Lactate Threshold Training

No link because he saw it in a dream…

I looked at this article, and didn’t see any mention of cool-down. Everything in the article “How To Improve Your Last 100m” is covered in extensive detail in the Lactate Threshold thread / ebook.

Did you read part 2?

I just returned from France where I was able to spend a day observing PJ with one of his athletes sessions. He also said the same thing about cool down. Maybe he will have time to comment more. It was along the lines of allowing natural adaptation occur and the slow cool down has an opposite effect as a speed session and could reduce adaptations.

However, there are times when a cool down might be needed to speed up recovery, such as at a championships with multiple rounds over several days, then do it.

After PJ mentioned it, I said my athletes don’t cool down either, but it is because we are getting kicked off the track or I have to go pickup my kids before daycare closes and I just tell the kids to go home.

My sprinters don’t cool down in training, and rarely at meets. My distance group cools down after every race.

Is this is the same for others? (Or am I the lone guy who does all range of track events? :slight_smile: )

You are a bit tough.

Part 2 read the comments part where mike adds a few tidbits.

This is a common thing in the uk for some time, I remember an old session similar to Charlie’s depletion press ups but with light squats and in between sets you would sit cross legged on the floor


This is interesting information, and it’s something I have heard before from my Pfaff-influenced former coach down in Texas. I haven’t seen the study that Mike is referring to, but I question whether a cool-down of perhaps 4x60 or so can actually be that detrimental. Do they also want you to skip stretching and just pack it in after a hard lactate session? This is all very unclear.

I wonder what the controls were in the article? Was the cooldown they compared against full of a bunch of slogging, e.g. a mile of jogging? If it was the cooldown highly dissimilar to the workout itself I can see their point.

When a cooldown consists of 4x60 and long hold stretches I can’t see it being that detrimental, but hey, I haven’t seen the study yet.

Are there any athletes performing and what level. Too many studies not enough work getting done.

I’ll try to dig up the study…

I’ve heard some well known coaches don’t see the value in the cool-down. It’s been said that it makes no difference an hour after the session if you have cooled down or not. I think it’s important to indicate, too, when this is for-between track work and weights or after everything is done or what exactly and what is specifically being indicated as a cool-down, a jog, the stretch, both or what exactly? Some have indicated doing some med ball throws like Boo Schexnayder and/or easy skipping/side shuffle, backpedal etc. to re-coordinate the body after all of the major training components are completed.

I will say that on a speed/weights day, I feel it’s important to elevate the heart rate/increase the sweating somewhat after the weights just for the purpose of being able to get a decent static stretch routine in even though the fibers are certainly not as pliable on those days as on tempo days.

I never stretched much until my warm up progressively went along. Most of my stretching happened over time with in the training session as I got hotter moved to doing the higher intensity work.
Someone asked the other day what we used to do between runs when the speed started to happen? Routinely between runs when our breaks were 4 minutes or more I would stretch and then laid down and shook my legs until the time was up to run again. As the speed session progressed so did the stretching. I always jogged down but never more than one lap or we did shaking of 200 meters not much more. There is no way I was going to get a massage or treatment if I did not properly warm down and do anything or everything in my power to facilitate muscle recovery. Even if the requirement was a tiny jog that took 5 minutes … the belief was it mattered and it helped.
I guess I feel an easy jog or something somewhat relaxed makes a ton of sense to begin the needed process of getting the muscles to restore circulation after great amounts of work. Just as the progressive warm up opposed to a forced warm up which I see all too often. The body does not respond terribly well to abrupt anything short or long term. Some people have great tolerance to bad training and some do not. I guess my view of performance is longer term as well and I am not looking at one moment of time but hope to be always performing because I took good care of my muscles.

