Speed endurance the key to *all* 11/12second sprinters?

I ran a 60m with accurate (+/-2hundredths) timing for 10m segments and I was wondering what everyone’s thoughts are on it:

Not including reaction

0-10m: 1.88 seconds
10-20m: 1.16 (3.04)
20-30m: 1.04 (4.08)
30-40m: 1.00 (5.08)
40-50m: 1.00 (6.08)
50-60m: 1.00 (7.08)

I always had the impression that slow guys got the biggest improvement after massive amounts (proportionately) of speed endurance. What does everyone think I should work on? I haven’t started speed endurance runs yet. Would they still be beneficial?

Well the speed endurance portion is going to show the biggest difference from 60-100m, though might show earlier in less developed/qualified athletes.

In my eyes, it is true that many lower level athletes are not awfully fit and can get gains there, but I’m not sure that is really the limiting factor. There are plenty of 10.0-10.2 guys who are not in fantastic shape. That isn’t to say it would not help them, but it clearly isn’t the sole or primary limiting factor in sprint performance. When it comes down to it, most 100m races are determined by who hits the highest top speed.

At your level, you need to work on everything. Your splits seem to indicate relatively better acceleration than top speed, however this could simply be related to timing (most people’s timing errors tend to be heightened in early/shorter races). Either way, if your ultimate goal is a 6.5-6.7 in the 60m or something along those lines, you’re going to need big improvements all around. I think you should probably just continue with a well designed and thought out program addressing all qualities in a relatively balanced manner and once you get to the point where you are looking for very small gains, worry about specialized improvements in specific areas.

Can SE as defined by a max speed run of 8 sec and up be the main factor for 11+ sprinters or is it in fact general fitness- a necessary precursor to the ability to generate reasonable SE in the first place?

Is there some kind of objective measure by which a coach knows when sufficient general fitness is in place? Is this time dependant (e.g. 12 weeks for an absolute beginner, down to 2-3 weeks for an elite athlete) or benchmark dependant (e.g. 10x200 with 2 mins rec @ 65% of the previous seasons best 200m time, 300 situps in one session, etc)?

I think it would be unwise to generalize that speed endurance is the key to all 11 and 12 second sprinters.

I agree with fogelson in his above post whereby speed endurance is a greater factor after 60m. Also as you appear to be a fairly low qualified athlete in the grand scheme of things ( no offence intended ) a multi-directional approach to your training, whereby various motor qualities are simultaneously trained, would likely yield the best results.

Well an absolute beginner would assumedly take months to become fit and there are no benchmarks to fall back on.
Even with a benchmark it can be confusing. As an example, I had some super-talented individuals who showed great progress without enough fundamentals in place for my liking. I’m sure if i had bypassed that step and gone straight to an emphasis on speed/SE, they would have reached a plateau prematurely.
I guess the smart-ass answer to enough fitness is similar to the answer given by the supreme court justice when asked to define pornography: “I know it when I see it!”
I haven’t really got a better definition of enough fitness, I’m afraid.

When I visited Toronto, you mentioned how Angela Issajenko’s level of fitness was supreme. I think you mentioned spotting her during squats and you thought she was wearing a wieght belt but she was not. It was just her core muscles. I never forgot that conversation. So I’ve worked on general fitness and getting lean and fit along with the running. And it has helped a whole lot…

Also with the athletes that you held back on even though they looked fit did you keep them in GPP longer even though their bodies looked developed?

sorry for the hi jack but I was in toronto this week end and I had a flash back :slight_smile:

Actually, I knew they couldn’t be that fit because they had only trained with me from the start and just hadn’t done enough. I was criticised by others for not moving them into individual programs becasue of their track results, not appearance or anything else.


But Charlie are there not more objective measures of readiness for the SPP. For example in l-to-s the athlete will need a pretty strong aerobic base to be able to run 2x600 with any real quality (and recover). In the s-to-l due to the different nature of the high intensity elements the athlete will need the work capacity developed by short hill accelerations, among other things, to be able to run quality 4x4x60 reps. And this does not even include the development of suitable mobility, strength (plyos, balistic, max strength, core), etc all of which would have some measure in the eyes of the coach that would indicate readiness for the athlete to begin to embark on the specific training for the forthcoming season.

