short seasons in Mn

In Mn, we have 13 weeks of track season which sucks. Then they wonder why we do not produce as many sprinters as we do distance. We sometimes have a Capt’s practice that allows for base conditioning. Lets assume that I have sprinters who did not compete in a winter sport so they have no base. Our first indoor meet is two weeks into the seaons. Season starts March 13. First meet on 3/25 with two more insignificant meets within the following two weeks. There are approximately 1-2 meets any given week. The first outdoor meet is early April. The conference championships are on the 23rd of May; regionals are the next week and the state championships are one and a half weeks from that.
Lets assume I have few ideas on how to construct my season (I’ve been at it for a while successfully) but I would like to hear your ideas. What is the best method of periodizing for 12 weeks. I say twelve because if you do not perform well in regionals, there is no state championship).
When would you begin and taper weights, plyos, base, tempo, speed work only so that they are peaking appropriately?

Nice moniker :slight_smile:

Why don’t you post what you have planned. That makes it easier to help.

First note, we have our team captains run a pre-season practice where I can go to observe but can’t say (much).
Second, I have a few sprinters who have a decent base in place already. 75% percent of my sprinters are familiar and use weights almost year round.
Some of my best sprinters are still playing basketball and that won;t end for a couple of weeks.
More than half of my sprinters are returning so they are familiar with running techniques but most need a lot of work yet.

Captain’s practice- starts today unti and goes for 3 weeks.
I don’t really want the captains giving full speed workouts because someone might get hurt and we have to use the school halls and a small gym (early plyos if necessary). The halls are concrete floors and last weekend the windchill was -20 to -40 below so outdoor running is kept to a minimum.
They workout 5 days per week but it is not mandatory.
For the record, I coach 60-400 meter sprinters
What do you suggest for this time frame?

OUr season begins March 13th. ALso to note all workouts are preceeded by a 5-10 min warmup, stretches and dynamic stretches

3/13- 20 min base run, mechanics drills, (quick feet, ABC, dorsiflexed butt kicks, standing claws for beginners,) core work,

3/14- (fyi- I’ve measured the approximate distance where we workout indoors)
3x550s with rr 10
Weightroom- upper body

3/15- 20 min run, mechanics drills, (same as above), core work (film critique of past performances and some video of professional sprinters)

3/16- what do you suggest with the rr between reps 750-550-350-150
Weights- lower (squats, ext, curls, calves

3/17- 4x150 with 10 rr or hr of 120 bpm, core, drills

Sat 3/18- light plyos in gym (short hops, box jumps {only jumping up on boxes and step down})

Mon 3/20- Base work; core; mechanics; starts

3/21- 4x20 accel.; 6x30 flyes; weights lower

3/22- 3x550; core; mechanics; blocks

3/23- 8x30 flyes; weights upper; hops and box jumps

3/24- 5x250; core; mechanics; blocks

3/25- Base run and recovery

This week will look a lot like pervious week except they have a meet on Sat in which most everyone will compete in two events. As a result, Thurs. will be the last full workout for the week.

WHat do you think so far?

note that the first meet was moved from 3/25 to 4/1.

I would leave out the 20-minute runs. They accomplish nothing for sprinters. On 3/13, I would do some short accelerations – maybe 2x10x10m, depending on volume of mechanics drills. Also do weights on this day. Higher weights, lower reps, 3-5 sets – bench or push press; squats, cleans or deadlifts. I’d leave out extensions and curls. If you do any plyos, I’d keep them on the speed days, too, but keep the volume low and probably just work on jumping up to a step or landing pit for the first few weeks. Later you can go to more ground to ground contacts and finally to depth jumps.

On 3/14 and 3/16 and 3/17, I would do tempo runs at whatever distance you have available totaling about 2000 meters.

3/15 could be like the 3/13 but do some max velocity work – flying 20s would be good.

On 3/18, I would put in some speed endurance. 2x4x60 with 1-2 minutes between reps and about 8 minutes between sets.

Take 3/19 off and follow a similar approach the following week, extending the accelerations a little further and making the max velocity runs a little longer – a longer fly in zone and a 25 or 30 meter maintenance zone. Given your facility limitations, special endurance probably shouldn’t be in the picture yet – but if you’re able to run 150s, what you’ve outlined there (4x150) would be fine. You could put that in week two, moving some max v work to Monday following accelerations, keeping the total volume in the 300 to 400 meter range.

In general, I wouldn’t do the longer sprints that are in your program (550s, 250s) this early in the season. I would wait until acceleration and max velocity are in place, add in speed endurance and then go to special endurance, where you can get into some of the longer reps.

Okay, but once again our season is short- 12 weeks to be exact. My understanding is that there should be some base work early on, especially for 400 kids. Isn’t the purpose to help them recover from hard workouts. I Just to clarify, the 150s for example are run in a hallway where you have corners that you must slow down to turn for safety reasons. Also, why wouldn’t I start with longer special endurance as well as a short accel program? WOuldn’t I want to get more race specific as the season progresses? Ex: start 100 meter kids off with accel for short and 400 breakdowns or intervals for special endurance. What do you think?

In a short season, there isn’t time for base work. How much base can you build in a few weeks anyway? That’s more for off-season training.

Recovery from hard workouts is accomplished by the tempo work on days following speed work.

If your 150s are in the hallways, I’d drop those, too. You can accomplish the same thing by running 3x50 with a short recovery and avoid the slow turns and possible hazards.

You could do some special endurance, but once meets begin, the meets themselves will provide the special endurance. I would focus on acceleration, maxV and speed endurance in training, adding a little more total volume for the 400 sprinters.

