Help - Advice Needed Please

Hi guys, I have been following the principles of the GPP and Vancouver 2004 DVD’s using the Short to Long template as my guide. Obviously I have had to adjust things as my sprinters are in the 11.0 - 11.5 range. All are senior athletes with a couple of over 40’s. Two of my athletes ran in a local meeting over 60m indoors last night and ran very badly - 7.7 and 7.8. The 7.7 guy (athlete A) who is 25 and did his best running as a Junior 10.93 fat and averaged 11.1, has had injury problems since but has resloved those, ran 11.5 last summer and has put in a good 14 weeks + of training with little interruption. The other (athlete B) ran 11.1 last summer having started the season at 11.7. He has also had very little interruption to his training (couple of days with tight hamstring). I had thought even prior to tapering for the local championships (60m) on the 13th January that they would be able to run 7.2/7.3, which would have been a good starting point. I have used Mondays for Speed Endurance, Wednesday - Speed, Tuesdays/Thursdays are recovery days (tempo med ball etc). I have left hills in and they alternate weekly with tyre lunges on Fridays as I figured 3 sessions per week too much high intensity track work. As you know from some of my posts we have encountered quite a lot of injuries in the past. Up to now this has not been the case with this programme (nothing serious anyway) we have backed off when athletes look/sound heavy/tired. I tried to upload my programme but its in word and I get the message ‘invalid file’ so in the meantime this is week 7 of the SPP (following 7 weeks of GPP)
4x30m Blocks 5min
4x60m 8 min (50m int)
Hang Cleans 5x3
Box Squats 5x1
5x30m High Knee Drill

2x30m 4min
4x30m Blocks 4min
3x40m build up + 20m fast 12min
Lunges 3x6
Bent Row 10 8 6
Reverse Hypers 1x20

Box Jumps x 5
Box Squats 5x1 87.5% 90% 92.5% 95% 97.5%
Hill Lunges with Tyre 6x80m
Dumbell Sprint Arm Action 15secs fast x 4

I look forward to your constructive comments. I will add any information required to formulate your opinions.

I think you lift volumes are too low. Box squat reps of 1?

For example, on Monday I would do regular squats (3x3 or 4x3). Also I would do an olympic lift on Wed and/or Fri also.

For me this seems fine (other than the fact that they probably can’t accelerate to 50m if they are running 11.0 so why set this intensity limit?).

My question is what leads you to believe they can run 7.2/3 in their first meets?

What are thier speed/special endurance times in training? The guys in my squad running 7.2-3 are running 60m with 30-35m intensity limit in around 6.8. The guys running 6.9-7.1 are running them in 6.5-6.7. The girls running 7.6-7.7 are running them in around 7.3-4. If they can run these times in pracitce but not at the meet then it must be psychological race preparation. Perhaps doing a few runs from blocks with a 30-35m intensity limit on a submax week will help them get used to transitioning from blocks to upright running and then maintaining rhythm until the very end.

How are things fine when his guys are running 7.7-7.8? I think some more change needs to be made than lowering the intensity limit in training, don’t you?

Did you taper at all for the comp? Could be down to being “ring rusty” if it was the first comp in a while.

Well the status of an organism is relative to everything that organism has experienced upto that point in time. Looking at a single training week in isolation and trying to say this is and isn’t right is quite difficult because you don’t see the context in which the programme is set.

I’m looking at Phil’s programme in relation to what I do with athletes of a similar standard and thinking that the volumes and intensities are probably not that far removed from what I do and my athletes are running the times i expect. It is perfectly possible for an athlete to come out and run 7.7 in thier first race and then drop to 7.3 in thier second - in fact it happened last week with one of my athletes. Now why did that happen? I have no idea and either does he. But i don’t care because i knew he was in form to run 7.3 so i didn’t worry.

The shape of the athlete will change from day to day, minute to minute (nerves, loss of concentration etc) but the calibre should stay consistant. If you monitor SE times you should know what they are capable of and if your programme is delivering the goods. Then if the athlete doesn’t perform it isn’t the programme it is something else. So if it is something else (like race modelling/poor tactics) you should be able to address it fairly quickly. Hence why i suggested a few mini race modelling sessions.

