In light of recent developments in the world of track and field, the two fastest men in history training almost exclusively on grass, I think it’s time to look into this a little further. We’ve all heard of the benefits of running on grass early in the season and for tempo work, but perhaps doing acceleration and max velocity work on grass provides some unknown or unheralded benefits. I remember reading a study on this board that showed that training on grass led to increased tendon stiffness compared to training on a harder surface.
Is it possible that running full speed on grass works as a sort of very specific resistance training for the event itself which is run on a very fast surface, Mondo? This is just pure speculation of course, but is it possible that they have stumbled upon a better way of doing things?
I would think the quality of the grass surface would be a factor. Here grass tracks are simply markings on a park used for soccer or rugby in winter. They have a few dips in places, aren’t cut that short and quite spongy even in summer. That said conditions in the WI don’t look flash either.
I find training on grass much more comfortable than on other surfaces. I feel more “free”, natural and relaxed and i definitely feel the diference of the impact on the joints. Whenever i run on synthetic tracks the pounding is very noticeably.
If long cross country spikes are used speed and accels can be done perfectly on grass with no skidding at all.
We had a number of discussions about this in the past. Ben trained on grass for th transition from GPP to SPP in winter 86/87 and was breaking records almost from th start of the season (missed by only .01 in that first race)
Tim’s program had grass sprints included and this program appears to have been continued with Gatlin and Crawford.
i do SPP on grass as much as possible and even into SPP if weather permits or if training circumstances demand (St Kitts had no track in 86). It’s a form of added resistance and easy on the legs. it does seem you can round into sprint speed very quickly after.
Could you please expand on this, I am just curious, as here in vancouver the fields are used for soccer and are chewed up to pieces. I have been using it with my athletes and with my own training, and find it great for the gpp and accels in the warmup. Im just curious to the negatives to it.
“Grass turf”–the stuff with the little black rubber pellets–seems to be pretty popular in the States. I think Charlie has said before that he didn’t like it, but is it bad enough to just use the track instead?
I think it’s highly individual so it’s hard to give you hard and fast guidelines. try it with the idea that it’s a safe surface and use it when you can. you must NEVER fight over a grass surface and relaxation is paramount.
It’s best when the grass isn’t too soft either, I reckon a grass track after rain is way worse than having a session on the Mondo track when it’s raining - but with that said, you can’t do 6x200m on the grass one week and do 6x200m on the track for the next session (if it happens to be raining, for example).
I reckon you have to transition from grass to track properly. And that may take a few weeks, i.e. to use the previous example – to go from doing 6x200m at 85% walk back recovery on grass to doing the same session on the track.
That being the case then, you would need somewhere with consistent weather. In the UK, I don’t think it is practical to run quickly on grass throughout the winter months, others may want to correct me, with the cross country spikes or not. Also, the weather is inconsistent even this time of year, so if you are not able to locate your sessions based upon day to day weather, you would be better sticking with the track??