Warming Up for Sprinting in Track and Field

June 26, 2015 by Angela Coon

A Sprinters Warm up. 3 Essential Rules:

1. Think relaxation in all things you do. If you are not able to perform the movement in a relaxed way do something easier.

2. Take your time. Don’t rush your warm up. I learned this lesson the hard way from former World and Olympic Champion in the men’s 100 meters Ben Johnson. I asked what he had thought of my race at one of my first national championships in 1991 in Montreal. He said “ okay , but you would have done so much better if you didn’t rush your warm up.”. I never forgot what he said and it changed the way I prepared for all training.

3. An excellent guideline to know you are ready for the actual work of your training is achieving a mild sweat on your forehead. This rule does not seem overly sophisticated but it works. I am not talking about profuse sweating before you begin. 

Guidelines for an extensive warm-up before Sprinting or Tempo

Note :
 Get in the habit of timing your warm up, pay attention to how much time various parts of your warm up and training take, and record it in your training diary.  

1. Jog slowly for 10 minutes or X number of laps around the track or grass if you have it. Usually 3 to 4 laps outside on outside track.

2. We used the length of the football field (post to post) to perform a lot of the drills and runs in the warm up. It was a predictable distance and most often easy to replicate in almost any location in almost any country. Approx. 100 yds or meters depending Canada, US or Eurupe. Soccer or American Football. 

3. Once the 10 minutes of jogging took place we usually launched immediately into side skips down one length and shaking back. Generally we would mix in one , maybe two exercises at one end of the field. Generally the end where we had all of our bags , water etc. The exercises would be a mixture of med ball throws, donkey kicks. sit ups mixed with stretches. 5 to 8 minutes

4. Side skips, grape vine, back ward arm circles and tripling were the main exercises on the way down the field and then usually we did what we called shaking back which was like a jog but shoulders are down and you are shaking your entire body. Some have commented on the silliness they feel doing this exercise but it promotes relaxation throughout the warm up.  

NOTE: Shaking promotes relaxation. It’s not a jog. It’s not a skip. Your hands should fall to your side and as you are shuffling along in somewhat of a jog as you are shaking your body. 

5. @ approx. 18 to 20 minutes Power Speed Drills = Power Speed was included in 99% of every warm up I ever performed in 7 years of training. 

• Bum kicks
• A skip
• B skip
• Running A’s 

The distances might vary. A typical progression might be =

3 sets of each drill over 10 meters , then 4 x 10 meters of each drill. As the drills improve so too does the distance maybe. Quality first , volume second. 

Total time up to this point = Not more than 45 minutes but not one hour. 

More is not better / Practice makes permanent

In my next blog I will discuss the things that need to be added after the power speed but often on tempo days the above warm up might be it. But maybe not. 

Often we used a series of med ball throws routinely in our warm up.

After the 10 min jog and within the back and forths and before and or during the power speed.

When I first started out , I did far more little exercises in the body of the warm up before Power Speed. ( see the bike workout for this) 

The reason for this was to gain FITNESS. So for all of you talking about how possibly fitness is not important for speed or the development of speed. 

Pay close attention to the details within the warm up. 

And I never lifted one weight for 2 full years. Instead I worked extensively with a very light med ball. I think it was 2 or 3 k. I remember complaining on deaf ears "when can I use a heavier ball". I got nothing back.

You are ready to move ahead when you are ready to move ahead. Most athletes all want to move ahead faster . No kidding.

I'd love to hear about your warm up. Thank you for all of your questions and feedback. I will do my best to respond to you.




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How to Manage ( and Prevent) injuries with Regenerative Training

May 15, 2015 by Angela Coon

It sucks getting injured. But you have to deal with it constructively, quickly and correctly. How you deal with injuries will not only affect you now but the fall out of poorly managed injuries can last a lifetime.

