Played to Death

I know that this discussion has been had by many members but I still am not able to get a clear picture of the beenfits of short to long for the 200m specialist that may be interested in competing indoors at 200m during the winter and would like to be able to post something decent timewise early outdoor season over 200m. According to the Vancouver 2004 download the training consists of various 60m runs with modified intensities. Now this seems all well and good for the 100m specialist trying to develop their acceleration in phase one but (particularly with the long recoveries stated) ‘seem’ not to be enough to adequately prepare the 200m runner who as well as doing 60m indoors may want to lay a marker down for the 200m. Now I know the likes of Mennea and Borzov are famed for using short 60’s as special endurance to great success (as have I to relatively equal success) BUT with far shorter recovery times between runs than those stated on the Download graph. Does this mean that the example given is purely for the 60/100m specialist or does it mean that even with the long recoveries the sessions are appropriate to prepare the 200/100m specialist for indoor 200m races?

The next problem I tend to read about is what to do in SPP2. However for the 200m man this information is not clearly available. Does one follow the suggestion of the move up to repeat 60’s and 80’s eventually getting to 100’s and 120’s. The fear being that come the business end of the season (July/August) not enough runs have been down at the crucial 150-250 distances with the fear that I will be unable to hold my speed? Is the SPP3 (typically 4 weeks mid season) long enough to cover this? Maybe I’m missing something here? Is it the general fitness levels and the intensity of the shorter distance sprints that make up for not training within the 150-250 band so often? Should I just expect to be ‘not quite ready’ indoors and early season knowing that when I start training at the required distance I will be ready to roll? My fear is that there may not be enough time to get myself ready.

One last point. The short to long makes sense to me. From the stories of the East German swimmers training at race pace and seeing how long they can hold it to Marita Koch and her 400m world record training protocol. However I do not know whether there is enough time on the calender as a non-elite athlete that will need to be running pretty well early season to earn the right to compete in bigger meets later on to follow this system.


Taking the opposite line of enquiry: What makes you think you will be ready indoors doing Long to Short?

It was for a 100m specalist but with a bit of tweeking you can make it work well for a 200m specalist.

You are in control of your season. If it takes 12 weeks to get in shape split over 2 periods that’s 24 weeks out of 52. You still have 26 weeks to play with. If you don’t lose the speed from the previous season then you will be fine.

I assume you are finishing early. If so why not start training earlier if you think this is an issue.

I wish I had the answers for you, but that is a very interesting a thought provoking post. I certainly feel happier in the closing stages of a 200 knowing I have been completing quick reps of that distance in training. I feel the same thing in the 200m indoors and it may feel that on a S-L progression you are too far away from preparing for 200m at that part of the year.

Like I said I wish I had some answers, but I will be following this thread to see what comes up.

“One last point. The short to long makes sense to me. From the stories of the East German swimmers training at race pace and seeing how long they can hold it to Marita Koch and her 400m world record training protocol. However I do not know whether there is enough time on the calender as a non-elite athlete that will need to be running pretty well early season to earn the right to compete in bigger meets later on to follow this system”.

This is the problem I have with a pure s-l program for the non elite sprinter at the hs/college level there is no such thing as a 100m specialist, the athlete must be able to run the 100-200-4x100-LJ and 4x400 or open 400 if need be. When following a pure s-l program with hs/college athletes its very difficult to get enough over distance work done before the major meets. I would prefer to go s-l with speed and l-s with endurance work with hs/college athletes. You could start with two speed days and one endurance, the endurance work would start intensive tempo then moving towards speed II, so weeks before your indoor season starts you would be during workouts such as this:

mon/fri: short speed 30-80m
wed: starts and 2x250
tue/thur: tempo

Thanks guys,

Topcat regarding the query on whether I would be ready on the L to S plan, it is more about degrees of readiness. With the acceleration work up to 30m and the reps moving down from 600-320m and 300-150m (based on the Vancouvor download) I feel that I will be relatively better prepared than if I was drilling at 60m.

