You’ve got to get your heart racing if you want to lose weight. And one of the best ways to get your heart racing is to train like a racer. Interval training -- alternating higher and lower intensity exercises -- is a standard part of many sprinters’ workouts. The process gets your heart rate up and keeps it up, which helps you burn additional calories and melt away any excess weight.
Warm up before your workout by performing less-intense intervals. For example, walk at a brisk pace for about two minutes, then jog lightly for 30 seconds. Walk for two more minutes, then jog at about half your sprinting speed for 20 seconds. Walk for another two minutes, then sprint at close to your top speed for 15 seconds. Conclude your warm-up by walking for another three minutes.
Perform dynamic stretches when your body is warm, but before you begin your intense intervals. Do leg stretches such as walking or running with high knees for your quads and glutes; walking lunges for your hamstrings, hips and glutes; and straight leg kicks for your hamstrings and calves.
Perform your first interval by sprinting at top speed for 20 seconds. Have a coach or training partner hold a stopwatch and tell you when to begin, then when to stop sprinting.
Slow down, but don’t stop abruptly, when your training partner tells you to stop sprinting. Gradually slow to a walk. After 10 seconds, either perform another interval or continue your normal workout, if you’re only mixing a few intervals into your training session.
- Running for 20 seconds then resting for 10 provides a very challenging workout if you do multiple repetitions. If you’re new to interval training, begin much more slowly to avoid stressing your muscles. Mix a few sprinting intervals -- with longer rest periods between the sprints -- into your normal workout and monitor your body to avoid injury. Gradually build up your pace, reduce your resting times and add more intervals to your workout as your conditioning improves. Novice sprinters should consult with a sprinting coach before beginning interval training.
- See a doctor before you begin an interval program to make sure it’s not too strenuous for your fitness level.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.