To aid in the quest for superhero body composition, many people I trust recommend occasional sprints, in addition to lifting heavy things and met-cons (and rest/recovery!) Dave and I kinda halfway pinky-swore to do sprints every other Saturday, and this week was our first time. New goal: begun!
We hit Eilers Park here in Austin, the location where I first started my CrossFit adventures at bootcamp. I have a deep affection for the park where I learned chest-to-deck pushups, box jumps, and the “never cheat, never quit” mindset. It has everything a budding superhero could need to get a solid workout: a wall for box jumps, a few stone stairways, a wide sidewalk that winds uphill (grudgingly known as “the snake”), and a grassy area for dumbbell work, stretching, and situps.
To understand the warmup I put together for us, you need some visual aids. First, the stone stairs. They twist at the top and go up another half flight, and the steps themselves vary in height from three inches to 14. Running up them means, first and foremost, paying attention to foot position, and guarantees plenty of huffing/puffing at the top.
Next: the snake. It curves like two Ss laid out end to end, and includes drainage grates that are conveniently located about 20 walking lunges from each other. Using the grates as landmarks, you can do all kinds of fun things up and down the snake.
Here’s the workout I made up in my half-awake, half-asleep state on Saturday morning. The WODs I imagine in that frame of mind don’t always work out – most of the time, my imagination has much more stamina and strength than my actual body – but this one was pretty good. I do love the bear crawl (especially uphill).
sprint up & down stone stairs
run through playground & down the snake
up the snake: bear crawl, walking lunges, sprint, side shuffle L, side shuffle R
run through park
10 box jumps on stone wall
50m sprint, on the minute for 10 minutes
easy run: up the snake, up & down the stone stairs, through the playground, down the snake
This is the path where we ran our sprints. I think it was about 50m, but the point was really just to go all out. It ended up being about 15-17 seconds of work, so almost Tabata length. Here’s the thing I love about sprints: the effort is so all-consuming, time ceases to exist, and I’m in a state of just being. Sure, it’s a wickedly uncomfortable state, but it’s also free of the fetters of cohesive, self-aware thought. My vision narrows to a point straight ahead, or, more accurately, The Point… the location of the finish line. All I can hear is the sh-sh-sh-sh of my breath, matching the rhythm of my feet. I’d like to tell you I make up some awesome superhero persona to motivate me while I sprint. But the truth is, inside my head, the only thought, which seems to travel up from deep inside an ancient part of my brain (snake brain?!), is this:
Sprinting made us very sweaty – even my eyelids and ankle bones seemed to be producing their own droplets of moisture – and there was quite a bit of panting. I might have had to rest doubled-over a few times between the sprints, hands on my knees, staring at the dust between my feet. There might also have been occasions when I made wheezing noises.
When the 10 minutes were blessedly over, we did an easy lap through the park, then meandered down another short flight of stone steps to a small dock. This is me, sweaty, right shoulder taped from my recent Airrosti treatment. That brownish-yellowish smudge on my upper right arm is one of the many (MANY!) bruises I’m sporting right now, thanks to Dr. Nick Askey’s magic thumbs. But my shoulder is gradually feeling better.
Our chill-out spot is tucked into a little cove on the shore. A breeze surprised us, and for the first time in weeks, I actually felt cool. It was like a drink of fresh cold water for my skin and psyche.
On our way out of the park, we saw this bench. That is a good, solid message right there.
When’s the last time you did a sprinting session? Are sprints part of your training plan? Talk to us the comments.
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