Monday, May 01, 2006

My Sprint 8 Program

I plan to climb Wheeler Peak, the 13,161 foot high point of New Mexico, this fall. In order to make the 16 mile, 3600 foot climb without ruining my week or killing myself, I need to get in shape. While I'm a firm believer in the No Magic Diet (to lose weight, you must burn more than you consume), it's hard to ignore the success Lance Armstrong has has with interval training.

Vince's Sprint 8 program progressThe Sprint 8 program appeared in the April 2006 issue of Outside Magazine and it made sense to me immediately. It's very simple. After warming up, you do 8 seventy yard wind sprints, 8 thirty second bursts on a bike, 8 twenty second bursts on cross county skis, etc. My plan was to start my Sprint 8 program twenty weeks before the climb. The chart at right shows my progress. You can read more about the program on my website at Here are my updates.

7/14/06: Wow, over a month since my last post to the Sprint 8 blog. no wonder my progress has gone slack. Is it an American wearing the maillot jaune in the Tour de France? Or maybe the brutal sales training session this week? Maybe it's time to add a more aggressive diet adjustment to the Sprint 8 program? Regardless, it's time to pick up the pace if I'm to lose enough weight.

6/12/06: It's been six weeks since I started the Sprint 8 and yesterday was the first day I was able to sprint 8 windsprints without pain in my knees or quads. It was quite rewarding. Losing nine pounds makes me feel good too, but it makes me wonder if there is a more effective measurement of dieting success. I'm much less interested in what I weigh than in my cardiovascular condition and how well my pants fit. Maybe I will add a line to the chart showing waist circumference?

5/29/06: A second word to the wise for prospective Sprint 8 programmers: do not grill spare ribs the night before your weekly weigh in. Seriously though, a pound a week is a pretty good pace and will lead to 20 pounds I won't carry to the top of Wheeler Peak.

5/22/06: The running is getting easier now that I've gotten over the muscle agony. A word to the wise for prospective Sprint 8 programmers: do not eat half a large pizza the night before your weekly weigh in.

5/10/06: My mountain bike and the Sprint 8 program go well together, but I broke down and bought a pair of running shoes and wanted to try them out. I walked the seventy yard sprint "course" twice and jogged it once for a warm-up, but my quads felt like they tore on the first real sprint and I could only jog the rest of them. Nice. I bet that will feel good in the morning.

5/7/06: Today was the first day I tried actual wind sprints for my Sprint 8. It had probably been 25 years since I last sprinted (as in on foot) and I wondered if my knees would come apart. They didn't and I was able to muster 6 seventy yard sprints.

5/3/06: My Sprint 8 program started today after a long winter of Ohio slothdom. I could only muster 4 thirty second sprints on my mountain bike. Thankfully I didn't puke.