My quest for 6.7

Its been a while, but I’ve been logging training data. I think things are finally back on track for me. Progress is coming quite nicely, and its looking like I will finally break through this plateau I’ve been at for years.

My season opener a few weeks ago was hampered by calf cramps in both and still managed to finish the heat in 7.08.

2 weeks later I raced in Montreal, ran 7.00s in the heats and 7.01s in the final. I had a really shitty start in the final, I usually always run faster in the final unless something technical breaks down. I’ve got a few weeks to train until my next competition and I’m fairly confident things are headed in the low 6.9s but only time will tell.

I’ve collected some good data on strength training, with volumes, intensities and strength improvements. Plyos with volumes, intensities and improvements in jump height/contact times. Speed times, I’ve logged in all my fly’s over the past month and will continue to collect it for the next month.

The key for me thus far has been an improvement in reactive strength and pushing a quality amount of speed volume. Using the gates I can safely gauge what is too much work and what is the perfect amount. I try to push how much work I’m actually doing without a drop in intensity.

I’m hoping to present all this data at the end of my season for review. It’ll look pretty neat with some good volume and intensity graphs from my workouts.

Until then, its back to sprinting and getting to the low 6.9s.

Indoor season nearly complete, just ran my conference championships and they went well. Heres a recap of the past few races.

I ran 7.01s at a meet 2 weeks ago, straight final. I was feeling good, very consistent, but still had what I would consider a poor start technically. I couldnt figure it out, I was getting beat by 7.20 guys to 30 and then pulling away. I have great strength and power numbers so this didnt make sense to me.

Watched a lot of videos and got an old friend to watch me do some runs and he had some good technical advice for me. It all boiled down to my hip position.I tend to sit back on the drive instead of committing to it and driving with a good lean. So I put some mental effort into my drive phase, but didnt get much chance to practice, kept things simple.

This weekend ran 7.00 in the heats and 6.94s in the final. Completely nailed my drive phase, actually pulling away at the start like I always should have been. This is a personal best, and broke through a plateau I’ve been at for years.

Getting to the training I’ve been doing. Since I’ve been mostly busy with work, my training has been scattered. But I kept things simple, every sessions I did was speed. I would do 25m fly’s, and try to get up to 6, stop if times got too slow. Using some Brower gates I timed each run, over the course of a few cycles. I used to times to also dictate if I needed rest or not.

I tended to take 72hrs rest between speed sessions because I’ve typically needed that recovery period. After 2 weeks, I would accumulate fatigue and my times would drop so I would take a down week. Which might consist of reduced volume or nothing if I had to go on a work trip.

Acute relieving syndrome as Dan Pfaff described would happen if I took 4-5 days of complete rest. I would come back and my times would go from 2.44s average to 2.52s. This could easily be mistaken for CNS fatigue, but I found that I could do a few sprints to activate my body and 48hrs later my times would be back on, or even better.

I did 2 phases of speed training on a 2-1 work-rest. I didnt change much on the 2nd block except for increasing the density of weekly loading by about 20%. You can see in the graph below how my average performance fluctuated from session to session in terms of base % from my first testing session.


To keep things going this summer, with limited training opportunity, I will attempt to increase loading density slightly more and add some variety to stimulus.

What I’m looking for is adaptation to a higher level. So far I’ve found speed is very picky as to when it will adapt and set in to a higher level. With strength its linear, with plyos its been linear, with power its fairly linear. But speed will fluctuate according to fatigue, sharpness and after some period of time (maybe months), adaptation will occur and the fluctuations will continue as observed.

My main goal is to load speed density as safely as possible until that adaptation and stabilization occurs. From my observations, if you train when you’ve recovered enough to run at 95%+ intensity and stop when you cannot maintain that anymore, and continue to push density within those constraints and add in stimulus and system variability, your body will eventually adapt.

Some more graphs to look at. Bellow is volume per week in terms of #of 25m fly’s, coming to a taper in my final 2 competition weeks.



