Sprint Workouts for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide

We know everyone hates cardio, but sprinting is actually a fun, fast cardio workout that will get you massive results! They are a fantastic way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, build explosive strength, and elevate your overall athletic performance.

It may sound intimidating to start sprinting, but don't let that hold you back from reaping the amazing benefits this workout offers! Anyone can get started sprinting, all that's needed is a little guidance and a scoop of your favorite pre-workout to give you energy and focus – before you know it you'll be sprinting like a pro!

In this article, we'll explore sprint workouts for beginners and guide you on how to get started.

Why sprint workouts?

Sprint workouts offer numerous benefits, including:

  1. Improved cardiovascular fitness: Sprinting engages your heart and lungs, promoting cardiovascular health.
  2. Muscle strength and power: Sprinting builds strong, explosive leg muscles.
  3. Fat loss: High-intensity sprinting burns a significant number of calories and promotes fat loss.
  4. Time efficiency: Sprint workouts can be brief yet highly effective, making them ideal for those with busy schedules.

How to get started with sprinting

A standard sprinting workout has four key elements to it: warm-up, sprints, active recovery in between, and cool-down. It's pretty straightforward and simple, but someone just starting out may struggle with sprinting.

So, before you jump head-first into an advanced sprinting workout, here are a few steps to help you get started:


Any workout needs a good warm-up before you begin your first set so that your muscles and ligaments can get stretched out and ready to take on any challenge. Sprinting is a very intense cardio exercise, which means that you need to prepare your muscles accordingly before you start running. A few good warm-ups for sprinting are jogging in place, high-knee marching, accelerations, and a few lunges to increase your range of motion during the sprints.

Warm-ups are necessary for everyone at any fitness level to avoid injuries and sore muscles post-workout, but this is especially true when you’re a beginner since your body isn’t used to the high-intensity movement. So never skip your warm-ups, and aim to dedicate at least 5-10 minutes to them!

Start with strides

Begin your sprint journey with "strides" or short, controlled sprints of 50-100 meters at around 70-80% of your maximum effort. Focus on maintaining proper form and gradually increase your speed over time. These strides help you get accustomed to sprinting mechanics.

Move onto interval training

Once you're comfortable with strides, move on to interval training. Interval workouts involve alternating between periods of high-intensity sprints and recovery periods. For beginners, a 1:2 or 1:3 work-to-rest ratio is a good starting point.

This will look like:

  • Sprinting 30 seconds at around 70-80% of your maximum effort.
  • Stopping for a brisk walk or a light jog to keep your muscles engaged and your blood flowing. Aim for this active rest to be at least twice as long as your sprint time, to give your muscles and lungs some time to prepare for the next sprint without exhausting them too quickly.
  • Sprinting for another 30 seconds at the same intensity, pause again for some active recovery, and keep this pattern going for 20 minutes - or less if you feel like you’ve reached your limit.

Progress gradually

As you become more comfortable with sprinting, gradually increase the intensity, duration, and frequency of your workouts. You can experiment with longer sprint distances and shorter rest intervals.

Always cool down

After your workout, don’t just stop and lay down to rest. Your muscles are fired up due to the intensity of the routine, and you need to properly cool down to avoid having any tense muscles after.

End your workout by walking for a couple of minutes, so your heart rate can slow down, and then perform a few total-body static stretches to help your muscles relax and go back to their usual resting state. Foam rolling is also an effective way to reduce muscle tightness after a sprinting workout!

Different Types of Sprint Workouts

Interval sprinting is the most popular sprinting workout, but if you start getting bored or hit a wall, try one of these sprinting workouts:

  1. Pyramid Intervals: Pyramid intervals involve increasing and then decreasing the intensity of your sprints. For example, start with a 30-second sprint, then a 45-second sprint, followed by a 60-second sprint, and then work your way back down. This format challenges your speed and endurance.
  2. Fartlek Training: Fartlek, which means "speed play" in Swedish, is a flexible form of sprint training. During a run, you mix in short sprints or speed bursts at irregular intervals. This method keeps your workouts engaging and can be adapted to various terrains.
  3. Ladder Intervals: Ladder intervals involve sprinting at different distances and gradually increasing or decreasing the distance. For instance, you can start with a 50-meter sprint, then do a 100-meter sprint, followed by a 200-meter sprint, and then work your way back down.
  4. Tempo Runs: Tempo runs involve running at a sustained, fast pace for a specific distance or time. This type of workout helps build speed endurance and can be a valuable addition to your sprint training regimen.
  5. Split Sprints: Split sprints involve breaking a longer distance into shorter, intense sprints with brief recoveries in between. For instance, sprint 200 meters, rest for 20 seconds, and repeat.
  6. Acceleration Drills: These drills focus on improving your initial acceleration, a crucial part of sprinting. They include short sprints from a static position, such as from a crouched start.

Sprint workouts offer an exciting and effective way to improve your fitness, strength, and speed. By following this step-by-step guide and incorporating various types of sprint workouts, beginners can get started with sprint training safely and gradually progress to more challenging and diverse training routines. Remember that consistency, proper technique, and patience are key to your success in sprinting. Embrace the journey, and enjoy the exhilarating benefits of sprint training.

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Sprint Workouts for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide