Dwain Chambers Q & A

Dwain Chambers gave a Q & A session at my university today, and while most of the questions were about a topic that can’t be discussed here, I thought I’d post some points from what he said in regards to his training methodology.

He said that he is hoping to run both the 100m and the 200m at the World Championships this year and is thus doing more endurance based work than usual. I asked him whether he follows a short to long or long to short approach, and his answer was “definitely long to short”. He said he recently ran 400m in 48.5s in training. He did, however, mention that he is trying to hit certain split times in training using infrared speedgates, and the one split time he mentioned was 6.3s for 60m. This is in contrast to another statement he made, which is that he’s only running at 75% in training. I assume that this is referring to perceived effort rather than time, but it still seems to me to be an understatement. He also mentioned that quality is more important to him than quantity, especially as he is getting older. I asked him if, from the time he spent with Glen Mills in Jamaica, he can explain to me why the Jamaicans are so dominant in the sprints. He couldn’t really, but mentioned good funding and a great talent pool. He also mentioned that his fitness improved greatly from football and rugby training, and that he still uses some of the training modalities from these sports in his sprint training. The examples he gave were repeated accelerations and fast changes in direction.

It would be interesting to hear from anyone who’s actually observed his training, so we can get a better idea of the programme he follows.

He was asked about his previous statement that he thinks he will be able to challenge Usain Bolt, and his explanation was that he has analysed Usain’s runs and concluded that Usain has a larger stride length but lower stride frequency than himself, and that Usain gets into his running stride 20m into the race as opposed to his own 30m. Over the last five months, he said, he has thus worked hard on improving his stride length in order to be able to get to Bolt’s level. He stated that his 6.5 over 60m equates to 9.84 over the 100m and that he will be able to run 9.7 if he can get his 60m time down to 6.4 (I didn’t have the audacity to ask him how he has come to these conclusions).

I hope this is of interest to some of you.

Interesting stuff, thanks man.

As you can see he talks about doing long to short, though clearly the high intensity part of his training is short to long or at least SHORT & LONG. Again he is working on endurance - which I would term work capacity or general conditioning. Those 400m reps are super slow for someone running 10.0 so again it is tempo even if it is at the more intensive end of the spectrum. Maybe if he partitioned some of his work up a little more methodically he would run faster? Who knows.

Interesting what he says about stride length. For those of us at the podium project this year that was the consensus of the coaches there. To beat Bolt you must improve stride length - especially for Dix. Pity it isn’t as simple as that! As though the two are completely separate things that can be improved in isolation. The question you should have asked there is what are you doing to improve stride length specifically?

Thanks for posting. Very interesting to hear this stuff.

The chairperson only allowed me to ask one question during the open session, but I talked to Dwain one-on-one afterwards, which is where I asked the questions I wrote about. After a few minutes of talking to him, I was asked to step aside to give a chance to those lining up behind me to ask their questions.

There’s a video on youtube of him doing the stick drill, so maybe that’s one way of him trying to improve his stride length. Since his stride already borders on overstriding at times, however, I’m not sure how much room for improvement there is before he will get himself into trouble.

In his CFTS, Charlie says about Ben: “The importance of reduced contact time is demonstrated through Ben Johnson’s career. From 1981 to 1988 his average stride length remained constant (46.6 strides per 100 metres) yet his time improved from 10.25 seconds to 9.79 seconds solely due to increased stride frequency.” Comments?

It is alway disturbing to hear people run off with the experience of the winner du jour and claim everyone must do the same thing. Matching stride length with a long legged 6ft 5 in guy is just plain retarded!!

In the forum review, this is addressed as the AVERAGE stride length remained constant but the distribution changed with more power/less contact time.

My thinking exactly. I predict an influx of stride ladders being used!

What else is disturbing is the interview itself. What the hell is he talking about here. Everything is completely contradictory.
And as for incorporating direction change work from football- WTF is that about?
Along with the stride ladders, might we expect tires next?

I thought 2008 was the first year powell hit 44 strides, running full tilt to the line (monaco9.82, gateshead9.87, lausanne9.72, stuttgart9.87).

Then I stumbled on the powell 10.05ParisWC2003Heat9-100m video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17ZOTBsD96A&feature=channel_page
He went 44 strides in this 10.05 run, apparently running full tilt to line, way back in 2003 with a lesser built vessel. 2004, 2005, 2006 he seemed to run slightly shorter strides with more frequency. This past year 2008 he seems to have come back to this natural stride length from 2003.

His training is best described as ad hoc a mix of many influences. He doesn’t have a coach, but someone who oversees his runs. I have watched their sessions and I can’t for the life of me figure out the method or pattern, I do know that it looks awesome…shock and awe describes the feelings. The first 30m is out of this world (3.4 sec hand time). You can feel the his movements as he passes you, a bit like a fast car displacing air. But to be fair I am not there everyday. I get the feeling that the 400m training is influenced by their belief that Bolt is running fast over the 100m because of his 200 and 400m training background. We saw him attempt a 200m indoors in a training session in October 08. He could only manage 24 sec or there abouts. He lay on the rack for about 5 minutes catching his breath and that was the end of it. In training he has been timed going through the 60m in 6.4 sec with timing gates. What is interesting to see is the after effects, it looks like he is hurting after each 60m run possibly due to the immense power he is generating. It makes me wonder if he really needs run further than 150m? I reckon 150m in 14+ secs would be more than enough. Basically they are speculating and inferring as to what makes Bolt so fast. Is it opinion or hard fact based on concrete analysis?
He has a book launch on the way www.nuffinlong.com/sports DWAIN CHAMBERS - “RACE AGAINST ME” - BOOK LAUNCH 2ND MARCH 2009

He is very helpful to younger athletes, seems to have become very humble due to his experiences.

Thanks for your input. He did emphasise a number of times that he is working according to a carefully thought out plan now, so at least in his mind there must be some method to his training. His results this season are quite impressive, so whatever he is doing, it seems to be working so far.

This may be of interest to some. There is a link to a training session done by dwain and then some questions and answers to follow

Sounds like short to long to me!!

The dreaded elastic tow… http://www.runnerslife.co.uk/archive/Dwain-Chambers-The-Session

If he was capable of faster times over longer distances then the intensity would indicate a genuine long to short program is that correct?

Re ad hoc training - he’s still one of the best in the UK, if not the best.

Good finding, thanks!

It’s not a begrudging criticism. It’s funny how my post talks about shock and awe yet you pick out ad hoc LOL. He IS the best. No one really troubles him. Simeon comes close but not there yet… But it must be said that his training is ad hoc plain and simple. It’s working so what ever I say about it who cares eh?

Yes. You would expect the performances to indicate your area of emphasis. If you are running 200s in 24 and 60s in 6.3, which area do you think is being emphasized now?

i raced dwain this year when he ran 6.52 and he was no where near tired. Was laughing and joking after when it got rounded up. He is looking learner than ever