Sprinting Builds Character
Sprinting full out is hard. It’s something I aim to do once a week but haven’t done in a while. Yesterday as I was taking a shower my mind said, “Bodhi, we are sprinting today.” I realized that the Master (Big Me) had spoken and that is what the disciple (little me) was going to do. My daily commitment is that I don’t play until my work is done, so I fit the sprint in the afternoon. When it came time to getting my running shoes on, I dilly-dallied, paced around in my kitchen, which is about as long as I am tall, and fidgeted with whatever I could get my hands on until I heard the Master firmly nudge me, “Get out there and get it done.” So I acquiesced, put on my running shoes and headed out.
Sprinting 8 Rounds
I jogged about 5 minutes to my sprinting spot near Komagome station and did some dynamic stretching for about 5-minutes then did 2 rounds of 10-second sprints at about 60% of my max speed up the hill. The first 2 felt pretty good because they were at 60% effort. I had decided to do 8 rounds of 10-second sprints followed by a 60-second, active recovery, rest which was basically a slow walk back to the start line. Here is the course. The slope of the hill starts from the right to the left in this photo, so the start line is the far right of the red line.
Here is me before the 8 Sprints at the bottom of the hill near the start line.
I’m listening to David Goggins, the toughest man alive on Spotify to remind me that 100% is the goal for each round. I am using an app on my iPhone called Bit Timer, which I love for its simplicity and ease of use. It costs $1.99 (¥200-300), but I highly recommend it. Here are the settings I used.
The actual total work on this particular sprint protocol is only 80-seconds – 1 minute and 20 seconds. Only 80-seconds!? Seems like a piece of cake, until you give those 80 seconds 100% effort. And 100% effort is the way I do it.
Once a Week is Enough
Some people may read this and be gung ho to do sprints 3 times a week. If you’re in very good shape, strength training, running or doing other strenuous exercises, you may be able to handle it. But I recommend it only once per week. The reason for this recommendation is to commit to quality above quantity. My aim is to give 100% effort to each of the 8 rounds. However, I don’t believe I am operating at 100% yet. I feel that I am giving my utmost to each round, but my heart rate reading indicates that I am performing at about 92% of my maximum heart rate. I can’t say that this is 100% accurate but it appears to be close. At 48 years old, my max heart rate should be around 172 beats per minute (bpm) and 94% of that would be 161bpm, which is what my heart rate monitor tracked as my highest bpm out of the 8 rounds. The rest I used to give myself was 90-seconds between rounds, which is 30-seconds more rest per round that I gave myself here, so I believe iI will have much better recovery between sets. I am going to do that next week and share my results.
If you want to calculate your max heart rate, use this general formula (220 – your age = your max heart rate). I am 48, therefore 220-48 = 172. So looking at the photo above you can see that 172 x .94 = 161.68, which is close enough to 161. Here’s a calculator if you want to check your max heart rate and target heart rates.
Side Notes on Safe Sprinting
Benefits of running up a hill are numerous. It’s a full-body explosive form of strength training. Even when you start at 60% of your maximum speed, you will probably experience muscle soreness the next day and possibly for several days afterward. The soreness will show you which muscles you used the most or which ones you haven’t exerted in a long time. I am about 48 hours out from the sprint I did in this blog and my calves, hamstrings, quads (thighs), glutes (butt), middle traps (between my shoulder blades) and biceps are all sore.
Hill Sprinting is much easier on the joints as you can’t generate the same amount of speed as you could on a flat surface. The hill I use near Komagome station is probably on about a 20% angle.
I have seen crazy steep hills in Tokyo that I would like to sprint up in the near future. If you know of one, please share a google map shot of it. If it’s safe, fairly straight and not too far away, I’ll give it a go and write about it:-)
Finding Your Own Mini Mountain to Dominate
Look for a street that is on an angle of between 10-20%. If you have a grass or dirt hill near you, that would be even better, as the softer surface will be easier on your joints. Another option is sprinting on the soft sand at the beach, which is very hard because your feet slip so much on loose sand, but it’s very kind to the joints. In the case of the beach, you don’t need a slope.
Wanna Join Me?
If you feel that you are in good shape and are exercising hard at least once a week for over 30 minutes, live in Tokyo, and want to join me, comment below and I’ll do my best to match my schedule to yours. It will have to be in the afternoon between 2-5 pm, so a weekend may work best. The total time investment of the warm-up, the sprints and cool down will only take 30 minutes max. You can practice with me at the Komagome spot (see photo above). It’s probably 70 meters long. If you are new to sprinting, I will ask you to go at about what you feel is 60% of your max speed.
Know that I am not a running coach, so if you join me, you are 100% responsible for your actions. I will guide you in a way that I believe is safe, effective and intelligent. And of course, the only fee you will pay is the energy you put forth in terms of calories. In other words, there is no fee to do this training with me. I am inviting you as a service to your health, growth, longevity, and happiness.
Thank you for reading. I look forward to comments and questions.
I am very excited to meet YOU, the salt of the earth, who is bold, excited to stretch your limits and join me at the party on the hill:-)