Hello Dear Reader and lover of Speed development and Sprinting;
Thank you so much for showing up to read my blog. I'm interested in questions and knowing what you think. Bug me if I'm not attending to you faster. ( faster is better right? ;)
( photo of Charlie @1972 Olympic Games in Munich 100m heats)
There does not appear to be volumes of quality information or research around the central nervous system and sprint training. Coach Charlie Francis educated himself on this topic primarily because he was forced to quit his sprinting career early due to injuries he later learned were due to chronic tightness which could be prevented. ( before signing off as a competitor, Charlie was plagued with one injury after another due to the primary focus of high intensity work with little attention to rest or recovery. "Speed Trap" the book Coach Francis cowrote in 1989 with Jeff Coplon, tells a story about his life as an athlete and coach. Francis wanted different for his athletes.
You will find the most specific information about how the CNS and sprinting in another book Francis was asked to co write with Paul Patterson. "The Charlie Francis Training System". Understanding how the CNS works in speed training has been central to how Charlie coached countless sprinters, coaches and a variety of athletes from multiple speed and power sports.
Here is a question asked by www.charliefrancis.com forum member;
Forum Member Question
What is an efficient nervous system, which if an athlete has, allows him/her to be naturally fast? I'm familiar with the telltale signs of short temper, the quickness of their feet and a bunch of other stuff.. but moving past those subjective tests, what are the true metrics of a powerful CNS? Read in my psychology textbook about the sodium/potassium ion pump, action potential, excitatory neurotransmitters.. are those phenomenon’s related to someone's inherent speed? And that leads to the question - how can I purposely affect/increase these measures? Will supplementing with electrolytes translate to increased firing of neurons?.....
I saw Andre de Grasse at Canadian Nationals... he's a standard IMO of what a person with a superior CNS is. He is twitchy. He couldn't stop moving. There was always some articulation of the limb going about even when he was drinking his water. He could not be still. I think it's that neural configuration plus zero aggression/excessive effort that lets him run very fast.( forum member from www.charliefrancis.com since 2013 and junior pan american team member)
Coach Ange’s Answer
According to 'The Charlie Francis Training System', two telltale signs of an elite sprinter are:
1- High level sprinters tend to be short tempered; explosive and intense… an explosive personality is an indication of an explosive nervous system.
2- The athlete who can move his or her feet at high frequency is a candidate for sprinting.
( taken from 'The Charlie Francis Training System' page 10. See also “Theory and Methodology of Training The key to Athletic Performance” by Tudor Bompa Chapter 13 )
As far as true metrics of a powerful CNS go?
CNS has to be fully regenerated so that the chemical environment required for optimal transmission of nervous signals is intact. (The Charlie Francis Training System page 29 to 32)Supplying excellent nutrition including electrolytes will optimize your physiology to both develop and enhance the nervous system you already have in place. Electrolytes work best during and post workout.
Motor pathways, characteristic of optimal technique and efficient routing of motor signals must be in place …. Appropriate training creates chemical changes. Notice “appropriate", not any training that some feel works for them, which advance the capacity to do both CNS work and muscular endurance work under conditions of correct technique, before fatigue is reached. (The Charlie Francis Training System pages 29 to 32)Routine regeneration is important because it will be your first line attempt to take full advantage any training you will perform. The training effect of the work you perform will be minimized unless you routinely ensure your personal chemistry is ready to respond to high quality work. Otherwise you are not optimizing your existing level of performance.
Regeneration is equally as important if not more than training. My suggestion is to apply a few routine methods of regenerating to your training week and see what you think?
This means more contrast baths for all of you.
"Sprint your own race"
Coach Angé Coon
Coaching a high school track program as been a great deal of fun and created a lot of excitement for me and the kids I am working with.
Seeing athletes I used to train with and compete with has also been an enjoyable experience.
Sport as been a huge amount of fun throughout my entire life and it's rewarding to get notes from people across the globe that have been inspired by myself or the work Charlie and I did to create www.charliefrancis.com.
Thanks for reading.
You may also enjoy reading this blog.
"DON"T LIKE" it?
I grew up not just "LIKING" track and field .I loved it.
I have told many people : Track has brought me some of the very best things in my life.
