The Best Sprint Workouts for Faster Results

Most people won’t run at their maximum speed unless they are being chased by someone. Here’s an interesting idea: “Practicing running faster is going to make you faster,” Matt Nolan, a Barry’s Bootcamp master instructor and RRCA-certified running coach, says. Sprint workouts are short, intense efforts that are followed by quick recovery periods. This can help you run faster at all distances and paces.

Nolan explains that sprint workouts “train the body to recruit, develop fast-twitch muscles fibers, increase heart rate, and overall caloric efficiency.” Sprint workouts will become easier to do the faster you get comfortable with them. You’ll be amazed at how much it becomes easier to maintain a sprint pace that is faster than you did when you started.

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These sprint workouts can be done once or twice per week. Make sure you have enough time to cool off and warm up before and after. Warmups include dynamic exercises such as hamstring stretches, high knees and quad stretches. These are followed by a 1-mile jog, or 3 minutes of striders (15 seconds). Attempts to increase intensity followed by 30 seconds. Walking or jogging. These routines can be done on a treadmill, outdoors on a track, or on the street.

1. Sprint Training for Beginners

Nolan says that the workout is simple enough to be followed by anyone and helps you learn to pace yourself. For as many reps as you can, try to maintain the same speed for the second round. This will help your body adapt and become stronger faster.

  • 1-min. Jog
  • 30-sec. Sprint
  • Repeat the process 6-8 times

2. Sprint Workout: The fastest

Alain Saint-Dic is a Mile High Run Club coach in New York.

  • 3x 10-12 sec. @ 85% effort (or fast, but not all-out), at 8% inclines
  • 90-sec. Recovery walk or jog
  • 5x 10-12 sec. @ 95% effort (as fast you can go) at 1% inclined
  • 90-sec. Recovery walk or jog

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3. Hill Sprint Workout

A steep hill approximately a third of a mile in length is required. If you are running on a treadmill, adjust the speed to 3.5-4.5%. Amanda Nurse, a Boston-based elite marathoner and running coach, says that this workout will push you beyond your comfort zone. “Keep an even effort up the hill and make use of the downhills for recovery.”

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  • Run 1/3 of the hill at a rapid pace and then jog down at a slow pace
  • Run 1/3 of the hill at a rapid pace and then jog down at a slow pace
  • You can run up the hill quickly, then you can jog down at a slower pace
  • Allow to rest for 2 minutes
  • 4×20 sec. Sprints up the hill, followed by a jog down

4. Sprint Workout

Nolan says that speed efforts that are shorter and more efficient the closer you get towards finishing have a physical and mental payoff. Your brain will notice and recognize the shorter sprints as you move on, which will make you faster.

  • 3 x 600m, or 90 seconds. @ 80% effort or 2 MPH slower than top sprint pace with a 2-minute. Between sets, jog or walk to recover
  • 3 x 400m, or 60 seconds. At 90% effort (or 1MPH slower than top sprint pace), with a time of 90 seconds. Between sets, you can recover by walking or running.
  • 3 x 200m, or 30 seconds. Sprint speed at 100% with 1 minute. Recovery walk or jog between sets

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5. Endurance Sprint Workout

Saint-Dic explains that instead of sprinting all the time, Saint-Dic is focusing on maintaining your maximum velocity over a longer period of time. This will allow your body to be able to maintain a faster pace for longer periods of time, which is important if you are planning to run a half-marathon.

  • 4 x 18-22 sec. at 85% effort with an 8% slope
  • 90-sec. Recovery walk or jog
  • 4 x 18-22 sec. At 95% effort with a 1% incline
  • 90-sec. Recovery walk or jog