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Technical Advancements of a Young Hurdler

If you are a coach or an athlete I think you will find this interesting. Jccc110m joined the forums 3 years ago ( March 2013)  when he was 16 years old. Initially he had no coach and used information available from a variety of places to coach himself. Presently he is competing in his second year of university in Ontario Canada and working with a coach there. He has made tremendous improvements and it has been both fun and exciting watching his results. 

The following are some of his recent comments below with my comments in bold.

Here is where the beginning of his post begins in March of 2013. 

Current SB sits at 8.24 (PB from 2015: 8.16). That came from essentially 2 and half weeks of no specific hurdle work because of Holidays Break. One week out I remembered that season opener was in one week's time so I mastered my sleeping, nutrition, recovery, and training. 8.24 was the result. This weekend I ran 8.32/8.31 at York. Good stuff coming considering that we haven't done too too much out of blocks (ie. hurdle acceleration). 

Congratulations on a hugely successful season for your first year at University. There are always a great number of adjustments for your first year as a student at university and you managed consistent improvements right up until the very last meet where you finished the season with your best time of 8.16 for men's 60-meter hurdles. 

One month out from Championship season. This is how I plan to be competitively ready in 4 weeks:

(1)Master my sleeping routine. Get as close to 10 hours a day as possible. Make sure I sleep around 11-1130, which I feel is optimal for me.


Consistency of quality sleep are both important.  Here are two articles you might find interesting. 





(2) Nutrition. Have been weak on this but strapping down to a few special things will make things flow. No sugar, no 'bad foods'. Don't put myself in a situation where I deviate from nutrition. Essentially to creating a bodily environment where low-grade inflammation is as low as possible.


Routinely fortifying your diet with super foods through meals or supplementation or both is a strategy you will be able to improve over time. My experience has been that regulating high quality protein through food or supplements accelerates recovery and the building of muscle for speed and strength. It’s also important to include super foods that provide essential minerals and vitamins and add yogurt and or kefir to boost absorption of all the good you are consuming as well as improving digestion and waste removal. Best times for daily nutritional insurance is first thing in the morning, before training and or immediately after and just before bed . How you eat, when you eat and what you eat will ensure quality sleep that boosts the process of healing.

Here are some examples of super foods you might add to your smoothies: flaxseed, chia seeds, whole almonds, kefir, kale, blueberries, cocoa, cinnamon, spinach, fresh ginger.

Take a look at this article to gain some insight about the role nutrition can play in performance in sport and in life. 



(3) Therapy. Plain and simple. Massage + CHIRO. Have a minor(?) hip strain - around ab region on right side//more adductor on left side - anyone have any suggestions on what I can proactively ask therapist team for? Getting consistent therapy along with getting optimal amounts of sleep will solve most things.


My main suggestion here based on my own personal experience is to include water therapy of some kind. Contrast baths or Epson salt baths can be done at home and that means you are able to do them more frequently for your best results.

Here is some research to take a look at. 


I'm fast in the hurdles because I try to get from one barrier to the next as fast as I can. On the flat I think: run over the other knee, arms to face, be relaxed... Here's a simple cue for someone like me: JUST. RUN. FASTER.

I think it's not a bad idea to think about JUST. RUN. FASTER. Good Luck and more continued success Jccc110m. 

Here is the original post by Jccc110m which includes a video of a race in January 2016

The big picture of track and field on and off the field is the most interesting to me. As coaches we need to teach this to our athletes. As athletes taking control of what we hope to accomplish is not only cool, it will be a big asset once you hang up your spikes. 

Thanks for reading.

All the best,


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10 Best Gifts for Sprinters

I’ve always loved getting the best equipment to fuel my passions. As the holiday quickly approaches here are some ideas that might help guide you to buy for the sprinter or athlete on your gift list.

1. Blender


a) General Blender: try Magic Bullet that is small, compact and does the job making simple 2 or 3 ingredient smoothies such as fruit and yogurt.


b) Premium Blender: both Vitamix or Blentec will grind seeds, dark greens like broccoli or kale , flax and pumpkin seeds as well and whole frozen fruits like strawberries. Check out this recipe on my blog here.


2. Athletics Tights for training


a) Tights for all occasions = can be purchased inexpensively at retailers, which include Costco, Wal-Mart, Sears, TJ Max. Low priced tights are perfect for layering in colder weather when one pair won’t do and baggy sweats or rain gear interferes with training.


b) Premium Athletic tights = Lulu lemon tights are hard to beat. My second choice would be Nike and Addidas and UnderArmour.


3. Water bottle that does not leak = Nalgene is hands down the only water bottle I’ve continued to use and keep coming back to. It does not leak. The wide mouth versions are perfect to keep clean; you can freeze water in them in the summer and add an insulated cover found at the same place you purchase your water bottles. Nalgene is perfect for hot beverages, smoothies and they wash wonderfully well in the dishwasher.


4. Protein for smoothies and protein shakes = Sunwarrior protein is a preimium vegan based brown rice powder. It comes plain, flavored vanilla and chocolate. You can also try premium Whey Protein from New Zealand but I like the variety of non whey for my smoothies.


5. Subscription to a Top Nutritional Journal = Understanding more about nutrition is one of the easiest ways to enhance a sprinters ability to get the most out of his or her training.


6. Books for Sprinters = Speed Trap and The Charlie Francis Training System are two easy to read and follow book that are available here on the site or at Amazon.com. Both will give the sprinter in your life an overview of the world of athletics and sprinting at the development and elite levels.


7. Medicine Ball = Dynamax medicine balls are made of leather and made in the USA. For the most premium brand go to www.togu.de . For some reason it’s difficult to find good medicine balls out of these two companies.


