7

votes

Am I "sprinting" too long and too slow?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 21, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Trying to get my exercise regime in order as well as my eating... Did a "sprints" session in the gym yesterday and went for 1 minute sprints with 1 or 2 minutes of walking to recover in between.

I have seen some comments about much shorter sprints being better. So am I sprinting too long and slow?

I am particularly interested in the science of what's happening to my body during and after the sprint...

...for info, I set the treadmill at 14 to 15 kmh (10 to 11 mph??) for my "sprints" - as I can do 10 sets of 1 minute at this pace, and it doesn't feel too unsafe on the treadmill at that speed (but on the edge for the 250 lb me - don't walk behind my treadmill just in case I fly off...I will probably squash you flat).

Outside I am happier to sprint full speed for shorter distance, but my lifestyle does drive me to need to do some sprint sessions in the gym (eg time, weather here in the UK, location of work etc).

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on December 22, 2011
at 04:39 PM

Gary - true! yesterday, I did 3 cycles of tabatas on a bike (12 minutes), and off I was; the guy who had been on the bike for 40 minutes gave me a sort of 'where do you think you're going'? look. Generally the 'looks' you get from various paleoish activities are so worth it. :-))

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on December 22, 2011
at 04:28 PM

You're welcome to stay at our home in Florida and do some winter sprints any time you wish Gary. It's 76 degrees today. :) stay well.

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 22, 2011
at 09:03 AM

:-) very good...you only missed my miserable attempt to ignore the fact I've been found out on the poor excuse of the weather and was trying to distract with irrelevant comments. Are you sure you didn't inherit an INability to spell, though?

C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on December 22, 2011
at 12:16 AM

Do NOT try to sprint on a treadmill for your own safety.. I've tried it before, and if anything its extremely dangerous. Plus, not all treadmills are maintained well (depends on gym, I suppose), and I've been on some that will drag/slow down at random points, due to the belt friction. Really frustrating/annoying.

3bad4b0b105bf44d7650e7fdfbe15cbd

(860)

on December 22, 2011
at 12:08 AM

++ on the rowing machine. You can do an effective 20/10 Tabata workout on there whereas it's near impossible on a treadmill due to the speedup/slowdown time. You could also use an exercise bike.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on December 21, 2011
at 06:49 PM

and I don't think she knew how to type either. Yes it's inherited.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on December 21, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Northumberland comes in at 48 degrees, Glasgow comes in at 52 degress. Your distinction is without a difference. Good try though. Now as to the spelling, I stand quilty as charged. I inhereted by mothers weak adrenal glands and her dis-ability to spell.

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 05:48 PM

I guess that's why I went longer...by the time you get the speed up there you feel like you need to stay reasonably fast for a while!

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 03:54 PM

...and I'm not in London...the UK has a little more to it than 1 city. Even the guys that invented the US of A weren't from London!!

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 03:52 PM

And I'm not in London. UK has a little more to it than just London...

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 03:52 PM

Thanks. Know what you mean about the hamster. Although I have to say the looks I got yesterday from the hamsters all plodding along doing their chronic cardio while I hammered out some sprints were worth it

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 03:48 PM

We're usually too busy drinking tea and correcting the spelling of Americans to have much of a stiff upper lip these days...Sorry :-)

71e078b9000a360364fd039bae64dabf

(125)

on December 21, 2011
at 01:59 PM

If you're getting cold or bothered about rain you're clearly not sprinting hard enough.

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 21, 2011
at 01:30 PM

It's not a great excuse, it doesn't rain that much, and it's really not cold. It's fun if you want it to be.

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 12:00 PM

AndyM...the weather is always an excuse in the UK. I follow the Mark Sisson principle that exercise should be fun...and going outside to do sprints in the rain and cold isn't my idea of much fun..yet. Maybe the more Primal/Paleo I become, the more I will embrace the elements?

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 11:59 AM

Thanks for the rowing tip. I love the rowing machine anyway...and full speed on there doesn't endanger the lives of my fellow gym members!

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 11:58 AM

Have just found Taku...seems as though I'd be quite close to the recommended week 1 and 2 sprints for Phase 1 of that.

