# Odd Distances (160,220,280,320 etc)

Why use odd distances out of the 50 meter increments in training? I can see the use of 60,80 120 but…
Why use a 160 and not stick to 150? Why not go 200 or 250 instead if 220? Why not go 300 or 350 instead of 320?

The reason I am asking this is as follows. Each coach/ athletes goal should be to create his or her own perfomance model. In running these odd distances it creates more things to consider. I thought of this just today when I was going to run a 320 and 250 tomarrow for special endurance II. I thought to myself I would like to see where I am at and what will a 320 tell me. I know what I have been capeable of running in the 300 in the past and if I want longer work to tap into the lactate system I can go 350 which I could also convert to a 300 or 400 and see where I am at. But a 320 such an odd distance isnt really telling me much.

Plus going to the track with a measuring wheel and marking up the track in 20 different places rather than 4 seems like a pain in the ass. Then when you go to train at another track that is not yours you cannot really run those same distances sine they are not measured out.

So the main distances I’d consider odd that that I have seen many people mention would be 180, 160, 180, 220, 260, 280, 320.

I suppose you could play with the duration of such drills in order to bring about a desired stimulus; e.g., a 320 vs. a 350 m drill can have some difference especially for slower runners.

Secondly, by running such odd distances as 110 vs. 100 m, an athlete is forced to pass the finishing line and cut perhaps a bad habit -as PJ would say…

Or just for psychological reasons at times…

If they make your life more difficult though, drop them…

Why all people more or less use the same distances? Because they know what performance is worth for the usual distance and can compare.
What is funny is when coach make their runners run 60m and they actually run 50m because they cut effort 10m before the finish because of the bad habbit mentioned by Nikoluski. When i make them run 110m i take the time at 100m though. Sometimes i make them start at 50m point to finish at 110m point. The total distance is still 60m.

With sprinters who are able to accelerate up to 50m, every distances up to 50m can be used. Take the data from Maurice Greene in Athens’97, instantaneous speeds recorded at each 10m points (this is not the 10m interval average speed):
10m 8.71m/s
20m 10.47m/s
30m 11.14m/s
40m 11.50m/s
50m 11.67m/s
60m 11.80m/s
Now you can see the need of each of these distances at training, in order to control the intensity. From 11.14m/s at 30m to 11.50m/s at 40m, that’s a difference in CNS demand, so sometimes there’s sometimes the need to use 35m.
The first problem for the coach is then how to monitor training and compare week after week if the distances change all the time. If you know your athlete, have analysis of him, and have time tables for each distances, you can work efficiently.
The second problem is that some distance can disrupt the harmony and rythm of the acceleration. That’s individual for each athlete, so you need to find out which distances you have to avoid.

The psychological reason here can come from the fact that some athletes don’t want to train over the competition distance (superstitious thing or don’t want to give it all at the distance when it’s not competition or don’t want to make predictions, etc). In this case odd distance can be judicioulsy used.

As for longer training distances, i make no difference between 250m and 260m, chemistery or mechanics are the same, in this case use 250m it will be easier for calculation and comparisons!

I was actually discussing this at the track yesterday. I believe the reason is because at 50m the finish line comes into view and the athlete automatically thinks the race is over. I do the same thing as you PJ. I set cones at 70m and record times to 60m!

I was thinking… do races with a finish tape (e.g. some of the american sponsored races - I think nike) produce better times on average because the athletes have a better marker to aim for? The kinesthetic feeling of breaking the tape?

Perhaps it would be good for training?

TC