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So this week I did one of my runs as sprint training. Partly because this time I was on the treadmill and I get bored easily and partly because I was running low on motivation and I find sprints get my competitive juices going. There are loads of ways to inject sprints into your workshop and they have amazing benefits. Doing sprints will not only spice up your workout they will help increase strength and endurance.

I used to teach spin (I miss it so much) and my favourite track was always the sprint after a really heavy climb. When you sprint your legs just go, your body goes into automatic and it’s where I normally see people’s perfect running form. It’s a reaction so it has to have purpose. Whether that purpose is time (1 min-2mins) or distance (to the 5th lamppost) or away from something- sprinting can only happen when you direct your mind onto something specific.

Sprint as a workout doesn’t have to be a mad dash- it can be jog/sprint, walk/run or walk/walk faster. As long as the effort increases its a ‘sprint’

Here are some fun ways to inject a sprint into your regular run or as a workout in itself;

1 min on: 1 min off -classic sprint (obviously the times can vary 1:2, 1:5, 5:10 depending on your level and goal) this can the be repeated for desired time, till exhaustion, for a desired distance and so on)

1 min on: 1 min off -increasing the speed of the sprint (easiest to monitor on a treadmill such as sprint at 8 run back at 7 then sprint at 9 run back to 7 and so on) for outdoor running just exchange numbers for effort felt.

Pyramid sprints- (either intersected with rest times or not) so over the time sections getting harder to hardest and coming back down again. Like a pyramid shape

Fartlek- random speeds for random times- the most fun of them all!

Hill sprints- sprint/run up a hill and jog/walk back down and repeat either number of times or till exhaustion. Can also flip that- walk/run uphill and sprint/jog downhill. Especially good if you have a hill in your regular run to break it up. You could also use stairs.

Static sprints- sprint the distance between two lamp posts and walk/run back

Shuttle runs- going a different distance each time.

Box sprints- if using a field to run round sprint the length or the widths and jog/ walk the others. Every lap you can then vary and do sprinting two lengths, then doing 3 then sprinting the whole thing to finish off.

Bleep test- not for the faint hearted! This you may have to download the bleep test and measure the distance to run between. The distance stays the same but the bleeps you have to run that distance in get shorter. Good for if you have little space/time but want to get a really good workout in. If you are training with someone it’s great to have someone to compete against.

There are other ways I’m sure- its there to play with and to keep your body guessing and working. I find it really fun- and I love doing it better, faster, for longer each time. It certainly makes the time go quicker!

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Rax that was for you!

I have always loved watching people run. Nowadays as a Personal Trainer I just love watching peoples Gait and going through my mind how I would help make them more efficient, run faster and so often how they can prevent injuries I can see coming. As a kid and teenager I always loved the idea of being a runner, how easy people made it look and how cool they were. I however have always found running hard.

At school I enjoyed the 200 metres. I could never get the speed quick enough for the 100 metres and liked the 400, but the 200 metres was where I was happy. I really liked running the bend and would always pick that stretch when part of the 4x100m relays. I was also cross country house captain- only because no one else would do it and I was a sucker for a badge and responsibility! I really tried to coach myself through the cross country but it was not for me. I played hockey and netball at school- team sports I loved. Then I went to Uni and did nothing for a year (one game of hockey in the snow finished it for me!!)

I missed exercise and when acting was proving not to be my vocation I knew the thing that made me happy was exercise- so I decided to make it my job. I signed up for 5ks and loved them, tried 10k and loved the extra challenge. Then I decided to make triathlons my thing- and got pregnant. I have since really enjoyed a run 20mins to an hour being my max. I really sort my head out and run though what I want from life when I am swimming, but when I am running I am constantly coaching myself.

I need motivation when I am running, music is my main motivation and I love running with a mate and putting the world to rights- recently that person was Gisella, but she’s in London and now I’m in HK. I miss our tues morning runs- come rain or shine. I have run through 2 pregnancies and have felt great in both and have just come back to it since giving birth to my son (I had to stop when we moved at 28 weeks because it was summer in the tropics and way too hot!)

My point is it has never come naturally to me, but I have always kept trying, I have an image of a lithe, elegant effortless runner in my head when I run. I know I’m not the fastest, will never be the best, but I’m always gonna keep trying. I feel great after, always end with a sprint to keep my competitive spirit up and it continually signing up for races gets me up and out. My route right now is along the water with the Ting Kao bridge in sight and with the sun shining and the right beats and a sing-along I am happy. Especially when there is some dance running to be had!

So my point- find out what motivates you, what makes you happy- and keep trying it! If all else fails- buy some really pretty shoes (that are also awesome on your feet) like I have and all I want to do at the moment is put them on and run!!

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