Speed Volume

When training for 60m indoors what are appropriate weekly volumes of speed work?

In CFTS it states that weekly volumes of 2200m with a gradual rise to 3000m when SE is introduced.

In GPP basics and the 400m short to long graph weekly volumes can reach past 2000m/wk of speed work.

Typical speed workouts are about 600m of speed work from what I gather, with a popular workout being 4x30m,4x30m,4x60m,4x60m.

But my general sense from forum posts are that 300m of speed volume per workout seems to be quite a bit.

I personally have no problem with volumes in the 600m/day range. But I am wondering what this disconnect seems to be between Charlie’s recommendations and the forum members recommendations? I’m pretty confused.

What volumes do you guys recommend?

Also, if in a competition I could potentially run 320m in a day, then wouldn’t you want to include more volume than that in a single day while preparing?

Or does it only depend on the amount of volume the race you’re training for has? So 60m.

Volume will be based on several things, your experience, recovery, massage accesability among others.

I work with HS kids and found great success with relatively low volume 2x a week.

This summer, over the course of 6 weeks, have dropped a 60 time near half second with workouts that look like this:

day 1
4x10 pushup start
3x20 stand
3x30 stand

day 2
4x10 stand
2-3x20 stand
2-3x30 stand

Would you recommend higher volumes for higher level athletes? As well as athletes with access to more recovery modalities?

In CFTS, charlie compared his volume with that of other coaches and indicated that it is low volume of high intensity work(2000m vs 8000m).

So as an athlete progresses should they strive for a greater volume? Over the course of a few seasons should an athlete build up his special work capacity?

I often hear people say that elite athletes need less volume because their intensities are so high. I also hear people say “well you don’t think you can handle the same volume as Ben Johnson or Asafa Powell could”. These statements seem to be contradictory.

My gut feeling is that as an athlete reaches higher levels of performance they need to further their own abilities by increasing overall volume. By I don’t have much expertise or reasoning to base that on. The Bulgarians seem to have been able to do an extra ordinary amount of volume of highly intensive lifting, yet if you put a developing athlete into that volume they would surely get injured. And so, I assumed that this is merely a gradual progression of volume suited to their skills.

Do you think this may work the same in sprints?

I think it is a bit more complex, at least from what I have seen, actual athletes I have spoken with, and what I have experienced myself as I have progressed.

When you get better, you get much more fit and are able to tolerate and sometimes even strive on higher volumes (and they may even be necessary to progress). Not only does your capacity develop in the sense of “general fitness”, but many coaches (Dan Pfaff for example), believe that even your envelope to tolerate and handle CNS work expands as well (given appropriate training).

I believe what some of the confusion comes in is the very highest intensity work, which may for some people and programs, only really come in competition or during brief parts of the prep periods. Plenty of good high school athletes, who are fit, can race quite frequently and not only handle it, but actually improve substantially. Many elites nowadays seem to trend away from running as many meets and those who do runs lots of meets and seem to be more injury prone (though I am not sure if that is necessarily the case). There are many a high school athletes that have performed 100/200/4x100/4x400 combinations at conference and state meets with multiple rounds without issue, while something like that would probably ruin an elite athlete’s season (and depending on severity of injuries, career). I have seen 10.6-10.7 guys (great high school athletes) do things like 3 rounds (heats, semis, finals) for the 100 and 200 in the same day and come back to run a relay leg as well and they are often fine. I just don’t think the same types of things can be expected from someone hovering in the 10.0 and below category.

1 Like

I guess this leads me to my next questions ( got lots :slight_smile: ). You mention that even high school athletes are able to perform great volumes of races, upwards of 900m in a single day, without any negative consequences. If a person can train at a given level of volume without any negative effects what so ever, should they? Given that rest and recovery is complete.

I’ve witnessed a high school athlete drop 5 seconds in a 400m within the course of a season (54-49) with little to no preparation leading in to it but with a great volume of races on a weekly basis (4x400m,4x200m/wk). 3 months later his performances have stagnated at 50 flat. Is this a result of adaptation to high volume and then lack of stimulus/GPP?

