What Do Sprinting and Wiping Your Ass Have In Common?

In CrossFit we already know the value of high intensity during training.  You might have hugged the puke bucket at some point and for that, you deserve a fist bump.  If you’re near me when you feel your lunch is about to make an encore, I’ll help.  I’m not going to hold your hair, but I will elaborate on the texture and flavor of an egg-smoothie.  That should move things along.  But let’s go further than thruster-induced vomiting.  Something is missing from your life. 

What’s absent from your training program is both highly beneficial and cheap-as-free.  Sprinting is one of the best ways to increase your metabolic capacity and build speed, power and strength.  It’s as important to an athlete as it is to someone who does crimes.

Fact. You get arrested more when you are slow.

I am speaking to all the CrossFitters out there that are missing the mark on the concept of sprinting.  You may have incorporated running into your program.  200m and 400m sprints aren’t what I’m talking about.  Those are highly important intervals, but let’s go for a shorter distance at even higher intensity. 

Oh, you do that already (in metcons)?  No you don’t.  When a metcon has you do some task and “sprint” to the next task and so on, you know you limp-dick that sprint.  You jog like a fat kid.  You know who else does it?  Methisguy.  That’s an old CrossFit trick all of us figured out early on.  “2 Minute Defense” is an example of a WOD where that happens.  A bunch of awesome barbell shit then you are supposed to “sprint” 200 feet and repeat several times.  If you actually sprinted, you’d be so tired; the rest of your barbell shit would be slow.  And you’re overall time would suffer.  Not a good strategy.

Let’s talk about real fucking sprints.  The 40.  The 100.  Shit like that.  Ever do some gassers?  How about suicidesDeath by 10m?  That’s good stuff.  You’ve done some of that before, but you should do it more often.  By that, I mean at least once a week.  I will take one day a week and skip a metcon in favor of sprints.  I don’t do this at the gym because it’s better on an athletic field.  Go to a nearby park or ball field and do your sprints.  Bring cleats if you got ‘em.  Your dog wants to go too.  Take her bitch ass.  My pup is a great training partner when there are no squirrels around.

 Be aware that if you are the type to half-ass your warm up, this is certainly not the time to do it.  You are more in danger of fucking yourself up from sprinting cold than just about any other thing.  Jog a mile, do a couple Cindy rounds, whatever.  Then start off at about 70% for the first 4 sprints.  I usually start with straight 100m jobs, using the walk back as my rest.  Whatever your sprint distances, the walk back is your rest. 

Now you’re warmed up and ready to flip the fucking switch.  Each sprint is done at 100% intensity.  I’m talking about hard-ass work.  You’ll be sucking wind on the walk-backs like a fat fuck.  I prefer reciever-route distances worked into common pass patterns.  I work the receiver route tree and defensive back drills.  This will incorporate agility into the training.  I do this because I’m a football dork who is dead serious about my pick-up TACKLEBALL games in the fall.  You don’t have to do it that way; you’d get just as much benefit from sprinting good old 9-routes (aka straight-line sprints).

How many?  It’s up to you.  You may find you’re dead after 12 sprints.  That’s a short and effective workout.  As you build up adaptation week by week, increase the number of sprints.  As you fatigue, don’t keep sprinting (to the point where you are just jogging).  This defeats the point.  You may find you will increase your endurance up to 30 or 40 sprints without losing intensity after a month of doing this.  I’m talking about the concept of metabolic adaptation (supercompensation).  If you’re not interested in the benefit of increasing your adaptation to sprints, just know that it will translate directly to your work capacity in metcons and no cornerback will be able keep up with you.

Cortland Finnegan couldn’t keep up with Andre Johnson’s fists

Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple gives his own recommendations regarding a sprint routine that incorporates the use of sandbags, and you can find it here.  That’s a badass twist and it reminds me of the 2009 CrossFit Games where they had to do the sprints uphill with 35lb sandbags.  Quite the asskicker, no?  Take some sandbags to your local death hill and have fun.

The ’09 Games introduced us to the guy who made us feel guilty about laying on our backs after a metcon

So if you’re not trying to do this for a specific sport, why bother?  The creation of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) will cause the body to continue to burn calories long after the work is done.  Even dummies know high-intensity interval training is superior to conventional cardio or long-slow distance (LSD) running.  Additionally, phosphate metabolism will improve your body’s ability to breakdown fat for better energy consumption which encourages weight loss.  While those concepts are great, I don’t worry about that stuff because I already look good naked.  Just ask your mom.  I do care about the benefit of enhanced intramuscular buffering capacity which comes from sprinting.  That causes your body to stifle lactic acid buildup so you can do more work, faster with a delay on that burning-muscle feeling.  That will seriously help your metcons.

Listen to me on this:  Sprints are your responsibility.  Do them once a week.  Your coach isn’t going to program them every week.  Even if he did, you would probably skip it or go to open gym because barbell shit is funner.  No one is going to argue that.  Why does everyone take a rest day when the 5k shows up as the WOD?  In the words of Drywall from forgingelitesarcasm.com, “I fucking hate running.  It’s boring, and even worse, it’s free.  Every time I run, I’m reminded of how I could be doing this on my own.”     

