My videos

Here’s a practice start without blocks


I’ve been working on getting that big first step out. I felt pretty good about it in this particular start, which is from about 1.5 months ago.
We don’t have blocks to practice with (yet, just ordered some) so my start in my 4x100 leadoff leg last week was pretty poor. I’ll be working with those and hope to take a video early next week.

Anybody see anything which desperately needs correction?

The video appears to be set to private.


Ah, thanks. I just changed it to public.


Here’s me finishing dead last in a 100 heat. I’m the white guy in white in lane 2. Race starts 13 seconds in.

I should not have run, as I had a pretty intense tightness on the back/inside of my left knee and didn’t feel like I could stretch my stride out at all. That pain has been coming in and out for the past month but got really bad on the day of this meet, after the 4x1 relay. I was thinking about scratching but said “Screw it, let’s see.” Unsurprisingly, it went terribly. I feel like my stride was super choppy and I was very tense up top.

I think it’s obvious here that my knee lift is abysmal and I’m not sure how to address it best. The whole thing was exacerbated, I think, by the knee tightness limiting flexibility/range. But I’ve also just generally had poor knee lift this whole season, my first coming back to real competition after a long break.

Any thoughts? I was really hoping to go sub11 this year but with only one meet left and that performance, it looks like that won’t happen. I’d love to be able to open up my stride some more though, and hopefully build something for next year. I know that we shouldn’t consciously focus on lifting knees while running. Is knee lift/stride length ALL a result of force into the ground carrying you higher/farther, or does flexibility have a role too?

I believe your feet may be too far from the line, but without blocks I can’t tell for sure as your angles change without blocks.

The video was super shaky, but it looked to me like you need to improve your ab strength.

Thanks, Rainy.
That video is shaky, but it appears that it also lost a ton of definition when uploaded to youtube. I’m going to try to reload it.

It’s a great start but yes to repeat what has said your feet need to be closer to the line is all. Once you get the blocks you will see how the mechanics change.
Try the drill that I find is really magic for building 1. the feeling of what the getting up and running from laying down/ starting is like but 2. and more importantly, building specific strength for getting out of the blocks. Oh and if you are a bit less flexible which could be why crouching in a proper mechanical position is tougher to achieve then once again doing the drill where you lay flat on the ground, faced down ( forehead is about but not touching the start line) and scramble up to not more than 5 to 10 meters might help.

Wow! Stylee, You have drawn a ton of conclusions based on one race? One month. Oh, I also noted you said " after a long break". ? Ummm,
Long break + sprinting = not much of a problem for recreational stuff.
Long break + sprinting + high expectations + performance higher than before = highly unlikely / almost never
" There are no miracles in sport" = coach Charlie Francis
You were tight. So what. Means you are doing something.
Do you know anything you can do to address tightness?
Here is a list.

  1. sleep needs to be " a lot " . Are you recovering from the work you are doing?
  2. how methodical is the training? You can 't catch up on the training that you lost taking a break. You need to factor the break into your goals and accept that as a choice you made for what ever reason and plan for different moving forward.
  3. If someone knowledgeable were coaching you ( I would not have allowed you to run) likely they would have said " it’s not worth it". Injuries increase in frequency when we decide tightness does not matter. The body is talking to you and you decided not to listen.
  4. How many types of therapy do you do for yourself ? How frequently do you practice regeneration? Do you understand the difference between regeneration and active regeneration?
  5. RELAX = yup. I am the expert there cause I am so not very relaxed EVER. You likely are not or were not tight before that race just because you may not know how to relax but take it easy… you have not blown all your goals today or the other day unless you quit and you are just getting started. :wink:
    How about you do not draw any more conclusions regarding your last experience and say " hey, my start was pretty good ". Cause it was. And I bet by now it’s even better. And also that you are where you are and you need to address some issues about how to move ahead?
    Tightness will be a possible result of having a break or ( long or longer break) Consistency of training is critical especially when you are doing high muscular demand work and … when looking for performance it is not usually very compatible with ideal training to take breaks.