For me the short to long for a 200m sprinter, even though it makes sense to build endurance at the appropriate speed, is a dilema. Lets take two types of athletes: the elite 200m sprinter and the up and coming good national standard college 200m sprinter. The elite sprinter needs to get paid as they need to earn a living. They have to maximize opportunities to earn money and be ready for the big meets (Olympics, World Champs, etc), success at which helps him/her remain in the money. Thus if they intend to get paid indoors, early outdoor season, and during the peak outdoor season, as well as running quickly when it really matters, they need to be in shape to run at international level all the time or it may hit their earnings and ranking!

The college/national standard athlete (and I’m not talking one who is necessarily competing in college athletics) has to try and maximize opportunities to make a breakthrough, whilst at the same time once the breakthrough has been made can still go up a level. What do I mean by this? The national standard athlete will need to run reasonably quick early season to give them opportunities to run in the smaller international meets. However it is how you run in the major competitions such as Worlds, etc that really sets the athlete up, therefore there is no point in running quickly early season and peaking in May to get into the international meets if you can’t move it to the next level and make finals in global championships/games in August. The dilema for the college/national level athlete is the same as for the elite athlete in terms of performances and time of the year- how does the short to long system for 200m athletes guarantee a degree of readiness throughout the competition periods whilst allowing for a peak when it matters? Does anyone know of any elite level 200m runners that use the short to long approach?

Thanks again for your feedback guys.

Just a couple of thoughts on this. If money is an issue, then comp indoors is concentrated around 60m as there are few good track for the 200 indoors and the 60m races are good prep for and recovery between 200m outings.
You can see that even 200m specialists drop down- including Spearman.
One point of indoor comp is to KNOW where you are, not to speculate based on an assumpton that you are NEARLY ready. Top speed is achieved by 60m so it is an excellent test. There are good predictor tables available to convert 60m indoors to the 100m outdoors if appropriate SE is then added for that event.
The other point is to bring your speed up to max so that you are not away from it for so long a period that you may not be able to regain it in the summer.

Thanks for that Charlie

The system of short to long (100m) is Phase one- focus on acceleration, phase two- focus on maxvelocity, phase three- focus on speed endurance. Now I’m sure that you would stress that the term-focus- does not mean to the exclusion of all other elements as your system still addresses the acceleration, maxvelocity and speed endurance throughout the special prep periods. However the short to long 200m seems to need to have maxvelocity in place earlier so that the athlete can have enough time to train endurance at the desired velocity (or does this not actually take too long to develop?). I admit that not having applied this system to 200m that I have a problem of conceiving how an annual plan would look, but I do see a couple of difficulties that would need to be overcome for a plan to be optimal. The first is that acceleration needs to be in place before maxvelocity. With the need to have maxvelocity in place earlier does one shorten the period of acceleration focus to achieve this thus less than optimizing this element? Or does having 30m acceleration work as a constant in your system develop and maintain this aspect for the 200m specialist? The second difficulty is by introducing maxvelocity training earlier (if that is indeed the way to do it) this would seem to clash with the max strength focus which can impede the development of this attribute at a time during the winter that the athlete would like to be racking up the poundages and could also make them more vulnerable to injury doing this at this time of the year/training cycle.

As I say maybe I just can’t see how to overcome this but as I keep reiterating, developing good top speed then building endurance in at the desired pace, holding it for longer as one gets more conditioned makes more sense to me (and is easier to monitor) than trying to step up the pace as the distances shorten, particularly when the earlier runs in the training cycle have little relationship with the desired velocity later on in the season.


Max event speed IS in place earlier by definition because it is slightly below the max speed requird for the 100m


I guess this then means that the actual speed endurance work would begin in phase two, running concurrently with the increased focus on maxvelocity?

