How to Determine Speed for Sprinting

Sprinting speeds are typically given in units of time, but are easily converted.
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Sprinting performance is typically measured in the number of seconds it takes to complete a run. This time measurement is a useful metric, because the distance covered is always the same for a particular event, which means your speed is a direct function of your time. Therefore, to determine your speed, you would first determine your time and then calculate your speed using your desired units.

    Use a tape measure to mark the distance for a particular sprinting event on dry, level ground. If your tape measure is too short to mark the entire distance, maximally extend the tape, mark the end, measure again from that point and add the result to the previous measurement. Continue until you have fully measured the sprinting distance.

    Place two marking cones at either end of the measured distance to use as starting and finish lines.

    Assume a starting position with your lead foot just behind the starting line.

    Start your stopwatch and begin running at full speed to the finish line. Stop the stopwatch as you cross the finish line and record your time. As an example, an average man might run the 35-meter sprint test in 5.2 seconds.

    Divide the distance covered by your time to calculate speed. In the previous example, divide 35 meters by 5.2 seconds to calculate your speed of 6.73 meters per second.

    Convert your speed into miles per hour by multiplying meters per second by 2.237, or yards per second by 2.045. Continuing with the previous example, multiplying 6.73 times 2.237 converts your speed to 15.05 miles per hour.

    Things You'll Need

    • Tape measure

    • Marking cones

    • Stopwatch


    • Perform your sprint test on a windless day or when there is a cross breeze to prevent head or tail winds from affecting your results.

      Perform the test multiple times and average the results to get a true measurement of your average speed.


    • Warm up for 10 minutes prior to performing the sprint test to avoid injury and allow peak performance.

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