8. Massages = the best place to find quality therapy is through athletic injury clinics or from other coaches or athletes who may make personal recommendations. You can’t go wrong with gift certificates.


9.Rain Gear = It does not have to be Gortex but light weight rain gear can stop the wind and keep you warm and prevent the rain from getting you wet. Muscles perform best when they are dry and warm.


10.Personal timing device = I have been wearing the Timex Indiglo watch for a long time and I love it. I time everything and log the results and use my watch in the water as well as its waterproof.



I wish you all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and all the best 2016 has to offer. I hope my list of the 10 Best Gifts for Sprinters gives you some great ideas.


Angela for CharlieFrancis.com.


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8 Extra Tips to manage Sprint Injuries

I always appreciate the feedback I receive regarding my blogs and posts.

A long-standing member of our forum has responded to a recent blog I wrote about sprinting injuries.


Thanks for the article Angela. I have been having Achilles issues this year. When they are warm I’m good. They get cold and I cant walk. I wear high socks to bed.

I am going to start using ems and ultra sound at night.

What are your thoughts on compression socks?

My response:

Thanks for your feedback ‘Long Standing Forum Member’

It's very annoying to have plantar fasciitis and tendon injuries. An injury slows us down and requires us to spend time we often don’t have to try and fix the injury. If people need to spend extra time at something if often means thorough rehabilitation doesn’t take place.   Hopefully this information will be a motivator for the steps that can be taken to heal quickly and prevent future injuries.

In addition to a recent blog post,I have added  8 extra tips to help you manage your sprint injuries. 

  1. Use Heat

Several products can be useful used locally and then wrapped with saran. Some examples of creams to use are: RUB A535, Voltaren Emulgel, and Traumeel. Loosely wrap the saran area with a tensor bandage. This can be done at night.

You can use this method for training as well and the saran may or may not stay in place. Wear more than one layer on the legs to maintain extra heat.

  1. Change Warm up

My suggestion for the warm up is to complete entire duration of the warm up without any pounding, running or jogging for area that is injured. My guidelines for a warm up if you are suffering from plantar Fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis would be the following. For the first part of your warm up choose the easiest exercises for you (the exercises are you most adapted for) and progressively add slightly more demanding exercises keeping in mind this is a warm up not a training session (yet).

*I will post a specific warm up routine anyone can do which is very effective, complete and will fully prepare you for a serious level sprint session.

I have strong opinions on warm ups for the performance of a sprint training session based on witnessing a great deal of not enough warm up duration, exercises that are performed too early in the warm up or a failure of a complete warm up all together.

Goal. Entire warm up performed off your feet entirely.

Initially you may find this to be annoying but you get used to it quickly and it might be enough to keep you healthy enough to perform some speed work and or drills during the injury.

  1. Prioritize your sprint training

Performing shorter faster runs are easiest on the lower limbs as you are limiting pounding. The idea of keeping off your feet during your warm up does two things. One it enables your body to heat up before any specific stress to the injured area occurs. Two, performing the warm-up off your feet will reduce the total volume of pounding per training session and per week. Both ideas shore up energy to be focused on sprinting which you need to prioritize at least 2 x per week.

Choosing alternative exercises to maintain appropriate high intensity stimulus is also important in combination with prior mentioned ideas. Examples are using explosive medicine ball drills into a crash pad, hurdle walkovers with or without a medicine ball, extensive medicine ball circuits for both maintenance of fitness or improvement of fitness. Drills can be performed on gym matts carefully once the warm up has been completed, Electronic Muscle Stimulation has the ability to replicate speed training protocols when used properly.

  1. Replace old shoes

Shoes lose the shock absorbing qualities they have and progressively wear out and provide less and less support. Look to replace your training shoes when the tread on the bottom begins to show wear.

  1. Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax baths provide moist deep heat that accelerates and promotes healing of tendons and compromised areas that are difficult to treat. Buying personal paraffin wax baths are economical and easy to use. Paraffin is also soothing to use and has side benefit of improving the texture of hardened, rough, dry skin.

  1. Individual ice baths for feet and calves

Purchase 2 pales that come up to your knees if possible. Try a place like Home Depot or a hardware store. Fill each pale with cold water and add desirable amount of ice to each pale. Alternate your feet up to as far as your knees if possible for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the sensation of cold stops. Rest your feet and legs out of the cold by alternating into a hot tub, bath, hot paraffin wax or just sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes at a time. Repeat this cycle 2 or 3 times. It’s ideal to perform this before and after training., before bed or more than one time per day. However you perform this type of therapy, contrasting temperatures in this way will promote circulation to a very specific area of your body.

I suggest timing your intervals to see where your tolerance begins to diminish. Over time as your circulation improves, so too should you injury improve.

As a general rule, many injuries respond best to routine and varied method of care opposed to one method you think might work. Each person responds to different therapies in their own individual way depending on their make up.

  1. Compression Socks

I think compression socks make sense providing they don’t stop or slow down or prevent circulation. You want overall reduction of inflammation in the entire body as well as in the specific spot you are dealing with. Therapy needs to be address in a multi pronged way. I don’t know a great deal about the socks but their use for varicose veins is well documented as very helpful. I would not count on compression socks as a one step homerun but I’d use them in combination of the things I have discussed.

  1. Stay off your feet.

I know it’s not often possible especially for athletes that work so they are able to train. It is critical that you understand how much you stand or use your body for work needs to be factored into your therapy needs. Activities like shopping or walking are deadly energy wasters for athletes needing to perform. The need to rest your legs and body increases if and when there is an injury to heal.

We spend a great deal of time discussing training but the reality is injuries happen to everyone and it's critical to learn how best to heal quickly.

Warm regards,


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