Concurrent Training for the High School Season

A few years ago I had an 18 year old boy and girl who wanted to run fast 400m times and break our school records. Long story short, the boy beat the record of 50.0 running 48.9 (opening in April at 51.7). The girl had pre-existing stress fracture, but ran a season ending personal best coming off bike workouts prior, running mid 61. The results were quite astounding considering the little time we had in our season (10 weeks total), and the limited time prior to meets (3-4 weeks). Both also ran great 200m times throughout the year. The boy ended up setting the record at 22.3 (starting the first meet in April 23.7)

That summer I experimented with the Concurrent model by adding in some acceleration and sled sprint days once every 2 weeks. We went through a 6 week GPP doing 3 days a week (2-3 days tempo between). Then went through a 4 week transition as directed. We tested often to track progress and 300times and 60m times improved quite a bit, while 150 times were fairly stagnant for all athletes.
This past season I decided to use a similar set up for a few reasons. First, my boys and girls both had successful 200m times and 4x200 relays, along with a strong 4x400m girls relay returning. I felt a 200/400m focus would get good results for the relays. Another reason behind this is the program develops incredible work capacity. I had few sprinters who had potential to make state finals in the 100 and 200m plus both relays. This would mean on those meets, their day would look like this:

100m prelim (20-30 min break)
200m prelim (30-45 min break)
100m semi (30-45 min)
200 semi (60 minutes
100m final (15-20 minutes)
4x200 final (30-40 min)
4x100 final (30-40)
200 final

It turned out no one had to do this. I had a 17 year old girl decide to run the 100, 400m, and 4x400 at regionals. Her day was like this:
100m semi (hour)
100m final (20 minutes)
4x200 final (30 minutes)
400m final (90 minutes)
4x400 final.

Starting the season

This spring weather was terrible. Most days were in the 30F range, often snow and very windy. The “smart” move is to move them inside, but knowing the history of our weather here, it was likely we would run in crappy weather. We did in our first meet being 32F, rain/snow mix and wind (Our kids ran near PBs that meet to boot!).

A combination of cold weather and a limited track time due to other sports using the field likely led to many kids getting quad tightness. With so many runs being under fatigue, it’s likely to get the runs “done” forced effort came from quads. As weather warmed these issued went away.
Here is how I structured the first few weeks:

Mon: 2x4x150 (rest was jog, walk, jog, set rest) {Considered hard tempo session as times were not fast}
Tuesday: Tempo
Wed 5x200 in come home pace. I ball park it since I don’t know everyones personal best yet. I’m pretty good at estimating my group. For most this is intensive tempo work and for the older kids, specific work for finishing strong in the 200/400
Thur: tempo
Fri: tempo (scheduled acceleration day on wed, but had to move it to today, then went to tempo when several kids complained of excessive tightness in calf and quads. Obviously most have not done much over winter so this is expected.)
Sat/Sun: Off

Mon: Sprint ladder (modified due to ice on one complete turn) 200, 150, 100, 50, 40, 30, 20
Tues: indoor mat tempo, 2 x 10 x 30 seconds (30 sec rest was one of the ab circuit exercises) one person ran, one person did abs at same time, then switched.
Wed: 2x300+150. Today was cold but with only a few runs, we rested inside the team lockeroom by the track during the set break. Overall great workout considering the temperatures
Thur: tempo
Fri: warm-up and baton work for meet tomorrow
Sat: meet (various distances, 60, 200, 400)

Monday March 25 did 3x3x30 tire sprints, then 3x30 standing sprints.
Tuesday: tempo
Wed March 27: Temp was a cool 45.

We had a team meeting about paperwork, spring break plans etc. By the time we were done, it was 4pm and at 430 was a soccer game. The kids who warmed up at 3pm were certainly cold now. Since so many were tight and sore, we did a 10 minute easy jog and then did about 20 minutes using microstretching technique for various stretches on muscles being complained about. Many felt better when we finished.

Thursday Mar 28 50F !!! Great weather today.
The group did 300+4x60, 250+3x60, 200+2x60, and 150+60
At this point our spring break began and kids had 10 days “off” but I still held workouts. I don’t have record but do remember them doing a 5x200 session towards the end of the week.
When we got back, more cold weather and our first outdoor meet on Thursday. The weather was terrible for the meet. The team was weak and we got away without any issues.
Friday was essentially recovery tempo and lots of stretching.