Your athletes will get more out of doing shorter reps and focusing on speed than they would if they ran slower over a comparable volume of longer sprints. As you build through the season, the speed endurance will increase as will their special endurance, and they will have improved acceleration and maxV as well if you emphasize it early in the year. They will enjoy this approach more, too, which can’t hurt.

Years ago, I always felt I had to get my athletes “in shape” first, so they could handle the quality stuff later. But it was too much too soon for most kids and while I helping them get tired and sometimes injured, we neglected the acceleration and speed, adding that later in the year – if they survived that long.

Since I’ve reversed that approach, everyone’s a lot happier, faster and more successful. Even the 400 sprinters are faster. In the past, my 400 sprinters could run fairly well and recover very well. Now they run very well and recover fairly well.

Next fall/winter, have them build their own base. Whether they do or not, you help them improve their acceleration, maximize their top speed and then maintain that speed longer.

I think you will enjoy coaching this way as well. The kids don’t think they’re working as hard because they aren’t running as far, but they actually are working harder because the quality is greater and number of reps higher because of the shorter distances involved.

Good luck!

I really do appreciate this help.
I really believe in plyometrics and the benefits. I like to incorporate this in my program but how often and what about the the days leading up to a meet. I like to make sure it is in the muscle memory so I like to use it 2 days before a meet. How far do you suggest I go into the season with this exercise.
More questions to come!

Plyometrics are good to incorporate. I like to use them as part of weight training (ie, deadlifts, squats or cleans followed by hops up to boxes, over boxes or just some tuck jumps or squat jumps). Just be careful to keep the volume reasonable, especially prior to competition. When you do plyos, keep them on the same days as speed and weight work so your recovery days aren’t compromised.

Thank you.
The next week or two of season looks something like this. There is a meet on April 11th so what would you do for that Monday before the meet?
(with some modifications)
4/3- 4/7 (spring recess w/ practices)
Monday 100-400; Accel 10x20 on hill; weights

Tuesday 100-200; Tempos 200+100;200+200; 200+300; 200+400 (10mn rr between each set)

400 ; Tempos 200+300; 200+400; 200+600 (core and mechanics)

Wednesday All sprinters- 6x20meter accel+30 flyes (full rest&rocovery) between and after; 2x60; weights

Thursday All- 600+400+200+100 (core and mechanics

Friday Starts; Handoffs; fill in with 3-4x60 frr

Saturday tempo-
400 800-600-400-300-200 w/ diminishing rr

100-200; 600+400+300+200+100
w/ diminishing rr
Core and mechanics

also, our conference finals and regionals occur between May 23 and June 2nd. How would you and when would you taper tempos, rest andrecovery between sets, distances, and weights prior to those dates so that they peak appropriately? Like I’ve said, I have been successful but I know there is so much out there to learn.

  1. Day before meet, I would just have them rest. If you want to do something, a general warmup would be OK.

  2. 4/3-4/7: I don’t think the tempos you have in there are recovery. Total volume should be around 2000 meters and speed should be less than 75%. I’d have all the sprinters run 200 meters or less. These have a short recovery, 30 seconds to a minute, so they will get conditioning out of it without having to go to longer reps. If you want to run the distances, you outline for tempo, it might be OK provided you keep the intensity very low (<75% of PR for the respective distance). From what I can tell, it seems like your tempo days are too intense.

First can you clarify the following; “If you want to run the distances, you outline for tempo,”.

I am not sure what this means. Second, would the sprinters stay at the same tempo work all year? Eg- 100+30, 100+60; 100+80; or can I go with 30+60+100+120; or 4x150s; 3x200s. Also how do you adjust tempo as the year season progresses? I would like to diminish the rr for speed days and for tempo days? what are your thoughts?

Also, what is considered a meso, macro, micro, and macaroni-cheese cycle? (Coudn’t resist). Seriously, how does this breakdown in time?

In general, back off on the tempo volume – run a total of about 1000 meters per session. Recovery should still be short (< a minute), keep weight sessions short, cut back on reps and sets but then eliminate lower lifts when you’re about 5 days out from a major meet. You could do bench about three days prior. As with other work, keep the speed work sessions short and recovery between reps long. Emphasize short, fast stuff. You want them fresh and rested for major competition. There’s not much at that point that can help them improve conditioning or anything else – just sharpen, rest and get focused.

I think there’s a lot of room for variation in tempo work as long as the intensity and total volume is appropriate. During the competive season, I keep tempo to a 1500 volume, decreasing to 1000 when peaking. When I refer to tempo, I’m talking about recovery runs of no more than 75% maximum effort.

It seems like you’re describing split runs, which are special endurance. I think your volume for those is right, but that should be a speed day – not a recovery day.

Those are just sophisticated terms for the various training cycles. I don’t use those terms much. I prefer to talk about general preparation, special preparation, competitive season and peaking. I guess those might be mesocycles. Macros might be what you do week to week within a given cycle and then micro is what a daily looks like.

Hey, even though much of this is similar to what I do already, it is just helpful to hear it from someone with probably more exp. Thanks

Do you guys have any HS athletes who run anything from 100 to 800? If so, how do you train them? We have several as we have a small school and will change events according to what we have the best chance to compete in when it comes time for the end of the year.
I am thinking about working the tempo volume up to 3000 per session, then backing off two weeks before the district meet.
A week might look like
M - accel or max speed work
T - Tempo
W - Speed endurance or special endurance
Th - Tempo
F - accel / max speed
S - off or tempo or long run - on own = might not happen
S - off

I would keep the acceleration and max velocity work the same and make adjustments in speed endurance (higher volume) and special endurance (longer reps). You might have the 800 runners do some sessions with your distance runners, especially when they’re doing pace work or other interval training.