Historically I have not "LIKED" some aspects of track and field.
In the past 26 years I have endured some of the most difficult events in track and field history and thankfully I "LIKE" track again. I think I might even say " I LOVE IT".
What I don't get is why people like to steal other people's stuff and publish it.
I don't " LIKE " when people do this sort of thing.
I guess some people" LIKE" my stuff so much they want to give it to everyone. I am sure they must be a great people everyone " LIKES". They are just so generous don't you think?
I tried sending these people a note saying I don't "LIKE" that you have stolen my copyright protected material and you are not supposed to publish it without my permission.
I am wondering if the conclusion I have is correct.
Do these people "LIKE" the work of my late husband Coach Charlie Francis?
I wonder if they know I might not "LIKE" what they are doing.
I wonder if they think I am dead. I don't think they know I am alive and make my livelihood from selling my material. I don't "LIKE " that but I guess I need to wake up, get off my sprinters butt and do more about this sort of thing. GEE Whiz. I better get busy.
Good luck with your training and make sure you are taking care of you.
I am sharing some of my speed and sprinting workouts with people interested in seeing methods discussed on our forums here since 2000.
I am thankful and happy I wrote so much down. I encourage anyone to keep a journal no matter what it is you do. It helps you reflect, it provides information to repeat or change and it’s a record you may want some day.
I think it might help people to see workouts performed while also learning methods of training they are able to further research through books like “ Speed Trap” and or “ The Charlie Francis Training System”
The workout below was done while Charlie was doing some work with the Detroit Lions. This video was posted by the head strength and conditioning coach who hired Charlie at the time.
Friday May 1st 1992 ( 2 workouts today one in am and one at 5:30pm – I think the workout was meant to be earlier but sometimes things don’t work out that way when your primary objective at that time was my husband’s work )
Bed 1:30am / Wake 8:15am ( we would have been in Detroit at a hotel)
- Short hot and cold
- 9am breakfast oatmeal , milk and water ( supplements multivitamin ,boron, zinc, primrose oil, ginseng, calcium)
- 10am treadmill 6 to 7 minutes
- Few sit ups and pushups
- 4 x 10 - 15meters A skip, B skip, Running A’s , Tripling
- 4 x 8 hamstring curls ( Nautilus machines 60lbs, did not like this equipment but CF hated it as well and it bothered my knees while doing it
- 2 x 45lbs bench ( I must have done 2 sets of 10 to warm up not 2 reps only).
- 1 @ 65lbs
- 1 @ 75lbs
- 11:30 am 3 egg omelette / cheese and mushroom / water
- Got back to hotel room, had a short 10 minute nap/ cleaning lady come to clean room so I went to hot tub/ then showered
- 1pm = had one hour nap
- Snack before training club house sandwich 3 pieces
( I remember always being hungry and always having trouble feeling like I was not eating enough. Looking back now I see how incomplete and unscientific my eating was. My training was 10 out of 10 and my eating was about 6 or 7 out of 10 IMO).
4pm = more supplements before training. ( I really got sick of taking supplements but they really helped me as well. It’s a game . You need to figure out what works best and figure out what does not work and this takes a lot of time and energy and we got a ton of supplements for free which was very helpful. ( supplements = *carnitine musashi, calcium, sublingual glutamine, ginseng, zinc, primrose oil, licithine, amino acids, * green musashi )
5:30 pm = Warm up = 2 laps around track
-Sit ups and medicine ball throws
-6 x 15 meter drills Askip, B skip, bumkicks, Running A’s.
- 4 x 150 meters with 6.5 to 9 minutes rest between sets
= Warm down = 8 x back and forths over 100 meters shaking very easy
Dinner = Veal marsala, soup , water, milk
Did another hot and cold, massage and slept very well.
NOTES : The worst part of my training were runs like the ones I did on this day. I never felt good or great doing them. I always felt it was a task. I loved doing speed , I loved lifting weights and I also loved training hard. It was Charlie's opinion that I lacked the time and or background doing longer work/ speed endurance because I was out of the sport for so long at the age I needed to be doing differently. Having said that you have what you have and as a coach you need to try and find ways to accomplish the different variables of your event while not forgetting the individual.