I may have some days from now on when I have no time to get running tempos in at all....
Forum Member Question
I wonder if doing bike tempos can have negative effect on sprinting mechanics.
I am not able to think of any good reason bike or pool tempo would have a negative effect on sprinting mechanics. Avoiding tempo in a program may make it a challenge to perform routine, quality speed work as a key benefit to performing low intensity exercise promotes circulation which helps keep muscles loose and limber. Utilizing bike and pool tempo ensure an adequate volume of low intensity work gets performed in an annual plan. Bike, pool and tempo substitutes are used for variety in training, limited facility access, poor weather, and travel distance to training as well as avoiding excess pounding of running. We have used the bike and pool for tempo with success when I was a 100m hurdler on the National team. We continued to use tempo training of each variety with Professional athlete in the tennis, NHL and NFL.
Tempo is used to flush muscles of lactates produced by high intensity work and to ready the muscles for speed training and other high intensity work. Performing low intensity work such as tempo assists in vascularizing the muscles, which facilitates greater blood flow. Greater blood flow facilitates a higher rate of access of fluid in and out of the muscles so you are increasing the circulation.
Slower, recovery based tempo used primarily during the competition phase as you want to make sure none of the non speed day training competes with the energy systems needed for performing quality speed work. Use the guideline of running 75% your max effort but never forget the last set needs to be performed at the same speed and quality of the first set no matter the volume of total runs. ( 75% max effort of what distance, under what circumstance and with what kind of conditions / wearing flats or spikes for max effort) When performing extensive tempo during competition season be conservative if you are unsure of speeds)
An example of an Extensive Tempo session performed during competition phase might be 1 or 2 sets of 10 x 100 meter for 100/200m National level sprinters with consistent rest breaks and up to but not more than 5 minutes rest between sets. I might never do bike or pool tempo with an athlete during comp season especially if they had not ever done it before. Pool can be unexpectedly tiring and then becomes something other than low intensity.
Faster/ harder tempo where by you are using the quality of the runs to rule recovery while controlling breaks and trying to keep them as short as possible but never to compromise quality. This type of tempo is used extensively during GPP (General Preparation Phase) as well as the fall and spring training.
An example of an Intensive Tempo session performed in the General Preparation Phase for a 400mh National level sprinter would be 600 breakdown x 1 building quickly to 2 sets with last 100 meter of each run up graded hill. Rest intervals might be 4-5 minutes after first 600, 4m after 500, 3.5m after 400, 3m rest after 300, 2.5m rest after 200 and 2 minutes or less before the last 100 meter run up hill. Take 20 minutes before you perform next 600m breakdowns.
Forum Member Question
With bike, one is not able to extend his fully, because the position of hips is fixed and range of motion of the legs are limited, resulting in "sitting back" posture.
The main goal of tempo is to facilitate more work of high intensity especially as it pertains to speed work. While running tempo facilitates other mechanical strengths for runners, performing alternative tempo methods is useful for a variety of reasons mentioned above. (Injury prevention, time saved for travel to facilities etc.)
As a general rule for training finding ways to accomplish your athletic goals in a variety of ways will ensure consistent training with little or few injuries. There is an ideal way and then there is a compromise. Don’t make the mistake of believing the compromise won’t be as good or better than what some insist is the only way.
Forum Member Question
Will this carry over to one's actual sprinting or sprinting drills?
Yes, tempo performed as a low intensity exercise facilitates high intensity work and all other types of low intensity work. The more fitness you have the greater your ability to grab onto all other variables of your training. I was taught this idea early on in my training, as athlete and maintaining fitness became a main goal as the premise for all other work I needed to get done.
Guidelines for tempo speed:
75% of your maximum effort or overall speed may seem vague for people trying to understand how exactly to perform tempo runs. You want to be able to finish the last run of any chosen volume of work the same way you began the run. Timing yourself might help but routinely it’s better to have your coach time the runs. Be mindful not to run too fast on the first rep or first few reps. Speed can be added but you cant take it away. Be conservative until you have experience of what a tempo circuit feels like in a week or two of training. A coach can time the runs and have the athlete raise their hand at the beginning and end of each run. Over time you will see the pattern and speed of the runs. A coach needs to learn to watch for mechanical breakdown of an athlete and stop work right away. Even if you are in the pool or on the bike when quality begins to diminish your estimation of workload has been over done. Stop when you see degradation of any kind.
