I found the following on an Australian website regarding Michael Johnson’s training methods. Some very strange ideas in here. What does everybody think of this stuff?
I attended a seminar over the last two days where MJ presented in detail his
training methods over a 5hrs.
His program worked from quantity to quality and aimed for consistency in
competition. It did not have an aim for a peak. It was more important to MJ
and Clyde Hart his coach to produce consistency and this allowed for more
enjoyment of racing.
Most of his training was either shorter than 100m for speed work. His speed
endurance work was almost all significantly slower than race pace. He tended
to develop speed endurance as the main focus and rely on his natural speed.
MJ worked out in the weights room 3 times a week in a way that was not
periodized and involved mostly 3 sets of 10 and the use of short rests
between sets of 30s or less. His sessions were over quickly. He did not
perform Olympic lifts or Squats. Also he did almost zero plyometrics.
Many of his track sessions people would find suprizingly unimpressive in
their speeds but the stimulus effect of the sessions was the key and also
the way they were run. Mostly at an exactly constant pace. The sessions also
often had as short a rest as possible between reps.
I will follow up in a few days time with some of his key sessions
Here are some more detailed notes.
Strived primarily to be consistent, it was his number one priority.
Program designed to create this.
Did not believe in peaking
Built a base and then did not “milk” it too much, kept topping it up
Consistency - coach , training environment, everything - nothing ever
Setting goals - big goals with small goals to lead to it.
Maintaining work ethic required reminding self of goals, 100% perfect
Coach learns from athlete, athlete learns from coach - feelings of athlete
shaped work done either quality or quantity. Athlete had superior mental
understanding of program,
Athlete-Coach rely on one another
Initial College strategy was : Slow as possible for first 200m then go hard,
this strategegy was shaped and tuned over the years to be - reach race speed
as early as possible in first 50m cruise to 200m then accelerate steadily
next 100m and hold form for last 100m
Workouts done to rehearse strategy called EVENT workouts
eg 3 x ( 350m in 46s rest 1min 100) 5min rest
Which were run with first 50m very quick but then relaxing to go through
first 200m in 28s and then the last 100 sub12s rest 10min between (in
College) shorter later to maybe 5min
Aimed to have consistent stride frequency and length for duration of race -
not a longer stride at end, Allow a shorter stride to just happen but
Improved by Strength Endurance
Upper body strength from exercises like running arms with good form 5 x 15
each arm with 30s rest.
Did mostly 400m training even though he ran 200m in 19.32
Offseason did two aerobic runs a week 20-45min max. This was for firsrtv 3
weeks mostly but offseason was usually 6 weeks.
Longer reps 2 x 800m or 3 x 600m rest 15min
Common key workout In pre-season
3 x 350m rest 5min in College , later it became 3 x 350m rest 3min , each
50m at same speed.
One Speed workout was called 60 -40m
2 sets of 2 laps of 60m at 95% slow down 40m then pitter-patter jog 40m
then 60m at 95% 40m slow down - pitter patter jog 40m. rest between sets
Speed work often was
30, 40, 50, 60, 70 on bend with full recoveries
3 Gym sessions a week usually in morning
from about 9am till 10am - over in an hour
On any day sometime done Mon-Tue-Wed or spread out in week.
Track is at 3pm usually over within 1:45
Weights is general all body work with short recoveries and usually 3 sets of
10 rest less than 1min maybe 30s
No squats , no Olympic lifts, Also did good variety of core work eg 3 x 30m
situps 1min rest
Gym did not change in format throughout the season
Did not ever lift really heavy , he did lunges
4 laps jog straight - run bends
Drills 4-5 x 30m over a speed ladder with fast cadence. This Michael
believed was significant effect on his turnover. These were done with a
flatish footed contact not with feet pointing down and a quick recovery.
Buildups sometimes for example 3 x 150m with each 50m quicker
4 laps as usual
3 x 100m - first moderate, harder, fast with full recoveries
a few pre-race drills
Did not like Time Trials rather use a key session and base of ease of pace
Typically when 2 x 350m rest 3min in 46s was feeling great - race form was
Expect the unexpected
Train the mind to control the body in competition in the way that is wanted.
Sustained Speed work
60m & over was at 95% - never 100%.
Longer work was done for stimulus not for race pace rehearsal, so nearly all
was at paces slower than race pace.
6 x 100m at 95% non-timed from standing start rest 5min
Never did plyometrics
Overtrain - Undertrain
Better to undertrain than overtrain
Going into Championship
More taper (already doing less volume anyway)
cones every 50m - beeper sounded at set intervals - athlete ran
each 50m at same speed. - Be on the buzzer
Workouts done at times planned not faster - not slower.
Important not to go faster than predetermined targets even with 200s in 32s
The program includes a plan that divides
Off season - 6 weeks (first 3 weeks on grass)
But almost year the program is similar
Monday - Tempo 200s starting with more at 32s and progressing to less late
in year in 25s
Tue - long reps starting at 2 x 800m progressing to 2 x 450
Wed - 350m reps x 2-3 - improving in speed
Thu- hills, speed or event specific
Fri - similar to Thurs
Sat - similar to Thurs
Coach needs to decide when to refresh base by going back slightly from
quality to quantity even if just for a week or two mid season , important
not to take too much from base.
Athletes rewarded with fun things - more speed , less reps by doing well at
quantity stuff and proving they are ready to do less with more quality.
Coach decides timing.