“Yay Sprints!” Tonya yelled during Ninja Essentials, “Yay Swings!” We all knew what she meant, but she had planted the seed. I wanted to run sprints. Sprinting is one of the best exercises that you can possibly do for conditioning and body composition. It’s effective, efficient, user friendly, and requires little more than a straight away, preferably a hill. Tonya, you have planted the seeds of desire. There’s only one problem:
This isn’t the most sprint-friendly weather or location, which the potential for traffic and ice everywhere. It made me think: How Can I Run Sprints During the Winter? Here are several options that we have to get our sprint while Jack Frost is nipping at your nose.
1) Don’t Be A Bitch.
Find your track or hill, dress appropriately, and go out and haul ass. Forget about your numb nose, your wet toes, and the comfort of your snuggie. Go run your sprints. Try to be this awesome:
If you’re a glutton for punishment then the perceived badassery of giving a big “Fuck You!” to Mother Nature will be just the boost that you need. If you’re less of a masochist, there are some other options.
2) Sprint Inside
Finding an indoor track is nice, but it’s not very common. You can visit your local college or athletic complex and hope for an indoor track, basketball court, or field house in which to sprint. If you’re searching for a respectable indoor straight away to sprint on, may the odds ever be in your favor.
3) Be Realistic
The next best option would be to use a treadmill. While we’re typically not fond of long-duration treadmill work, sprinting on them can be more user friendly than hills or stairs, and you have more control over incline than you do with a natural hill. The only problem with treadmill sprints is that you’re unlikely to find a treadmill that goes fast enough for a true sprint; Yes, you’re faster than 12mph. We’re talking sprints here, not intermittent jogging.
4) Sprint Alternatives
When the treadmill isn’t an option, and Mother Nature is in full fledged winter rebellion, we may turn to other methods for our wintery conditioning. If space and facility allow for it, Prowler pushes (or sled pushes in general) are one of the most revered conditioning options out there. Sure, some whisper “Prowler” as if it’s another anagram of “Tom Marvolo Riddle” but it’s one of the best options out there.
If a push-sled isn’t available or space is prohibitive, kettlebell swings are another great option. (Provided you have access to kettlebells, obviously.) They’re excellent for their integration of the posterior chain and their ability to make you breathe heavily in just a few reps.
Swings (and hinging in general) should be a movement and exercise priority for dominating performance and aesthetic goals, and they’re a family favorite at MFF. Let’s turn to Mark for the basics. Note: If you’re easily offended, this is your warning.
5) Plan Them As They Come.
Years of experience and scientific studies have down us that high-velocity, high-intensity training is incredibly effective for developing athleticism and improving body composition. You’d be hard pressed to find a goal that is not helped by manipulating these conditioning variables.
Sprinting is one of the simplest and most easily available options we have for conditioning, but it can be difficult to include in your program in the dead of winter. If braving the cold is your cup of tea, embrace it. Others may successfully find an indoor track, or use a high-incline high-speed treadmill to find the same benefits. Sled pushes and kettlebell swings are other great small-space options.
As for me, I’ll be dragging sleds and swinging bells all winter, heading to the hills when the weather allows for it. When all else fails, there are some pretty long staircases in Penn Station that always fill in the gaps. Enjoy your sprints, my friends.