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July 23, 2018  


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Coaching Archive
March 2017
ROCK AND ROLL WITH FOAM

December 2016
SUPER SET TRAINING

September 2015
CORE STABILITY-LATEST TRAINING THOUGHTS
TRAINING THE HIP FLEXORS AND HAMSTRINGS

August 2015
COACHING STRATEGY
A TRAINING PROGRAMME TO BOOST SPEED

June 2015
A FURTHER LOOK AT SKULPTING A SPRINTER

October 2014
TECHNIQUES FOR BUILDING CONFIDENCE

April 2012
PLANNING YOUR TRAINING FOR ENDURANCE RUNNERS

December 2011
INTENSE TRAINING VERSUS VOLUME TRAINING

September 2011
ACCELERATION -THEORY AND PRACTICE
DYNAMIC AND SPORTS SPECIFIC WARM - UPS

June 2011
RUN FASTER

October 2010
DISCOVER THE WONDERS OF VARIABLE PACE

February 2010
TRAINING DEVELOPMENT IN PRE_ADOLESCENT CHILDREN

November 2009
NUTRITION FOR ATHLETES

August 2009
UNDERSTANDING SPORTS DRINKS

June 2009
SIMPLIFICATION OF ENERGY SYSTEMS

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A 'SHORT TO LONG' APPROACH TO SPRINTING

A 'SHORT TO LONG' APPROACH TO SPRINTING


The traditional sprint training methodology of going from slower,longer runs with short recoveries to faster runs with longer recoveries has formed the basis for the majority of sprint ‘athletes’ training programmes for many years. 

It was reasoned that developing good aerobic condition in a sprint athlete would boost speed development and it was not unknown for sprinters to go on 20-40min runs at the beginning of the training year

The logic of this approach however is somewhat derailed when one considers the actual aerobic content of a 200m sprint is at best 5%-----95% being anaerobic.

Is this method then clearly flawed, and also, if training for speed,does not the laws of speed development ‘long to short’ for want of a better expression put the ‘cart before the horse’
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Running fast requires developing technical skill in your athletes all year round,it requires significant degrees of coordination,consistency and deliberate repetition,they need the watchful eye of a good coach in order to make consistent improvements and experience consistent success.

If they have never been taught the skill of running fast,every step they’ve taken has further ingrained bad habits into their neuromuscular system.

Acceleration is the most important component of running fast,if they cannot accelerate properly they will never actually hit their top speed,for sprinters it is the Kiss of Death.

There are probably about 8 specific skills athletes must be able to successfully and consistently execute before they reach top speed,there has to be a system for introducing,teaching,cueing,correcting and adding to this.

For the best part our athletes compete towards the end of January in Indoor championships and later in June or July for the Outdoor championships,they usually require a mini peak for January and full peak for the outdoor championships;it amounts to a double periodisation.

Do our athletes really have time within the framework of 15wks,the time before the Indoor Championships are held, to be trained fast enough to win, if speed work is not immediately a priority with the ‘long to short’ methodology.

Also the point is what benefits are there initially training them over long slow runs and maybe moving to really fast runs several months later or even close to their supposedly mini peak and not perhaps having had sufficient time at developing their skills in acceleration.

Athletes cannot sprint for 60m with an appropriate degree of skill and speed before they’ve learned how to run properly for 50m.
They cannot sprint 50m before they have learned to correctly use speed over 40m. They cannot sprint for 40m before they have learned to correctly sprint for 30m and they cannot sprint 30m fast before they can really accelerate really fast up to the first 20m
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You cannot get fast if you practice running slow,but to run fast you have to develop speed.

The‘short to long’approach emphasises intensity throughout the year; a steady increase in training volume is not required or recommended,indeed volume may even decrease.

This allows an athlete to remain close to his or her peak through the season,which in turn means that multiple peaks are possible through the season.

The fatal flaw in most coaching/sports programs is that coaches do the exact opposite. They focus on running and increasing the volume of repeat 100’s/150’s/200’s etc which only trains athletes to be good at running slow .Great news if you are training athletes for 5000m.

As mentioned this approach emphasises speed all year round. Sprint workouts take place in what would normally be the ‘slow slog’ preliminary stages of training when an athlete is ‘supposedly’ building base condition using slower conditioning methods.

In this ‘short to long’ approach the athlete trains over 90% intensity throughout. It will:

* Maximise physical speed development

* Optimally stimulate the central nervous system

* Reduce injuries ( athletes can pick up injuries when attempting to sprint after bouts of much slower work )

* Allow for more speed peaks

* Minimise the negative effects of de-training on fast twitch muscle fibre emphasis on aerobic work blunts speed

The ‘short to long’ approach continues when developing speed endurance,60-180m(in the context of a 100/200m runner) alongside the ‘short to long’ pure speed work and later speed-endurance speed( sprints over 60-120m) , designed to improve the sprinter’s ability to maintain flat-out speed )

Reaching top speed is one thing,being able to maintain top speed is another

Developing speed endurance enables an athlete to carry their speed for longer without fading and is therefore crucial

The role of the coach is to try and successfully combine all the elements of perfect sprint performance (acceleration,absolute speed and speed endurance) seamlessly into these peaks while simultaneously monitoring athletes to ensure adequate recovery

The maintenance of power throughout the season is also important.

Maximum strength work done at the right part of the macrocycles (recruitment of fast twitch fibres, but slow work) is the precursor to Plyometric work (allowing the muscle fibres -to‘fire’quicker,faster movement) enabling then a phase of force development (power conversion ) to be adopted

The only time I move away from this regime is after the rest lay-off for the athletes ( end of last track season,beginning of new ) when,after returning, strength endurance runs on the track will be used for a few weeks only.

The methodology can be adapted for any running distance
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Remember that all your acceleration runs are at full speed and your speed endurance and speed endurance speed runs are always 90% intensity working towards 100% commitment

Always do your acceleration work before any speed endurance runs