How to coach a 19 year old from scratch?

I am 20 and my girlfriend is 19. She has never ran track before, but has decided she wants to start training so that she can walk on the university’s track team. She wants to run the 100m and the 60. I respect her ambitions and want to help her train. I believe she is naturally predisposed to be a good sprinter. She is 5’7 140 pounds, naturally built and lean without exercising much. Slightly broad shoulders for a girl and narrow hips. Large powerful muscles in her posterior chain. On several occasions when she took off running with something of mine I chased after her then gave up when I realized how fast she was moving. She has stated that she has always hated endurance activities and tires quickly. I believe this means she is naturally blessed with a high preponderance of fast twitch muscle fibers. She powerlifted last year and did relatively well. I was shocked when she benched 120 within a week of the first time she bench pressed in her life.
My friend that runs on the team here has advised her to run 15 minutes continuously, 3 times per week. I don’t think this is the best idea for an aspiring 60/100 athlete. She seems motivated and I want to help her, but I do not know how to go about training someone with no background in track and field. I was thinking about starting off with 2 or 3 sessions per week where we did very basic things such as 30-50 yard strides, core work, high knee drills, seated arm swinging, ‘‘push up starts’’, ‘‘stomach starts’’, etc. Should I time her in the 100 to see where she is at?..Or is that a bad idea because she won’t know what she is doing yet and an initial bad result could be severely discouraging?
I am excited about helping her out and I do believe that being new to the sport may have it’s advantages. She will not have bad habits already ingrained. She hasn’t ever had the misfortune of being exposed to the harmful training methods that hinder, injure, and ruin so many athletes. She has no chronic injuries that plague most collegiate athletes. I am taking this so seriously because I want to help her avoid the frustrations that I faced as a track and field athlete, and also because I really think that she has potential. I see her athletically as a blank slate. I would be very grateful if anybody could offer me any advice. Where should she start her training? What would be the best way to go about advising her?

  1. I would trust yourself. It is sprinting, not inventing time travel. Stick to the basics and be conservative.

  2. I would not test her in a 100.

1: Why test the 100m if you already know she’s a natural short sprinter?

2: If you know and she likes the short sprints - why not start with a mod gpp and see how things go? You could start with 3-4 weeks of pregpp to allow yourself a chance to teach some of the skills you will be asking her to perform in gpp while covering some of technical issues with sprinting etc.

Great advice. I agree 100%.

She was actually the one who told me she wanted to do the short sprints…Excuse my ignorance, but ‘‘mod’’ stands for modified…correct? In what way/ways should it be modified?..i have the gpp dvd, and i’m guessing i should model it after that, just more conservative with volume and everything as mortac said?

Yes you are correct. I would probably keep the hills in longer along with the mb starts etc. I have notice some females can handle more volume then males. I’m killing my girl with tempo right now.

The 15 min run is done 1 day a week, it is a tool to reduce size and is done at a fair pace.

I was a bit fast with my last post, a 10 minute run is a tool to reduce size and is done at a fair pace. Any more or less than 10 minutes will not have the same effect.

You’re getting good advice here. I think it’s a bad idea to run anyone 100m flat out until a good training base is in. It’s always nice to know where someone is when they start, but you can run her out to 30 and eventually 40 and 50m and get a good enough idea from that. Her speed endurance is surely terrible at this point, so she doesn’t need to know how slow she is over 100m as you correctly said!

I really like hills for new athletes, it just puts you in such a good position with minimal correction required, is safe for hamstrings (which are underdeveloped on many non-athletes), and builds strength and power. Anything that is idiot-proof I’m a fan of.

RB34 and Mortac8 have tons of experience, they are great guys to ask for further details, but the GPP DVD is an excellent and comprehensive starting point.