Indoor Training Plan - Please critique?

I’m thinking about starting a separate thread for a training journal so some of you can see exactly what I’m doing.

Before addressing any other programming related issues, I need to ask…what you are doing to ensure optimal technique? How do your first six steps look? If you aren’t in the right positions in the first 10 metres, the rest of the run is going to be subpar and you are going to repeatedly teach yourself suboptimal technique, and there is no point in moving to 15, 20 or 30 metres if you aren’t getting the first 10 pretty close to mechanically optimal. It took me multiple years to understand this simple concept!

Let me make a comparison here. Take a look at the “Total Immersion” swimming website. They teach swimming from what could be easily called a short to long perspective. No endless laps- it’s super technically oriented with drills squarely aimed at changing your flawed motor patterns to improve your technique. The speed comes not from effort, but sound technique executed effortlessly without the endless slogging that is usually prescribed to become a better swimmer. Sound familiar? The TI philosophy could have been written by CF himself. (Short to Long programs are highly technically demanding!)

Also, two HI days per week is almost certainly going to work better for you. Three is too much for almost everyone, never mind someone with no background in high CNS demand work.

You don’t have to hit every element every week (SE, EFE/FEF, etc). A Monday speed, Thursday speed setup could work, with Tuesday and Friday as recovery days. Saturday could be a mixed day with some hill / drill focused work finishing up with a small tempo circuit with Sundays off, for example. As you get deeper into the season, Saturday would convert to more of a tempo / general fitness day.

If you want to do yourself a favour, look up information in the archives on using an Ithlete. One of my athletes has been collecting data for nearly two years. It helps give you an objective idea of your CNS status, and it’s inexpensive. (use Google to search the site archives, not the site search function)

Well what I have been doing for the past month is a pretty high volume of ground starts - push up starts, laying on back and getting up, etc. I was scrambling at first but I’ve been doing better at them.

As for 3 HI days, it actually worked really well for me this summer, I just kept the volumes low enough that I could recover in time and I feel like it enabled me to focus on something more each day (focus on Mon was max v, wed was speed end., and fri was focused on shorter accels). So I would do around 300m on monday and friday volume wise and it meshed pretty well. The way I see it now is, if I still feel unrecovered on Wednesday, I’ll just do tempo or take off.

I strongly suggest you stick to two high intensity days per week. You are FAR better underdoing things rather than overdoing them.

Also, you have done a lot of talking about how to set up the program. Can we see some video? Realistically, all of this means nothing unless we can see your motor patterns.

Where in Ohio are you based? Do you work out of the Spire Center? There is a very good coach I know in the area that may be able to take a look at you at some point.

I’ll make a point next week to get some film on me. I have some from summer, but I don’t think the angles were very good. But I’ll try to remember to film some stuff next week.

I actually am about 1 hour away from SPIRE and have ran there several times. Are you talking about Charlie Powell?

Thanks T

Hey Brett,

Some video would be great. I have spoken to Charlie Powell on the phone and he seems like a great guy, but I don’t know him other than to have a couple of conversations.

The coach I know lives on the outskirts of Cleveland, works out of SPIRE occasionally, and is a pretty big short to long guy who has had a lot of success at the high school level. Let me ask him if he would mind talking to you and I’ll DM you the details if that’s cool.

I must say, the SPIRE Center is the most outrageously awesome facility I have ever encountered. It is a fantastic spot for a winter training camp that I hope to take advantage of someday soon.

That would be awesome! Thank you so much


That’s a 10m block start at 1.83s (no RT)


20m @ 3.15

Seems to me like you’re coming up too quickly, especially in the 10m start. I would move the hips a bit higher in the set position and focus on driving forward out of the blocks rather than jumping.

Can you get someone to hold the camera and follow you with it next time, so we get more of a close up view?

First Brett, thanks for posting. It takes courage to put up video.

I agree with Robin, you are lifting your head very early. This means too much force is moving vertically rather than laterally. I don’t think the issue can be fixed simply by not lifting your head. You do need some focused instruction. There is still a lot of potential for improvement with your technique. From watching your movement, I would classify your technique as intermediate at this point; there is a lot of heel cycling going on in the first 10m.