Thanks, Angela.
I did the “push up start” drill a lot during my GPP but then didn’t touch it again during my SPP or comp period.
I had some serious hamstring issues during my SPP and had to rest for a while. After I started up again, I worked mostly on speed and SE stuff, with very little acceleration work. I’m wondering if I lost some of that starting strength during that time.

In the next video in this thread, the race from this past weekend, I felt like my first 10 meters was good but my “acceleration phase” from 10-40/50 was awful. My top end wasn’t great but I didn’t notice people pulling away a lot after about 50… they put most of that distance on me during that drive phase.
Still… choppy choppy steps. Something like 53 steps in that race, significantly more than normal for me.

I will be working on flexibility as much as possible for my next and last meet of the season. If I’m still feeling tight and sore, I might skip it - I don’t know what another ultra-slow run would do to my confidence.

Angela, you are great. Thanks for the advice and especially thanks for keeping this site up.
I’ll be reading what you wrote very carefully. I’ll respond a little later today.

This comment sounds oversimplified but when I achieved relaxation in my running I felt like I stopped fighting myself if that makes sense.
Charlie used to say that results tended to follow when confidence came as a result of feeling prepared. I found this to be true 100 percent for me.
You went into that race knowing full well you were not prepared but also knowing there was an issue with tightness.
If you can run and go into that race to gain something without the intent of running away with the store ( so to speak) than do it. If you can’t than the general saying goes
" if there is nothing to gain … than why are you doing it " ?
You have already had an issue with the hamstring right? That caused you to react and forced you to do different in your training. Injuries happen but you don’t want them to stop or slow you down if possible. Avoiding injuries is always desirable. Dealing with injuries in a proactive way requires determination, overriding great frustrations but it can also be an opportunity to get things done you might not other wise do. ( get your butt in the pool and get yourself super fit, get on the bike and get going, work around your problems, be creative and if you know what is missing find a way to get that variable of training done in another way.

Re start: my way. If you are game kneel with your left knee just behind the start line and dorsiflex. The right foot should be approx 150mm behind the left. Elbows slightly bent (if you run with straight arms start with them.) shoulders over the start line. Lift your butt until your legs are in the position you want them for the first two steps, generally just above the shoulders. On the gun lift the right elbow high and fast. Now do what you are trying to with your steps.

Thanks for the help guys.

I downloaded Kinovea and have found it very helpful in a lot of ways.
At practice this Saturday, I set up my iPhone at about hip height and marked off a ten meter increment and filmed that ten meter segment all of my runs. So, for instance - I ran 4xflying 20, 1x60, 1x80, 1x120 and I’ve got the last ten meters of every run on tape. Then I analyzed them with Kinovea (and then I went back and broke down a flying 20 I had recorded from about 2 months ago, from before my knee started really bothering me.)

My best 10 meter segment was about .99. Compare that to the flying 20 from a while back that was about 1.86ish, which would be .93 per 10 meter segment.
I think this may have been affected (somewhat) by the fact that I knew I was finishing - my stride length increased dramatically in the final 2 steps of every run, as I guess I was stretching to the finish, which definitely slowed me down.

On stride length - average stride length for my right, non-sore/tight leg: a shade over 2 meters. Average stride length for my left leg, the sore/tight one: 1.85ish. I’m not sure if there should be any differential but this one seems particularly dramatic.
As noted, when I was near the end of a run, I’d really stretch out - to about 2.4/2.2 meters per stride.

In my early 20s, I played semi-pro football and injured the knee in different ways - it got hit in funny ways AND I suffered from jumper’s knee repeatedly. I actually went to physical therapy for it 3 times! I didn’t realize it would linger until I was 28.

I want to PR again before I get old. I think I’ll start a training journal thread relating to all this.

I keep thinkin they are running to mcdonalds