Sprinting: The Real Measure Of Fitness

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In this article Our Training For Warriors Founder and Head Coach Martin Rooney discusses the importance of sprinting and why we should sprint. If you have always stuck to the steady state treadmill routine…. this article will open your eyes!

Hello Warrior,

I call “sprinting” the best exercise that nobody does.

If I have one more person tell me they have entered a 10k or marathon to get “in shape,” I will be forced to buy a big mirror and carry it with me.  In shape?  If I stand them in front of that mirror and ask them if that shape you are looking for is extra slender, pencil-necked and endomorphic, then I will condone the distance work.  If they state, however, that shape they seek is a lean, muscular, mesomorphic look, then I will suggest they are barking up the wrong tree.


If I hear one more person brag about the doctor visits, MRIs or therapy they are using to recover from their distance jogging with pride, I will be forced to buy a big bat and carry it with me.  Proud of Injury?  If I hit them with the bat and produce an injury and they are still proud, then they are just a masochist.  If they realize that pain does not equal productivity, again, I will suggest they are chasing the wrong dog; and way to slowly at that.

Enjoyment vs. Results

Yes, I understand that unfortunately many of us need something to drive us and get us moving besides the ultimate fact that training will help you live longer.  Yes, I understand that some people may simply enjoy distance jogging and or be genetically suited for this style of training.  I am not here to argue that.  The purpose is to argue in defense of the benefits of sprinting.  And interesting enough, I think that whether or not you like jogging or are naturally skinny and or slow, you can still benefit from this all-powerful training medium.

Don’t think we need this argument?  Well then explain why most people stop sprinting by high school.  Explain why most parents tell their children to stop running and slow down.  Plain and simple, aside from the Olympic 100 Meter final sprinting gets much less love than distance work. Whether it is the marketing of jogging gear, the social aspects of distance events or the fact that “No Pain, No Gain” is imbedded into the training mentalities of most people, you are sure to see more people walking and jogging at your local track than to see them sprinting short portions of it, resting and repeating.  For some reason, in a world slowly being taken over and dominated by brightly-colored equipment tools and fancy programming, we have forgotten to use the most important piece of equipment we were given: our body.  And we have definitely forgotten to use it they way I believe it was designed: to sprint.


My goal is to possibly explore why.  My main theory is that it is simply not o.k. to suck at sprinting.  In all the emails I’ve ever gotten, I don’t think I’ve ever received anything from a recreational athlete telling me they’re entering a 100 meter dash. You know why? Because it’s not okay to suck in a sprint. If you jog – and especially if you enter a marathon – it’s okay to be mediocre.  By contrast, it’s decidedly not okay to suck at sprinting. Show up to an actual race and take thirty seconds to run 100 meters, and you’re absolutely exposed for the world to see.  Suck at sprinting in the wild, and you’re somebody’s dinner. Suck at the marathon and they’ll hand you a foil blanket and a medal even if you come in last.

Sprinting: The Real Measure Of Fitness

Distance Jogging makes your lifts go down, your muscle mass decrease and you have to accept it.  Sprinting mandates that you get your numbers higher in order to complement it.  Now I am not saying the elite distance guys are not impressive in terms of time.  I am just saying they are usually not impressive in terms of physique.  Yes, a guy that can run under 5 minute mile pace for 26 miles is impressive in ability, but he is probably not concerned with how to have bigger arms and legs.

In order to lower your time in a marathon, you need to get out and log miles, cut weight (including muscle) and get ready for pain.  In order to lower your time in the 100 meter, you need to get strong, pack on muscle, lose fat and get some explosive, technical workouts.  Sprinting will help any marathon runner, but the opposite is not true.  If you want to run faster, you have to do a few things.  First you have to increase your relative body strength.  So, you have to get stronger for the amount you weigh.  There are two ways to do this: you can add muscle or you can lose fat.  In addition to strength and nutrition, you also have to improve your sprint technique.  This will be done through technical work which will improve coordination.  During that technical work, you may recognize areas in which to improve flexibility and will develop muscular endurance specific to sprinting.  So, to review, sprint training involves improvements in speed, strength, diet, endurance, coordination, and flexibility.  To me, that sounds a whole like fitness.


Yours in Speed,


Here at Training For Warriors Pittsburgh we certainly hope that this information has taught you something about sprinting. Always remember that we are here to answer any questions and clear up any doubts you might have. To schedule Your FREE Strategy Session to find out more info about our programs and how we can help you reach your goals Click Here!

~ Coach Kaylee ~


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