I think some more change needs to be made than lowering the intensity limit in training, don’t you?
IF changes are needed what are we going to do? We have already planned and developed up to this point. At this moement the body is ready to handle what we have given it to handle. If you give it something new it isn’t ready for then how can it adapt to it? Phil is 2 weeks away from competition so if it is a problem of planning there isn’t much you can do now - other than very minor changes adding a session here or deleting one there.

But if it is an issue with planning then he must have seen it coming - that or he wasn’t monitoring his sessions. And if it is a planning issue then you will probably see it across the squad rather than with one or two individuals.

Thanks for your response Mortac I found that in the past when we did 3x3 etc it taxed the CNS too much after quality running. Same reason I dropped the olympic lifts from the programme, though we still use hang cleans. We do normally use 10x1 on the box squats and deadlifts at increasing % with each lift but I reduced it as we are getting near the competitiion season.

Thanks for your help tc, my squad are running similiar times to yours when using a 30m limit. Obviously they have gone faster when the limit was increased but perhaps by doing that we have pushed it a bit too much. I take it you mean 8.3-4 for your 7.7 girls, which is similiar to a female I coach with a pb of 7.74. Perhaps I expected too much, their 1st 30m (ht by me) were really slow so I was a bit stunned. Hopefully as we taper over the next few weeks they will sharpen up enough. One of the guys ran 7.3 in another race on thursday and he looked like he had more in the tank so it aint all bad. I think the programming is okay which was why I was so suprised by the performances. Thanks once again for your help

The week I put in the first post was the week prior to the competition. The only intensive session we did this week was on Monday:

2x30m 5min
3x30m blocks 5min
2x3x60m (40m) 5min + 12min

No weights or endurance drills were included

Tuesday was tempo/med ball
Wednesday was rest

Because of the festive season we won’t be doing anything intensive until wednesday 27th:

3x30m 6min
3x30m blocks 6min
4x60m b[/b] 15min

Reverse Hypers

TC I will take your advice and lower the intensity limit on the 60m to 30m

Friday 29th- I planned to have 6x70m hills, but I think I should shorten that - anyone have any ideas on that, or if I should change it to a track session.

Question for TC do you keep the intensity limits short right up to competition time and during the comp period.?

No for my 7.5FAT girl (who is opened with 7.6-7.7) she ran 60m with 30m intensity limit in 7.4 hand timed the other week. Girls running 7.9-8.0 FAT are running 7.6 hand timed for the same workout.

I have found that increasing the intesnity limit further than what they can actually run generally tends to cause them to tighten up. So instead i work out what they can accelerate for (using video) and then adjust the intensity limit accordingly. Then you try and get them to maintian this speed over the full 60m. Putting a cone there just gives them permission to not push it and instead let it happen (see charlie’s “waiting for it” in speed trap).

I think the basis is too - because you obviously are using charlie’s approach and you read a lot on the site so you know what you are talking about. Which only leaves the details. And the details of adaptation should show up by constantly monitoring the SE and Speed workouts.

As for the 30m intensity limit. Maybe you can take this upto 40m or so eventually. Actually watching a 60m with 25m intensity limit you can see that they can accelerate further. Now look at a 30m and then a 35 and then a 40m and see if you can see the same thing. If you can’t then they have probably reached maximum speed. To be sure use a video camera and cones to work out when they reach top speed.

Well obviously by the time you get to the session before your final taper for the European Trials (or whatever is your focus) you want to have them running 60m as fast as possible. So your intensity limit will be the furthest they can accelerate (or simply remove the cones). So using CFs plan you can replace his 50M IL with your 40m one and then work backwards. I go up in 5 or 2.5m increments.

During competition you generally tend to use the comp as a SE day and then do another speed or SE day during the week - depending on how tired they are - remember SE days are slightly lower intensity and you can always drop the intensity limits down a faction to get nice relaxed runs. I also increase the ratio of tempo to high intensity to give them more rest.

Perhaps instead of the hills on saturday you could do a light tempo session and then some weights but focus more on upper body stuff to spare the legs? You could also look at spending more time on drills there. And perhaps reduce the number of block starts and put jumps in instead to give them a mental rest?