But sprinting is not running.  Huh?  That’s right.  Sprinting is like running, but faster.  Boom.  Put that on the back of a t-shirt.  Anything that is faster is badass.  Don’t believe me?  Just look at spaceships.  Besides all that, sprinting is like wiping your ass.  If you don’t do either, you are bad at life.

Fucking Jedi Fast

  1. #1 by Carol Hawkins on July 15, 2011 - 2:40 AM

    Epic, you have outcome yourself with this blog. You had me on “Fat Kid Running “. This was perfect for me since I do hate running, probably because I suck at it. Love the spaceship analogy. Don’t know who is funnier ….you or Jon Stewart! Keep it going! Thanks!

  2. #2 by Brandy on July 15, 2011 - 3:31 AM

    I love it. Good words.

  3. #3 by Trinity on July 15, 2011 - 11:17 AM

    Awesome Article. Running is my weakness for sure. I don’t enjoy it at all. I actually obtained my knee injury (meniscal tear) doing “Death by 10m”. I have hesitated doing lots of running and I’ve only done sprints I believe once since I got hurt and that was at the Mt. Trashmore WOD. I (my knee) fatigued so fast. However I did make a deal with myself even before this article that I would run hill sprints at Mt.Trashmore once a week to strengthen my knee, running, and endurance. I guess we will see how well it works. KEEP THE ARTICLES COMING!!! I look forward to them. Trinity

  4. #4 by EPIC on July 15, 2011 - 12:55 PM

    Thanks, ladies. Trinity- the Death By 10m meniscus tear was because of the contstant changes of direction in that WOD? That’s something to everyone needs to watch out for when doing that one. I guess if you do uphill, straight-line sprints you should be good. Trashmore is a great piece of gear. Are you following a rehab protocol?

  5. #5 by Trinity on July 15, 2011 - 1:16 PM

    I just finished physical therapy two weeks ago and all they said for me to do is to get back into things slowly. That the endurance might take a bit to get back. So I guess no I really don’t have a plan to follow, I’m just swinging it. Trinity

    • #6 by Tom K on July 15, 2011 - 3:09 PM

      This is among the greatest “rehab protocols” I’ve ever seen. Just get back into it slowly, huh? Are you kidding me? Thanks, doc. Maybe you could be a little less helpful?

  6. #7 by Michael Hopkins on July 15, 2011 - 3:35 PM

    Your blog is extremely entertaining, highly informative, and completely addicting. I read it now before my WODs so I learn how not to be a complete vagina. On a literary note, I really enjoy your semi-stream of consciousness writing style. Keep em’ coming!

    • #8 by EPIC on July 15, 2011 - 4:16 PM

      Thank you, Michael “Better-Looking-Of-The-Two” Hopkins. I appreciate the literary comment, but I don’t know what that means. My brain tells me thoughts and I just type them. Okay, I just googled ‘Stream of Consciousness’ and high-fived myself. Wait, here I go again streaming my thoughts. A nice, frothy, thick golden rope of thoughts into your brain. Kinda warm, no?

  7. #9 by fern on July 15, 2011 - 1:02 PM

    I have zero to add to this. 100% on point. There is a reason I could run 8 min mile and a halfs in college when I played basketball. Because I ran 94 feet like my Dick was on fired about 100 times a week! And I am truly honored that you slept with my mom. I’m going to chest bump her when I see her next week!

    • #10 by EPIC on July 15, 2011 - 1:29 PM

      Fern- I didn’t. All I did was text her some nakies of muhself. I heard that’s what elite athletes do these days.

      • #11 by Tom K on July 15, 2011 - 3:16 PM

        That is correct. But when did Rep. Weiner become elite?

        Do you know what else elite athletes do (other than use breast milk as coffee creamer)? They play TACKLEBALL. Tomorrow. Landstown Lakes Community Park. 10am. http://www.tackleball.blogspot.com/

        • #12 by EPIC on July 15, 2011 - 3:23 PM

          TACKLEBALL! Tom speaks truth. All MANS who are in the Virginia Beach area are cordially invited to uphold the spirit of American Tackle Football as we play (my broke ass is the ref) tomorrow at 10am. Check the above link in Tom’s comment. Are you are wondering if TACKLEBALL is for you? Please check out my very entertaining (and soon to be regurgitated in some form on this site) TACKLEBALL Manifesto: http://tackleball.blogspot.com/p/what-is-tackleball.html

  8. #13 by Andy G. on July 16, 2011 - 1:43 PM


    I’m so stoked you started the blog! One day there will be a site dedicated to Epic quotes just like Rippetoe has. Keep pumping out the quality content and making us laugh dude. Can’t wait to start hitting wods with you Epic!

  9. #14 by gss BK on July 18, 2011 - 10:37 AM

    Solid wordology.

  10. #15 by Ryan on July 18, 2011 - 10:17 PM

    All I can say is: WORD. Well put epic. Just sprint, like running but faster.

  11. #16 by Anthony Bider on July 28, 2011 - 11:59 AM

    I did this after a 2 mile warm up jog. I had a friend with me and she had no idea we were doing the 40 after the jog. I always thought about incorporating sprints into my routine but never really gave it any thought until i read this. First time I did the sprints it seemed I got faster every time for the first 10 sprints. I got gassed 15-20. Greatly appreciated post Epic.

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