Beginner 100 m training.

Hello everyone,

I’ve been lurking here for a good few months just keeping my mouth shut and learning as much as possible.

Basically, my goal is to coach track and field eventually, but I’d like to be able to actually practise what I preach. Overall, I’d really like to improve my sprint speed and run the 100 m in under 12 seconds.

It’s not like I can head down to the local gym and take sprinting lessons, so I’m hoping some of you can give me some ideas as to what kind of starter program I can go on. Keep in mind that I’m 31 years old, 6’3 and 198 lbs. My body fat is probably around 16% currently.

I have a 38 leg inseam and 38" arms, which I believe makes me a textbook ectomorph (except for this extra 10 or 15 lbs on my torso!). I probably need to drop 10 to 15 lbs. of body fat minimum.

I have been running 5k three times per week for the past 6 months, and have just begun some weight training once per week. I purposely kept the distances pretty short in order to not build too much endurance fibre (and partially because I HATE distance running!)as per Charlie’s book.

If any of you could help me out with some ideas for a starter program, maybe I could invest in a conversation with Charlie who could further elaborate on what I need to do.

I’m not trying to break any world records here, but I am serious about improving my personal best despite my lack of natural talent in speed events. Any input would be most appreciated!



well you could start with something like this:
day1: sprint
day2: tempo
day3: rest
day4: sprint
day5: tempo
day6: rest
day7: rest

both sprint days should be acceleration development, and start out with 10yds or 10m and slowly work up. use more bodyweight exercises than weight training at first.

Tyrone, my first thought is that 5k [which you call short] is way too long a distance for a sprinter to continuously run. Without question this can lead to a poor fiber adaption for your sprinting speed.

Instead, as part of general preparation, you could start doing tempo runs [interval style, 100m repeats at 75% of full speed with walkback recovery] to begin to prepare your legs for the rigors of sprinting.

Also, up your strength training to 2-3 times per week, but don’t go crazy on intensity. Just focus on proper form, and don’t go to failure on your sets as it will compete with central nervous system resources that you will begin to need on the track.

Hi everyone,

Thanks for responding. I am thinking that it might be a good idea to slowly work speed training into my routine, and I would like as much input as possible. My medium term goal is simply to run a sub 12 second 100m. I will find out a reasonably accurate hand timed 100m speed in the near future. I will increase my weight training to twice per week effective immediately as per the above advice, with a third day as an option in the near future.

I don’t want to stop running the 5k, 5k, slow 8k that I’ve been doing 3 times per week altogether. Currently, I have the ability to run the slow 8k with a group, and it is at a very slow pace (60% heart rate). I need to lose some body fat and I figured it’s a decent way to do it. Am I wasting my time running this distance, or creating a very bad training adaptation?

Being 31, I think it might be unwise to simply drop my distance running and start running explosively all of a sudden. Also, since a bunch of people have been bugging me to run some 5k races this spring it might leave me the option to do so.

I am hoping perhaps I could begin by substituting one speed training day in to start with. Would I be able perhaps to start with sets of 200 m runs? What should the volume and rest intervals be like? I’m pretty sure this can help with 5k race speed as well as get my legs more attuned to the rigours of sprinting.

I thought from reading Training for Speed that Charlie was cool with distance runs that don’t last beyond 20 minutes as they may improve capillarization in the legs. Am I way off in thinking that I won’t do too much long-term damage to my 100m speed by running a few 5k races over the next 2 months?

Thanks so much for all the help.


Re: long continous vs. Tempo
Long continous runs aren’t that bad, but a more efficient use of limited time is extensive tempo runs.
Re: working in Sprint training
Start with 2-4 sets of 4 short (30m or so, 1-5 degrees) hill runs twice a week. this will allow you to get moving fast without threatening your hammies. once a week, try accels from a variety of starts (on your belly, on your back, sprinters stance, standing, etc.) for 5-20m. total volume should be around 100m-200m.
Do tempo on the days between the hill runs
Work abs everyday with lots of variety and volume and low intensity.
Stay simple in the Gym - one program I find that works for shaping up is
Power Cleans 8-6-4
Front Squat 8-6-4
Inclines 8-6-4.
Increase weight on a move when you get all 18 reps, and move fast. do 3 times a week, after speed.
that should cover everything.


you wrote

“I don’t want to stop running the 5k, 5k, slow 8k that I’ve been doing 3 times per week altogether. Currently, I have the ability to run the slow 8k with a group, and it is at a very slow pace (60% heart rate). I need to lose some body fat and I figured it’s a decent way to do it.”