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10 Answers

9
4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on December 21, 2011
at 10:41 AM

Sprinting is supposed to be at full speed. Go full speed for as long as you can handle it, then give yourself the appropriate rest period. I realize sprinting on the treadmill isn't ideal and may not lend itself to a true sprint. I personally wouldn't do sprints on the treadmill. I use the rowing machine. I find it better to use something that allows you to set your own pace.

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 11:59 AM

Thanks for the rowing tip. I love the rowing machine anyway...and full speed on there doesn't endanger the lives of my fellow gym members!

C7e3ba0ed51a6195ae022822a8f056ac

(673)

on December 22, 2011
at 12:16 AM

Do NOT try to sprint on a treadmill for your own safety.. I've tried it before, and if anything its extremely dangerous. Plus, not all treadmills are maintained well (depends on gym, I suppose), and I've been on some that will drag/slow down at random points, due to the belt friction. Really frustrating/annoying.

3bad4b0b105bf44d7650e7fdfbe15cbd

(860)

on December 22, 2011
at 12:08 AM

++ on the rowing machine. You can do an effective 20/10 Tabata workout on there whereas it's near impossible on a treadmill due to the speedup/slowdown time. You could also use an exercise bike.

3
B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on December 21, 2011
at 02:15 PM

Sprinting means going all out, as fast and hard as you can go; I wouldn't bother much with exact speeds, you have to adjust it to yourself, which is why it is very difficult to sprint on a treadmill - because it basically forces you to run at a certain speed without allowing you to flexibly gauge the intensity at which your sprint is indeed 'all out'. I am also rather confined to a gym in my workouts and I use a stationary spinning bike to sprint; you can adjust the resistance on those so you can not only try 'flat' ground sprints but also hill sprints, or even standing and hover sprints.

As far as the time goes, I think the Tabata intervals are perfect for sprinting (20 seconds sprint, 10 seconds rest, repeat 8 times = one cycle of 4 minutes). I personally do 3 cycles with 1 minute rest in between. If you're going all out, I do think that a 1-minute sprint is a little too long; a 'sprint' should be at 100% output; I don't know you, or your fitness level, so I can't say for sure, but I personally would struggle to keep up 100% intensity for 1 minute.

Bottom line, I would recommend you try some tabatas on a stationary bike! Really gun it for 20 seconds (imagine a panther is chasing you, or that you're chasing your dinner - this one's very effective if you're doing this fasted!). Good luck!

Lots of Paleo Love

Milla

P.S. The treadmill makes me feel like a hamster...

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 03:52 PM

Thanks. Know what you mean about the hamster. Although I have to say the looks I got yesterday from the hamsters all plodding along doing their chronic cardio while I hammered out some sprints were worth it

B9637ddb9a9a5c6a7306e3c804fcd21d

(3217)

on December 22, 2011
at 04:39 PM

Gary - true! yesterday, I did 3 cycles of tabatas on a bike (12 minutes), and off I was; the guy who had been on the bike for 40 minutes gave me a sort of 'where do you think you're going'? look. Generally the 'looks' you get from various paleoish activities are so worth it. :-))

3
22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on December 21, 2011
at 11:38 AM

Your doing a metabolic training workout not a sprint workout. As trjones mentioned above, it should be all out as hard and fast as you can go with adequate amount of rest in between. Time it and once your time starts to significantly decrease then end the sprint workout. I usually do 20, 40 or 100 yards. I also love the shuttle runs as well.

1
D826ee7c5f65d509348f7fe8aeeafdd4

(368)

on December 21, 2011
at 05:45 PM

I've determined it almost impossible to do sprints on a treadmill. Specifically short, tabata style sprints.

Consider the time it takes for the treadmill to get from a resting speed to a sprint speed; some can take a solid 5-6 seconds to get to full speed and back down again.

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 05:48 PM

I guess that's why I went longer...by the time you get the speed up there you feel like you need to stay reasonably fast for a while!

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on December 21, 2011
at 02:15 PM

I'm with Andy M on this one. I just googled London temps. 50 degree highs for the next ten days. Now I must confess I am a snow bird. I do flee New England for Florida every October, and never consider returning before Memorial DAy. But really, don't you British still use that "stiff upper lip " thing, or did that pass with Churchill? :) But here's a compromise.. Warm up on the treadmill for five to eight minutes. Then run out into the frozen tundra and do your 8x30 sec. intervals (eight minutes outside total) and run back into the warm gym and "cool down" inside. Check for frostbite while taking the hot shower. :) Good luck.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on December 21, 2011
at 06:49 PM

and I don't think she knew how to type either. Yes it's inherited.

