WOW: Sprint, Walk, Sprint, Repeat

Complete 15 minutes of:

6-second Sprint
6-second Sprint


Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, three light sprints at 70%.

Sometimes workouts arise spontaneously when you least expect it. You’re walking along somewhere simple – the beach, a sidewalk, a trail – and, without any premeditation, are struck with the urge to exercise. You come up with something on the spot and just get after it. Chances are it’s unlike anything you’ve ever done, simply because it’s unplanned and random. These are the spontaneous workout’s virtues, and this is why these kind of physical ventures are my favorite. I’ve got a fairly busy schedule which forces me to plan most of my workouts and even my playing, so stumbling onto a workout is really fulfilling. If it wouldn’t defeat the purpose altogether, I’d probably plan more spontaneous workouts!

Today’s WOW isn’t spontaneous, since, well, I’m writing about it and posting it on a blog, but still: it’s borne of spontaneity. A few days ago I was on the beach with the pooch (illegally, I might add; LA county is still woefully backwards when it comes to beach access for dogs), just walking. I tend to do a lot of thinking this way. So, we’re walking along, and all of a sudden Buddha takes off after a large seagull that was, frankly, instigating things with the flapping, the feathers, and the bright yellow beak. I personally had nothing against the bird, but it looked like fun, so I took off after them. This turned into a series of sprinting, walking, and more sprinting. Similar to HIIT, but the sprint durations were so brief that I was never really exhausted and I was able to recover almost completely in between sprints.

Here’s what you do: sprint for six seconds, going all out; then, walk the same distance that you sprinted, which should provide plenty of time for you to replenish your reserves; then, sprint for six seconds; repeat for fifteen minutes. The relatively deserted beach worked well for this because I could chart my steps and roughly gauge the distance I’d traveled during the sprint to determine how far to walk, but any locale of sufficient size and length will work. I suppose you could just sprint in an enclosed area and walk back to your starting position, but that’s not very interesting. Try to do this WOW outdoors.

A few things to remember:

  • You’re going all out here. Sprints are sprints: full-out maximum efforts. Six seconds should be the perfect duration (but feel free to drop it to five if you find your sprints are waning).
  • Uphill sprints are tough, but if the landscape you choose includes hills, so be it. Take what the land gives you and work around it.
  • Have fun. You probably won’t be gasping on the floor, panting and heaving, but you’ll get a fantastic workout nonetheless. Enjoy the change of pace.
  • As always, be safe, avoid injury and use proper form at all times.


If you can’t run, use any sort of locomotion for sprinting: swimming, cycling, rowing, crawling. Stick with the walking, though.

What are WOWs?

  • Workouts of the Week (WOWs) are an optional component of Primal Blueprint Fitness that add a fractal and often fun and playful quality to the basic PBF protocol.
  • In most cases WOWs should only be completed by those that have mastered Level 4 of each Lift Heavy Things Essential Movement. Also, it’s recommended that WOWs replace one or both Lift Heavy Things workouts or the Sprint workout (depending on the WOW) each week instead of being done in addition to the Lift Heavy Things and Sprint workouts.
  • Learn more about WOWs and Primal Blueprint Fitness by getting the free eBook. And access all Workouts of the Week in the WOW Archive.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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24 thoughts on “WOW: Sprint, Walk, Sprint, Repeat”

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  1. I do something similar when walking along the road… I use light or power poles to track distances – sprint for two pole lengths, walk for two, etc.

  2. I’ve done this a lot with 15-sec. sprints. I’m usually gasping, so I can see 6-sec. sprints working a bit better for me.

  3. This is great, something I can still do between the ice and snow all over.
    My snow mound climb and dive’s have been getting dangerous!

    1. i agree! i never thought about doing such short sprints.. i am doing sprints on a treadmill and doing all out on a treadmill gets a little tricky…. but i think i can find 6 seconds worth of clear sidewalk to run on!

  4. i love sprinting..even on a day you feel to tired to walk if you do sprints then your muscles open, you will more energic, light. i do sprint 2-3 times a week. sometime it makes you so energic that i go climb all the trees in the park and play soccer with a dog 🙂

  5. I did a very simple “workout” the other day that ended up being pretty decent.

    Take one large hefty bag, proceed to nearby public park, pick up trash until bag is full (using deep knee bends and very little back bending). This particular park is pretty clean, so it took a long, long time.