This is a total misconception.

Show me a serious sprinter who is fat.

If you want to lose body muscle, then by all means run distance.

Show me a serious distance runner who has any kind of serious muscle development.

And by all means at the tender age of only 31 please don’t start using that as any kind of excuse for anything, unless your interested in competing in woman’s gymnastics :smiley: .

God i wish i was 31.


Thanks TD for making me feel young! You make a very good point about there not being any fat sprinters.

You guys are clearly right. I can’t be half-assing things with the distance stuff when wanting to improve my speed.

I’ll get more serious about the gym and start to increase my efforts. Thanks for the help everyone, I’ll get my ass in gear and report back!

Hi all,

I have taken the recommendations made here to heart. I did a tempo workout as suggested in order to get me used to running fast. I was initially planning on doing 2x7x100m (1400m total) to start off, with walkback (45-60 second) rest. Well lets just say that I fell short of my goal. I did 1x7x80 with about 90 seconds rest. I think I made the rookie mistake of going too hard in the early runs- I could feel myself getting less tall in the later runs with every step after 60m! I don’t know if its the fact that I’ve just been running distance, or that my legs are that pathetically weak, but I was pretty tired after this shortened session. Should I be running shorter? Or would that be pointless as I assume it would really kill the aerobic component?

I also hit the gym yesterday and did squats, deadlifts, and a variety of chest exercises. I am not skilled at the power clean and there is virtually nobody around that can teach me classic lifting, so I am starting by perfecting the first part of the movement before attempting power cleans.

I plan to do my first real speed workout on Sunday. I will keep it simple as suggested.

I suppose it would be a smart idea to time my 100m or at least time my 30m in order to extrapolate how fast I should be running tempo. I haven’t even got that far yet! Man I feel like an idiot!:slight_smile:

I feel like a real dork trying this sprint training because I really suck, but there’s only one way to go from here!


Tyrone, even today, after 1 year of train, it´s hard to me to get control over the '1st tempo reps, it´s normal because, at the beginning of the sessions you´re full of energy.
I guess could be a good ideia if you measure your actual PB for 100m, and then, try to do your tempo over this time, between 60% and 80%.
Well, this was my first post here, but we have “something” in common, i started the sprint thing last year, at age 27, so…let´s see how our bones will show up face the hard trains necessary to run faster, just to notice,
today i´m all soreness, yesterday i did,
max v ( from blocks )
start on curve
tyres work
and then, 3 hours later,
weight session, 1 hour
well, i can tell you,
it´s not easy to run faster.
I started running around 13.3 to 14 last year,
nom i believe that i´m running 11 / 11.5.
Let´s keep contact.


The longer you leave the sprint stuff, the sorer you are going to be.

I don’t have anything against LSD but limited to occassional jog (1 per week). Do the Extensive tempo. Add the acceleration.

You will be sore from it for a week or 2.

At 31 you need to spend more time on recovery, hence tempo and rest days. Cocky sprinters outline is ok.

Good Luck

Hi everyone,

I did a tempo set last Tuesday, did a slow jog on Thursday, and did another tempo workout today.

The first tempo workout I did last Tuesday, I could barely manage 7 x 90m with 60 second walkbacks. I had to extend the rest period between the latter runs to 90-120 seconds.

Today, I did a warmup of 800m slowly (first 400m in 1:45, second 400m in 1:15) and stretched for 15 minutes before starting tempo.

