Sally, Steff & hammies

Olympic hopefuls ready for track stars

Jenny McAsey | February 11, 2008

A PHANTOM hamstring scare kept young gun sprint hurdler Sally McLellan from finishing her 100m heat at the Queensland championships.

[b]McLellan was stretching freely yesterday and is now back on the start list for the star-studded Sydney Grand Prix next Saturday.

While hamstring twinges have kept many an athlete off the track or the football field, the hard-nosed McLellan is never one to whinge or shy away from a race. [/b]

All she knew was that the pain was so bad she had to suddenly stop during the 100m race on Saturday.

But it seems McLellan may simply have been troubled by a cramp. Her coach, Sharon Hannan, said she had never had one before, hence the alarm.

McLellan is unlikely to compete in the 200m in Sydney but should contest her specialty 100m hurdles.

It will be one of the best meets seen in Australia for several years, featuring 100m world record holder Asafa Powell and 400m Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner.

Powell will arrive in Melbourne today, a little weary after a trip which has not gone to plan. Powell and his group flew from Kingston, Jamaica, to Miami on Saturday but missed the connecting flight to Los Angeles.

They were then forced to travel to Fort Lauderdale to sleep because the ‘house full’ sign was up throughout Miami, even for the world’s fastest man.

They eventually boarded a flight to Australia late yesterday.

Wariner’s impending presence provided inspiration at the weekend for 22-year-old Joel Milburn, who ran nearly a full second faster than he ever has before to win the 400m title at the NSW Championships.

His time of 45.19sec was well under the Olympic A qualifying standard which launches him into contention for a spot on the team to Beijing.

The depth in Australian men’s 400m running is so strong that Commonwealth champion John Steffensen could put an Olympic berth in jeopardy if his “troublesome hamstrings” stop him competing in qualifying events during the next three weeks.

Olympic relay silver medallist Clinton Hill was second to Milburn, clocking a promising 45.88sec, while in Queensland rising youngster Dylan Grant smashed his personal best to record an Olympic B qualifying time of 45.69sec.

WEll, it has been a crazy humid summer here in Brissy.

Actually, I was noting the author’s linking of the “phantom hammy” of McLellan and Steffensen, the one returning to competition in Sydney (for right or wrong) and the other whose she refers to as having “troublesome hamstrings” in quotation marks. I interpret that as making a point about Steffensen. Not saying she’s right, just noting with interest the reportage. :wink:

Well this pisses me off a little bit.

Well, I think if Hill can stay healthy, we’ve got Wroe, Grant, Milburn, Hill and Steffensen all potentially running <45.55. This is going to be interesting. Perhaps it WILL come down to their performances at Nationals…

I don’t think John would make up an injury, but this increase in form from the other boys makes it all the more annoying for him. He might have to compete properly these next few weeks. I just hope he doesn’t hurt himself…

We’ll see though. :).

Look, at this stage of their respective careers Steffensen is simply the king. He’s not the best ever for Australia, but he’s got the most matured performance credits at this stage among those active in the men’s 400m.

And what you say if of course absolutely correct and this threat under which he now finds himself - and his rush through transition to high velocity sprinting - is precisely why he deserved to be given preselection under the current Aussie system.

My only problem with it was the way he went about things when overlooked. Nuff said already.

It will be a VERY interesting next few weeks in Aus to see where everyone is at come the end of Nationals. There is bound to be drama and hissy fits :stuck_out_tongue:

Just received a text message: Sally has a 3-4cm tear in biceps femorus on the MRI scan, described as low grade but occurring at the junction of the muscle and tendon of the left hammy. It’s a season-ender for her. Treatment for at least the next three to four weeks.

Should not stop her from going to the Oly but??
Keep the weights up, particually the upper body to keep the CNS active - plenty of therapy - should still be able to do tempo? Med ball throws etc?

I bet they stopped doing their tempo during the last week or two due to the “big” meets coming up, with the consequence the intensity backs up upon itself, nothing but an occasional massage to help flush the legs and all of a sudden bam!

you’re in Queensland aren’t you Mr Bold, ask someone in her camp as long as you don’t offend them in doing so. Ask them whether they did tempo this preparation and whether they dropped off it just now?

hmm, that sounds like something that could have happened?? I will attempt to see what i can find out - might be a couple of days?
again - since it was infact an injury - perhaps like i said before too, high humidity, she could have been de-hydrated, thus causing a cramp, thus leading to a minor pull? particularly coupled with little to no tempo work? I will see if i can get down there Fri?