Monday: pre-meet warm up/batons
Tuesday meet
Wed: tempo 1+2+3++ up to 4 sets for older kids, 2 sets for younger kids
Thursday was high quality day but we had thunderstorms and had to run in the hallway. The 400/300mH specialists did 4x60+150 for 2 sets (supposed to be 4x60+200 for 2 sets). The 100/200 group did blocks, accels, EFE and 2x60 full recovery.
Fri: pre-meet
Sat: meet: 2-3 events. Weather sucked and cold again (high 30s-low 40s)

Monday: (100m specialists did a few resisted sprints and block starts to 20-30m; 200/400 did 3x100 at race pace on turn), then all did 4x150 with the alternate jog recoveries.
Tuesday: pre-meet
Wed meet
Thursday: tempo
Friday: pre-meet
Sat: meet (1 event only)

Monday: pre-meet
Tuesday: meet (lots of PRs as weather was warm)
Wed: tempo
Thurs: 4x60+200 for 2 sets
Fri: premeet/tempo:
Saturday: meet: 2-3 events

Monday: premeet
Tuesday: Last dual meet
Wed: tempo
Thursday: don’t recall, but likely 4x150, as I rotated 4x60+200 with 4x150 every other week.
Friday: premeet
Saturday: some girls ran, some did not. Some did workout at meet during lunch break. A fast 120m for one girl and a fast 80m for another girl.

Monday: Taper week: 400m did race model on turns, 2x50 into turn, 2x50 off turn, then 1x80 fast
Tuesday: tempo/batons
Wed: batons, blocks for those who need it, 95% 60m
Thursday pre-meet
Friday: regionals
Sat: off

Monday: premeet
Tuesday: league championship (3-4 events—up to 6 races for some)
Wed: warm-up warm down
Thursday: county meet (weather was terrible and my state final qualifiers did not run
Friday-Sun: off

Monday: 4x50 race model, 1x80m
Tuesday: tempo, 4x400 batons
Wed 1x60m fast but relaxed, race model turns
Thursday tempo, batons
Fri: travel (2 hour drive, warm up at track)
Sat: State finals (B ran a pb of 59.60)

Understand how things played out

The first weeks into spring break I considered GPP. Once meets started, meet days on Tuesay would be similar to KK’s 350, 300, 250, 200, 150, 100 day since kids often ran 4 races, a combination of 100, 200, 400s) Saturday meets were 1-2 races as in the past kids got burned out from excessive racing both Tuesday and Saturday. Saturday I expected kids to run quality runs as competition was high. Knowing they only had one race did lead to SB or PRs on weekend races. I left Thursday for the 200+200 type workouts and 4x150 as I felt they needed extra work on finishing the 400m. Since I only had 3 quality days a week, I had to rotate these.

Race modeling took place during taper. I think for better 400m runners, we would do more of this during the season, even if just 1-2 runs over 100m at race model pace working on technical positions.

During taper, we stayed away from lactic. Prior to regionals, we had a huge race stimulus as kids did either 100, 4x200, 4x100, 200 or 100, 4x200, 4x100, 4x400, or 4x200, 400, 200m, 4x400.

State finals was a big success for the girls running 4:03 for a school record (60, 61, 61, 61 splits). The boys placed 4th, and could have been better if a runner had been 100%, but was likely 90%.

Uncharted territory

Two girls planned on running summer track for the AAU circuit, with national finals here in town, require little travel, just a 60 mile drive to two meets. The first meet was 4 weeks after state finals. State finals were June 1, AAU qualifers were June 29. In conversation with KitKat, here is what transpired:

Q from ESTI:
“”In 4 weeks they have national qualifiers in which they would need to run a slight bit faster to advance. What would you recommend for those weeks? A mini gpp with mini transition? If gpp, what phase to focus on?
Or just repeat transition work for 3 weeks and taper?
Following the qualifier they will have 4 more weeks until nationals. Meets will be limited in these 2 months and those available will likely be low level.
They have run 26.2 and 26.9 and 60.0, 60.0. Qualify requires about 58-59 which should be possible.”