I will try to post an athlete’s start that I like and you can compare. It would be very good if you could get some 120fps video on an iPhone 5s. I would restrict the video to the first 3 to 5m of your run, and place on a tripod if possible. Keep the camera close. If you could set it to slo-mo and upload to Youtube it would facilitate analysis.

Fix the first few steps then move out.

T Slow and others have contributed excellent points.
I have looked at both of your video’s. Thanks for posting them.
Notice the nice jump you are making before each run. This shows excellent life in your muscles. You might also think of this as " the readiness of the muscles " ( This has nothing to do with how you will technically perform but it’s one part, an important part of what you need to begin for sprinting.)
I think you are too far back from the line with your start. Your hips as Robin1 suggested are not high enough. TSlow has made the point that how you set yourself up in the very beginning sets up your mechanics. You want to have the feeling as though you are bunched up at the start.
When you set yourself up with proper mechanics it’s easier to REPEAT those mechanics.

We know from the jump that your ready to train for speed.
Properly setting your blocks takes a bit of time and experience and it will change slowly over time.
The advantage of performing starts and runs up to 10 meters from a laying flat position is you are setting yourself up in the correct position without thought ( as sprinting is hind brain anyway) and you are practicing the mechanics you need.
A key aspect to learning how to sprint is about practicing high quality mechanics routinely.

Here are a few tips to how you might be able to improve your start
Do you feel like you might fall over if you had to told you final set position too long?
Before changing anything check to see where the front leg that is bent touches the line? You need that front leg to come as close as it can to the line without going over the line. If your knee is not touching the line at all adjust it a little bit. Try not to make big changes all at once but you want your knee as close to the line without touching as possible.
The best I will tell you about your back leg is I think you might be putting it too far back. You don’t want to feel too stable in your blocks but you still need to have control while you are in the blocks.
If you are by yourself you need to spend a bit of time trying to adjust the blocks but be mindful of how much time you are spending at any given time. It’s easy to spend a great deal of time on this in relation to the other training variables you also need to work on.

I definitely can say that I feel very stable, probably is too stable, in set, and I feel like I can hold it forever.

I agree about the angles at take off. I believe you will shave off time just by improving the push phase and starting angle

Hi Brett,

Sorry I took so long to upload this.

Below is an example of an accel that I liked. Pay attention to the first 5-7 metres. You can see that there is a “pistoning action” of the legs. The forefoot makes contact and the knee punches forward again. There is very little cycling of the heel.

I think the others are right about developing the work capacity over time. The key when looking at those sample workouts is to understand qualitatively how the load is being progressed over time. Another point that Charlie always emphasized is that being able to complete a workout in and of itself is not the objective. Rather, it’s the ability to consistently progress performance over time. If you can’t handle that workout week in and week out and steadily progress it, it’s not helping you.

Since it’s almost November, I’m sure you’re already well into your progression, but if you’ve never done this kind of program before I would recommend starting with about half of what Charlie was showing in the example of Ben’s training for two reasons. One, you haven’t developed the same work capacity yet (but on the other hand you’re doing it at a lower absolute intensity). And two, if you’re not used to something, it doesn’t take much for it to generate results (beginner gains).

Be conservative with the intensity progressions. The accel distance doesn’t necessarily have to increase 5m per week. Again, if you’re new to it, your body will probably benefit from giving it a little more time at each stage of the progression.

Also appreciate that as the accel distance (intensity limit) increases, the nature of the workout changes fundamentally as well. What is essentially a special endurance workout eventually turns into a maximum speed workout, which can affect your recovery. In the sample template Charlie used in a couple of his seminars there were three workouts, two special endurance and the third a speed change workout. Over the 12 weeks all three workouts basically arrived at the same place, wherein you had three max speed workouts at the end of the progression. That takes a lot of recovery to handle.

What you could do as an alternative is progress the split run workouts in opposite directions with one progressively increasing the intensity limit while holding the run distance (60m) constant until you arrive at a mx speed workout, while the other maintains the intensity limit (or progresses it much slower) and increases the length of the SE splits runs (e.g. from 60m to 120m), to arrive at a special endurance workout using longer runs (e.g. week 1: 4x60m (20+) - week 12: 2x120m (30+)). At that point you’d be ready to move into outdoor season using longer SE runs (e.g. 150-300m) or shorter SE runs (120-150m) without the intensity limit (no split runs).

Just some thoughts. As Charlie always said, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.