Glen Mills the first coach to.....

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?


I was told that much of the information and technology regarding horse racing has been looked at by track and field coaches for some time.

Any coach who is working with athletes running fast times is worthy of looking at. You need to look for constant variables from each coach and unless you are able to see their written work or documentation or have the opportunity to work with some of these people over some period of time no one really knows what exactly is going. Otherwise their work becomes speculation as some of you have pointed out already.

Some of these coaches have inherited great talent and some have done a great job of taking these athletes to the next step to get faster. There is talent everywhere and as long as you have a big enough group you will find someone who rises to the top even if they are white, black, beige or what ever ethnic group. Many pro athletes have had serious achievements in track and field but financial opportunities often take people right out of the sport. Who can blame them?

It’s one thing to run fast but its an entirely different thing to repeat that speed and dominance and stay healthy and do this for a long time. And as some have pointed out there is a big difference when you are starting from zero such as Angella Taylor, Desia Williams, Mark McKoy, Ben, his brother versus someone who has run 10:30 and makes his way down to 10 flat.

Charlie was in a long standing argument with a person in his former group regarding this tempo " debate". So much so he refused to take calls ( towards the end) from this person regarding this topic as it simply took too much of his energy to not " loose it". This athlete had done tons of tempo in their career but now was spending a great deal of time second guessing what went well and wrong and why. Kinda ancient history at some point… You can’t revise your own history.

Charlie never did tempo as an athlete. He never knew about it. He did speed work all the time. Charlie was always injured as an athlete as a well. He was accused of being a choke at times when in fact he was injured and found it tough to stay healthy. What he did say and believe is tempo is essential. Tempo lays a foundation for speed. Tempo allows thorough removal of waste products produced from high cns speed work. Tempo vascularizes tissue esp. in the hamstring needed as a foundation for speed. It’s probable that some people , from certain genetic backgrounds have greater capacity for speed development.

I think its natural to look for something magic and some kind of a recipe when we are discussing how to get faster. I think the magic is in the repetition of some sound general and specific principles which might not bring instant results but will prove to show progress if someone is prepared to wait.

I have been trying to find the chicken soup reference Charlie used to refer to about Tempo. Here is a link to a comment from Number 2

Have to insert my Bruce Lee reference here in the title of the thread. I made a post on sprint training in another thread that I believe deserves some further discussion. I believe that too many people are looking for solutions outside of what is important (i.e. arm spiraling bullshit and other similar fixes). Fix what is important, and then build an effective support program around your main training program. This does not mean eliminate the low intensity work - in fact - CFTS emphasizes you to keep the volume of low intensity work high - but it does mean simplify it and treat it for what it is (Chicken Soup as Charlie was fond of calling it). It’s not a holy grail. Sprinting is the key element.

Too much consideration is given to all the shit bundled around the sprint workout and not enough is given to ensuring the quality of runs in the MAIN OBJECTIVE (in this case - SPRINTING). It is a very simple process. Do what you need to do to run faster. Ensure that the key elements are supported to ensure you do run faster in training (i.e. good progressive warm-up, technical considerations, adequate recovery between runs, therapy and rest between workouts). If these issues are not addressed properly, you can do as many other bullshit exercises as much as you want and you will not improve.

Most athletes will improve significantly through the competitive period because they are forced to do a few simply things:

  1. Run fast in competitions (where you are forced to sit down and rest between heats - not taking 6 minutes between 60m races!). It also helps that you are competing against someone next to you (thereby bringing up the intensity and creating an adaptation effect).

  2. Dropping elements from their program to free up energy. Many less helpful weight-room exercises are dropped in the competitive period or the volume is reduced to almost nothing.

  3. They get instant feedback - in the form of a time - to base their effort on. If you are not getting timed in training, you do not really know if you are improving week to week.

Thus, a less than optimal training program can be salvaged through a proper sequencing and volume of competitions. Go through the archives and re-read Charlie’s discussion of Asafa Powell and his lack of races leading into major competitions. His postings were a TEACHABLE MOMENT that many people did not pay attention to.

Those of you that are paying others to prepare your training programs need to ask questions. “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” If you follow people blindly (similar to trusting your investment banker, accountant, Bernard Madoff, etc.), you could get burned in the end. There should be a logic and progression to everything that is prescribed. It is not a process of throwing a pile of crap against the wall and seeing what sticks.

*** LESSON 1 in the CFTS certification program ***

Great Infor from Angela and Dma. Derek needs to come straighten us out every blue moon. We’re is he?
All lot of people are always looking for different ways to skin a cat.

Thank you DMA for sending me the Vancouver 2002 . I am in the process of doing the file conversion and will add this to the store as soon as possible. I am hoping before the middle of September.
Yesterday the CFTS went onto amazon for sale next to Speed Trap and it has been re scanned in a much higher quality suitable for all e book readers.
I will be sending out an email to each person who bought the manual since the new site data transfer post May 2010 and I will send them the new scanned version.

I suggest the reason for tempo is this is where stride length is increased.

10 minute runs drops body mass, tempo increases stride length.

I pretty much follow the guidelines of ext tempo as suggested by Charlie in cfts

Damn it Angela an ebook version!! Lol I had my copy since 2003 printed no longer have digital copy… Gonna have to buy that now :slight_smile:

Very excited about the higher resolution version of the CFTS! That’s great news.

I like good news as well. It’s refreshing isn’t it?
Does anyone have a live link to Zurich tomorrow? Our Canadian woman are all running there and I would love to see it.
thanks in advance.