Does one ‘push’ in the early stage of phase two to increase maxvelocity to the desired level and then in the second stage onwards establish the development of endurance at this desired speed? Or does one just develop maxvelocity and speed endurance together (seeing as one can already accelerate out to the 45m or so necessary to be able to run a world record for 200m) as alluded to in your previous response? I ask because as far as I can see it leaves the athlete with one of three options: 1) either they are happy after phase one with their maxvelocity and would now like to focus on developing speed endurance at this pace; 2) although happy with their current speed they are looking to push the envelope to create a greater differential between their maximum velocity and the event velocity (seeing as they never quite hit the same top speed in a 200m as they would for the 100m) thus making the effort easier both in terms of energy expenditure and submax effort; 3) they try to continually re-establish a new level of speed endurance based on the increasingly higher maxvelocity speed achieved throughout this phase delaying until after phase two the more concentrated effort on speed endurance as it is not until the end of this phase that they will know what their maxvelocity is and therefore the desired event velocity they will be training for.


Thanks again Charlie and co

In this case, I’m guessing max 200 vel is in place by the end of phase one or soon into phase two. Sorry not to be more specific but I guess I never thought of the 200m in isolation.

Thanks Charlie

Then would a ‘modified’ specialist 200m short to long programme look as follows:

Phase one: same as short to long for 100m or 100/200m sprinter. Development of acceleration and event velocity. After phase one Indoor focus is on 60m sprints. When talking about the elite level even the 200m specialists (Fredricks, Spearman, etc) could earn some corn on the indoor circuit.

Phase two: would start to focus more on the development of speed endurance off the back of the maxvelocity speed developed in the previous phase. Now even if the differential between maxvelocity and event velocity is not quite where it should be, the fact that special endurance drills are at shorter distances (60-80m to begin with) would mean that the athlete can cope with holding the desired pace until the development of higher velocities developed in phase two allows for longer distances to be run at race [event veolcity] pace due to the greater separation of maxvelocity from the required event velocity and the ease by which the athlete can now run at the submax level. I’ll illustrate what I mean by the required event velocity by using an athletes desire [Bolt?] to break the current 200m world record as an example. Based on the breakdown of Michael Johnson’s world record, his first 100m was run in 10.12 with a top 10m split apparently of 0.86secs. His second 100m was run in 9.20, an average of 0.92secs per 10m. Now clearly Johnson’s 100m maxvelocity 10m split is higher than his top 200m event velocity (if the data is correct I would guess that because of his superb speed endurance qualities would be somewhere in the region of 0.85secs whereas for slightly lesser mortals like Bolt or Gay hoping to come home in 9.2 down the straight this would probably need to be at least 0.84secs). I remember Lewis in the Olympic final in Los Angeles who was no slouch in the final 100 of a 200m (then anyway) came home in 9.57 (into a 0.9m/s wind) averaging 0.957 per 10m split to get a final time of 19.80 secs. Thus to break Johnsons world record, training velocities need to recognize the 0.92secs per 10m in the final 100. Now even taking into consideration that near the end of the race Johnson may have slowed down to 0.98secs for the last 10m, it is the average the athlete/coach should be aware of. Event velocity for anyone looking to break Johnsons world record would therefore be between 0.86sec (for a 10m split) to 0.92secs. Too much training outside of this zone (on the slow side) for the serious contender for the record will not adequately prepare the athlete for an assault on it. They need to develop the ability to hold speed at 0.92sec or quicker to stand a chance.

Phase three: is therefore a top up after the early outdoor season just before the final move towards peaking for the main events of the season.

Charlie, am I on the right track? Does any of this make sense? Or have I missed something?

I would appreciate yours (or anyone elses) thoughts.

Thank you

If you want reassurance that you can run good times indoors off of S-L then trust me it can be done. In fact I often get 200m indoor times faster than last years 200m outdoor time. I’ve had this for every level from 25s for girls down to 20.5s for guys. If you plan it right then it can be done. If you aren’t confident in it thought then stick with L-S.

Thanks Topcat I appreciate that.


You mention ‘a bit of tweeking’ what do you mean?

Thanks again

Don’t follow the “plan” in the Van’04 Download. Instead think what you need to do based on your athletes strengths and weaknesses. 12x60m might be too much acceleration for a slightly less explosive athlete. If you have a 120m indoor track maybe you can use runs out to 80-90m to cut down on the acceleration. Everything Charlie writes is just a guide to give you a starting point that MUST be tweeked.

Top Cat

Thanks again for the advice.

Will do.