Wow! Congrats on the PB! That must have been pretty damn exciting!

When is your final series of indoor races? They must be coming up soon.

double post

Its been a while again, but I’m often checking back on the site.

After stagnating in my results for a few years, I started trying new training setups. I’ve been in a good groove. I set a huge personal best 3 weeks ago, 10.61s. It didnt come out of nowhere, my flying 30m time came down to 2.84 before running that pb. Had a few meets which werent the greatest. My opener the timing malfunctioned and I reran a 100m 20mins after the first and ran 10.84s (1.1w). 3 days before my personal best ran 10.94 on a wet track with a pretty poor drive phase. Finally I nailed things down and ran what I thought I could accomplish. I think I had a 10.5 in the tank, but I actually fell apart in the last 20m. Since then, my flying 30m actually has come down to 2.77s on a consistent basis, and I’ve been focusing on 120-200m speed endurance. I think I can run a 21.low and 10.3-.4 next week if conditions are right.

Things are back on an exciting path for me and we’ll see where things take me. I’ve also been coaching a lot now, and thats been very fulfilling.

Hey there,

Congrats on the PB, that is a huge one! I’m interested to hear what you’ve been doing differently. Are you planning on running a few 200’s? Sounds like you’re ready to run pretty well in that event also.

What I did differently was really stress my body to its limits. I started running 4 high intensity days a week, monday tuesday, thursday friday. All max velocity, but started with volumes I could tolerate and progressed from there. I would change the complex of exercises every so often when I adapted to the previous load. At first my results dropped and it was quite difficult, but over time and with some consistency my body adapted, eventually surpassing the previous level I had been stuck at forever. This experience has changed my perception of training a little. In the fall I plan on continuing this very stressful cycle to 5 high intensity sessions per week, and eventually get up to 10.

Hey Syrus,

Very interesting to hear the changes you made. I assume like you said that your loading changed. Do you think going to more is going to be better? Why not continue what is currently working? I’m not trying to bash your concept, just hoping for some more detail on how you would plan to accomplish fitting in so many high intensity work days. Can you give an example of what a week or session looked like perhaps? How did this change your perspective overall on training? How did you avoid getting stuck in an overtraining rut like so many do?

The main reason I probably won’t continue with my current setup is for the same reason I stopped the previous setup. If I continue to do it, my body over time will stop responding to it.

Here is an example of a week:
Mon: 20m,40m,60m,80m, 1x50m bounds, 1x10 double foot hops
Tue: Repeat
wed: off

It may seem crazy right now, but I’m talking gradually over a period of several years to progressively add sessions, further spreading out volume throughout the week. But I’m not 100% sure yet if going to more is better. I feel like I got lucky in the way my body responded so positively to the training. But I’ve built a theory around why this training works and how. The extension to this theory is that it predicts that further changes in setup will yield some positive adaptations. But the changes must be progressive. The ultimate key with avoiding overtraining is being very progressive in increases to loading, and monitoring how your body reacts. I was testing speed every session, and knew that I was never to screwed that I wouldnt come back. This type of loading is incredibly difficult on the tissue. You feel as though your legs are rocks. I couldnt see someone with fragile muscles and tendons accomplish this.

Very neat. It sounds like even if you used that approach as perhaps a phase in your overall season to jumpstart results it might even be effective. I can see you didn’t go wild on the volume at all, so it’s not like the overall volume increased, correct? If anything, it looks like you stripped your training down to the bare minimum.

Do you think it would work as a 2 on 1 off scenario, repeated twice only? How long did you keep your approach going?

Why did you do nothing on the off days? Do you usually respond well to tempo, or poorly? Did you continue with any low intensity work on your high intensity days? This is really interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing!

