Consistent Block Starts, Plyometrics, and More – Curtis Taylor Interview

Conditioning and Recovery
Freelap USA — Conditioning and recovery running via tempo runs are very controversial. Some say that active recovery with grass running and lower velocities help long term adaptations to the body such as capillary density and stiffness to the lower limbs. Others are worried about fiber type changes and hormonal problems with doing too much. What are your ways to keep 100-200 meter athletes fit so they can peak later during outdoors? Does conditioning outside body composition matter?

Coach Taylor — We do some type of recovery running/conditioning on both the grass (barefoot if possible) and the track. For us, there MUST be a technical component with them and I won’t do any more than 9 of those total if the distance is 100-120 m or less and no more than 4 if the distance is over 120 m. For short sprinters, I wouldn’t go over 180 m for one run. On the track we may go up to 180 m as a build up in with cones placed at 30 m increments, starting up with ankle over knee and picking up the pace at each cone. The focus is on finishing posture and technique. None of these runs start over 50% of maximum velocity, and these are always done on light/recovery days. This will add to some stiffness and some capillary density, but not as much as other exercises that you could select so I’m not counting on it for those things. I’m sure if your volumes of these would be higher it could affect the fiber composition. We do a ton of strength endurance during the fall: hills, straight leg bounds, lifting complexes, along with speed and speed development complexes. I try to peak my speed twice, once in the winter and again in the early part of the spring. After each I try to stack on specific endurance to extend that speed out. So generally, after indoors, we go down for a couple of weeks, touch on all of the exercises from the fall general prep and go back to basic speed development, followed by specific endurance and use the meets to get the specific endurance and race modeling that you need. That should provide all the fitness you need. We don’t do any outside body conditioning except for maintaining the weight room work.

Carl’s Take — It’s interesting to see how much different programs do with volumes of running for fitness and how that fitness may prepare a body to handle recovery specifically for the season. Active recovery is constantly talked about but with so many systems involved we can’t forget that the muscular system breaks down and the amount of easy running, as well as the velocity, needs to only sufficient. A drug free hormonal system can’t support inflated running volumes, and coaches must find just the right amount of running to help both the acute and long term changes.