Forum Member Question
…or are these too unsimilar to have any carry-over effect biomechanically?Coach Ange’s Answer
Biomechanics won’t be successfully maintained if the foundation of fitness has not been in place and stays in place throughout the season. Fitness is usually best attained using a variety of methods of training. A person will be able to accomplish greater volumes of meaningful work of all kinds when the work is varied and spread across the spectrum of both low and high intensity work.
Forum Member Question
I've read also that treadmill tempos can have negative effect on sprinting mechanics because of longer ground contact time due to the belt moving forward.
Tempo on treadmill will never match the tempo on grass but it can be successfully used as an alternative the same way basement, pool and bike tempo can be utilized. Speed work done on treadmills is not recommended and might be where you are referring to ground contact times.
Tempo performed badly any place should not ever be continued or repeated.
Providing alternatives for tempo is not to say you want 100% of tempo performed as an alternative. Having said that if it’s the only way you can sustain successful training due to lessening pounding from foot or ankle issues then that is what you need to you do to get the job done.
Forum Member Question
I wonder what I should do.....bike or treadmill.Coach Ange's Answer
How about you try both and follow the videos that are based on real results are record your experiences.
Forum Member Comments Questions
Bike - possibility of causing sitting back.
Treadmill - possibly cause longer ground contact time, but more movement specific (mechanically).Coach Ange's Answer
Use the treadmill as a tool to perform tempo. If possible use the tempo to come on and off and mix exercises in between for another type of tempo we use which mixes exercises like sit ups and push ups and low intensity exercises which can enhance the type of work you wish to get done in lieu of running.
Final Comments from Coach Ange
Bike, pool and basement tempo each provide excellent alternatives to tempo runs which facilitate speed training in athletics.
One of the simplest and most attainable ways to immediately gain improvement in your speed training is to begin practicing daily rituals of active regeneration.
The definition of regeneration in the Merriam-Weber online dictionary says “to change radically and for the better, to generate or produce anew” and my favorite is “to produce again chemically sometimes in a physically changed form”.
I found the definition of regeneration helpful when trying to best describe the implications of routine generation for your existing speed-training program if you add small amounts each day.
A priority trick you must learn is to install various methods of regeneration into your existing plan, as is, if you want to see improvement.
The simplest methods of active regeneration are repeatable at home and are not expensive. The best way to practice and benefit most from active regeneration is to remember small amounts performed routinely on a schedule works best.
Here are some great ideas to get your started
- Get some mason jars, fill 3 up on your kitchen counter and make sure you drink that amount of water every day. If you are travelling for training or comp buy a few days supply of bottled water ahead of time for the trip and take them with you don’t get dehydrated (if you are flying, buy some as soon as you land)
- Epson salt baths, as soon after your speed training has been completed as possible, to begin the cycle of your body healing
- Epson salt baths done before bed might also help you sleep.
- If you have not yet tried contrast showers, today might be a good day to start. If you have concerns about health always check with your medical doctor. Begin your shower as hot as you are able to tolerate it and follow with cold. Alternate 3 minutes of hot with 1 minute of cold ensuring your head is getting wet. Repeat so this water circuit takes 12 minutes and always end in cold. The first time you perform this will be hard. The more you do it the more you will enjoy it.
- Clean up your diet. If you are going to training hungry and tired or finishing training too early as you need to eat, something in your diet is not working well. Craving sugar and fat both indicate issues as well. Athletes put extreme demands on themselves both physically and mentally. For this reason the room for error is amplified.
- Exercise on your off days on a stationary bike for tempo or in a pool. Water has incredible healing properties. Bike training can ease joints and help accelerate circulation to speed up the rate at which you recover.
Speed Training taxes the body in an intense way. Achieving balance between work and rest in speed training takes time to learn. Learning to rest and recovery actively, even a little bit each day, will help you consistently make gains and actively regenerate your speed training.
Proudly I’d like to announce the completion of 7 books in the Fundamental Key Concepts eBook Series that were created to enhance the education of coaches, athletes and parents on world class methods of how to perfect speed training for any sport.
