fbpx

6 Great Track Workouts For Sprinters

Improve your speed, power and endurance with our expert tips for sprinters.

Every sprinter knows that to run faster, you need to do high intensity track workouts.

Track workouts for sprinters help develop speed, power, acceleration, and speed endurance, which is your ability to maintain your speed for a longer period of time.

So, what are the best track workouts for sprinters? To get faster, which running drills and track exercises should sprinters incorporate into their training plan?

In this guide, we will discuss the best track workouts for sprinters, including the types of track exercises, running drills, and interval track workouts you should be doing to increase your speed and improve your sprinting performance.

People sprinting off the blocks on a track.

What Should Track Workouts for Sprinters Entail?

Workouts for sprinters can be divided into a number of different categories, as sprinters need to work on numerous aspects of fitness in their training.1Haugen, T., Seiler, S., Sandbakk, Ø., & Tønnessen, E. (2019). The Training and Development of Elite Sprint Performance: an Integration of Scientific and Best Practice Literature. Sports Medicine – Open5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-019-0221-0

Sprinting Training Session Categories

  • Acceleration Training
  • Speed Training (Maximal Velocity)
  • Speed Endurance Training
  • Special Endurance Training
  • Strength Training2Bolger, R., Lyons, M., Harrison, A. J., & Kenny, I. C. (2015). Sprinting Performance and Resistance-Based Training Interventions. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research29(4), 1146–1156. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000000720
  • General Conditioning

To improve your sprinting performance, your sprinting workouts must provide a good balance of these primary categories. 

Depending on your relative strength and weaknesses as a sprinter, as well as your primary sprinting event (60/100 meters vs 200 meters or 400 meters)3Rumpf, M. C., Lockie, R. G., Cronin, J. B., & Jalilvand, F. (2016). Effect of Different Sprint Training Methods on Sprint Performance Over Various Distances. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research30(6), 1767–1785. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000001245 you may want to focus your sprinting workouts on certain categories more than others, though it is important not to neglect any of the necessary components of sprint training.

Two people getting ready to sprint on the track.

Short Sprints (60-meter dash/100-meter dash)

Athletes who focus on the 60-meter dash and 100-meter dash, or other short sprinting events, must focus a significant portion of their sprint training on maximal speed, acceleration, and power exercises. 

It involves a mix of sprinting track exercises, weight training, speed with resistance training such as sled poles and parachute runs, hill sprint training, and track drills to work on sprinting mechanics and technique.

It is still important to incorporate general conditioning, circuit training, and some speed endurance training (especially for the 100-meter dash), but because these events are so short, acceleration, top speed, and explosiveness are the most important components.

Long Sprints (200-meter dash/400-meter dash)

The primary difference between the workouts for long sprinters, such as the 200 and 400-meter dash, and workouts for sprinters focusing on short sprints is that the sprinters who will be doing longer events need to place more emphasis on speed endurance and slightly less emphasis on acceleration. 

Two people getting ready to sprint on the track.

Of course, acceleration is still important, but speed endurance is much more important, particularly once you start working your way up to the 400-meter dash. 

In order to maximize your performance in these events, you have to be able to sustain your top running speed for upwards of 60 seconds or more, depending on your ability level and sex.

Particularly for sprinters who focus on the 400-meter dash, working on your aerobic fitness in the off-season is an important component of base building.

What strength training exercises should sprinters focus on to improve their speed?

Strength training is still vital for injury prevention and building power and strength, and running drills that help improve your technique and form should also be a mainstay in your training program.

As for your weight room sessions, you’ll want to focus on both your lower body for explosive power, and your upper body and core. Exercises such as box jumps, squats, barbell deadlifts, push ups, and planks, just to name a few.

A person lining up their hands on the line of a track.

6 Great Track Workouts For Sprinters

We’ve put together some examples of great track workouts for sprinters that address different key aspects of sprint training, such as acceleration, maximal speed or velocity, and speed endurance track exercises.

#1: 600-Meter Accelerations

Accelerations is a great track workout to improve speed.

As the name describes, this involves starting at a relatively fast speed but progressively increasing your running speed until you are at maximum effort by the end of the interval.

Here’s an example of a challenging acceleration track workout to build speed, turnover, speed endurance, and anaerobic capacity.

  • Warm up by running 800 to 1600 meters (2-4 laps) and performing a dynamic stretching routine.
  • Run 4-8 x 600-meter accelerations:
  • Run the first 200 meters at your 800-meter race pace or 90% of your maximum effort. 
  • With 400 meters to go, increase your pace to 95% of your maximum effort, and by the time you hit the 200-meter mark, you should be at your maximum sprint speed.
  • Take a complete recovery or 400 meters of very easy jogging between intervals.
A person getting ready to sprint on the track.

