Block work shorter than 10m

Just wondering if doing block work of less than 10m is acceptable on occasion or is something else better. I work and train in a gym that is about 50m in length. On certain days due to weather and time, I can’t get to a gym with a track so I set my blocks up in the gym and work on reaction and my explosive first steps. I do a high volume of sets (8-10) and then med ball work and weights after.

Not that these are “better” per se, but you can consider doing (if space and time allow), med-ball accelerations, jumps, bounds, other plyometrics, and strength endurance work.

It’s great to do what you are doing. Do what you gotta do and if space is limited then utilize what you have.
Remember that the starts are and can be pretty intense.
At times we never used blocks and just did reactions to the sound of a clap. How do you do that? You bend over as though you are going to do a crouch start, head is hanging and arms are by your side…you need someone to clap and you react.
You do not need to go to 10 meters to benefit from starting the way you are.

Thanks Ange, Unfortunately I don’t have a partner often enough to clap but I do use a timer. It beeps for 10 seconds so when it starts to beep I rise into my set position and then explode when the timer stops. I’ll try to recruit one of the other coaches to clap though when available.

Instead of a clap, I use a digital voice recorder, like you can see here:

On the recorder, I have:

“Runners To Your Marks”
25 second delay
2 second delay

It is intended to be the same thing I hear at a race. For the gun sound, there are websites around that allow you to download various sounds in MP3 format, which you can play on your computer. I use a rifle shot, but it could be a cannon, if you wish.

You can use a setup as described anywhere people don’t complain.

I’ve recorded a similar sequence using the voice recorder function of my mobile phone. I simply slammed a book shut to immitate the gun shot on the recording. I did a few versions with different times between the set and gun sound to avoid anticipating the gun when the timing gets too familiar.

Why not record several with slightly different timings and put them on shuffle??

(Edit: should have read robin’s post)

Our points are that there’s no need to be dependent on someone starting you or a timer function that’s nothing like a race.

Bring you own “starter gun” and you’ll be better off. I think the more realistic you can make practice, the better your reaction time is going to be in a race.

one thing that concerns me a little is that by doing these partial starts you migth get into a bit of a bad technical habit. if you’re only taking a few steps and then pulling up, does that mean you might develop a high angle of entry, or not pushing out as hard as you should?

sometimes when I want to practice my reactions I crouch down on the ground and jump upwards on the gun. heck, you could do that exercise in a prison cell at guantanamo bay!!

Guys there a sprint starter available in iTunes that does this for you and has auto variable delays, incidentally it actually records your reaction time :slight_smile: great tool for solo work

It’s called sprintstart worth a look

Thanks, I just downloaded it and will test it out later today!

I am not sure we are talking about a partial start. You need to break down aspects of your start here and there to learn what will work for you and what is most comfortable to repeat when you are practicing and in competition.
You never want to get into bad technical habits but doing a start and not running to 10 meters does not mean you will be getting into a bad technical habit. When you are first learning and breaking down the different parts of your start you don’t run 30 or 60 meters do you?
I would not describe starting to anyone as " pushing out as hard as you could". Why? Well doesn’t that command or thought imply you are trying to do something opposed to executing something that will naturally fall into place when the right pieces have been worked on? I think the pushing you speak about really is in part your explosive power python023 was referring to. Early on I did a lot of starts laying on my stomach with or without clapping and running to 10 meter mark. Over time I did a great deal of medicine ball work and the explosive throws into the mat for indoor work are amazing for this particular aspect of your start.

TS how you get on

One off the things I was going to say last night when thinking about this was how great it was that everyone had some really good ideas on how to practice their starts.
Who knew that there are some apps that make sounds to mimic the commands of starts?
I love technology. It is changing how we do things and how we think.
But guys… remember this.
As much as I love technology I ran and competed in a time where everything I did was LOW tech. I am not saying it’s better. I am not saying what you guys are suggesting is better. All I aim to communicate is try and utilize what you have and study those who have the starts you feel are the best and do your best to figure out what needs to be done to get there.

Ange, I have a start/accel. related question for you regarding the push-up starts as demonstrated at 32:24 in the GPP video. Do you know the purpose of keeping the back leg straight in that position rather than bent as it would be in an actual block start? My guess is that without the actual pedal in the push-up start, it’s easier to push off of a straight leg than if the back leg was bent.

The purpose of this drill is to break down different aspects of the starts so various pieces of the start can be worked on separately. ( just as you do A’s skip or running A’s to work on your sprinting)
I am not sure I would think of doing this drill as an easier method or more difficult method than an actual block start… A block start is the end piece and this is a drill facilitating the strength and development for your athlete to accomplish a proper start.
Full starts are difficult to do and can be physically taxing so it’s important to find ways to work on the start ( in full or in pieces) in a variety of ways.

A-J and all. The app worked great. It’s nice that you can set the time between the on the marks command and the set command and then again between the set and the bang of the gun. On a few I had the set position too long…5 seconds and found I twitched too much in anticipation so will try again with a 3-4 second set period. Nice to see the reaction time as well.