I guarantee reading one of these books will change how you think about your training if not draw you in to read more about how you can change your athletic successes no matter what your level of participation in sport.
Here is what one coach has said about the information available and his opinion about the content at CharlieFrancis.com.
The following is a list with links of the 7 Fundamental Key Concept Books for you to enjoy and learn from.
Let me know what you think or if you have any questions.
Here is the list. I hope you love these books as much as so many coaches and parents have told me they have enjoyed reading and learning from them.
Let your passions guide you to where you need and or want to go.
One of the reasons I have made a commitment to www.charliefrancis.com was my belief that building more knowledgeable coaches will always be a worthwhile goal.
Here is a recent letter I received which I wanted to share.
Check out the latest and last book in the Key Concept series now.
Enjoy, best, Angé
I'm the Strength Coach at “X” High School in “A Place” in Nebraska. Yes ma'am, I have both Speed Trap and CFT Manual. I'm 53 years old and I've been a Strength Coach for 30 years, mostly part-time but the last two years I've been the full time Head Strength Coach for all sports. I've experimented and researched everything I can get my hands on but Coach Francis's work speaks for its-self and I would like to understand his philosophy and methodology on a deeper level. I don't Coach any other sports, I'm solely responsible for the weight training but I would like to start implemented speed work, change of direction, med balls and plyos to ensure a more balanced athlete.
Thank you for your time,
“Signed self proclaimed fan of charliefrancis.com material”
Physical Education Teacher
“X” High School
Head Strength Coach
CSCS, USAW -2
No matter what your athletic goals,learn the 10 Best things to know for your best competition day ever.
1- Allow more than enough time to get to the track and warm up.The time you need to set aside includes the time it takes you to get to the location of the meet, the size of the meet and level of the competition. Always plan to add at least 15 minutes, preferably 30 minutes on top of your warm up just in case. The younger the athlete the more moderate the time needed but you still want to set yourself or your athlete up to succeed. Hope for the best but plan for the unexpected.
2- Nothing special.Two words you need to learn, repeat and practice.Competition day is about repeating what you have already been practicing. Don’t make changes, forget about well meaning onlookers, put your blinders on and make the most of what you have already been doing in practice.
This is not always the case but depending on the time of your event, begin to track the schedule of the track meet as soon as you are able so you can plan when your warm up begins.
3- The smaller the meet the more likely it may not run on time.
4- Don’t make changes or decisions about anything on competition day.Your job at the competition is to see how you are able to perform based on where you are at for this moment. Make an analysis after the competition or a few days after and preferably with your coach. After you have done this you can plan to decide if any change is needed.
5- The most important night to have a proper sleep is the day before the night before your competition.It’s expected that your nerves might make sleeping tough but resting up the night before that ensures you don’t go into the competition without sleep.
6- Preparing yourself as an athlete to be independent and self-reliantwill empower you and train you to be responsible for yourself in case your coach is not able to be around during the competition. Routinely support from a coach or parent is great if you have it but some meets don’t allow it and sometimes it’s not always possible. It’s best to have a plan for competitions that includes the coach not being around.
7- Don’t listen to anyone except your coach.If you are at a track meet and people are offering advice let them know to speak with your coach. If you are a coach it’s your job to teach your athlete to avoid listening to others or train them to direct questions away from them especially during a competition. People may mean well but competition is not the time to make changes or have discussions that might distract you from your event.
8- Dress properly. Keep your equipment with you at all times.Layers provide the best warmth for your muscles. Plan for change of weather and pack everything you need but as pack as lightly as possible. If you need to travel for the competition take key things for your event on carry on.
9- Take notes.Reflection of your process in training and in competition can be a powerful tool for improvement. It’s also a great to look back on how you progressed and compare your times and have a record of your accomplishments.
10- Nerves contribute to performance and are a necessary bi product of preparing to compete.
Routines, habits and replication of what you do in practice help you prioritize your energy for performance.
Set yourself up to succeed, have fun while doing it and Get out there and follow the 10 best things to know for the best Competition you can have.
Practicing sprinting requires a thorough warm up with drills, which mock the actions of the sprint technique, before practice and routine active regeneration after practice. Your warm up and your regeneration are to insure you show up to sprint in your best form possible each and every time. Practicing makes permanent and to improve your speed you must run fast once and over time develop your ability to repeat high quality sprints.