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 03:48 PM

We're usually too busy drinking tea and correcting the spelling of Americans to have much of a stiff upper lip these days...Sorry :-)

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 22, 2011
at 09:03 AM

:-) very good...you only missed my miserable attempt to ignore the fact I've been found out on the poor excuse of the weather and was trying to distract with irrelevant comments. Are you sure you didn't inherit an INability to spell, though?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on December 22, 2011
at 04:28 PM

You're welcome to stay at our home in Florida and do some winter sprints any time you wish Gary. It's 76 degrees today. :) stay well.

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 03:54 PM

...and I'm not in London...the UK has a little more to it than 1 city. Even the guys that invented the US of A weren't from London!!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on December 21, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Northumberland comes in at 48 degrees, Glasgow comes in at 52 degress. Your distinction is without a difference. Good try though. Now as to the spelling, I stand quilty as charged. I inhereted by mothers weak adrenal glands and her dis-ability to spell.

1
25269b4fa657a2120a565efe1b3eef11

on December 21, 2011
at 01:01 PM

As others have mentioned a "sprint" is all out and isnt best suited to a treadmill. That being said as you become more comfortable on the treadmill slowly ramp up your intensity either with speed or incline. I find that my sweetspot is 4 or 5 sprints at all out intensity for 30 seconds (roughly 200 M) followed by 2 minutes of a very slow walk. Adequate recovery is necessary to push the intensity. I usually alternate my sprint sessions between running and rowing.

1
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 21, 2011
at 10:56 AM

If you're too out of breath to go keep going after a minute then it's ok, and I think it'll be doing you some good - particularly if you are able to so fewer, shorter, faster sprints sometimes as well. I'm not sure I'd take the weather as a great excuse though...

Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 21, 2011
at 01:30 PM

It's not a great excuse, it doesn't rain that much, and it's really not cold. It's fun if you want it to be.

71e078b9000a360364fd039bae64dabf

(125)

on December 21, 2011
at 01:59 PM

If you're getting cold or bothered about rain you're clearly not sprinting hard enough.

6cdc6b1e75690cfcc4804a6c9eaa910a

(2171)

on December 21, 2011
at 12:00 PM

AndyM...the weather is always an excuse in the UK. I follow the Mark Sisson principle that exercise should be fun...and going outside to do sprints in the rain and cold isn't my idea of much fun..yet. Maybe the more Primal/Paleo I become, the more I will embrace the elements?

0
Af8353c0eb48c4369a3a783f0c550fce

on December 22, 2011
at 04:30 AM

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Personalized Workout Calculator >>>> http://www.freerunningcalculator.com

Courtesy of Running Coach Ken at 5 Speed Running

0
Medium avatar

on December 22, 2011
at 03:32 AM

I don't recommend training "all out," if that means 10 out of 10. It's a way of working "too hard." Always good to have a sense that you could step it up. Or so I have found from experience.

Get clear about your goals. Read the best online stuff about HIIT. Avoid treadmill for all the reasons stated above. Start with a 1-10 scale of perceived exertion (PE). Warm up at 5 for five minutes. Consider this progression: 30 seconds at PE 6; then 30 secs at PE 7. Continue to PE 9. Drop down to 6 and repeat. Call it a day or do it again.

Alternatively, try this HIIT variation: Warm up. 30 seconds at PE 8-9, followed by 60 seconds walking. Repeat for 20 minutes. Cool down as you head home.

0
3bad4b0b105bf44d7650e7fdfbe15cbd

on December 22, 2011
at 12:05 AM

If you're looking for Tabata-esque results (i.e. sprinting that confers similar metabolic effects as a longer steady-state run) you can do the Little method, which is 60 seconds @ 95% VO2max and then 75 seconds rest.

Wikipedia has a very short summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-intensity_interval_training#Little_Method

The actual study is here: http://jp.physoc.org/content/early/2010/01/20/jphysiol.2009.181743.abstract

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