[b]A: from KK
Difficult to advise from afar. Will GPP help this deep I to the season. It’s only like 8 weeks to nationals ?
I’d be assessing individual needs. Some may benefit from a block of intensive tempo, but others may need to improve speed reserve so the answer there is short and long speed with good recoveries followed two weeks out by more race modelling and then into a little taper. But better to be underdone than overcooked.

Try some descending sets: 80, 60, 40, 20 x 2 and maybe on another day a mix of sled, high skips, and then build ups sprints to 80m. That’s good for power and forcing them to look for stride length by getting air time rather than extending their contact time and never approaching g triple extension anywhere near the torso.

For mixing short and long speed to simulate the feeling and symptoms of the last half of a 400m, try 3 or 4 x 60m off 30sec all rolling starts then another 30sec “rest” before a flying 150 or preferably 200m. A couple of sets of that has benefits all round.[/b]

The week right after state finals was a big distraction week as we had prom, graduation and year end school stuff. We managed to get in a few sessions: Here is how I structured the next 3 weeks:

Monday: 80 60 40 20 sets x 2 this week
Tuesday: tempo
Wed: 4x60+200 for 2 sets (recommended vs 2x200+200 to help increase turn over. 2x2x200 would be better suited for a short strider who needs to lengthen)
Thursday: tempo:
Friday: schedule sled/skip/sprint day but scheduled 4x150 with jog alk jog rests because of schedule conflicts, they did this on their own

The following week was the same, except Friday we did the sled skip sprint set. It was quite hard.

The 3rd week we had to do 4x150 again due to schedule issues.

The taper week going into the race I was in France. Here is the sessions I prescribed them:
Monday 2x80m at 95%
Tuesay: 4x50 race model on turns
Wed: tempo:
Thur: 1x60m at 95%
Fri: warmup
Sat: race (was pouring rain, so bad kids ran with eyes closed often) Girls ran terrible. One advanced to nationals in the 400m

The last phase of training

Off until Wed July 5 when I returned.
Fri: July 5 300, 200, 150, 100 (fast and relaxed, near max speed, 15 min recovery)
Sunday: 2x2x200 (chose this to give her confidence since the last 3 weeks were mostly short stuff and no races. 29.3, 29.3 (rep 1 into wind). 31.2, 29.3 ( rep 1 into wind)
Tuesday: 80-60-40-20 x 2, we also did a few EFE and some technical work using a drill I picked up from PJ in France.
Thurs: 4x150
Saturday: 300, 200, 150, 100
Tues July 16: 2x2x200 (no record of times, but I beelive this was our last 2x2x200 and she ran all of them in 29s, even negative splitting the last 200m.
Thursday: 80-60-40-20 x 2 plus technical work before
Saturday: 300-200-100

Taper notes from KitKat
[i]While it is vital to set up the opening 100 to a timed schedule, it is just as important to work the other corners including the whip into the home straight.

I usually started a build up run 80m before the critical stage of the turn and then work maybe for 50m around the bend.

So to rehearse through the 200 start zone, start 70 or 80m up toward the 300 start and build a head of steam into the 200 start and maintain through to the water jump.

The whole idea is to rehearse the mechanics on the turns: the key point of emphasis is achieving something close to triple extension on the left leg as it is under extreme pressure on each bend. The athlete must run “tall” - minimizing contact time will maximize impulse. Running with a very bent left knee is like driving a car with no air in the tyres.

Similarly I emphasize two things in the opening 50m or so: one is the go hard like a 200m race rhythm to getting yourself rolling. But the equally important objective is to establish upright stance mechanics - essentially get the pelvis to a flat or neutral position to enable effective and efficient front as well as rear side mechanics.