A soccer player has recently posted on our forums that he wishes to get faster. From what ale1231 has shared with us thus far he is already fast and strong which are two excellent attributes for speed improvement.
An area of speed development often overlooked by athletes and coaches is the role daily active recovery plays in training. Currently, Ale1231 does not practice routine, active regeneration.
The following is an excerpt from an ongoing post by ale1231. I have made some comments and asked some questions to him about his current understanding about sprinting and central nervous system fatigue. (CNS fatigue). For anyone hoping to make more of their speed, it will be helpful to understand what CNS fatigue is about. You can take a look at the entire thread here.Ale1231 says:
I have no idea of how someone feels when their cns is fried. That is a good question. How could i recognize when I'm doing too much?Coach Ange's comments:
It’s not surprising that you are not familiar with what it feels like “to be fried” or “feel fried”. Learning about CNS fatigue will enable you to manage your energy and ultimately your performance
How do you feel today?
How did you feel before training?
How did you feel after?
Ask yourself these questions daily and log them in your training diary.
Do you have a memory of what you have felt like from training and performance that was at your best?
Completing training due to exhaustion needs to be avoided at all costs.
Reviewing training and performance provides a window into how you will be able to manage your energy.
Logging daily training provides a record of variables to be adjusted up or down to maximize results and prevent training to exhaustion.
As an athlete I timed all aspects of my training to learn the correlation of what I was doing and how it felt at any given moment.
For example: For the 7 to 8 years I trained seriously, My warm up was routinely just under 60 minutes.@ 10 minutes I completed jogging, after that I did a series of skipping and other easy exercises @ 18 minutes I was ready to perform Power Speed drills and after drills were completed I did strides and was then ready to put my spikes on.
The “old school mentality” of sport has been:
Work for the sake of work.
Push through it no matter what.
No pain, no gain.
More is better, because you can.
The guidelines I practiced to make routine improvements over an 8 year period were”
LESS Is More.
Something is better than nothing.
Stop while you are ahead.
Pain is an indicator that something is not good and almost 100 percent of the time you will be further ahead to end training at that moment.
Popular training stories in the media rarely discuss the subtleties of how to achieve consistent performance for speed development.
Heart rate monitors can be used to monitor % of total effort.Electronic Muscle Stimulation can be an excellent tool that is easy to use and affordable for self use.
A timing device or an app gives you feedback on times for runs
Symptoms to be addressed, which may indicate CNS or overtraining, are lack of appetite, inability of sleep or to focus, consistent bad moods or lack of desire to train.
The idea I am trying to get you think about is how you feel and then what you need to do about how you feel as a result of that information.
Feeling horrible at the beginning of a warm up is not abnormal. Feeling horrible after 20 or 30 minutes of training is usually never good. I used to tell people that if I was not feeling great at the beginning of my warm up, 99% of the time I felt ready to train hard after 20 to 30 minutes of a progressively low intensity warm up. Unless I was sick or there was something wrong, training went smoothly 99% of the time or I took time off.
My guess is your talents and instincts up to this point have brought you far. For further improvement learning to understand how you are feeling and what those feelings mean will help you to unlock potential you never thought you had.
For the sprint work my goal is to do 2 sets of 3 60m runs. I will use an app which very is reliable. I don't have a track near my area for now but i do have access to a field which i have already measured intervals of 10m.
So basically i'll be recording every day i go and write down my times. My idea for sprint work would be the following:
Wendesday 2x3 fly 20m
Let’s use your current goal of training to further understand CNS fatigue.
Routine volumes of runs mean nothing without data. Have a written plan on paper, adjust it according to your data (in your case a timed result of each rep)
Ending your training exhausted is not desirable. End on a strong note while you are ahead opposed to ignoring signs, which likely indicate fatigue, which leads to repetition of poor quality.
It takes knowledge and skill to walk away from training when the results don’t match the goals you put on paper.
Maybe you are able to perform exactly what you set out to do but over time it’s unlikely that this will be your pattern. More likely is you are making ongoing adjustments as quality of speed improves.
Never forget that injuries are time expensive, disruptive and possibly create ongoing issues which detract from consistency. For these reasons avoid all mistakes that lead to injuries. Plan for habits that prevent the circumstances of getting an injury.
