I started a weekly sprinting session along with my dog at my local park two weeks ago; I was wondering if people could post some tips on form or performance? Also rest times/regimen?
Sprinting is definitely a very different kind of feeling than I get on an elliptical or doing anaerobic! When I am done my lungs are burning and my heart feels like it is on fire (but in a non life threatening sort of way!) Feels great to know that I am strengthening a weaker area of my fitness.
one thing I noticed I was not doing was breathing enough. I had to consciously force myself to breath as much as I could! My natural tendency was to hold my breath or breath normally. Amazing what a difference that makes!
Wear minimalist shoes...Vibrams if possible. Find a soccer field. Sprint length and then walk back. I find that for me that is enough rest to go again. Start with a few sprints, work up to 8-10.
Yeah sprinting on grass with vibrams is really fun.
When you are trying to run as fast as you can - what are you focused on? Increasing your leg speed? Your stride length? Are you leaning forward?
Tips I've learned:
1) Barefoot or minimalist shoes, for sure. That way you can sprint on the balls of your feet as nature intended, losing no energy to heel strikes and recapturing your momentum in the springs of your calves.
2) Curl back your toes and flex your foot up at the beginning of each step. Step in front of you like a drum major falling forward, knees high with a quick tempo. Avoid long, bounding strides with legs flying out behind you.
3) Keep your arms at your sides, elbows locked at about 90 degrees, and swing your arms at the shoulder exactly parallel to the direction of travel, like they were over train tracks.
4) Relax -- don't make fists; don't labor your breathing; don't screw up your face, just let it go slack. Focus on maximizing the tempo, not the impact of your steps.
5) Lead with your hips. Try running with just your hips for a while (arms and legs locked straight) to get a feeling for where the power comes from. Caution: you will look extra silly.
Most of this I learned at PrimalCon, and I was surprised at the difference it made.
Great tips, T.
I never tried sprinting barefoot... that must hurt.
Thanks, rphlslv! Barefoot sprinting on grass is delightful... but barefoot on asphalt and concrete definitely takes getting used to. It helps to take quicker, shorter steps rather than the leaping strides that people in shoes seem to prefer. At that pace, occasional rocks and seeds don't really matter because you're not overly committed to any one step.
Also, if you've never run barefoot, like I hadn't, a lot of the pain is just your feet being super-sensitive because they're used to artificial soles. The sensitivity tones down and your soles get thicker, but it seems to be a months-long process initially fraught with blisters. At this point, I can run for a couple miles barefoot on concrete before my feet start throbbing. Someday I'd love to be the crazy person sprinting barefoot in the 5K... but that's still quite a ways off.
Can't wait to grow some thick callouses on my feet! Who needs VFF anyways.
+1 for barefoot - I always try to sprint with my vibrams as I feel I get the best form/speed/performance/intensity while wearing them
+1 for relaxation - keep everything relaxed and let your body focus the energy where it needs to go. If you watch real sprinters, their faces are the epitome of relaxed. I find when I relax the face, everything else falls in line.
lean forward at a 5% angle while sprinting.