Running slow, for long periods of time is no way to change your body or increase your strength. In fact, I was the heaviest of my life when I ran super slow marathons back in 2001-2006. It wasn’t until I picked up the pace and started putting myself through the huffy and puffy, omg this hurts, sprint workouts that things started to change. This beginner sprint workout can move you farther, faster than running 10 slow miles every weekend. And it takes less than 40 minutes.
The Payoff: What you get out of doing sprints
Leaner legs, a stronger body and to be honest, more energy are the payoffs for pushing yourself to the limits. Your body won’t change unless you physically ask it to. You do that by showing it where it’s falling short. And a good sprint workout is a great way to see where you fall short – ha!
When you push yourself to the max, you’re body responds by literally building more muscle for strength and capillaries to improve blood flow and energy production so the whole dang thing functions better.
My Goal: Why I’m putting myself through this
Now, running slow seems stupid to me. I’d rather walk to protect my joints and enjoy myself. But I as a part of my “Operation: revive the dead plant,” I’m all about SPRINTS and some shorter tempo running on the weekend. I don’t really want to be a runner again (right now) or train for a race, but I do miss my runner legs and the energy that came with it.
It’s funny that I’m calling this a beginner sprint workout when I’m not technically a beginner runner. I’ve been running marathons since I was in my early 20’s. I crossed the 26.2 finish line 14 times (including 3 BQs and 2 Bostons) and have run more halves, 10k and 5Ks than my walls have space for the medals.
But after I did this workout this morning, it was evident that I am, once again, physically a beginner runner. I “sprinted” the 200’s slower than my old half marathon pace, could hardly hold the 800 at my old marathon pace, and I walked all the recoveries (ouch).
What’s cool about being a beginner runner
But you know what? None of that matters. There is something really cool about being a beginner runner! When you’re just starting out, you have soooo much room to improve and grow. I’m gonna shake off the sadness and/or frustration that my 18 month running hiatus could have caused and I’m starting today from day 1. And I can’t wait to see how much stronger I get! I don’t care if I ever reach those old paces. I just want to feel strong, happy, proud and alive!
The Beginner Sprint Workout
You can do this on a treadmill or out and about using an app like Run Keeper or a GPS watch. I went for the treadmill because I didn’t feel like programming an app and my watch is almost as outdated as I am — lol.
- Warm Up: 5 min easy
- 1st Sprint Series: 4×200 with 3 x 100 mini recoveries
- Recovery: 5 min easy
- 2nd Sprint Series: 2×400 with 1 x 200 mini recovery
- Recovery: 5 min easy
- 3rd Sprint Series: 1×800
- Cool Down: 5 min easy
It’s only 1.5 miles of sprinting and this is great for a beginner because there is lots of recovery built in, which you can walk or jog. The whole thing will will take about 30-40 min and you’ll run anywhere from 3-5 miles depending on your fitness level.
Remember, anybody can do this!
Your running experience, does not matter. Your current pace, totally, does not matter. How long it takes, does not matter. How far you go, does not matter. The only thing that matters is that you do it (or something like it) one to two times per week and measure your progress. You will be shocked at how strong you can get and how fast it happens!
You can repeat this exact same workout every week and record your total time and distance. See how much faster you can get through it and how much farther you can go.
Today, I recorded total time and distance. I can’t wait to see what happens next week!
What do you think — are you in for this beginner sprint workout?
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