Regarding regeneration... I never looked into specifics. Just began writing down the calories. Making sure i get enough protein and carbs. Weighting what i eat to make sure i eat 2000 calories. So far i've dropped 2 kilos. After speed days i have low intensity days in the form of soccer practice. And if we do have to sprint at practice, i'll go at 80% max and for low distances
An athlete who is receiving regular regeneration methods and treatments is able to increase the volume of high intensity work by as much as 40% Chapter 5 Recovery and Regeneration The Charlie Francis Training System
What I might just do now is look more intro contrast shower and other regeneration methods. Makes a lot of sense to get our bodies 100% for maximum effort.
Edit: I don't squat anymore. I feel there are other exercises more relevant to sprinting such as stiff legged deadlifts and romanian deadlifts. I won't be lifting much just to maintain my current strength and maybe build it up a little.
My emphasis is on developing that speed by sprinting. Improve my mechanics and my rate of force development from sprinting itself.
To successfully integrate a weight lifting program based on world records set by sprinters which include Olympic Gold medalist Ben Johnson in the men's 100 meters 1988 Seoul, Korea and Mark McKoy men's 110 meter hurdles 1992 Atlanta, Georgia. Weights for Speed-Charlie Francis Lecture Series
- Learn what it feels like to train when you are 100 percent.
- As a general rule, an unwillingness to train can be a strong indicator of fatigue.
- Doing some kind of Active Regeneration might be chosen in place of a training session on days you don’t want or feel like training. The hope is to return to training the next day feeling your best.
- Always be prepared to adjust training to ensure you are at your best.
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Massage for your muscles will help you to run fast and help you make the most out of your sprint training.
If you like to run fast and you have never had a massage perhaps reading this blog will help you change your mind on how it will benefit your sprinting.
In the sprint world I became a part of in the mid 1990’s, a 10 to 15 minute massage was performed multiple times in a training week. Multiple short massages was one reason I had the ability to perform routine high quality speed work week after week with few injuries over my entire sprinting career.
Massage for sprinting was not about luxury or about relaxing to music while a therapist performs a massage. Massage for sprinting was about performance to run fast.
Massage for sprinting is about performing a little bit of muscle work at a time, before, during and or after a training session. The hamstrings are perhaps the most critical area of the body for a sprinter. The hamstrings need to work efficiently and without error for a sprinter to routinely perform high quality runs. An athlete must sprint well once before that quality of sprinting can be replicated. Much can be gained if the hamstrings are properly prepared from appropriate massage. Much can also be lost if a sprint training programs does not include a variety of regenerative therapies performed routinely.
Key Guidelines of massage for sprinting
- before competition use light, slapping type of massage
- don't go deep into the muscles within 48 to 72 hours of competition unless the competition is insignificant
- deep massage lowers one of muscle to far for what's needed for competition
- use of inappropriate type of massage performed by an unskilled person can
- undo the training effect you have accomplished during final preparation for key competitions.
Massage is important because it will speed up recovery time and improve flexibility. These attributes can benefit athletes and non athletes. It's an exciting idea to know that small fragments of time will be gained in a race by hundredths and thousandths of seconds when appropriate massage is performed for sprinters.
The malleability or tonus of the muscles determines what sort of leg speed you can put out and this of course is a key determinant of performance The Charlie Francis Training SystemTo watch a practical session of how Coach Charlie Francis applied massage for sprinting checkout South Africa Series Practical Session 5: Massage Demo
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 commentsClick here to view his first post in March 2013
Forum Member "Jccc110m" Comment:
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).
Coach Ange’s Comment:
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.
Forum Member "Jccc110m" Comment:
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.
Coach Ange’s Comment:
Consistency of quality sleep are both important. Here are two articles you might find interesting.
Forum Member "Jccc110m" Comment:
(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.
Coach Ange’s Comment:
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.
Forum Member "Jccc110m" Comment:
(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.
Coach Ange’s Comment:
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.
Forum Member "Jccc110m" Comment:
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.
Coach Ange’s Comment:
I think it's not a bad idea to think about JUST. RUN. FASTER. Good Luck and more continued success Jccc110m.
Click here to view 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,
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?
