Putting Sprints Into Perspective

This is not me, but I hope my form will one day look like this. Photo by kimmiepievt.

This is not me, but I hope my form will one day look like this. Photo by kimmiepievt.

I have been trying to go to spin class at my gym at least once a week, twice if my body can handle the early morning wake-up; class starts at 5:30 a.m. By now I have had every instructor and they each have their own teaching style, routines, and way of motivating me to push just a little harder than I think I can. Some focus more on out of the seat drills, others prefer hills or using more gear for resistance, and now I’ve worked with the instructor that favors sprint intervals.

Her theme for the class was to “put the sprints in perspective.” At first I could not really decide what that meant but by the end of the class I liked the phrase a lot and felt as though we did indeed put the sprints in perspective. When I first started spinning I had to concentrate so hard on pedaling, breathing, and my form that I really didn’t pay too much attention to the routine, I just did as I was told. Now that I have a good chunk of sessions under my belt, I must be getting a little better because I finally retained most of the drills.

The gears are rated (in this class at least) on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the lightest gear. We started at a 2 for just a couple minutes in order to feel our pace at an easy 2. We then moved up to a 9 for about 30 seconds to be able to compare that to the 2 and then switched to a 5 to feel the middle of the scale. I know I can’t remember all the routines we did, but so far I think this focus on sprints at the various ends of the gear scale has been one of my favorite work-outs. Here’s what I can remember (and some of my minutes may be off, but you’ll get the idea):

  • Gear 2 (or whatever the lightest gear is that you can be on without bouncing out of the seat): 4 minute sprint
  • Gear 5: 1 minute easy, 1 minute sprint, 1 minute easy, 1 minute sprint, 30 seconds easy, 1 minute sprint, 15 seconds easy, 1 minute sprint
  • Gear 5: 1 minute recovery
  • Gear 9: 1 minute easy, 30 seconds sprint x 5
  • Gear 9: 2 minute recovery
  • Gear 9: 15 seconds easy, 15 seconds sprint x 5 (this was the hardest one, I thought)
  • Gear 5: 1 minute easy, 1 minute sprint, 1 minute easy, 1 minute sprint, 30 seconds easy, 1 minute sprint, 15 seconds easy, 1 minute sprint
  • Gear 2: 1 minute, Gear 3: 1 minute, Gear 4: 1 minute, Gear 5: 1 minute, Gear 6: 1 minute at sprint pace the entire time
  • Gear 2: 2 minutes, Gear 5: 2 minutes, Gear 9: 2 minutes all at a steady pace with the music
  • Easy recovery and stretch

By alternating the sprints with recovery at the low, middle, and high end gears, we were able to push our bodies to their max at each level of resistance while maintaining the pace appropriate for that gear. A sprint on Gear 2 is extremely fast; I almost don’t realize that my feet are moving it happens so quickly. The movements are short little bursts to bring the pedals around and most of my energy on Gear 2 is spent keeping the rest of my body still so that my legs have a smooth and steady rhythm to them. Sprinting on Gear 9 is really anything but a sprint. It’s much more of a hard push; the legs are not moving quickly but the goals is to not let them slow down. On Gear 9 my entire body is engaged to push the energy into my legs allowing them to pull through the cement (Gear 5 is pulling through mud and Gear 2 is riding through water) with as much force as possible.

By doing an entire 60 minutes of sprints at various gears, there is no doubt in my mind that we put the sprints into perspective and I hope to apply this same phrase and type of work-out into running to see how my body reacts when different amounts of energy are required to keep pace.

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5 thoughts on “Putting Sprints Into Perspective

  1. Natalie Post author

    Christine,
    I do the spin classes at Big Vanilla in Arnold; usually the 5:30 a.m. ones and I think so far I’ve had every instructor. I have yet to decide what days I like it the best though! I also have a friend who teaches a great spin class at the Naval Academy sports complex; her schedule is at http://www.jangraves.com.

    Reply
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