Devils Advocate re: split runs as charlie has prescribed

Sir Charlie and members,

Just some quick questions/thoughts regarding the split runs, ie. 3X4X60 and so on. What would occur or what might be the pros/cons, if an an athlete (sprinter) went with complete special endurance runs of the same volume , adjusting the rest and intensity accordingly, instead of split runs?

wk1 3X240
wk2-4 3X180
wk5 2X250
wk6 2X180
wk7 1X250
and so on…

Any thoughts?


I recently posted Charlie’s comments from previous posts of his about the benefits of split 60s; have a look. If you can’t find them, let me know…

Depends on the purpose and the tolerance of the individual, but based on the same vol, which method allows execution at a greater speed?

With the Nik’s help I realised the significance of the intensity. However, a question does come to mind. In SPP1 of a junior athlete, how would you modify your SPP template for a training week that included two high int. days. Would stick with the one speed day and one SE day or would you go with two SE days in the initial 3 or 4 weeks and then go to one speed and one SE day.

Regarding ones ability to tolerate high int. days. Do you know what are some of the reason why an athlete cannot tolerat 3 days?


In my mind, one speed day and one SE day is more in keeping with Charlie’s ideas of some speed all the time. I do the 4X4X60 during SPP1, and for me at least, the SE day is quite a bit more stressful in terms of CNS than the speed day–even though the absolute intensity is higher on the speed day, there is quite a bit more volume at high intensity in the 4X4X60. The CNS effect is why I’d be cautious about two 4X4X60 sessions in the same week.

For 3 high intensity days, you might consider one of those days as SE II at around 90% to keep the CNS recovery within reason. It also depends on how many/how hard weight sessions you have.

I’m a little confused because the above programme doesn’t appear to have the same total volume from week 1 to week 7??? (i’m probably just being dumb) :smiley:

Anyway, with what you describe (actual example) the volume is dropping each week so you would expect a certain amount of speed increase. However, what is happening to your work capacity at the same time and how do you change the other aspects of the programme to accomodate this? Answer in the Van’04 DVD…

The sample weekly workouts at the back of the Forum Review Ebook contain your answer somewhat…

Wed:tempo (high vol)
Fri: tempo
Sat: tempo (high vol)
Sun: rest

As for 3 or 2 high days a week. I actually use a similar template but i decide week on week which to use - though generally schedule 2 speed every fourth week (as a down week).

I don’t know how old a Junior athlete is in your eyes but if they are very young (sub 15 yrs) you perhaps don’t need to worry so much about too much CNS because they can’t put out enough to really do much damage. Also you won’t be doing any SE work with them because they just arn’t developed enough to deal with it. So it will probably just be almost total speed work with a tempo session for fun occasionally (perhaps some games or something) + they won’t be training 6 times a week! Infact, i’d probably mix up the sessions so you get a bit of everything every time.

Thanks for your thoughts…

A junior athlete in Canada is about 17 & 18 yrs of age (sometimes 19 depending on DOB). What I was thinking, particular in the first 4 to 5 weeks of a 8 to 9 week SPP1 was:

Mon: Special E
Tues: Tempo
Wed: Tempo (hi vol)
Thurs: Special E
Fri: Tempo
Sat: Tempo (hi vol)

…after 4 to 5 weeks Monday would become a speed day.

I’m assuming the SPP1 template is for the same level athlete as the GPP template. Having said that, modifications are needed for athletes younger in age and/or less in ability or for those that don’t have regular access to treatment/soft tissue specialist. I’m curious to know what modification members have made to the SPP1 template to make work for them.

Like I mentioned my female sprinter is a junior and has a PR of 7.68s but is currently running at around a high 7.4 to a low 7.5 level. I’ve been getting good results with the split runs. Not only is she developing work capacity but the many reps are teaching her rhythm, control and her acceleratoin to 20m and 30m from a crouch start are steadily improving (20m: 2.8-2.9s; 30m: 3.75-3.9)

I find she’s developing a good feel for sprint position. However, her recovery isn’t consistent. Sometimes I can get away with 1 recovery day and other days I have to use 2. Therefore, some weeks have 3 HI days and others I have 2 (one day at a time).

Just thought I’d share some of my experiences…

No speed work?

I recently completed a SPP2 with my athlete and fortunately his alactic speed levels are where I planned it to be.

I used a long to short GPP and extended it into SPP. His SpecEnd results were intoxicating, so I obviously dragged it out longer than I planned. Particularly with true SpecEnd (600s) work at the beginning of each cycle and splits at the end.

Even with 2 specific alactic days in the SPP1 micros, true speed results were not as we needed them to be. With patience and deliberation, we dumped the SpecEnds early in SPP2 and made each high day purely alactic…no intermediates.

Two weeks ago, after doing med ball accelerations on hills, I was curious enough to have him do a 600 as a warmdown. He had other ideas and PB’d by over 3 seconds. Now where did this come from?

His scholastic season opens up next week and his 1st meet will be in an collegiate track carnival next Saturday. However, like you Randy, I intend to go back to splits for SE work, but not as often as I would be tempted to do!

Good to read your results though… We continue to learn. :wink:

This is something I have found. That is why I use a 3/2 day hi workout.

Why don’t you have any pure speed work? While tempo is essential I would be looking to do some speed work at least once every 2 weeks even if it is lower volumes. Perhaps you could do some speed (say 400m) and then finish with say 6-10x100m tempo or some Strength Endurance work if you want to keep the volume low. Once work capacity is increased somewhat i think the athlete should be able to handle more CNS work because they will recover faster. I think it will also help them to get more out of the SE runs because they can then reach a higher top speed (accelerate for longer).

I wasn’t abolishing speed work all together simply delaying it a few weeks in order to emphasize SE. I feel for a young sprinter (or a weaker developmental elite) performing 2 HI days a week I would rather emphasize SE earlier on and then drop one SE day and replance it with a true alactic day. Besides, with repeat runs being 20+m and 30+m there is a decent amount of speed being addressed/utilized throughout the runs. So although they aren’t truely alactic the athlete is moving a pretty decent velocity… :slight_smile:

This idea of cycling in a true speed session every 3 or 4 HI sessions intriques me…thanks

if she can’t handle too much CNS work, then probably a L to S approach might suit her best and you’ll still be able to see improvements. However, you need to think long-terms, too! Speed is essential to her, especially as a short-sprinter.
Also, you need to examine why she can’t handle more CNS work, is it the way “she’s made up”, or her recovery isn’t great -for whatever reason?
In any case, if you decide Special End., most probably her Accel will be ok and that’s why perhaps her 20-30 m times are fine; I wouldn’t necessarily draw conclusions for a full 60/100 m race though. You need to think of what training elements will allow her the best speed development eventually. Look at what TMSSF says about Special End. and speed and the adjustments needed to be made later on…

As TC says, another option might be a good speed workout every other week -which could be arranged along with the rest of her (heavy) schedule/lifestyle. However, I am not sure I agree on the point of mixing sessions on a given workout -personal preference.
Hope it helps!