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 7 Tips to Avoid Sprinting Injuries , 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.
2. 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.
3. Prioritize your sprint trainingPerforming 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Individual ice baths for feet and calvesPurchase 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
Sprinting has become increasingly more interesting for people who are not competitive track and field athletes. Sprinting as fast as you can is one of the most exhilarating human experiences in life. By adding sprinting into your weekly exercise plan you will be improving fitness, strength, body composition, mobility and you will improve your overall health. Sprinting at your maximal effort can be one of the most intense forms of exercises outside of Olympic lifting. ( understand why your current weight routine might be slowing you down. See CF Lecture Series : Weights for Speed Part 1)
1. Warm yourself up.
Muscles perform optimally when warm and hot. Relaxed, easy movements like jogging and skipping with little or no effort are ideal to prepare for sprinting. Keeping muscles covered up until your sprinting preparation has been completed makes it easier to get warm.Warm up for sprinting blog
2. Include light, full range of motion drills before Sprinting.
You are not ready to run your fastest just yet. Keeping your warm up clothes on, taking your time and adding a few exercises like side skipping, arm circles, small numbers of sit ups and a few calisthenics add some fitness building as well as more warmth to your preparation.
3. Add Sprinting Specific Drills to the warm up
You will help yourself by practicing a few movements, which mirror the broken down parts of sprinting. Three simple drills in the suggested volumes of 3 x 10 meters is the best way to start. You will progress this distance over time. Typically, it’s ideal to not exceed 20 meters unless you have become an expert sprint technician.
- Bum kicks, standing straight vertically, heals touch bum isolating the work in the hamstring.
- “A” March, think of marching in a band where you want yourheal that is off the ground to be parallel to the straight leg which means you perform a proper right angle with the bent leg.
- Running “A’s”, like a march, keeping a right angle but touching down repeatedly as you run on the spot. You want to have high knees but you don’t want the knee exceeding the height of your hip.
I know there is a great deal of debate, discussion and research regarding when and how and for how long to stretch. I’ve seen people do so much stretching they run out of time and energy to sprint. It makes sense that if warm muscles perform produce best sprinting results that muscles react best to stretching when warm. Think of stretching at this point, as a checkpoint to see what specific stretches may need to be done to ensure you are ready to do strides.
5. Relaxed Strides. It’s not jogging or sprinting.
It’s not jogging or sprinting. When I say relaxed that is not the same thing as easy. Relaxation is everything in learning to sprint well. The before mentioned steps and preparation will give you your best chance to sprint naturally without thinking. (see sprinting as a hind brain activity in Speed Trap and The Charlie Francis Training System) Progressively run 3 to 4, 50 to 60 meter strides and increase effort and speed as able. Walk back after each one before repeating the next and take your time but do not rush.
6. Spike ready?
Before you are ready to do some sprinting, take a small break to once again stretch your increasingly warmed up muscles. At this point you have progressively prepared your body to do it’s best. To begin sprinting I suggest starting with distances of 10 meters to start. An excellent drill for all levels of sprinters is to lie flat on the ground or track, on your stomach, with head down and either have someone clap or start yourself. The idea is for you to scramble up without thinking to the 10-meter mark. 2 to 3 sets of 3 x 10 meters with this start is an excellent first step to expanding the distance to 20 meters. (I suggest taking 2 to 2. 5 minutes between each set and stretch and lay down and shake your legs in-between sets). This exercise intrinsically places the body in a sprinting position as you get up from the ground
7. Final Suggestions to Avoid Sprinting Injuries
My guess is most people reading this will look at my last sprint volume suggestion and laugh. I know this to be true as one of the single biggest problems with non-experienced sprinters is too high volumes and distances that are too far to begin with. This vital fact sets people up to fail. Keep it simple in the beginning and don’t underestimate the value of high quality short sprints to start your sprinting adventures.
Take rest intervals and breaks seriously. Short distances of 10 and 20 meters can be a walk back recovery but don’t rush. Rest intervals between entire sets are needed. Be sure to take 2 to 2.5 minutes rest before repeating another set. It’s important to allow your best effort without failing.
The more work you are able to do on the grass before sprinting, the more you will be able to save your body both short and long term.
I hope you will enjoy sprinting fast and safely.