By that time I guess you will also be maintaining your strength levels with something like 3sets of 2 reps on squat and bench (or clusters of box squats at 95%).

Does this sound like what you are doing already?

What’s your rationale for the 1 set of 20 reverse hypers? Hill lunges with a tyre - that seems to be quite a high volume of work?

Ok I see where you’re coming from. I did not realize you had many many years of experience in sprint. It’s hard to tell who is a veteran and who is a 18 year old coach on here.

Thanks tc, its good to get some advice re what to do in the comp phase. I have been pretty good in the past at getting athletes to peak at the right time but its always good to get the views from people like yourself on this site. As mentioned on anther thread I am reducing the volume down by 20% and will try going back down to shorter intensity limits and try to build back out but only to 40m (if possible). Re the weights yes I plan to cut the volume but keep the intensity fairly high i.e around 95%, good enough to maintain max strength but not enough to over fatigue the CNS. Do you have any advice on setting up a video camera to capture what you need. ? And by the way have a good Christmas.

Hi Stevemac, the rationale for the reverse hypers is to relieve pressure on the spine while training the movemet required from the glutes. Its done without any extra load, performed on a roman chair (the opposite way round). My athletes find it helps loosen off after posterior chain work like DL’s and GM’s. We sometimes do them with resistance for strengthening the posterior chain. The hill lunge with the tyre is the farthest we have gone with that (maybe too far?) we have been working from 20m upwards. In hindsight perhaps 50m should be the limit. You can get a good forward lean on the hill and it really works the glutes. Hope that helps.

I just set cones every 5-10m and the camera far enough away to no skew the perspective too much. Then I film them running a standing 60-100m and use a video system to count the frames (i use dartshare). Now so long as you have it set at delaced video 50fps you can see where they start to slow down and hence where max speed is from the splits. It takes quite a long time to do this so i suggest doing it with only a few people. Perhaps one or two running the same kind of time. From this you can plan your intensity limits. Alternativly you can use the distances pj and cf stated in the previous threads.

Alternativly try and go to a squad day where they have those laser gun things that measure speed and do a standing 60m there!

Thanks for the compliment mortac, too many years man, ha ha. I used to use higher volumes of weights but we suffers a lot of hamstring injuries, so I have concentrated a lot more on the posterior chain via DL’s, GM’s, Box Squats, as well as Lunges (which I have always used). I dropped Step Ups (not specific enough) and I have gon for a lot of single reps… e.g. if lifting 10x1 on DL’s we will start at 60% and build up to 97.5%, decreasing the increments as we go heavier. Its different to what a lot of people use I know but I tried it on the suggestion of a friend and it seems to work, they are getting stronger. We don’t go anywhere near as heavy on GM’s its mainly sets of 6 reps for that exercise, concentrating on control and correct technique, getting the movement right is the crucial part. All the best. PhilG

Hi philg, I will throw my tuppence-worth in too if thats ok?

Bear in mind I dont know the back ground work your athleets have done to be at the stage of training in their training year so Im playing a little bit of devils advocate with some of my questions and observations!

With regards to your lifting, I,m not sure why you would regard the step up as being not specifc enough while GM and DL are. Not specific in what way - movement patterns/muscles targetted/muscles used/time of year/phase of training? I think step ups, or various types of step ups, can be really useful for many reasons (another discussion!)

Also, depending on what angle of specifity we are looking at, surely cleans would be alot more specific work than DL, and would be done lighter and more explosive - managed right there shouldnt be an overload of a CNS demand through the training week.

Again, with the single lifts, if you have worked up to this with higher volume then they could be ok at this time of year, but I would question the value of single squats with such heavy weight right now.

I dont rate dumbbell running arms at all. Any reason you like them included?

With regards to the video aspect - briefly - static camera position with neutral background, dont zoom in or out during the filming and dont make the angles too tight at each end of the run. I think most indoor straights have a fairly neutral background like birmingham/sheffield/gateshead.

As an additional observation - you dont appear to do anything more than a 60m run? Is this as your athletes are purely aiming to run 60m indoors? I have worked with a sub 7.35 60m female who still maintained her special endurance work with real quality emphasis while performing well over 60m.