Re your question on race model king 300 by hitting only one part of the run at serious race rhythm, yes it can be used to rehearse the race but I would tend to use that during taper only if I felt the athlete was a bit underdone and psychologically a bit frail and needed to do a bit more volume just to make the athlete feel s/he had done plenty if work and would not lose fitness during the relatively long taper.[/i]

Our Plan

Tuesday July 23: Tues was 11 day trial…300m…she ran 42 on a wet track.
Wed tempo
Thurs was 2x3x100 race model (first 100, 180-280, 150-250). We also did massage treatment and she felt really lose. She did express nervousness from lack of. 400m racing compared to school season with 2-4 400 races weekly.
Friday did tempo + massage.

Saturday plan would be 3x100 race model (start to 100, 180-280, 250-350). then fast/relaxed 150. (considered doing 200 race model, full recovery, 150 instead, but feel like more race model reps would be better than 1 effort over longer distance)

sunday tempo + massage

monday: 4x50 race model (2 into turn, 2 off the turn), 1 x 80 fast/relaxed

tues tempo + massage

wed off

thur warm-up/down

fri race: Not even close to her PR. Locked up at 350m, ran sluggish first 200m in 29 (model was 28-30).

Final Thoughts

I feel I have a great grasp of the high school season planning and peaking. The summer posed many challenges as meets are scarce and the distractions of summer for a teenager. I never had an athlete perform poorly in a big meet when they followed everything I asked of them, including all the massage work I did. On meet day, she was quite tight, surprisingly. This had me worried we over did the warm-up/down, She did loosen a bit during warm-up but tone was quite high to my liking.

I’m not sure fi we should have found meets, even if they were not great competition. With a girl, I could always try to have her race boys too. The summer meets are tricky scheduling warm-ups. No exact race time is given. For her, the 400m races started at 3:30pm with the 13 year old boys and girls, then 14s, then 15-16, then her at 17-18. They are asked to be there one hour prior to race time. In meets past, they would need to be checked in at the hour before. This meet was not like that. When they called her in, she ran 15 minutes later.

We arrived to the meet around 1pm. Did a shake massage and easy warm up. She said she felt good over and over. We did a few 50m runs in the warm up area, took 30 minute break, did a few more more. Then another 30m later she ran. I think the warm-up wasn’t great.

With her workout times being so good, I think it must have been her warm-up/preparation that led to poor race. She was very bummed of the result. I am very proud of her. She had a great attitude, never missed a session, always did what I asked of her this summer. As a coach, to me, that can’t be measured but shows her true character.

She is very excited for next year as she wants to break the 400m school record of 58.6.

Great posts, ESTI, lots of information to learn from!

ESTI can you clear your pms so I can respond? Thanks!

Any more word on the necessity of cooldowns from those who brought it up and had witnessed this in some programs?

Are they differentiating between a jogging or skipping cooldown and a stretching portion or speaking of the entire cooldown and stretching routine being unnecessary? I can sort of buy the first though am not prepared to give that up without many more examples of this, studies etc. but I, from a practical sense, don’t buy into giving up the static routine afterwards (there is the research often cite and by CF as well about accelerating the recovery process by up to 4 hours by restoring baseline fiber length) yet I’m still interested in hearing more regarding opinions on this subject.

I did read recently that among a few distance running groups there is a similar movement trending of reducing, changing or eliminating cool-downs.

Hi ESTI have you considered that there might not have been enough recovery between the 300m time trial and the race modelling session, having said that the warm up did seem a bit strange, but I know what its like when meets run behind time.

It might be possible. All workouts were done with little effort compared to previous workouts in the months before. With so many good workouts, I tend to aim at poor warm-up. In the past season with a previous taper, the stimulus was much larger (4x200,400,200,4x400). It might be that for this level more might be needed, but I certainly would rather take the less is more approach any day.