Short to Long Sprint Training

I am currently completing a study on the short-to-long theory on sprint training.

Other than CF, obviously using it successfully with Ben Johnson, how many other sprinters have successfully used this method??

Also, is it possible that an athlete has to be, perhaps, stronger and healthier to complete this type of training method?? I know of two athletes who have completed this method of sprint training, each of which have ended up with fractured metatarsals. Perhaps they weren’t doing this correctly but it is a bit coincidental.

Please share your ideas on this, as I have a theory which I will be glad to share, but it does rest on the answers to these questions.


There were many athletes in my group using S-to L or L-to-S depending on their response. S-to-L is hardly restricted to my group with E Germany using it primarily and Poland using it by response, and many individual coaches going back to the turn of the century.
Fractured metatarsals as a result of S-to-L???
Look to prolonged exposure to hard surfaces, regardless of approach.
I believe PJ Vasel wrote a history of sprint training over the last century for the British coaches’ education group. You might find something there.
As for the choice of training method, a debate was held some time ago over there with Tom Crick taking the S-to-L position. You should be able to look it up.

What would Fractured metatarsals have to do with S to L or L or short?
What is your theory?

Im with charlie and angela. How does S-L have to do with fractured metatarsals?

I know 120 athletes who have used and some have been injured but as of yet no fractures.

Stress fractures are usually due to too high a volume coupled with too little recover and poor monitoring - completely the opposite of what a short to long philosophy promotes. Someone who is getting stress fractures from running 2 high intensity sessions of 500m a week is doing something seriously wrong or ignoring or not monitoring the status of their athletes (especially their feet - where you should stop immediately if they say they have a problem). Remember the whole point of coaching is to come up with your own sessions that fit what your athletes can do given your own circumstances not just copy some program you think is “short to long” that you saw on the internet.

Other less thought of reasons for stress fractures could be too little Vit D and also foot mechanic issues such as too high a rate of pronation at the end of range.

Think things through critically and then make up your own mind about what training programme would be most appropriate for your athletes. What are the benefits of short to long vs what are the issues? Could you implement this in your current situation? Would your athletes benefit from this kind of focus?

Like I said, perhaps this is coincidental, but the programme was written with a lot of research and questioning on this forum. I have a very open mind on this and am very interested in learning what other have to say.

If we could leave the fractured metatarsals, and focus on the other bit… is it possible that only ‘genetically gifted’ sprinters are able to successfully take part in this method of training? We know that anyone can take part in L-S training, as most athletes do this and some successfully too, or is it the lack of knowledge by certain coaches (or most coaches in general) the reason S-L is not used more often??

In Charlie’s materials you can find who should select what and why.

It has a high CNS stress than doing L2S so if you arn’t recovering it can be a problem and as a result some athletes with less ability in this area respond better to L2S. For me if you want to break the WR or run under 10s then S2L is the way to go for certain because an athlete with that ability will generally respond excellently to it.

Having said that I’ve used it with success with developing athletes (12-15) and 18 year old 13s girls down to top level College students for both sprints, hurdles and horizontal jumps.

As for why fewer people use it. That’s just because of tradition. If you were brought up on it then as a coach you will understand how to implement such a programme. If you are trying to work it out and are used to higher volume models then you will often be uncomfortable with using such low volumes and so push the total training load beyond what the athlete can handle (because you will always prescribe too much volume initially). Remember if you are used to running reps at say 11.5s and suddenly every workout you are running 11s then that is a massive difference and it will take a year or so for the athlete to adapt to the change in intensity. This is a long term project not a 1 year wonder fix.

Where is this presentation by PJ Vasel?

The other option is a spread of the high intensity sessions in the S-to-L program (ie 2 x/wk vs 3)
The question of why S-to-L isn’t used more might be a matter of who acknowledges what they are really doing. Is Steven Francis doing a Long to Short when there is a huge emphasis on short hills (in fact by far the predominant speed vol - 24 x 40m hills) and the “long” consists of rep 300m in 37sec?
What happened with Bolt in his breakthrough year and why did his 100 drop right away and he set a WR before he felt he could successfully run a 200m?

Did those 300’s start at 37?

Want to make sure I understand you correctly, if a program includes sleds or hills from day 1 it’s a S2L program?

Would this program be a S2L or L2S?

For example: 11.0 sprinter
Mon: 2x4x40 sleds
Tue: 2x500 @ 400 PR +:20 at the ¼ - 15:00rest
Wed: 6x200 37 rest 2mins
Thur: 3x4x50 hills run/walk down
Fri: 2x4x40 sleds

First off, I’d flip Wed and Thurs.
The HI volumes are 1240 hills and sleds and 1000 SE, so I’d say S-to-L.

37 seemed to be the fastest but that’s on grass- tough for most but not so tough for Asafa.
Another point in all this is convergence- both programs move towards the events and when one aspect is already as good as it’s likely ever going to get, you may move through that aspect sooner.
In 1988, Ben was breaking WRs in 50y etc even though he was getting out behind the field sometimes. he was strong enough but hadn’t done a great number of block starts before the comp period and let the meets bring the feel for starts back.
It appears as though something similar happened with Bolt in 2009 as his starts came back to 2008 level at the WCs- and he was totally confident they would with minimal emphasis and he said so.

Yea that’s what I’m looking at doing.

Charlie- given that Stephen Francis said Asafa ran a best of 32.8 for 300m on grass, the 37sec 300s in training would put him a little under 90% and higher for the other guys. That looks like they are putting some emphasis on longer runs especially if (as SF said) they do up to six reps of 300m. How intense do the longer runs have to be in order to “qualify” as L-S? I assume its an intensity issue since 6x300m is significantly more volume than the 24x40m hills?

You have to look at weekly HI volume totals and as there are more than one hills session as well as sled pulls, blocks etc. This is my opinion of how the training effect is applied but it may not be shared.


Didn’t the Santa Monica guys (Carl Lewis, Leroy Burrell, Mike Marsh, etc) use Long-to-short? They not only ran under 10secs (significantly in the case of Lewis and Burrell) but broke world records (Ben’s scrapped time aside).

Yes, L-to-S with success for the long and lanky guys but not for Stan Floyd, who was muscular and came as world no 1 from a program that was very weights dependant.

Charlie, can you expand on that?When Floyd run his best times, how was his training like?