#2: 300-Meter Accelerations

Beginners can do a similar acceleration track workout to increase speed, but truncate the distance of each repeat to half, so you are only running 300 meters.

Instead of adjusting your speed every 200 meters, crank up your speed every 100 meters so that you are hitting your maximum speed in the final 100-meter sprint.

  • Begin with 4 x 300 meters, and work up to 6 to 8 repeats as your fitness improves.
  • Take 200-400 meters of very easy jogging in between each interval.

#3: Ins and Outs

Ins and outs is a classic track workout for sprinters to work on building speed.

Basically, the concept of this speed workout is to sprint the straightaways of the track and jog each curve. This means that you will be sprinting 100 meters, then jogging 100 meters, then sprinting 100 meters, then jogging 100 meters, and so on.

Beginners can start with just two full laps or eight ins and outs.

Build up to 4-8 laps, depending on your fitness level and the distances that you sprint.

Each straightaway should be run at essentially 95 to 100% effort, and the recovery jogs can be as slow as you need them to be.

A person getting ready to sprint on the track.

#4: Weighted Vest Sprints

Weighted vests are a common training tool for strength training workouts, but they can be used for track workouts for sprinters to add speed training with resistance. 

Use a weight of no more than 10% of your total body weight. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, the weighted vest should be no more than 16 pounds.

  • Warm up with 800-1600 meters and dynamic track drills.
  • 2-4 x 40m sprints from blocks with the weighted vest.
  • 2-4 x 50 meter sprints from blocks without the weighted vest.
  • Weighted vest alternate leg bounds 4 x 20 meters.
  • Alternate leg bounds without the weighted vest 4 x 20 meters.

Drive your arms and focus on fast turnover, good running form, and a powerful stride. The goal is to increase ground contact force at push-off to maximize acceleration and power.

Cool down by jogging 800-1600 meters.

People toeing the line on a track.

#5: Pyramid Track Workout for Sprinters

Warm up and cool down by jogging 800-1600 meters.

For the workout, run a pyramid of 50 meters, 60 meters, 100 meters, 150 meters, 200 meters, 300 meters, 400 meters, 300 meters, 200 meters, 150 meters, 100 meters, 60 meters, and 50 meters.

Take a complete recovery in between each interval.

#6: Sprinting, Drills, and Plyometrics

Rather than only sprinting various distances during your workouts, you can incorporate strengthening exercises, running drills, and plyometrics in between intervals. 

Consider the following track workout for sprinters as an example of this varied track workout structure:

  • Warm up by jogging for 5 to 10 minutes or 800-1600 meters (2-4 laps).

Line up at the starting line on the track. 

  • For the first 100 meters, perform the A skips running drill, focusing on form rather than speed.
  • Sprint the straightaway 100 meters all out.
  • Do 10 burpees.
  • Do high knees for the next curve of the track (100 meters).
  • Do 10 burpees.
  • Sprint the final straightaway of the track.
  • Do bounding for the next 100 meters, 10 burpees, a 100-meter sprint, then 20 tuck jumps.
A person running on a straightaway.

You can incorporate exercises such as mountain climbers, tuck jumps, burpees, broad jumps, jumping lunges, jumping squats, etc., into these workout.

The benefit of these types of track workouts for sprinters is that they address numerous aspects of fitness in one workout and require rapid shifts in neuromuscular and biomechanical demands, training your body to be agile from a metabolic and physiological standpoint.

Track workouts for sprinters are as much about running fast as they are about improving your technique. Make sure you are working on your sprinting form.

Drive your knees up as high as possible, keep your heel back under your glutes, and pump your arms, sustaining a high arm carriage with your elbows bent no more than 90°, if not a more acute angle.

Focus on fast turnover and decreasing ground contact time. Use good posture, keep your chest up, and use a short, swift stride.

If you are more of a distance runner and also looking for track workouts, check out our guide to Track Workouts For Distance Runners.

A person running off the blocks on a track.

References

  • 1
    Haugen, T., Seiler, S., Sandbakk, Ø., & Tønnessen, E. (2019). The Training and Development of Elite Sprint Performance: an Integration of Scientific and Best Practice Literature. Sports Medicine – Open5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-019-0221-0
  • 2
    Bolger, R., Lyons, M., Harrison, A. J., & Kenny, I. C. (2015). Sprinting Performance and Resistance-Based Training Interventions. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research29(4), 1146–1156. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000000720
  • 3
    Rumpf, M. C., Lockie, R. G., Cronin, J. B., & Jalilvand, F. (2016). Effect of Different Sprint Training Methods on Sprint Performance Over Various Distances. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research30(6), 1767–1785. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000001245
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.