Hamstring strain after multiple rounds

Just wondering if anyone has any anecdotal evidence of hamstrings strains after multiple rounds of races…

An Australian 400m runner raced at the Aust Champs last week…

Thursday - 400m heat 8pm 46.61
Friday - 400m final 9pm 46.33
Saturday - 200m heats 3:45pm - strained hamstring 30m into race

I know there are so many factors - too many to name but just interested in what people knew/had experiences of.

Two of my athletes strained a hamstring during their NFL pro day earlier this past week.

Both on their 2nd of two 40yd dashes and, coincidentally, the pulls followed personal record efforts.

All my pro day guys followed a 10 day taper and the volumes of sprint work were very low during those final 10 days.

All athletes concluded the taper and entered the event day feeling very good with no indication of hyper tonus, etcetera.

Pre-40 warm up was more than sufficient and, as far as I can estimate all athletes were sufficiently hydrated.

Vitamin/mineral/nutrient deficiencies I’m not certain of, however.

At any rate, both of the athletes who sustained the pulls set personal records on their 40yd.

Of all the scouts who timed the event the fastest recorded time for my fastest guy was a 4.39 and he had been running, at his fastest, low/mid 4.4s during training while my other athlete who pulled, a 300 pounder, recorded a fastest time of 4.9high and, believe it or not, the fastest I timed him near the beginning of the training cycle was a 5.4mid.

All this is hand timing so take it for what it’s worth.

At any rate, in my guys case, I’ve concluded that the intensities reached during their 40yd efforts, which far exceeded any of their efforts during the previous 10 days (ala the 95% rule), were the overloads themselves that lead to the pulls.

Fortunately, the 4.39 guy, while having to withdraw from most of the remaining drills, was, after a healthy dose of ibuprofen, able to perform his position drills very well and the 4.9 guy’s pull wasn’t bad enough to keep him out of any of the subsequent drills (of which he set personal records on nearly every one)


I have used the taper, but only 7 days. Considering the distance is much shorter than 100m, I went with a shorter taper. Results were good and no injuries.

Interesting, maybe 10 days is too much time for taper??

Considering the 40 is accel with no SE, 10 days away from 100% effort may be too much time?


Also, with the agility tests, how did the taper impact their times?

During a 7 day taper last spring, my guys would drop a tenth during this week in the agility tests, but no difference seen in the vertical jump.

Well, you bring up a good point regarding time away from 100% efforts; however, I had theoretically accounted for this via the stress associated with the flying 30-60yd work I had them conduct during the taper. while the intensity of these efforts was <95%, more or less subjectively determined, I had thought of the increased distances that were covered, during the flying sprints, to serve as a sufficient retention mechanism regarding ‘intensiveness’.

To be clear, I would only draw this correlation regarding the comparison against acceleration activities as the ‘intensity’ of a run as short as 40yds in no way approaches that of the distances, as you referenced, in the SE range.

thus I’m comparing a 100% 40yd against a 95% effort sprint up to 60yds.

Regarding the agility tests, similar to your experience, there was only one PR set in the 5-10-5; however, the 3cone went very well as did the jumps.

Here’s the bottom line numbers (omitting player names, heights, weight, wing span, and hand)

Maybe the flying sprints too soon to testing day? Not sure what day they were done. Just seems odd they would pull after training so long with you.

My taper 7 days was something like this:

Day 7: practice combine
Day 6: Massage tempo
Day 5: Massage 3x10, 3x20, 1 x 30, 2 shuttles
Day 4: Massage tempo
Day 3: Massage 2 shuttles
Day 2: Massage 2-3 x10, 1-2x20
Day 1: Massage and rest (usually travel day)
day 0:Test

By day 3 they are flying in the shuttles and by day 2 their sprints feel extremely fast and easy.

With my high school kids, they are subjected to others warm-up on testing day either through SPARQ or other sponsors of combines. SPARQ at 2 seperate combines in different years, has athletes perform about 50-100 yards of lunges during the warm-up.

Remember, however, that the flying work is instructed to be done no faster than 95%; yet, nearly all of my guys aren’t even pushing that pace.

Too boot, pro day was on a Tuesday. working backwards to the last flying sprint session-
-all sprint work beyond 10yds is sub-max-
Tuesday- pro day
Monday- light warm up
Sunday- 4x10yd from 3pt
Saturday- pool work
Friday- 4x10yd, 30ydx1 all from 3pt
Thursday- off
Wednesday- 10ydx4 from 3pt, 60ydx1 flying + drill practice

During the taper, all running, beyond the 10yd work out of their 3pt, ‘looks’ very relaxed to me; thereby reinforcing to me the diminished possibility of muscle pull on test day- which of course didn’t hold true 100%.

At least personal records were bountiful.

I should note, however, that massage was nearly non-existent beyond what I provided here and there to select individuals. So, instead, my Globus EMS worked overtime as well as the guys performing tempo type running in the pool in between sprint/field days.