Sally hasn’t been doing tempo work for a while and the intensity has been up for quite some time.

Approx a week ago she did hurt her back in the gym which tweaked her back a bit. She gets massaged by a good friend of mine twice a week.

If you guys want to know anything glad to share. Sharon is very cool about helping and letting people know what has worked well for Sally.

Can honestly say watching her train that she is in the best shape of her career before this set back.

She did do a great deal of tempo work in her preparation this season more than before. She ran a 400m earlier on and has done alot more volume.

Thanks for replying. It seems there are some maintenance issues here and perhaps also some peaking issues, in terms of recovery and regeneration between high intensity sessions in the critical phase of competition cycle.

so - it seems perhaps, she is doing a Long to Short program design? And with a sharp peak at that too it seems. Even still - if following such a design - cutting tempo and coming to a sharp peak this far out from Nats :confused: - surely not the best in timing? ie - such a long Comp period whilst running in the sharp peak as it seems she is - i wouldn’t have thought the comp period could have stood the distance in time?

IF the back was still cramped, do you think she should have ran anyway? even if she HAD to, perhaps a 200m might have been a better call - run out to 30m and maintain v’s a full on charge.
If a girl like Sally is up and running like she is, seemingly in the best shape she has been in - a full on 100m on a healthy athletes is going to take everything she has - any slight problem would become magnified no?

Now there’s a typical problem!!

In regards to the specifics of her program I would have to ask Sharon.

In focus on her back and hammy she was given the all clear from her physio and she does not get a simple flush once a week. She recieves two treatments from a massage therapist and sees her physio every week.

She has pulled out of a few meets including the Australia Cup where she was listed to run a 200m and was cleared to run and felt good. Does it have to be a problem with Program? Could it come from an accident in the weight room which has cuased this?

I just put this to you guys as Sally does recovery work and two pool sessions a week.

Whatever Sharon has done with her is working and it has been producing quicker times each season.

No blame aportioned to anyone in any of this; purely trying to figure out what may have brought on her problems.

That’s a fair size tear 3-4cm. Usually there are warning signs and usually there are management issues which could have been enacted to avoid the trouble.

When the physio clears her, then it presumes there are no misaligned joints placing duress on over-stretched muscles.

If she was receiving plenty of rehab (pool is not necessarily rehab, it just saves your feet from impact), but was complaining of tightness then it may have been something in her diet, a deficiency like calcium which can also lead to cramping followed by a tear if the cramp occurs while running.

Other than that, it could just be an issue of getting the balance right between max velocity training and some kind of tempo or rehab/regen, maybe she needed more days of rest or even a periodic block of rest.

But once again, it’s not a blame game. It’s helpful to everyone on this board to analyse problems and try to find answers so they can avoid similar traps when they come to them as athletes or as coaches.

yer, im not sure on how her program is structured - im more putting out there some Q’s - hopefully we can get a clearer picture. As has just come out, 2 x massage and a physio and 2 x pool sessions wk as part of her recovery. I take it the pool work is in place of the tempo running?
Myself, im not a big fan of pool work for tempo - for injury i have seen good - great results - for tempo, i have seen so far, its more of a concentric muscle action and pumps one up too much, but then, if your not running that day, it might be ok??

The physio says her back seemed fine and should be ok to run - however, i just wonder, did the back cause tightness further down the muscle chain, someplace else, and perhaps the physio missed it? If not, then perhaps the weights were not the problem? If the weights were not the problem? This is why i like running tempo - it finds out the Deep tight spots, and seems to work them out, and at least give the athlete something to say to the massage or physio guy, “hey, i was running today, and just here - was sore”. Many a time, you can turn up to the track feeling perfectly fine, only to find out your tight as all buggery during a tempo session, or even a warm up.


Can you lay out a sample week for us for Sharons squad, I know she is a fan of pool work as I read an article she wrote on the subject.
I think Sally’s continual progression and ability to perform when nescessary are a credit to Sharon… if only more talented Juniors progressed in that fashion.

top secret information which no-one else in the world would ever think of therefore absolutely must be deleted:p