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Destiny Ogali training at home

Athletics at Home: Training Plan for Sprinters


Many of you may be wondering how you can best be able to train for sprints at home... 

You may have different reasons and/or limitations as to why you can’t get to the track or gym to do your sessions, and there's nothing wrong with that! There are many ways you can maintain fitness and improve your sprinting performance from the comfort of your own home. Of course, if you have access to more equipment and space, that does help, but even if you don’t, there are still various things that you can do. 

It’s really about having fun with the process and using what you have at your disposal for personal benefit. It may be unorthodox or even unheard of, but that's the whole fun of it!

Without further ado, here are some out-of-the-box ideas that will help you train for your sprint competitions at home! 

Young couple stretching

How do I mimic sprinting?

The best way to mimic sprinting is through drills, as specific sprint drills that you do reinforce proper techniques that will enable you to run faster.

All movements should replicate what you want to be doing in a race in terms of how you're striking the ground, your arm action and your stride length, and you can do these drills almost anywhere. So yes, these can be done at home if you have the space. The more useful you can do these drills, the more comfortable you’ll be when running. In my case, I had to learn new drills once my coach felt that I had progressed from the former drills. These new drills were specific and emphasised a particular movement he felt I needed to work on. With that in mind, always look to progress your drills over time so that you have variation. 

The great thing is there's hundreds, if not thousands of different drills you can do to mimic sprinting. The key is to ensure that they are done properly.

Having a coach to watch over you and correct your form is helpful. Once they’ve shown you the proper technique, you can then be able to practice the movements more regularly from the comfort of your home if you wish to do so. If you regularly do these drills, this will only help you hone your technique. When done correctly, the injury risk is low, meaning you can practice them as often as you wish. Drills such as straight leg bounds, A-Skips & B-Skips are quite popular. These are drills that I have regularly done over the years to help in developing my technique. They mimic sprinting very well, as you are putting yourself into the same sort of positions that you’ll be in when sprinting. 

Athletic man stretching at home

Can I increase my speed at home?

Absolutely! There are various ways in which you can increase your speed at home. 

Find any space you have, grab a mat or a towel (if you have one) and start with some circuit training. Pick 4-6 exercises and work in intervals of 30secs on and 30secs off. As you progress, you can increase the amount of time where you're working and decrease the amount of rest. This form of training helps to build strength and muscular endurance. Both of these components are key to running fast. 

You have to be strong enough to produce and withstand force, all while the body is fatiguing. Doing these circuits will help you to increase your speed from the comfort of your home. Most of the exercises will be done using your body weight, so you don’t even need any equipment in this instance. 

As mentioned above, you can certainly carry out drills at home with minimal space. It may mean you have to do them on the spot instead of moving backwards and forwards, but you’ll still be doing the movement repetitively, which will help in the long run. 

Athlete exercising in home gym

Some of you may have gym equipment at your disposal, which is again very useful for building speed at home. This does, however, depend on your age and capability. Please consult your coach before attempting to start weight training. 

Olympic lifts require specific techniques to avoid injury. When done correctly and periodised, they can supplement your training to help increase your strength and power levels, which will ultimately help you improve your speed. Even if you only have some light dumbbells, they can be used for many exercises, ranging from arm drives to bicep curls. And if you don’t have dumbbells or any form of proper gym equipment at home, you can always use some heavy bags of rice for front squats, milk cartons filled with sand or water for dumbbell presses or even some empty pots for Russian twists. 

Get creative and safely use whatever you have at your disposal. It’s just about getting the work in!

Young athlete running on treadmill

How to sprint on a treadmill?

Believe it or not, you can get some good sprint work done on a treadmill, depending on the type of treadmill you are using. 

The treadmill will maintain the set pace you’ve programmed it to run at, which can be a great way of working on your technique. If you set the treadmill at a quick enough but also steady pace, you can do some timed runs where you’re purely working on technique. You can also get someone to record you from different angles to analyse how you are landing and what your arms look like. 

Most treadmills also have an incline setting, which enables you to run slightly uphill. You could use that setting to mimic hill sprints. Even though this isn’t your traditional hill workout, it will still mimic the same positions depending on the incline when you are driving out of the blocks, which can be used to help improve your acceleration and strength levels. 

Depending on the highest setting of your treadmill, you can also set it to the fastest setting and do some 30-45 secs runs to help with speed endurance. If there is anyone available to help you, they can gradually increase and decrease the speed when you finish the run, or you can pre-pace the treadmill. Please ensure you are using the treadmill safely to avoid injury. 

The treadmill does not substitute proper track work, but it can be used to supplement what you are already doing on active rest days to keep the body moving. It is always helpful to reinforce the positions you want to be in when sprinting. So, if you are nursing or coming back from an injury, some treadmill work could help reintroduce the body to running again gradually.

Female athlete running in garden

Can you sprint in the house?

Technically, yes! However, this depends on the space you have available. You want your main bulk of training to be done on the track, but if there is space at home, please utilise it for some runs, while ensuring this is done safely to avoid injury. 

Exercises such as mountain climbers and high knees mimic the running motion quite well and can be done at home if you don’t have the space at home to run properly. Those exercises will help improve your technique whilst conditioning the muscles. As you do them regularly, you’ll see a gradual improvement in your conditioning and technique as long as the movements are completed with proper technique. For that reason, it’s vital to have a coach who can tailor your programme to your needs and address any technical changes that need to be made. 

Depending on your garden size, you can also do some worthwhile sprint training on the grass. As sprinters, our feet take a lot of pounding due to the force we exhort into the ground on each stride. For that reason, during the winter, we tend to do more work on the grass and in trainers to give the feet a break. That being said, you can still do some practical work on the grass, as well as the track. 

During Covid times, all of my training was on the grass. It proved to be massively beneficial, as I actually made a PB that season despite having no real sessions on the track or in blocks! The programme doesn’t need to change either. You can still do your acceleration work, longer runs, shorter runs and hills, all of which can be on the grass. So, if your garden is big enough, give it a try! Whether it's in boots, spikes or even in trainers, use the grass! You’ll feel the difference when you're back on track, and your feet & joints will be all the better for it. 

Destiny Ogali training at home

Train to your heart's content at home!

Hopefully, this gives you more insight into some of the things you can do from the comfort of your home to get faster. 

There are tons of exercises and workouts you can do with various forms of equipment, ranging from dumbbells to resistance bands. If you need any help or want some suggestions, please feel free to ping me a message and I’ll try and help as best as I can! You’d be surprised at just how much you can do with the space and tools you have at your disposal around you. And as always, have fun! Enjoy the process. 

About Destiny Ogali

Destiny Ogali Neuff Athletic Blogger

Destiny is a sprinting athlete who competes for Harrow AC, and he is incredibly passionate about helping other sprinters and athletes go further in their athletic journeys!

He already has experience in discussing athletics topics with others through The Visions Podcast, where he has sat down and spoken with some great athletes, including Desiree Henry and Aidan Syers! 

You can find Destiny's sprint performances on his Power of 10 profile.

Instagram: @destinyogali & @thevisionspod

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