Glen Mills the first coach to.....

I’ve done loads of tempo in my life, its never helped me much. Too much of a workout instead of recovery.

The one thing that these fast guys have in common is TEMPO in their training or controlled speed work. UMMM, Powell, Blake, Bolt, Gay, Jeter, Felix the list goes on all have heavy amounts of tempo. Most athletes that I see that do tons of heavy squatting, 30m accels, flys etc are the one’s losing to the tempo athletes or running great 30m times but suck over 100-200m…

When I met Asafa back in 08 he told me about the workout he had the day before. 10x200 26 sec pace. Said the shit hurt. I guess when you can go 19 in the 200 26 is tempo. Or was it a specific conditioning workout he had to do? Dont know. I didnt discover temp until 2003-04 once i stumbled upon this site. I then and still do today use it for recovery. Shit I dont even warmup when I do it. I just start. I hate it but i know i feel good the next day for real speed workouts. Maybe these pros that are “Tempo Kings” just do more of it during specific training blocks. But I seriously doubt they only do tempo then use the meets as speed work.

They all insert start workouts and some do 60s, 80s. None seem to lift super heavy in my observation. I noticed Asafa is pretty strong. There’s a video of him sumo dead lifting 160 or so if my memory is correct. Really easy too.

Are you still doing your tempo on the track?

Sometimes just depends on whether I can find good grass or not.

What’s Gatlin doing now?

Anyone know how Mitchell sets up his week?

If tempo is all that is needed, why aren’t 800m thru marathoners running sub 10.0? They do huge volumes of running at tempo pace. Its just dumb to say that genetics and specific speed work have less to do with elite level sprint performance than tempo.

Lots of accelerations, sled pushes, intensive tempo.

p.s I have been trying to log on here for 2 or 3 months now, and finally have been able to reset my password! I have an inbox full of messages from some of you, and I apologize for not getting back to you, but I’ve been trying and it hasn’t been working until now. So you should here from me soon.

I don’t think it is an either or aspect, more so a slight shift in philosophy toward Tellez, Bush, John Smith, or Winter. Smith and Tellez will start with more volume and slower work, call it tempo, and work their way down to less volume, more rest, and faster times. I don’t know of any that have fast 100/200 people who ONLY do tempo. They all have starts, accel, and most have 60’s, etc. They just don’t necessarily use tempo like Charlie, as a year round conditioning component. Instead more like Ext tempo --> Int tempo --> to Speed End though I haven’t seen any define it like that.

Where did you read this?

in regards to the tempo of distance runners, anyone pauid attention to the last lap of 5 or 10k races!!!???

Also some of the training reports, its fairly common for mid to long runners to be able to knock out a sub 11 run in training, and easily a 22. 200, with very little to none pure speed work (as we would describe it)

I think this discussion lends itself to some important ideas. How do we draw upon the supposed workouts others do? Without a proper explanation from the coach itself I think its a little presumptuous to draw relations where they may not exist. A good example of this is with lifting. Athlete A can squat 300lbs, runs a 10.2. Athlete B can squat 400lbs runs a 11.5. Its all over the map, and theres no correlation between these two variables that is clear. Some athlete don’t lift at all and run fast times. Same thing with Olympic lifting, next to no correlation with specific performances, yet you’ll hear of certain athletes with decent numbers and it convinces others that its the magic bullet. My argument is that its difficult to say, what contributes to performance and what doesnt when people do such drastically different things. If you include Olympic lifting into the program of an athlete able to run 10 low, they will be great at it, because they are amazing athletes. Just as they would be great at squatting, because they are fast twitch and great athletes. So does the potential to be great at something mean that it contributes to the performance? There appears to be no correlation. The one constant is that there is specific speed work, in every successful program. I would compare this to the work of throwers. They throw. Is there any doubt that throwing doesnt make you a better thrower? They also lift, and these lifts have slightly higher correlations to their performance, and this has been well established. They do no tempo work as such, and yet you couldnt argue that they don’t do enough high intensity work to merit the recovery. Yet somehow throwers recover and improve on throwing distances, despite the lack of low intensity work. Its just that historically throwers havent come from a low intensity, cardio/work capacity sort of background. And this is an example of how I think tradition tends to influence our own practices. I’m sure someone could throw together an ad hoc hypothesis as to why tempo doesnt work for throwers, just as many training paradigms are forced into square pegs to fit the current mold.There are universal constants in training, even between event groups. Don’t get me wrong, I do think low intensity, active recovery type workouts are beneficial. But there are many forms of such activities, and tempo, especially hard tempo, doesnt necessarily need to be included, and i’m convinced it contributes relatively small amounts to recovery. What I’d like to hear about is how have you used certain concepts to influence the activities of your own athletes? What tends to work the best? From the athletes I’ve coached, tempo is low priority (another debate is whether tempo is even the best form of aerobic progression) and weights are low priority and progress is made. When weight room numbers are being chased this usually impedes the progression of speed.

Arthur Lydiard - the great mid/distance coach from New Zealand back in the 50-60’s, who went touring the world teaching other nations how to keep up…
Here is a very limited shot
100 miles week off season
No La+ in off season base miles
99.9% of runs to be close to marathon pace (not long slow distance, but long fast miles…)
And the key - 5sec sprints to be done 1 x week

The result - back in the 60’s, on a grass track, a 1:44 800m - zero pacing.
The same guy - out kicked everybody over 800m, virtually undefeated over 800m

A 1:44 on grass - that’s comparable to the run at the last Olympics on the latest synthetic tracks. And how fast is Rudisha!!

When training race horses – tempo for sprinters, speed for distance.

Guess the same principles apply.

My 1st track coach was an ex horse trainer.
He certainly did a good job producing runners, both sprinters and mid distance runners.

I’ve noticed a lot of American coaches like to use the Extensive -> Intensive -> Speed Endurance model.

Bold, your comment about horse trainers is really interesting. I’ve been meaning to try to talk to some horse trainers, as the budget they have for training / recovery can dwarf that spent by even the biggest track programs (Oregon Project). It will be interesting to see what kind of ideas can cross over.

I second the idea that Mills is a great coach because he doesn’t ruin talented athletes. This is also true of Tom Tellez, Charlie, and all the greats. Of course, Charlie had the added experience of developing multiple youth athletes from a developmental stage into national and world class athletes, something that almost no other coach can claim, and makes the study of his work so insightful.

I don’t know of any coach who took an athlete from 12 secs to a wr in the 100 either.

What do they use for sled pushes? Are the accels out of the blocks are they hard or just working on form? is the Intensive Tempo multiple times a week?


What are they using to do sled pushes? one of those prowler sleds? how many days a week are they doing intensive tempo runs?