I have read translated old Eastern European literature which had tables full of necessary correlations for an athlete to run certain times (although most of the tables, particularly where it came to more general strength and non specific elements, I questioned) there was still a recognition that objective measures can be found. Or is coaching more of a ‘dark art’ than even I imagined.

Good call. But of course if their progress would have stalled every schmucky expert would have been making comments!!!

How long did it take for them to get more individual programs? years? months? one season?


It took an extra year to move to individual programs but the results kept pace anyway.

There will always be tables etc but te individual trumps all in this case. Think about what happened this year with Jeter going to JS and John finding that she was missing some basic fitness componants despite very fast times already and her struggles adapting to a tougher GPP and THEN she was truly ready for improvements in the Speed and SE side. The rest you know about.

The Q & A with Stephen Francis indicated that general fitness plays a significant part of the training programme for Powell with 1,000m time trials, burpees and other calisthenic exercises going on until December (going on seemingly beyond the period elite athletes would ‘normally’ do GPP). He even indicated that it was a single periodized l-to-s programme (possibly to accomodate a lengthier than normal for elite athletes, GPP). Allan Wells had two 6 week conditioning blocks consisting of calisthenics, speed ball and plyos before he ventured (back) onto the track. Does this indicate that there are greater advantages to having the more extended GPP for elite athletes in terms of the general strengthening of the organism than has previously generally been recognised, and without a negative impact to overall performance due to the slightly shorter SPP.

the trick is to generate fitness but not at the expense of the previously developed speed and onlt to the extent required but no more. That means care that the additional fitness is gained in a gradual enough manner for the individual that it doesn’t overload the program.

I actually train people as a personal trainer. Nobody around here seems that interested in learning how to “sprint”. Ie, i offer sprint classes, and nobody puts their hands up.
However, i train them (the general population) to become a sprinter anyway. (even without them realizing it)
The issues i come across are

  • they are horrendously out of shape
  • they are carrying too much fat
  • they are too weak
  • they got no flexibility
  • their posture is also horrendous

All these things i try to fix, using items you use to train a sprinter. Its like a long long GPP. Even the best guy, 30yrs old, after 6months of training, is now ready to enter a more traditional GPP set up. However, I need to teach him to RELAX for it to work, otherwise it too will drag on in time.

I got people who might be doing a “GPP” for 2yrs before they are ready to actually Sprint. But when they are ready, They will be ready!

My opinion is, that once somebody can actually sprint, then their goals will be pretty much realized.
1 - chicks will have a hot body!
2 - people will loose FAT
3 - peoples back pain will be gone
4 - people neck pain will be gone
5 - people will feel toned, energized and healthy.

sprint training works in so many ways.
A beginner, depending on their initial level, can take a long long time before they are ready to “Sprint”.

And there in a nutshell lies the art of sprint coaching!

Very interesting post Charlie,

Just a few questions.

  1. By fundamentals do you mean aerobic fitness & general strength?

  2. Would there be any special endurance sessions for the mentioned individuals?

  3. Would the training year for one of these athletes essentially be a GPP or would you include some SPP?


1: Yes
2: A limited amount since these were high school kids at the time and the HS meets served for a great deal of special prep based on a limited tolerance they would have had at the time.
3; The SPP would be the high school comp period and again after a short break the summer meets. For such athletes, it woud be a matter of proportion, as there would be speed and some SE done but it’s proportion relative to aerobic and general conditioning would be much smaller than later in a career.

So for the high school athletes at this level mixing up spp with competition is ok? Would this be one high intensity session on the Tuesday and competition on Saturday (making up the second)?

Can be. Let’s say the athlete is running 100, 200, 4 x 100 on the weekend. You might do 2 x 150 or maybe 1 x 250 (depending on the athlete) sub max on Tues and a few starts Thurs with the rest being tempo and med ball/conditioning etc. The primary advancement of SE abilities of course is coming from the meets.