I have to sweat once a day to feel normal. My favorite is CrossFit or hot yoga, but also topping the list is an outdoor workout with Tim. We make up these things to do at any park, playground, school, track, set of stairs, or any hill. Lately, our favorite is hill sprints. Running hill sprints is about the easiest, most effective, and most fun workout to do. Tonight, Tim and I ran 10 long sprints (more like drags) that took us about 30:00 total. We watched the pink sunset and
1. Find a hill. I realize that I've always lived in a place with hills in my backyard, so maybe it's more difficult for those midwest folks. The hill can be of any slope and length. Then pick your hill track. Like I said, it doesn't matter the slope or length. Don't go too short or shallow that each round is easy, but don't go so long and steep that you half to walk at the end. Whatever the route, the way you go up is the way you go down - so you will have enough recovery whatever the distance.
2. Set a time. If you are just starting, try for 10:00. We don't go for more than 30:00. Sprints are suppose to be short and intense. Or once you can gauge your hill track, pick a count like 20 short sprints or 10 long sprints.
3. Sprint up! Pick up those knees, stay on the balls of the feet, and pull back with your strong glutes. Give each sprint your best effort. For the recovery, just walk all the way down to the bottom, and be ready to go again.
4. At the top, have a counting system. I like to find rocks, pebbles, or bark pieces and use them to count my rounds. I move them into little piles to do the counting. This gives me the freedom to forget the number and just enjoy the journey.
5. Another fun motivator that we like to use is to dedicate each run to someone or something. We take turns each round shouting our phrases that make us happy. For example- "this one is for our upcoming Vegas vacation" gets announced at the start line and then we have something fun to think about for the length of the run.
6. Once you reach your time limit or count amount, you feel so accomplished. It is a short but intense workout bound to give you a big endorphin high (or whatever good feelings you need for the day). Seriously, the burst of exercise combined with enough recovery is a power workout, and you will love the feeling you get from sprints.
7. Other great benefits of hill sprints (that only I would care about) is that you aren't going very far. So if you need to strip a layer, get a drink of water, or run into the house for the bathroom - you are right there. Unlike running into the abyss for miles, you are close to home / your car / your water / your sweatshirt/ you get the gist.
So give yourself some love, find a hill, and conquer the world!