Acceleration in the 100m

k this is something that has confused me. obviously you don’t want to get to full speed too early in a 100m race. but at the early stage of the race (20-40m) should you be trying to go fast or just be focusing on accelerating? would a properly run 100 almost be like a buildup?

Thtas a good question. I dont understand the biomechanics as an expert does but just by running it, the 20-40m phase feels like a place where if I tried to run too fast I would become uncoordinated. If I dont try to rush during this phase then I would come up into a good running style so that I can really hit the 40-60m phase hard and what ever happens after that happens. So if I didnt think about the run, during the 20-40m I would naturally still be holding a forward lean and driving so that would still make it an accellaration phase which is what the runners of today sort of do, but someone like Ben Johnson would be in full flight by this stage, have finished his accelaration and would not need to have a forward lean any more, but Im no expert … CF would know for sure …

the 100 is an all out sprint. No holding back on anything!!! The key is later in the race having the ability to stay relaxed and maintain speed. It will ocme odwn to who decelerates the least.

my answer on this question is to run as fast as possible from go.the secret is to reach top as soon as possible but to maintain the speed you have developed by sprinting smoothly.this will be heavily based upon by you progresss with training and expiereience your acceleration levels and top speed level will increase thus leaving you accelerating for longer and being able to maintain a higher top speed

From reading speed trap and what Charlie says I wouldnt really agree with the sentiment that the person who decelerates the least will win. I think its been shown that the person with the highest top speed (together with putting a race together) will come out on top.

Therefore that is what you are aiming for and in your training that is why you have a 12 week or so phase working hard on building that sprint position and top speed phase from 30m onwards.

since you said top speed wins and i said who decelerates the least wins … what i am refering to is what if they all have equal top speeds? as i said before top speed cannot be maintained for more than 2 seconds therefore the one that decelerates least wins. For example a certain 60 meter runner may have a faster top speed than a 100 meter runner but if the 60 meter runner steps on the track to run a 100 with the guy he beat in the 60 does not mean he will win the 100. do you see what i am saying? sorry if it doesnt make sense how i am explaining it.

I know what you are saying but generally its thought that the athlete with the higher top speed has the advantage as he is decelerating from a higher top speed so even if he decelerates slightly quicker he is still running faster for most of the race.

For two runners with the same top speed then obviously the acceleration phase (how quick they get there) and how long they hold there speed are important.

Since the deceleration among top sprinters today runs from around 0 to 3%, theres not much room to win on deceleration (there’s plenty of room for the lower level performers!) so you’re better off working on ensuring more top speed. As for acceleration- the smoothest way is the fastest way also.

For a sprinter that pushes out the back, would the focus still be on the arms during early acceleration? Or would it be better to forget the arms and cue stepping over?
Charlie, how many steps out from the blocks should a sprinter feel/attempt the stepping over action?

“Stepping over” is an action that increases as you move farther away from the blocks and stays constant to the finish.