Introduction to Speed Training

Hello and welcome!!  This blog is going to be about training running and everything in between. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading my thoughts and ideas and even engage in some discussion.  My contact information is attached please don’t hesitate to email me with questions or even opposing thoughts! I enjoy learning just as much as sharing what I know! As I write this blog there are going to be things I may assume you, the reader,  know. If you don’t hopegully you can search it or email me and I would be happy to explain!

As a former sprinter I thought it was only appropriate that I start with my thoughts on the beginnings of speed training. During my 13 years as a track athlete I had many different coaches; eight to be exact. Having had so many coaches I was exposed to many different philosophies about training, and of course developed my own based off of my performances with each.

As with anything you do I think it’s always good to know where you are when you begin. Movement screening and baseline testing are two important things I believe a coach should do before any training begins. Whether its in the weight room, on the field, or on the track, you need to know where you, or your athletes, are physically and in some cases mentally before you can decide how you wish to advance.

Movement screening is the very first thing that I would do before I start baseline testing. To give a few examples some movement screening tests you can run are: body weight squat, single leg squat, jogging, running, and overhead stick squat to name a few. These movement screening tests can help you to identify structural or muscular issues an athlete may have (tight hips, tight glutes, improper running form, a tight back etc.) there are many tests in addition to these that you can find online to help you determine where an athlete is when you start.

Baseline testing I consider to be any tests that mimic what the athlete is training for. If it is a sprinter maybe running a 60 a football player a 40 in addition to other combine events, box drills, shuttles. Once you know where an athlete is you can work to build the program around their body and goals. BEFORE TESTING ALWAYS ENSURE YOUR ATHLETE IS WARMED UP PROPERLY!!! If you do have recent numbers this testing may not be as necessary but if an athlete has had a large amount of time off I suggest testing and screening.

Now lets say you have done movement screening and baseline testing and are ready to roll. I do not advise jumping right in to 100% effort speed training depending on what part of the season you are in. If you are getting an athlete during preseason their body may not be ready to begin full speed sprinting. I would advise a one to two-week period of getting their body “prepped” for sprinting/running. If you follow my program blueprint you will notice that under week one and two I have intensity levels. I think that  it is important to ease the body into sprinting. The odds that they will “tighten up” and possibly injure themselves is still high during this stage that is why a majority of runs should be at more of a stride pace than a sprint pace. 75-85% of max effort. We want to build aerobic strength and some muscular endurance in the beginning stages.  After the two-week period the sprint training can become more intense but only when the athlete appears to be handling the beginning with relative ease.

Once you are past the first two weeks I would advise putting a clock on  almost everything. The body is a machine and what it records, it remembers. Whatever the workout may be you want to keep track of how your athlete(s) are progressing. You can give a target time for each rep or workout and keep track that way, or time each rep and record the time. The goal is to average just a little faster from one week to the next. So for example if your athlete runs 10×120 averaging 15.6 the next time they run you want all of their times to be under 15.6 even if the number of reps is different you want the intensity to continue to increase over time.

As you are working through the season and workouts its important to take note how your athlete is feeling. If you decide to test every 3 or 4 weeks then the week of testing you will want to back off of the VOLUME of work, but not necessarily the INTENSITY and perhaps give an extra day of rest BEFORE testing. The body is at its optimal state 48 hours after training, some of you may know this as supercompensation. So 48 hours after a workout your body is in BETTER shape than when it did the Previous workout and this could help to improve testing numbers.

As with any type of athletic event flexibility is important. There are many views on stretching before and after workouts. You may be a fan and you may not. I believe that yoga/stretching is very helpful and there are programs that one can subscribe to for daily routines that I believe can only help.  To me it is important that you get your athletes in a routine early so that any adjustments that are made are small and will not effect the athletes mentality.

In the next blog I will cover sprint form and common mistakes and things to look for when training an athlete. Hopefully you all enjoyed and see you next time!


Clayton Parros

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