On that note, after two seasons here of preparing my athletes for the combine/pro day I’m certain that a third will not go by without some assurance that routine massage will be available beyond what I offer myself.

Don’t get down about this. Like you said, there were a ton of PBs. Even with massage, nothing is 100% guaranteed. Guys with elite therapists get hurt too. That being said, if finding a therapist is a problem, I’m sure a dedicated massage student would love to work with your guys and do it dirt cheap or free for the experience. Pittsburgh School of Massage may be a good farm system. Doing it yourself is fine within reason but if you try to do everything on your own, you’ll end up like the high school AT in addiiton to the physical prep coach and work about 25 hours per day.

Well, like you, and many other dedicated coaches here who care deeply about their athletes’ performances, it will always trouble me when injury strikes. specifically in regards to the rare occurrences, regarding the sport I coach, in which I am in complete control of the preparation process (such as combine/pro day preparation).

that being said, I agree with you that sometimes these things happen; however, as ‘The Thinker’ I will always be compelled to identify why.

Good idea regarding the student assistance.

Regarding the long days, trust me Mort, I’m already there.

for those of us who do not work, but rather live our professions, this is just par for the course.

If I wasn’t married I might not ever leave the facility.

Too boot, pro day was on a Tuesday. working backwards to the last flying sprint session-
-all sprint work beyond 10yds is sub-max-
Tuesday- pro day
Monday- light warm up
Sunday- 4x10yd from 3pt
Saturday- pool work
Friday- 4x10yd, 30ydx1 all from 3pt
Thursday- off
Wednesday- 10ydx4 from 3pt, 60ydx1 flying + drill practice

I wonder if there is a message for all of us with the effects of a long taper on injury incidence: If the taper is a once a season variety, then the stresses involved will be higher than anything experienced in training, unless you specifically prepare for this (and 95% non-rested training max isn’t going to cut it).

Regarding rounds, there are things you can do to prepare. Charlie has mentioned a number of 60’s with long rest to prepare for rounds. I also do a few workouts like 4X60/300-200-100 on back-back days (this type of thing is from Verkhoshansky) and also 4X60/4 hours/4X60 in the same day (from Asafa following the rounds in a championship with a WR 10-14 days later). I do these things for the effects on the workouts that follow, but they do have the effect of training one’s hamstrings to handle the effect of multiple rounds.

None of this quite prepares the athlete from the high stresses from a rested performance. Some things I can think of:

(1) Short cycles in training, where each cycle is followed with a race performance from a smaller taper, which should get close to the maximal rested performance.

(2) Plyometrics. Not high-risk efforts like depth jumps close to testing, but safer efforts like CMJ and Box Jumps to provide stress greater than normal training.

(3) I hate to mention it, but training with the wind or slight downhill: Slight overspeed, but nowhere near important races. This type of thing has been discussed fairly recently vis-a-vis the Jamaicans as a way to increase stiffness (I’m actually doing the type of complex workout they do at LSU this weekend–intentionally 6 weeks before Mt. Sac, so I can recover for the main season if I get injured–which I do precisely once a year now).

Thoughts, anyone?

Do you feel the benefits of the overspeed outweigh the injury risks then? If you get injured now, how far into the season do you think that will affect your performance?

I slightly strained my hamstring 30 days ago exactly, and since then I have gone through cycles of resting it, gradually inctrasing the volume of work on it and then a good few days after it feeling fine, gone and trained, and half way through a session it has slightly pulled again. I am slightly worried about how this is going to affect my season. I am also not sure what more I can do to help recover. I have gone through the process of ice, strapping, anti inflammatories, doing warm ups, gradually running out further.

Although any advice on this would be great, I guess my point is do you want to risk going through all that 6 weeks out from your first race? Do you think the overspeed run will give you that great a stimulus?

All good points

I don’t want to be put down as a real overspeed advocate. I know that Charlie doesn’t like it, John Smith doesn’t like it, Franno doesn’t like it…and I don’t want to even discuss it in threads about inexperienced sprinters that haven’t been around long enough to understand the risks.

But I also know what I’ve seen. The version I use comes from Loren Seagrave, and from what I’ve read, Dennis Shaver is still using it, as is Loren, and Loren mentions this particular method in seminars. My version is:

2X60m accel, slight uphill
2X30 flying, slight downhill
1X100 on flat

This is a powerful workout; It is also dangerous. You can get significant gains from doing this ONCE. I’ve gotten injured doing it 2-3 times in succeeding weeks. But the interesting thing when I got injured was that after I recovered, the speed gain was still there; I had permanently shot through a plateau, and because of this, I see this as a high risk/high reward training week, where reward is worth the risk…if you don’t get greedy and keep doing it.

So now I do it once, followed by a lot of rest, and plan for an injury in the training plan. If I get injured in late March, I can rest in April and still be ready for a peak performance in June. If I “survive” the workout, I can get a major gain.

As for recovery from a strained hamstring, this is about the best I’ve seen:


That’s a good site. I’ve been a subscriber there many times.