  6. I like t do this while walking my dog along the river bank, however it’s really muddy this time of year and it’s rather hard to sprint in wellies!! Until the ground gets better, all I can safely do is a ploddy jog xD

  7. I am a big fan of doing interval type training. I live in Los Angeles and one thing I have done a few times to break the monotony of the treadmill is much like what you described, using your surroundings. In my case I used a paved hill. Doing a brief 10 second run and then a walk back down several times did the trick. Plus the scenery was well worth it.

  8. I wish I did NOT live in Michigan as I read this… I know I can still do sprints outside but its SUPER chilly in the morning and evenings here right now. I would be pushing it if I did “sprints” outside!

    1. i have the same problem as you! i live in mn and do my sprint workouts on a treadmill right now, not the most safe. i am thinking of trying to do a jump rope sprint type work out, not quite the same thing but i bet it would get the job done and be safer and warmer than heading out doors for sprint days!

    2. I live in northern Maine so same issue here…what i like to do is put on my tall Sorel boots and go out to the local high school soccer field and do these sprints in the fresh snow! Brings it to a whole other level!! It is a blast and if you fall it’s a soft landing 🙂

      1. THAT’s what I’m talkin about! I go out every morning in my sorels (in mtns west of Denver)
        I bet you make snow angels when you fall.

  9. Trail riding in Franke Park (Yay Fort Wayne!) is a great Sprint/Walk/Sprint format – in and out of ravines – and lots of fun. Just rode it Jan8 with snow falling, 25deg, woolies head to toe, and had a blast.

  10. lol, and here I am complaining that’s it’s too cold to sprint here in Sacramento, a chilly 45 degrees 🙂

  11. I *had* to sprint this morning – it was almost 20 below here! I like to run up the little hill in the park & slide down (sprint for the dog)

    Mark, your’re such a rebel with your dog on the beach & all. It’s good to see someone else also has a dog that encourages “unlawful” behaviour. My dog is such a “bad role model” 😉

  12. I pretty much do that while playing keep away with my dog and one of his toys.

  13. All you complaining about snow and cold…

    My 71 year old mother lives in far NW Wisconsin and walks everyday unless there’s severe weather.

  14. Try playing Ultimate at a semi-competitive level… it basically mimics this workout with a couple of power cleans (I.E. jumping), lunges, and other various plyometric movements mixed in.

  15. Canadian primal queen says here we go folks, for an all out cavewoman sprint work-out in the hilly woods on Ontario: run about a 1km warm-up to your destination point; locate a slope (at about 80% incline- with a decent 100-150 meter stretch). Do your primal intervals, at 30 x 100m (that’s 100 meters on, 100 meters off– total 15 all out sprints with 15 all out recoveries). Breathe. Cruise home at 75% of final sprint pace. Walk it off. Then do your grokette squats: 5 x 25 squats. Rest. Drink 1.5 liters of H20- and fly high for the rest of your day!!

  16. I do sprints. I live in Boston, and even in the winter you can do them. Just warm up first… What I do is jog a bit, make sure I stretch after the muscles are warm, and then if I’m feeling it, sprint. It can be a little tough on the lungs (the cold air) but I think you build up a resistance to it. Plus working out in the cold burns fat faster. 🙂

  17. Running, Bush walking, swimming,Bike riding, weights,digging the garden, chopping wood or the likes of make a habit of it, good stuff! exercise,

  18. I thought 15 minutes would take forever but surprisingly it didn’t! Fun workout – just need to get faster on my sprints!

    Thanks 🙂

  19. AIl of my runs have become sprint-walk-runs these days. I find the easiest way to track distance is to count paces rather than seconds or landmarks.

    I usually do sprints of 50 silent counts (although sometimes I count them out loud, under my breath), where one count is each time my starting leg hits the pavement.

    So 50 counts is actually 100 paces, one for each leg, and might be around 100 meters or so.

    Toward the end of a run, I’ll lower to 20 or 25 counts per sprint.

    For some reason I find it a lot more fun than your typical regular jog.