400M Training 19 years old girl looking to qualify for the U23 European Champs 2015

Hello all,

As being the coach of a 19 year old girl, running competition on 100M up to 1000M I have some questions on our next goal, which is qualifying for the european championships U23 2015.
Qualification standards are not known yet, but I presume it will be around 52.75.

Last year we were trying to qualify for the World Championships U20 Eugen USA (qualification standard : 53.50). She was on her way up, running a 53.92 (early june), when she got diagnosed with mononucleosis…which unfortunately ended her season.

Now 5 months later, we try to re-uptake again (bloodlevels are showing some signs of recovery here). Question is how we build-up again?
PB’s are :

60M : 7"68 (indoor)
100M : 12"19
200M : 24"33
300M : 39"10 (indoor)
400M : 53"92 (54"27 indoor - National Junior Record)
800M : 2’07"10

To me it’s clear that we should focus on SE 80-150 (evt. 250). But before I want to give it a go, I am curious to read what your thoughts are on this specific case.
One of the questions going through my mind…Will a short to long approach to improve her speed not being to much demanding for her body after this mononucleosis? As an attachment, I will send hereby a short clip of why we did on the hills today? Thoughts and critique are welcome :slight_smile: - http://youtu.be/d01xe9T7A0A

Just a couple of quick notes - her 400m time is better than her 200m time, which is better than her 100m time. Her 800m time is almost as good as her 400m time.
For anyone looking for 52.X, I’d like to see them under 24sec.
I’m not sure what you’ve done previously, nor the state of her health, so I don’t know how well S->L may or may not work.
She looks good in that hill run!

What kind of volumes is she used to work with?
Concurrent (kitkat) plan has a proven track record with many users on the board, so that might be an option.

It would be advisable to adjust volumes for the first gpp block to see how she reacts.

Thans for your reply. I think I might understand that improving on the 200M (and 100M), is necessary to reach our goal setting. The work we’ve done previously is pretty much based on the outlines KK provided on this site. A program that has proven to work on her as she improved her 400M time from 57.69 to 53.91 in 2 years now. Up to now, we’ve done mainly acceleration work (up to 40M), and intensive tempo work leading into spec. end.

Since she was diagnosed w/ mononucleosis and we decided to skip the indoor competition, we both thought that this could be the moment to work for a better 200M using Charlie’s S-L approach. (her acceleration and her 7.68 indoor 60M proves she must have the speed to run better 100M/200M times, no?). Later, during spring and w/ some better specific 200M endurance, we might pick up KK’s outlines again…?

Pindaman. As said in my previous reply to rainy.here, she benefits very well on KK’s concurrent plan and is able to handle the proposed volumes. The athlete is very motivated and did very well in the gym during her rehab (PB - Cleans : 72 Kg - Squat : 110 Kg - Deadlift : 110 Kg).

Reducing the volumes on her first block might be an option…but how do you feel on an adjusted gpp block emphasising on the 100/200M? And if you feel this might work… what would you choose? L-S or S-L…as she seems to be better on longer distances?

The KK gpp is non speed. I can only say from my own experience that adding speed works us beneficial. So I would opt for a short to long approach. She seems really strong so that would only confirm that 's-l should work for her.

Thanks for your reply pindaman. Yes. I know there is little or no speed on kk’s gpp. I used to add a acceleration drills on her program, because mainly, I used acceleration to keep control of her speed endurance sessions. As said before, I am really considering building up her speed 100/200M by a S-L approach as you seems to confirm my feeling that she might be able to benefit.
Using the Edmonton template will get me through this issue, right?

To be honest…I didn’t know that ‘easy strength gains’ are associated with short to long approach? Is there any thread on the forum here, which handles this topic? Or can you expand on this? This would be very interesting. Anyway. I have no idea how strong she really is compared to other athletes of her age, since I have no references on this…

If you have a week of free time to do some “light” reading, there is the absolute monster thread here:

Lol rainy.here :). I’ve read already a lot of this…but - I must admit - not everything. Are you sure kk handles the relation between ‘easy strength gains’ and the S-L approach? The e-book on lactic acid tolerance training doesn’t seem to cover it. But maybe not everything what is on the thread is in the e-book? Thanks anyway :wink:

How about that?

Also, Just from the observation. We have been running S to L, I have to say that we haven’t been lifting much from end of May till mid of September, just running fast. I did the tests at the beginning of the October after 3 weeks accumulation and the strength levels in most of the athletes gone up, So as Charlie said somewhere, the speed leads the weights and you’ll get stronger because you’ll get faster.
So for me it worked well last year.
Re: your girls strength. I think she’s reasonably strong. My one is running similar times but there is no way that she’d be even close to your one in regards of the strength in the gym.

My thoughts when I read your post were the following.

What do you know for sure?

  1. she is young and has lots of time which is great. Don’t rush it then

  2. She is strong. How much stronger do you need her to be? Be careful with how you emphasize her strength training especially while you " wait" for her to get healthy. Lifting can be the most taxing on the nervous system.

  3. She is a she. Charlie was always talking about how coaches often ( too often) failed to effectively manage/ deal with / customize training for the females. ( remember this… just because you can does not mean you should do something).

