Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sprinting IV

It has been over three months since I have written a post on sprinting. This, however, does not imply that I have stopped doing sprints. On the contrary. I have continued to enjoy the activity and I have made significant improvements in form, strength, and speed.

Originally, I did sprints once a week (on a few occasions twice) in a set of about a dozen runs. A couple of months back, I decided to increase the amount of walking and to combine it with a sprinting component. The integration of walking and sprinting into one session is a time saver and amounts to a more well-rounded activity.

This is how it has worked out.

I go for a one-hour nature walk at least 3 or 4 times a week and never more than 6 times (weather permitting). As I posted previously (Kicking a ball ~ sprinting), I walk while kicking a ball ahead of me. In addition to being quite enjoyable, the innocent activity of playing with a ball has strengthened my ankles and lower trunk. An unexpected freebie.

My routine, then, is as follows. I warm up by walking for 30 minutes. The sprints consist of 40~50 strides each: 15~20 strides picking up speed, 15-20 strides running all out, and 5~10 strides slowing down to a stop. I walk slowly back. I do this 3 or 4 times depending on how exuberant I feel. Last, I cool off by walking another 30 minutes.

That said, here is a heads-up on strong kicks. This was an extremely fun experience that, I found, was better to give up. As I mentioned before (Kicking a ball ~ sprinting), delivering powerful kicks seems to stimulate muscle fatigue similar to that of sprinting. However, it is an explosive movement that demands a certain sophistication of skill. It is more complex that one would think (which, in turn, makes it quite an interesting exercise). And so, kicking the ball slightly off or throwing your leg carelessly is sufficient to hurt yourself. In my case, the "injuries" had not involved more than pulling a thigh muscle. Nonetheless, once "injured", sprinting was out of the question for a few days. Eventually I came to the decision to give up strong kicks and concentrate on sprinting.