High Intensity Interval Training for Athletes: Repeat Sprints for Sport Specific Fitness

During the in-season most athletes get enough running-based conditioning in a typical week as a result of playing and training. When the off-season and holidays roll around this running drops off so it's really important that athletes to keep a baseline of high-speed running in their training week to keep them match fit.

We've talked before about how important it is to keep a floor and a ceiling on your training volume, especially when you're going on holidays or having a break from sport. We've also talked about how bad continuous exercise and jogging and you're running laps and laps of an oval for sport-specific fitness. The much better solution to stay fit in the off-season is to do repeat sprint training.

Before you jump into the workout, make sure you warm up thoroughly. The workout's pretty basic. You just need some space, some cones or anything to mark the distance and a phone or a stopwatch, something that can give you a timer so you can keep track of how long you're going for.

Set up two cones or markers 20 meters apart* and put a timer on for 10 minutes**. Start the clock and sprint from the first cone to the second. It's important here that you sprint all the way from one cone to the second. Only once you have passed the finish cone, switch off and decelerate. Turn around, walk back to what was the finish line, (which is now the start line) and sprint back towards the first cone.

Repeat this, back and forth for the entire 10 minutes, focusing on explosive acceleration, good running form, and high effort levels.

*20 is a great, no matter what sport you play. If you play footy, soccer or rugby, any field longer based sport, it might be worth doing some 40s or 50s and to alternate that during the week with the 20s. Basketball, netball, volleyball, tennis, or futsal 20m is your distance, (these sports are dominated by acceleration).

**Start with 10 minutes, add one or two minutes per session, build up to about 20 minutes by which time, it should be ready for you to get back into season.

This workout is a great compliment to the Game Fit workout you can also find on our Blog.

Download the Core Advantage Interval timer for free:

The easiest way to time this workout is with the Core Advantage Interval timer, a smartphone app you can get for free.


If you are interested in improving your running technique or sprinting speed, our Ultimate athlete newsletter has some great tips and tricks to improve your running efficiency.
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