How to deal with an injury CONSTRUCTIVELY

  1. Everyone gets depressed when they get injured. If you have an understanding that this occurs you can prepare an action plan to do everything in your power to heal quickly. Part of the reason people get down when they injured is they do not know what to do or how to get better so normal training may resume. Hopefully there is some info here that might help you.
  1. Be in charge of your injury and your therapy. Understand that you hold the power to choose activities, which will facilitate your ability to heal. If your diet is already nutritionally sound then ask yourself if you can use this time to improve on other self-therapies which accelerate recovery? ( see below for details) 

How to deal with an injury QUICKLY

  1. Don’t waste time. Getting injured will make your training more difficult. You run the risk of falling behind and the stress of thinking your competitors are gaining on you can cause anxiety that is not constructive. Learn what you can about your injury and what you can do about getting better as quickly as possible. 
  1. Always seek medical attention to eliminate worst case of the injury. I learned a saying that has been very useful. " Assume the worst ( and deal with it this way) but hope for the best.  Advocate for yourself and PUSH to gain more information sooner than later.  For example =  Don’t wait a week or two before investigating the nature of your problem. There may be exceptions but you are the best person for the job of helping yourself.  You want to ensure your injury is NOT serious. If it is you will need more medical attention and advice. If not there are many things you can do on your own to heal. (Massage, water therapy, rest, electric muscle stimulation, Active release therapy, acupuncture). Understand your options before acting on your plan. 

How to deal with an injury CORRECTLY

  1. Surrounding yourself with expert therapist sounds easier than it is. A great deal of the effectiveness from a therapist comes from their experience and education but both are not necessarily connected. Ideally, you want access to people that have had a track record of results in the area treating injuries. The more you know about injuries the better you will be able to navigate the injury process. Use your search tools online but cross-reference your information to find consistencies and ask questions as it's your window to learn. Be motivated to help yourself and get the best care available.
  1. You will never go wrong helping yourself heal. Don’t discount the power of repeating many small things that add up to getting your body to the place where it will regenerate. I am not speaking about magic. I am talking about facilitating your body’s ability to heal with common, older school things. Examples are Epson baths, eating well, hydrating, ice, heart rate monitoring. The prescription here is simple, easy to do, repeatable acts to do at home without too much effort or travel. Rest is one of the most overlooked aspects of both training and injury prevention.

Your understanding of how to properly manage your injury constructively, quickly and correctly aids in the prevention of future injuries. The more you know and understand the better you will judge when it’s time to stop training sessions, how much time you devout to preventive therapy and actions you can take every day like drinking enough water and getting quality sleep to heal and cleanse yourself.

The following excerpt has been taken from " The Charlie Francis Training System". Page 37. 

          “ The massive amount of time needed to rehabilitate an athlete from injury can often be avoided by thinking ahead and minimizing one’s errors.

         Since the hamstrings operate at the highest velocity (88 kilometers per hour) of any muscle group in the body they are most sensitive to injury if high intensity training is attempted with poor technique or during conditions of incomplete regeneration or over training”.


Regenerative Training Workout

At the heart of regenerative training for my track career was TEMPO.

What the effect of tempo runs has for someone is summarized here =

“ Tempo runs ( aerobic/endurance work) aid and facilitate recovery while minimizing the chance of injury. Extensive tempo runs ( at 60 to 80 percent of maximum) not only improve recovery but over time enhance the capillarization of the muscle, leading to an increased heating of the motor neurons in the muscle. This heating lowers the electrical resistance in the neural pathways within the muscle, thus improving the muscle’s contraction speed”. Page 38 The Charlie Francis Training System “.

An excellent example of Tempo workout, regenerative training session would be the Big Circuit. 

The Big Circuit  


You can adapt tempo for the pool. See Project Jane for how you might integrate a pool workout into your regenerative training. 


You can adapt tempo for the bike. See The Bike workout for another example of how using tempo can be used on an exercise bike. 



A general guideline to this type of work is further explained in the literature mentioned above. A rule of thumb to follow is  you want to be able to run the very last rep of any of these circuits at the same speed, with the same quality as the first one. IF you are timing them it's ideal but it's not always easy to time.

If you have any questions let me know.






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