I’ve been thinking lots about this and I think you need to proceed a bit differently and watch her and let your eyes decide more of what you are doing. The running up the hill seemed very heavy to me. Too much time on the ground for my liking. And did I not hear her ? Proof of too much ground contact. You want to hear little and what you do hear should be snappy if you understand what i mean.

The other and final thing I know for sure is DON’T RUSH IT. YOu have all the that you need with this young woman. I might be inclined to change the focus and de - emphasize U23 Champs although I know this is much easier for me to say than to do. But as her coach I want you to understand this Mono indicates a failure of proper adaptation.

REmember … it’s not all about the training. I see you have a background in Rugby and I respect that you are likely more than familiar with how to work hard.

I’d like to see some discussion about the regeneration you have in mind routinely to get that blood work in place.
When you run hills or anything you do… it’s not all about getting it done. She needs to be 100 percent to repeat what you need her to ingrain. Practice makes permanent.

I like the comments from the others regarding the training.

Thank you Wermouth. The thread you’re suggesting is great! For now, impossible to read all of it…but the first ‘day off’, I will do! Definitely :slight_smile:
I truely believe in the fact that the speed should lead the weights…since power output is the result of strength gains per time unit. So either, improving her strength or improving her speed, will lead to a ‘stronger athlete’, no?..So, since sprinting is such a specific event characterised by short ground contact times, it is pretty obvious that ‘sprinting’ on its own, should be the coach’s first choice when it comes to strength gains or a better power output…

Hills (limited to 20M) showed she was able to have (good) triple extension (with a good lift of the center of mass every step). Power training earlier this week consisted very few reps/and sets: (Front Squat - power snatch (blocks) - power cleans (blocks) : 1x5/1X3/1x2 // Jump Squat - Jump Lunges // and remiedal exercises were lying leg curl + glute hams. To me a proof that power training should be chosen carefully and should be dependent to ‘where you are in your periodised training plan’.

Well then… sounds like you are already an expert! Good luck.

To my eyes it looked like she was over-striding on this run. Not sure if anyone else sees it too.

The central machinery (at the neural level) responsible for enhanced speed is also responsible for enhanced strength. This is why a relatively low volume and even inconsistent weights program, as part of a short to long, will still often result in improved weights lifted.

As to the question of the value of improved speed towards the 400m, history has undoubtedly shown the answer is a resounding yes. Have a look at the speed of the female (Marita Koch) and male (Michael Johnson) world record holders in the 1 lap event and note their tremendous 100 and 200m abilities and how that contributes to the speed reserve. While Johnson’s program under Clyde Hart was utterly void of “speed” work it is essential to note that he was already a sub 10.10 100m man.


  1. Flash is a long standing member here and is always trying to help others. He has pointed something out below that I would like you to take a look at.
  2. And remember, " Practice makes permanent" not perfect.
  3. REad Joe Horrigan’s interview as well. Joe has been a long time supporter of Charlie’s ideas, methods and has worked extensively in the NHL.

( below has been posted on the site on this thread
Re: Training for Power and Strength in Speed E book
From the end of the article:

Francis concluded our interview with advice to athletes and coaches, and it applies to all athletes: “If there is any degradation or deterioration in training, stop. If there is any doubt about one more rep or run, don’t do it. If you are trying to learn with reps, you won’t get it later if you haven’t already. Leave it and come back to it. For example, if I hear Ben’s feet hit heavier on the track, that’s enough. Top athletes need to be controlled from over-motivation. Don’t listen to just anybody. If you are left in doubt, don’t do it. The idea is to apply correct and appropriate training at the right time.”

I am beginning to believe coaches are not seeing what high quality running looks like.

I was at York the other day and I sat with amazement watching how many people just " do" because they can.

Zero attention to quality.

Zero attention to volume.

But who cares about the volume WHEN the quality does not exist.


As a coach you need to know what a high quality run looks like.

As an athlete you need to be fresh enough to feel what a high quality fun feels like.

Angela, spare yourself the time spent wondering if it is something you should believe and, instead, understand that it is, indeed, a fact. The unfortunate reality is that regardless if it is a medical degree, a law degree, a technical trade degree, a T&F certification, or a personal trainer certification, the only requisite for attaining any of them is some base level of intelligence and a certain level of work ethic. None of the letters after someone’s name speaks to their actual aptitude for excellence in their chosen endeavor which is why an enormous percentage of the population, as well as athletes, are engaged in a career or sport in which they have no business being in. It is only the best of the best of the best in any field who are, in fact, doing what they are supposed to be doing. Everyone else who is not at the top of their field, which is most people, is doing what they are doing for reasons that exist independent of their design.

Just as an example from my own brief training with Charlie. We never did much more than easy warm-up accelerations, with Charlie tweaking my mechanics. However, I was surprised how drained I was a couple hours later from such simple “easy” training. Even though my perceived effort was less, the quality and speed of the runs were much higher than I had ever experienced before. After returning home and applying my new and improved technique, I found I could only handle a fraction of the running volume I had done previously (which had not been that high to begin with).