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|Workouts for Sprinters|
|Here are some good speed sessions for the sprinters. One focussing on acceleration, the other on maximum velocity. It is suggested that you start with 2 days a week of acceleration work. Once you feel comfortable and are performing each rep with proper form and you have reached running 30 meter intervals with no problem, add a day of maximum velocity work in.|
|Acceleration||Acceleration speed is a product of
stride length (the distance your hips travel in a stride) and stride frequency
(the number of steps you take in a given time period). However, you will not
reach top speed by focusing on increasingly larger steps to increase stride
length or taking short, quick steps to increase stride frequency. Instead, top
speeds are created by applying 'optimal' force to the ground. Both length and
frequency are improved by strength so better strength application results in
faster speeds. Really, acceleration training is a form of strength training.
Ground contact times (the amount of time each foot spends on the ground) are another important factor to consider during acceleration. During the earliest parts of acceleration, especially the first two steps, you are trying to overcome (inertia) the weight of your body by moving it forward as quickly as possible. This takes a great deal of strength and power. The stronger and more efficient you are, the more you can extend your acceleration phase.
Once you become fatigued, workouts quickly lose their effectiveness. Any type of speed work must be done with full recovery. Generally speaking, that means approximately one minute of rest for every 10 yards that you run. Sprinting is a highly technical activity. Without full recovery, both your muscles and your central nervous system will begin to fatigue quickly, reducing the short and long term effectiveness of your training. For this reason, acceleration should not be trained with fatigue present. To optimize your success, full recovery must be adhered to both in your individual workouts as well as your weekly plan. It takes roughly 36-48 hours to fully recover from a speed workout.
During acceleration, the foot should strike directly below or slightly behind the hips. You must be able to drive out so your body is at a 45 degree angle to the ground and step over the opposite knee and drive the foot down into the ground to create maximal force.
Many athletes are not strongenough to hold and maintain that ideal drive phase. What we do is trick the body to maintain the proper form by having athletes start using different positions. For example, starting their interval on the ground seated, lying down in the push-up position, on one knee, etc.
Example of an Acceleration Workout:
|Maximum velocity|| Acceleration work must be done before
you can even look at starting maximum velocity (top speed running) work.
Maximum velocity work is when you are running at full speed, so your body will
be completely upright (perpendicular to the ground), and you will no longer be
leaning at an angle as you were during acceleration.
You will want to relax or 'float' during maximum velocity. What this means is you want to ease back in the amount of effort you are expending while running but without slowing down and losing any speed. This idea sounds contradictory, and like any new skill, it takes some practice to perfect.
While running, you want to continue to step over the opposite knee, but you do not want to drive the ball of the foot down into the ground. This is tough to do but it is essential if you want to maximize your speed and reach your full speed potential. If you are not relaxing while you are running, your body is really fighting itself and causing you to slow down.
Relaxation while at top speed must be practiced. Here's an example (called a "Fly 40"):