How much Speed loss in GPP is tolerable?

When an athlete ends his/her season and starts GPP: I guess according to Charlies system speed ability should (more or less) stay, although nobody is capable of peaking in GPP, of course.
How much drop in “real” speed performance is tolerable.
My problem is: I just started GPP 3 weeks ago and just fur fun made a “FAT-like” timed speed test. My 50m times worsened by 0.3 seconds, my 100m time about the double!

In my case this seems to be a result of starting weightlifting after a period of next to no lifting.
Main reason why I drop weightlifting in comp period is because whenever I drop weight my times drop too. No weights -> simply faster, especially over distances >150m

The volumes were not so high, I did 3 times a week sg. like (for one week I could do no track work):

after plyos (never more than 50 jumps) or just warmup did the following weight/core:
3-4x>=6>=15 lounges w. bar
3x8 bench
3x8 pulldowns
>=50>=500 core

Maybe the intensities are too high? Do you only lift weight you can easily handle? To “feel” the weight I choose it so high, that I can barely manage the 8 reps in last set. But if I use less weight it feels like doing nothing at all (especially the 1st set…)

I know my question is a little general, but I can post details if necessary.

When I first started training with weights and everything my times got worse. But after about a month and a half of training and weights my times started to drop pretty dramatically.

THX, but my situation is not really that I started lifting weights like for the first time or so. (I’m 35 y old…)
I lifted weight 10 years before I started sprint for the first time. My strenght level is not incredibly high, but higher than all other athletes my sprint level I know.

bench: 5x110kg
squat(paralell): 5x150kg

100m usually between 11.75 and 11.95 :frowning:

Whats the use being able to model for “Men’s Health” when I can’t even beat kid in grade 10 in 100m :wink:

I do even a lot less weights now than most other guys on the forum, but still I get the feeling that I influence possible speed development even in GPP with too much weights in a negative way.

More general: I know according to Charlies system weight is a key factor, but if I look at Bens training Plan (of course differnet in different periods of the year) weight was quite a small part of total volume. In other words: If Ben did sg. like 3 hours weight in a full 6 day training week why should a recreational athlete who probably trains 3 times 2 hours a week spend half the time weightlifting?

To me it seems like doing even as little as 2 times one hour weight a week might only make sense if one gets at least the same time in massage, and spends at least double the time for speed/hills and probably 4x the time for tempo and another 4x for stetching, drills, core and other general stuff which makes at least a 24 hour training week…???

That’s what I do and I find that it’s good enough to maintain/improve strength levels. I would only consider doing weights 3x’s a week if I was training for something “special”.

I think you’re over emphesizing volume here. Ben did very heavy and very intense sessions. Quality over quantity.

You’re right, but I guess his speed sessions were very intense, too and the relation between the two will be the same, meaning my weight sessions will be less intensive, but my speed session will be too.

Maybe look at the weights you are doing.

4 x 8 isn’t terribly sprint specific and it’s going to severely tax your neuromuscular and metabolic system. Have you tried changing the reps and sets around? What about strength orientated workouts?

A recreational athlete hasn’t got the muscular development to get a high training effect from a smaller number of lifts, therefore, he may need to spend a significant amount of time on it- as Ben did through 1984.

Charlie, I find this very interesting. Are you saying then that athletes with a lower training age lack the muscular development to substantially ‘tax’ the CNS? ie. encourage maximum neuromuscular adaptation through high impulse nerve stimulation - the primary goal of strength orientated training?

Does this then apply to sprinting - athletes with a lower training age can tolerate higher volume, albiet slightly lower intensity, workouts since there undeveloped musculature is unable to substantially stimulate there neuromuscular system - the goal of speed training?

Yes, more or less. This also goes for other training elements as well, such as speed work. during the early training years the vol AND the intensity goes up, but, as intensity is the primary goal, the only way to keep the intensity rising is to cap the volume, and, ultimately, volume must actually be reduced at the highest levels. Ben’s weight vol peaked in 84, speed vol in 85.

Do you mean a recreational athlete doesn’t have the strength levels to tax the CNS or the optimal body composition?

With respect to speed and weights and that speed is the primary concern (obviously), was this type of periodization with the weight training volume maxing out (84) before the speed volume maxing out (85) a planned event. Honestly??? OR did it just happen that way?

A combination of the two. Volume is always controlable while intensity limitations (the need to limit vol to allow int to continue to advance) may not be evident till they’re upon you.
That said, you still get to chose which high intensity element’s vol to control first.

Yes, but I guess the same applies for speed work.
So I still have the problem to find the right relation in volume between weifgt and speed.
And I believe in lifting I’m closer to my limits than in speed (11.80 is pretty much middle distance runners stuff :wink: )

So in the case of the mentioned worsening of times in periods of increased weight work (especially GPP) - would’nt it be more useful trying to keep the times down by doing even less weight work to make sure optimal development of speed is possible?
Or is a 0.5-0.6 worsening in 100m times ok while building a higher strenght base and the the benefit will show in SPP by a higher possible increase in speed?

How about elite athletes? Is an 10.10 PB runner two months into GPP up to a current best of 10.70 only?


Difficult to say, however no way i would let a 10.10 sprinter run a 100m when his shape can only make him run 10.70. The sprinting form would be awful. I would make him run at 90% and increase intensity gradually to reach 100% when the athlete can do it. The problem early in GPP is that athletes are well rested after hollidays so they have power, but no capacity. If the coach doesn’t control intensity, the workouts will have to be cut because athlete has reach too high intensity, and the rest of the training week may suffer too.

Good point but you can control the speed by the distance over which they accelerate. Thereare examples of this in the short-to-long plan in the Vanc 2004 DVD

Thx, but that leads me back to my original question: How much speed loss in GPP would you tolerate as a trainer?

Would you allow your 10.10 athletes training to get in a 10.70 state for the possible later speed-benefit of the strenght gain or would you try to keep his unspecific training in a way that his speed does not suffer so much in GPP.
THX for your patience.

Difficult to say because i have never tested over 100m distances.
However, for 60 distances which i use during GPP, i have recorded times around 6.8-6.9 FAT for a 6.5 FAT athlete in the 2 weeks prior peak. But this “downs” are carefully planned and necessary for the rebound. And also, i ask him to not run at 100%, even if we know that on that day he would not be able to run fatser than 6.8-6.9 (which is 95% of PB). I guess that without these rebounds, the usual level would be 6.6x. In this case, under 93% is not acceptable for me (it never happened, and if it happens, it will be my mistake).

THX alot! That’s exactly the answer to my question.

I have to say that running 6.8-6.9 has effects on athlete’s psychology and the role of the coach is to explain why he is running that slow, sprinters are proud and always want to prove themselves. They need to have a lot of confidence in the coach and in the program because running 6.8 few days before the major competition is not easy to live.