Managing Muscle Tightness for Sprinting

July 29, 2019 by Angela Coon
Overtraining and lack of understanding of how to train properly are two factors which might contribute to muscle tightness. ( One example would be that we alternated high intensity sprinting with low or very low intensity training. Sometimes especially in my early days of training we might take more than one day to full super compensate from high level speed work) Constant muscle tightness is not normal for sprinters.  Ongoing muscle tightness is not desirable for sprinters and may put you at high risk for serious injury which may be difficult to bounce back from.  Tightness can indicate your muscles are working hard. Learning to run in a relaxed manner will help prevent injuries but relaxation during sprinting often comes with athletes who have greater knowledge and experience. We used to have a saying about training. "you can always add ( work) but you can't ( easily) take it ( the work)  away". Knowing when to stop working hard is one of the most difficult things to teach athletes and coaches and parents who all mean well but don't fully appreciate the cost and effects of small or large injuries in sprinting.
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3 Essential Things You can do Today that will lead to the prevention of short and long term injuries

July 15, 2015 by Angela Coon

Training is taxing. Training can be draining. We all need training and trainers to help us stay on track. We also need to understand a few key ideas to max out our potential and prevent all kinds of injuries that just might slow us down.

If you are active, if you are an athlete, if you compete at the highest level of any thing in or out of the office then you need to learn useful and repeatable habits that keep you in your game.

Here is what you need to know to Prevent Crap from happening to you. ( or limit the worst case scenario) 


  1. Water heals.


Drink lots

If you think you are drinking a decent amount of water think again. Many beverages remove water out of your system. Coffee, alcohol and sugary juices are the biggest culprits. Improved water intake helps the body get rid of waste. When you are active, training or live a demanding life style taking in more water will help you feel your best.  Filtered water is ideal but tap water will work too. I suggest 2 or 3, 32 oz. bottles per day starting as soon as you wake up. Try to stop water consumption not later than 8 or 9pm so you don’t interrupt your sleep with frequent bathroom stops. Some say drink 2 large glasses per meal. Find what works for you.

Dunk in it

 Swimming or training in the water is regenerative. If you can swim you will benefit from getting into the water for 30 to 40 minutes at a time. Water changes our chemistry according to Dr. Alejandro Elorriaga who runs the Acupuncture program at McMaster University in Hamilton ONTARIO Canada. Wading in the water can reset people naturally. Water is relaxing for muscles. Relaxed muscles are a lower risk for injury compared to tight, less mobile muscles.

Contrast it

Using water to heal is not a new idea. Head Athletics Coach Anthony McCleary and Coach Desai Williams at the National Training Center at York University in Toronto Canada use cold baths after sprint sessions to aid in the recovery of their athletes. A typical protocol of routine Epson salt baths helps both athletes and anyone suffering from muscle soreness. Worked out muscles respond well to contrasting warm and cold water temperatures.   Former head of the Polish Olympic Therapy program Waldamar Matuszewski Ph.d instructed athletes for decades to perform daily hot and cold contrast baths. A 12-minute circuit alternating hot and cold regenerates your nervous system. You must get your head wet completely to fully benefit from contrast baths says Matuszewski. Method = Use a water proof timer for 3 minutes ofhot water and quickly alternate to 1 minute as cold as possible and repeat 2 more cycles for 12 full minutes.


Here are some ideas about the CNS and training here:


Coach Charlie Francis also talks about the CNS in his manual “ The Charlie Francis Training System “ regarding the role recovery and regeneration plays in the prevention of short and long-term injury prevention. (starting on pages 61 ).


  1. Sleep and Rest add up.


There is no better way to heal than to give your body the correct tools and it will heal itself.


Lights out.


Best selling author and natural doctor Natasha Turner talks about how hormones play an essential role keeping us young and free of health issues. For example, darkness is an important aspect of the release of melatonin and subsequently the release of naturally occurring growth hormone. ( page 51 sleeping with light exposure).


What’s enough?


Opinions vary but most agree that the general population in modern society is not getting enough sleep. Dr. Turner says proper sleep, which includes sleeping at the right time, uninterrupted sleeping and sleeping in darkness aids in balancing hormones naturally. Routine compromised sleeping adds risk to getting small or larger injuries.


Read more about the role rest and recovery plays in the training process by reading here.


  1. Nutrition


I used to think I could get away with eating what ever I wanted when I was burning calories galore at almost all stages of my life as an athlete. For the first time ever becoming a mother challenged my previous game plan instantly. I became a serious student on how to continue my thriving ways I previously enjoyed as a track aficionado. What to eat, how to eat, if to supplement or not are topics that have become confusing to athletes as well as people training hard on or off the track or gym.

A quick overview a few nutrition hot topics


Smoothies = A great way to supplement your daily intake of calories, protein and or greens. Use a water base, a coconut water base or green tea base before adding things like flax, raw kale, kefir, yogurt, cue cumber and berries.


Fresh foods that are Super for you = yes, I am talking about super foods like spinach, berries rich in antioxidants but try buying local foods in season to get the highest nutritional value and taste.


