Charlie spends quite a bit of time discussing this issue in Speed Trap. It comes up several times in the book. The distribution of effort along the acceleration curve might affect the ultimate maximum speed you reach, but ultimately what matters is the overall performance and you only have a limited amount of energy to apply to the race. Whether you expend it early or later in the race, once it’s spent, it’s spent.
Therefore, if you start to decelerate because your energy is depleted, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Fighting it will just make you decelerate faster. You have to relax and let it happen. That’s a very hard lesson to learn, especially with someone next to you pulling away. Charlie mentions that one skill sprinters need to learn is the ability to lose and still run their best possible times. To quote Charlie, it’s relatively easy to add speed endurance to a developing sprinter. It’s much harder to add poise.
After the ‘84 Olympics, Ben apparently spent a lot of time reviewing tapes of Carl Lewis’ races and concluded that the single biggest difference he could see between Carl and the others was Carl’s uncanny ability to remained relaxed until the end. Again, as pointed out in Speed Trap, in the 100m final at Seoul, Carl was able to remain relaxed and still run the best race of his life to that point despite looking over at Ben and knowing he was being routed. That’s poise! Give credit where credit is due.
Flash, do you think it is possible to train to the extent that you are able to put maximal effort into a 100 metre race throughout, or do you think there is a strategic element in it in this sense? Many coaches, at least in this country, would tell you to run flat out from gun to tape. However, it seems you are suggesting effort at various stages needs to be modified. Am I right in thinking this? If so, I feel there is perhaps a two fold benefit, especially in terms of the start in my case, in that I am better able to hold my technique submaximally leaving the blocks, so all round I would be more consistent.
This all brings me on to a final question. When doing blocks and acceleration workouts, should these be done in the same manner then, slightly sub maximal in order to practice what is to be done come race day? Or should they be done with maximal effort so that peak output is greater, and when you do come to race day, working at a given percentage becomes a higher absolute value (hope that makes sense)? Perhaps training in that second methods could also extend the energy envelope, allowing you to expend 100% effort, closer to the duration of the race?
I’d be interested to get everyone’s feedback on this.
Your acc pattern should not be any diff btw the 60 and 100m. I tell my athletes to just run fast and stay relax and if they are fit and strong they will be ok. Theres no such thing as holding back and delay acc, think about what would happen if Ben would have held back or use delay acc vs carl lewis.
Maybe at the elite level i would worry about such things but with lower level athletes trying to teach them distribution/delay acc etc could just make things worst. Some people call it diff things but it all equals relaxation.
Come on, we all know how oversimplified that is. I remember reading somewhere Carl Lewis alluding to his distribution of energy throughout the 100m, and the same thing with Bruny Surin, referencing his improvement in the 1999 season.
I agree this is possibly a very subtle issue, which won’t make a significant impact on performance, but in a game where 0.01 seconds separate individuals, we chase those small changes.
Have we heard directly from Ben and Maurice their perspectives on it though. Plus both athletes I mentioned broke 9.9 seconds. I think it would be niave to dismiss what they thought simply because they both ONLY finished second on the global stage.
Search HSI on youtube, and there is a video with Ato Boldon giving his strategies for the 200m. I believe in working the first 30m and then mainting that til about 80m, where you kick coming off the turn. As you head down the straight it’s about relaxing and holding form.
You run 300m races??? The 400 I imagine has various strategies, but the most common is to build the first 60m, maintain that down the backstraight, then work the second bend and relax and hold form coming home. I wouldn’t focus on long strides though, bounding to overstride with that mentallity as you are going submaximally.