I typically respond poorly to tempo. I think its my aerobic physiology. I think low intensity work is very important to balance out the high intensity stuff. This will sound funny to most people, but I’ve been going for walks as low intensity stimulus. It works great for me, to relax, move, and provide a great low intensity stimulus. I go for 20-30min walks through the park, with some music and zone out.

I started pretty good with volumes, conservative, and spread out what I would usually do on 3 days, over 4. Its not the volume that is challenging, its the density, so you must allow the density to challenge your body, and not the volume. This is a really important concept. I’ve been doing 4 high days for 5 months now. And the results have been quite remarkable. Going from never breaking my flying 25m personal best in 3 years of very consistent and hard training, to smashing it after 2 months of training this way.

I’ve done it with weights, but kept it very low on volume too. 2x5 split squats, 4 days per week, or 4x2 jump squats. Very manageable.

I was one of those athlete before that you wouldnt think could handle much volume at all. But pushing the limits slowly, you build up a capacity for recovery and work. As long as its very specific and conservative. A person jumping in to 4 days per week might get crushed easily. But if you start at 2, get some gains, plateau, go to 3, get some gains, plateau, go to 4, ect… It seems to work well for throwers. Even though I understand that these events are different, the physiology of adaptation must be similar, and they work up to 10 sessions a week with lifting included. If you think thats totally different than sprinting recovery wise, I would say try jumping in to 10 workouts a week like that and tell me you arent completely ruined. Theres an element of building up and resistance to work that needs to be in place.

That’s interesting stuff about the tempo. I know those who don’t respond well to tempo usually respond well to a 20 minute jog. It sounds like you ramped up your workload carefully, and really, the volume is very conservative so it sounds like you figured out your body. Really clever!

How has your diet evolved over time? What do you find yourself sticking with? I’ve got an athlete that is progressing very nicely this year, but his diet is frightful. Not nearly enough quality greens, and excessive processed content overall. I’m curious what you’d recommend.

When you say you don’t respond well to tempo what do you mean exactly?

I used to think tempo beat my body up but I started pulling out other things and keeping tempo in and figured out it was some of the more esoteric core circuits that aggravated areas of my low back or knees. Another contributor was too many high intensity plyos. As long as I do tempo on good grass or the track in well cushioned shoes, no problem.

I just find tempo to be more of a workout for me and doesnt help me recover. I’ve heard from other people too that they get more benefit out of a 20 min run. I think it all depends on how you feel. If you feel better after tempo, jogging, or walking, then its probably helping. I would always feel more tired after tempo instead of refreshed, but I’ve heard of people feeling refreshed after tempo or jogging.

My diet is pretty good. Low processed foods, low sugar, lots of protein, fish oils, anti oxidants. I feel as though its been an important factor in recovery.

Walking won’t do jack for general fitness development. If you wanna ease your mind and maybe pick up a chick then knock yourself out…

Very important fab 5:
1: Smooth running surface.
2: Proper tempo intensity.
3: Proper tempo vol.
4: Proper tempo density.
5: Proper high int vol.

If you follow the fab 5 - everyone will have positive results with tempo running - I don’t care if you are 320lbs or 160lbs.

BOL with your training

Good post. RE: proper surface…not all grass is the same ime. I prefer slower, longer rep, tempo on a track as opposed to running on shitty, potholed grass. I develop issues running tempo on a practice football field where the coach runs redzone plays repeatedly on the same field, in the same endzone, from the hash marks.

I would prefer tempo on the track any day over shitty grass - I have seen everything from (ankle/foot/hip/lower back issues) the next morning after running tempo on shitty surfaces.

Ex: Below you can see what I like to use when training on shitty surfaces…

Session 1: Grass tempo
Long warmup (this will develop general fitness)
6-12x100 @ 60-65%

Session 2: Track tempo
Shorter warmup
8x150 @ 70-75%

I agree. I like 6-8x200 too on a track, way outside lane. Nice and smooth.

My favs:
1: 3x400
2: 3-4x300
3: 6-8x200
4: 8-10x150
5: 3x200-180-150