I did 8 x 90m because there is a football field behind my house and it was easy to measure distance due to the painted white lines between the goalposts :slight_smile:

Here is what I did:

1st run: 16.53 walkback 1:00
2nd run: 16.50 walkback 1:02
3rd run: 16.98 walkback 1:01
4th run: 16.60 walkback 1:05
5th run: 16.58 walkback 1:08
6th run: 16.73 walkback 1:05
7th run: 16.60 walkback 1:00
8th run: 16.43

It was MUCH easier than the last attempt I made that wasn’t timed. I realise the pace here is probably too slow, considering this works out to about an 18.50 100m but I just want to get used to it. How much should I add to this? Should there be a rest and another set done? Or should I just keep adding reps?

DMA, should I be adding the acceleration drills to my tempo? Or just add them on a day where I do speed / weights?

Flying, you are my new role model. Thanks for your input, I will definitely keep in touch with you.


I would do acceleration same days as speed.

But just to clarify things what do you mean by acceleration drills?


Thanks, I thought that was what you meant but I wasn’t sure.

I just mean “acceleration” when I said drills. I’m going to do speed today, I’ll post my results.


T-Slow: When I started tempo earlier this year, I was shocked at how unfit I was. I was gasping for air after just 5 100m runs, and had to use a walkback recovery of longer than 1 minute. At my peak before I screwed things up in my training, I could bang out 12 runs with only 10 sec rest between runs. I know it sounds like I’m just talking about myself here, but I hope it shows you just how fast you can progress on these!

Ok Tyrone, let´s keep in touch ok.
So, let´s talk about the Tempo Sessions,
well, i can see you geting some bother from this exercises soon, so, try to vary this sessions, so,
you can do something like this,

250m 2 minutes rest
150m 1.5m rest
3 minutes recovery here

250m 2m
150m 1.5m
3 minutes

it will be a 1 K session, so try to not dash off in your first set, ok, very easy…
times around
50s for the 250m reps
25s for 150m
16s for 100m

so, 2 fields and 1/2 for 250m
1 field and 1/2 for 150
be careful on your turn backs ok.

I know what is train just aside of a soccer field, the only problem is when “they” are playing on that :))

Oohh, don´t forget to tell us your 100m measurements (and i´m not talking about 100m tempo times ok ).

C ya !!

Hey all,

I couldn’t resist running a 60m to find out my current time. I ran it on a grass football field in running shoes.

My first attempt was aborted because my right quad tightened up noticeably at about 30m, so I pulled up lame, rested, and stretched.

I clocked an 8.68 in a second attempt, which is pretty slow. My third attempt was 9.02, and I was noticeably tired during this third attempt. I took about 5 minutes between attempts.

I realise that I have no business running that far at high speed because I don’t have the strength or endurance to be running those distances at this point. I will follow the instructions you all have left from now on, I just had to get an idea of my time.

I’ll be back out to do tempo tomorrow, then another speed workout on Thursday.


Ok Tyrone,
as you said, your times are not so god, but…
try to do same “work” but now
wearing spikes and over a track, ok.
So, probabily, you´ll reduce about 0.5s each 60m.

And don´t forget the basic routine of warmups and stretches before 100% efforts.

Hi Flying,

It’s not that my times aren’t so good…they out and out stink! Hahahaha…

I never get scared when I suck at something new. I remember how slowly I improved at hockey when I was a kid, but I got to be pretty good eventually.

I just keep telling myself that six months of running 5k three times a week dulled my reflexes. I can retrain my sluggish legs though, and they are long so I hope I can find that nice Donovan Bailey strong finish someday. I will get a proper 100m time as well shortly. It should be pretty frightening! :eek:

I really need to design a beginner program and stick to it. I really find that I am weak in my left hip and left arm and shoulder- basically my whole left side. Maybe I should spring for a consultation with Charlie. I don’t know if he will work with someone as slow as me though! :smiley:


Of course he´ll, cuz, 1st of all, he is a professional, but be prepaired for the first question, which should be:
How far do you want to go ?
and the second one;
How hard can you go on this ?
Keep pushing man !!