints, you'll only need about 3 (maybe 4) sprints per session with a few minutes' rest between each.
    Thanks, this was really helpful! Last night I went to the track and did 6x200 meter sprints and I was DYING, sounds like I was being too ambitious to start out with.
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    "Boxing seems to contain so complete and so powerful an image of life -- life's beauty, vulnerability, despair, incalculable and often self-destructive courage -- that boxing IS life, and hardly a mere game." --Joyce Carol Oates

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