Foods that help you = All types of red meat used to be a first choice for me as an athlete. Learn about what combination of foods works best for you. Experiment what your personal best combinations of foods are.


Keep it simple = eat veggies, eat fruit and eat beans and meat and natural foods. Stay away from products that have massive product ingredients and limit your


Here are a few places you can visit to learn more and educate yourself about the best nutrition for you in and out of the gym.







Practice makes permanent. Develop habits that keep you happy in your game today and tomorrow.


Enjoy and go get stuff done.





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How To Rehab a Hamstring Injury

June 01, 2012 by Angela Coon


Much debate about hamstring rehab 
The following page has been copied from Gerard Mach's book on Sprints and Hurdles( no longer in print)  from 1980 when Gerard was the Head Coach of the CTFA . Charlie was strongly influenced by Gerard and gave him a great deal of credit for his success as both an athlete and coach.
While I have not included Charlie's ideas in this article  I wanted to share this as I want people to see where some of Charlie's ideas came from. 
Further information regarding Gerard can be read in " Speed Trap" available in the store and Amazon but Charlie also talks about Gerard's influence in his Training Manual I am currently scanning to be made available on Amazon as well as this site.
Post September 1988  Seoul Korea athletes and teams were reluctant  to work with Charlie.  The Vermeil brother's ( Dick and Al ) recommendations brought many veteran professional athlete's seeking Charlie's extensive experience dealing with consequences of overtraining with specific attention to repeat hamstring injuries. Charlie taught his  clients that careful and methodical treatment will allow even the most severe tear to heal in a 10 day period. Charlie also enforced the idea that scar tissue needs to be properly managed as to prevent related injuries pulling from the original scar tissue.
I have tried with no success to contact Gerard. His contribution to athletics in Canada and the world has been significant. 
Angela Coon
Injuries and Injury Prevention in Sprinting and Hurdle Events
The most common and typical injuries in the sprinting events are hamstring pulls, shin splints and Achilles tendon problems. All injuries are basically the result of too intensive training programs or through training programs executed on too hard surfaces for too long a period of time.
The first symptom of tiredness by a sprinter will be a slight soreness of the hamstring muscle and the calf muscle. 
A normal massage and easier training the days before competition should eliminate these small problems.
Negligence in the first phase might provide bigger problems later, because of the fact that the muscles are flexible. The muscle stress during work stiffens muscles and shifts more and more to the distal parts, going from the calf muscles down through to the Achilles tendons.
In this phase of injury, a daily special “sprint” massage should be performed to prevent a more serious injury. The training should be changed with less speed work and intensity. At that time, as well as with shin splints, the training should be directed to a training program where other muscle parts can be involved and the running program would be easier on softer ground (grass). 
Training After a Hamstring Pull
Immediately after a hamstring injury, where some muscle fibres are torn or ruptured, an ice compress should be used to stop internal bleeding. The first day after the injury should be a passive rest. The second day’s activity will depend on the extent of the injury.
An assessment of the next competition must be made. For the sprinter, it is usually possible within two or three weeks to have a race at 200m. This must be done with a limited 30-40m acceleration and maintenance of speed.
For the 400m runners, a 400m race in 10 to 14 days, with a limited acceleration distance of 30m from the starting blocks is usually possible. A limited acceleration distance means the athlete must be under the maximum speed without the maximum stride length. Under those circumstances, to perform well, the athlete should be in good specialized training condition to maintain the limited speed over the 200 or 400m distance. 
On the second day after a hamstring pull, the athlete is able to execute the following workout:
One Leg Marching – power speed and strength endurance where the injured leg doesn’t work.
One Leg Skipping – power speed and strength endurance where the injured leg doesn’t work.
One Leg Exercise – power speed and strength endurance where the injured leg doesn’t work.
Exercises without extensions, jumps and bounding. Some medicine ball exercises in sitting and lying positions in which the hamstring muscles are not actively engaged. Some weight exercises – where the hamstring isn’t actively engaged.
After 3 – 4 Days:
- Both legs marching in power sped and strength endurance.
- Both legs skipping – in power speed and strength endurance form.
- Both legs A exercise – in power speed endurance.
- No extention – jumps or boundings
- Medicine ball exercises
- Weight exercises
- Running in tempo in interval for limited distances:
2 x 10m
4 x 10m
6 x 20m
6 x 20m
8 x 20m
10 x 20m
etc. down to 2 x 20m
After 5 – 6 Days:
- All exercises like before plus tempo
2 x 30m
4 x 30m
6 x 30m
8 x 30m
10 x 30m
etc. down to 2 x 30m
acceleration repetition 6 x 20m
After 7 – 8 Days:
Workout like above and acceleration 20m and maintain limited speed 100 – 200 – 300m. Starts from starting blocks 20m.
After 9 – 10 Days:
Workout as above and starts from starting blocks 30m or 40m competition (30m acceleration)
The Following Days:
Normal training with the speed limitation. From 6-8 days, massage of injured muscle may be started.
After good races at 200m the sprinter might compete again in the 100m.
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