I think there is a great deal of confusion for many coaches and athletes about what actual speed training looks like. To be fast you must run fast. To run fast you must set yourself up to succeed. You will not run fast if you are tired and tight as one example. You will not run fast if you are not able to give 95 percent effort. DON’T repeat runs for speed training if you are not feeling 95percent effort is possible. The reason you don’t want to do perform speed tired or tight is you will repeat runs performed poorly. Otherwise it’s likely you are practicing running that is not fast or technically sound. It’s essential you show up to practice each day and each workout feeling great, rested and ready to grab anything you are able to from each training session.
Below is a simple question asked by an interested person who saw an interview I did on the performance of life, rest and regeneration.
I listened to you recently in an interview online. Could you give an example of a high intensity workout for speed? Thanks Roy
Thanks for your note Roy. An example of a high intensity speed workout might be the following in a short to long method of speed training.
- 4 x 10 meters from crouch start or from blocks (volume is 40m of speed) Rest between each 10 meters would be slow walk back / slightly more rest if you use blocks. ( rest between sets might be 2 to 3 minutes / sitting , shaking your legs)
- 2 x 20 meters from crouch start. Rest between each run ~ 2 m/ rest between sets 3 to 3.5 min) (volume is 40m speed)
- 3 x 30 meter from crouch start Rest between each run 3 to 3. 5m /rest between next set 3.5 to 4 /5 min (volume is 90m speed)
- 1 x 60 m crouch start (volume is 60m) (v= 60) (if you did another 60 m rest might be 6 min maybe a bit more) . Total v = 230m
Above is one example of a speed workout for a beginner without much background in sprinting and without a developed Central Nervous System CNS. The workout shown above would be preceded by proper warm up. For more info checkout this blog post Warming Up for Sprinting in Track and Field
Important Definitions for Speed Training
Speed / pure speed:runs that are 7seconds or less performed at approximately at 95 percent / slightly less with full recovery.
What is full recovery?
Generally speaking you use 1 min of rest per 10 meters of speed work. If you had a hurdle in the way that won’t be pure speed because by definition It’s difficult to perform you max 93 to 95% with a hurdle in the way. Therefor true speed must be done in absence of hurdles and before hurdles are practiced. Rest between reps will be slightly different than rest between sets. Depending on the fitness of an individual will
Speed Endurance:7 to 15 seconds of running with full recovery between runs. One example of SE would be 60m and above for most including 100m.
Specific Endurance:15 seconds or above up to about 600 meters / 100m or 200m runners would not be running 600m but 400 meter runners would (As a 100mh I did a lot of 300m repeats (7x300m) in fall and spring for strong fitness base)
Special Endurance:15 seconds or above with incomplete recovery (note/ most people will not maximally benefit from doing high quality Speed Endurance because “ practice makes permanent”. For that reason performing Specific endurance combined with pure speed in the initial phases of running makes a ton more sense until the technical aspects of an athletes development can be solidified over time.
Running fast is fun. Learning to run fast is fun too but it’s hard work. It takes time, lots of energy and lots of practice and knowledge. Sprinting requires skill and often our skills have been learned the wrong way. Children know how to run and well meaning parents and coaches believe they know a great deal about skill when often they don’t. It might help some of you to think back to when you used to race your friends in the playground. What did you do? Likely every one would line up and race a reasonable distance. Likely the younger you were the shorter the initial distance. The other thing that would happen is you might race until you were tired. There is an actual feeling to running fast and once you have run fast and well remembering what the feeling is and how to best repeat it can be an incredible asset in how you perfect the skill of learning how to sprint fast.
Let me know if you have any questions.