Intensity of speed work.

Hey guys. I have recently bought the CFTS, one thing confuses me a little is relating to intensity of training. In terms of speed development I understand that all work is done at maximum speed. Therefore, how can you vary the intensity on this? Does that make sense? I guess I am overlooking something very simple. I did a search on the forum, but entering, speed, work and intensity returned so much stuff, all of which I managed to read was irrelevant.

Varying intensity can be done quite a few ways. Obviously relaxing more will lower the intensity a bit in some circumstances (think of a 10.00 guy running 10.50 and how easy it would be). You could also sprint into a headwind or with a tailwind or change the rests a bit (1min for every 10m is generally a good rule, but during a taper you may take 7mins+ between 30m sprints for example).

oh ok, so that may go back Charlie 's example in CFTS when an athlete has just produced a spectacular performance, and in order to make them back off a little he suggested running them into a headwind or having them run without timing them to avoid them chasing times. Running 10.50 if you are a 10.0 runner though, would that be speed development work? Would the intensity of that particular run be beneficial to the athlete in that way? What would be the benefits of manipulating the recovery also. As I understand it, to develop speed, the athlete needs to be fresh. So if the athlete is already fresh from say 10 minutes recovery, how is it lowering the intensity of the workout by extending the recovery to 12 minutes? Not trying to dispell what you are saying, just trying to get a better understanding of the concepts.

You can cut recovery to reduce intensity - because the less the recovery the less likely you are to reproduce a fast rep hence lower intensity. You can also run at 95% (around 10.5 for a 10.0 guy) for reps to keep the body used to speed but rest the CNS - cutting speed work entirely might lead to small losses in adaptation that would cause stiffness on returning to speed.

This is all explained in detail on the Van’02 and Van’04 download that you can purchase from the site store. They really are worth checking out.



Increasing the rest would increase the intensity most likely because of faster completion. Less rest may increase fatigue, but the completion of the reps would be slower as well, so lower intensity. This could be tricky though if the rests were too short and you started to get lactate build-up, which is another animal in itself.

10.50 would still be within 95% of the PB for a 10.00 sprinter. Handtime it would probably be about a 10.0-10.1, pretty damn fast for a very very easy run. Moreover, the athlete may not even be in 10.00 shape on that particular day.

Also, a lot of that applies mostly to very high level sprinters. If you are sprinting 11.00+, it means much less since the fatigue from each previous race or session is significantly less.

a 10.0 runner running a 10.5 in training is still speed training no matter how easy it may feel

Ok, I understand the recovery manipulation now. I guess it involves a little experimentation in terms of avoiding lactic build up. So a sense of more fatigue doesn’t always mean increased intensity.

Intensity is set by the distance you accelerate For example, you could accelerate fully for 30m; then hold that speed for the ramainder of the rep. This applys to all distances but of course the acceleration distance will vary. You will fully understand the concept once you see the SPP dvd and the PDF files associated with it.

Vancouver 2004 DVD CF

SPP DVD? Sorry I’m relatively new to this site, so I’m not too sure what they are, or where I can get them. I just looked on the online shop. Where are the PDF files also? I’m still trying to grasp this concept though. What would be the point in for example accelerating to 10 metres and holding that speed? I don’t see the benefits of travelling further than 10 metres, if you stop accelerating after 10 metres. Also, once you have accelerated about 40-50 metres, you can’t accelerate much more anyway, so you are already at maximum velocity. Am I making sense?

Sorry, just reading here that CF says when backing off training after a fast performance he sometimes increases the recovery. This is a contradiction no? I know it sounds like I’m trying to be a smart ass, but I’m trying to learn and understand.

You maintain the intensity gained from the acceleration as opposed to just shutting down.

Remember if you accelerate to the maximum distance every time you are in effect running at 100% intensity. Depending on the distance run in training the acceleration distance varies. So you could maximally accelerate for 20m for example for a 600m rep, you then try to maintain that speed attained all the way to the end. A 200m rep may require a 35m acceleration distance for example.

The vancouver 2004 dvd is also the SPP DVD.

Maintaining the intensity gained for example after 10m of acceleration is the key it does n’t mean that you MUST slow down as you maybe thinking. You maintain but you don’t try and accelerate anymore…just maintain.

Aaahhhh, okay. I get it a bit more now. Thanks for elaborating!

I am talking about within a single session (ie resting 3mins after 30m vs resting 7+mins after 30m). Of course, backing off intensity in training as a whole will increase recovery (thereby allowing for a greater performance–>greater intensity).

Yeah, I knew that’s what you meant, in CFTS he suggested he may increase the recovery between reps. “Also, in a recovery phase I will give more rest between repititions” (p.37). He then states he would give 10 minutes recovery between the reps and 25 minutes between the sets in the 2x4x60m session in a recovery cycle, suggesting that is more recovery than normal. However, it does state that during such a cycle, his athletes would not go above 95% maximum velocity, so I don’t know exactly how that would affect it. If you are running at a fixed intensity like that, then would that mean the extra recovery would negate the fact that you could potentially run quicker off a longer recovery?