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Try “last man sprints” for a fun group workout

Get your running buddies and head to the track for this team session

Now that pandemic restrictions are lifting across the country, runners everywhere are finally hitting the pavement (or track or trail) with their running buddies. While easy runs are often the best for facilitating conversation between friends, speedwork with a group can be fun, too. The next time you’re getting together with your run crew, try “last man sprints” for a fun workout.

Track Workout
Photo: Matt Stetson

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This workout can be performed on a track, trail or road. It can be done with a group of as few as three people, but works better with five, 10 or more. The concept is simple: everyone runs in single file at a predetermined pace that is easy for everyone to maintain. The person at the back then sprints to the front to take the lead, and settles back into the group pace. Once they have reached the front, the person who is now in the rear does the same thing. This pattern continues until each runner has had the chance to sprint, and can be repeated as many times as you like.

This workout is a great way to gamify traditional speedwork and is also an excellent session for children in youth track clubs. In order for it to work properly, each runner has to be able to stick with the pace chosen by the group beforehand. If someone runs too fast or too slow, the line will get broken up or spread out too far and the game will fall apart. Keep in mind that the more people in the line, the longer the sprint will be, and the longer the rest will be, so plan the workout accordingly. 

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The workout

Warmup: 10-15 minutes easy, followed by mobility drills and strides

Workout: run for 20-30 minutes, each person sprinting one at a time. If you reach the full time and you’re part-way through a cycle, keep going until everyone has finished their last sprint.

Cooldown: 10-15 minutes easy, followed by light stretching