Is a week of 2000m short speed too much for a progression collegiate athlete? Isn’t this what Charlie has recommended?

I’ll post more later, but the consensus of most people on the forum is the 2000m of short speed is WAAAAAY too much for mere mortals who do not have the therapy budgets and access that Charlie’s athletes have, in addition to the stress of any other obligations. Many people have adapted it though with a ride range of volumes (I have seen anywhere from 600-1500 or so a week) with great success. 2000 though is a bit out there for most of us.

This is more than a volume question.
1: If a 400m runner uses the right series of meets, his/her times can drop dramatically BUT if that volume is made up of too many 400s, the performance will plateau quickly as you will have traded short term gains in event specific SE for pure speed development.
2: Similar Volumes, even made up of the same type of runs, can have vastly different effects and demands.
Examples abound but here’s a simple one:
2 x 300m SE with complete recovery could be enhanced for a beginner by doing them as split-runs, so 300m could be done as 5 x 60m as either turn-arounds or as walk-back recoveries (max 90sec). If done that way and paced for the best cumulative average, the 2 x (5 x 60) session will NOT have anywhere near the CNS effect of, say 3 x (3 x 60) with 4 min between runs and 12 min between sets, although, obviously, it would be higher than the 2 x 300 because of the immediate ability to sustain a higher rate.
3: As for the “Energy Envelope”, see Speed Trap and/or the first Forum Review for an extensive discussion.
4: The HS season improvements would have a big CNS demand so a 10 to 14 day period of extensive tempo only, possibly followed by a few weeks of slightly higher speed volumes but lesser intensity might keep the progress going.
This is highly individual and you have to use your personal experience to see what keeps the progress going.

Awesome, thanks for the responses!

Which download would address the SPP of a 60m indoor season with a progression to 100m outdoor? I was thinking Van04 would be good. Does this include a short to long 100m plan?

I am not aware of any products where Charlie directly lays out an SPP2. The SPP download is great, but it doesn’t give a plan or formulation the way the Vancouver video does. The Vancouver video has lots of information in addition to the plan(s).

The SPP lecture series helps you address the planning.

Does it matter if this 2000m of speed work is really 1200m of actual speed (60m, FEF, EFE, fly’s) and 800m of accelerations (blocks, push up starts, sled pulls). Would that be considered 2000m/wk of speed work, or 1200m?

It would all count

I include accelerations when I mention the lower volumes. I believe what Charlie says about the volumes his guys and gals did, I just don’t know of anybody who has been able to replicate it because they haven’t had the same circumstances. There are some elite coaches and extremely high level college coaches who have also mentioned having significantly lower volumes.

I see. This helps out a lot guys thanks!

My first year I had speed volumes of roughly 600m/wk, with some decent success. Progress stalled in my second year with similar volumes. The following outdoors, I had arranged things a little oddly, and had only included roughly half of that speed volume.Performance suffered as a consequence. Now I’m focusing on more quality work in the hopes of improving.

I’m probably looking at 1000m/wk now, with some more sensible progressions.

I plan on getting Van.04 download fairly soon before the start of my season.

I’ve worked out a progression of acceleration and speed that will be as high as 500m/day and as low as 300m/day. With a decreasing emphasis on acceleration and increasing emphasis on speed. Working speed 3x/wk.

Yea, that’s a good question. As for myself I want to see what charlies programs look like in detail over a year so I can study it.

I understand the esoteric concepts as far as not getting away from strength training/speed work but how to exactly induce specific demands on the body over period of time is what I’m fighting with my own mind to understand.

Just so happens I got a copy of Gerald Mach’s book that is helping to shed some light as there are programs that are laid out in the final chapters.

As for myself I want to see what charlies programs look like in detail over a year so I can study it.


As a practicing coach and strong supporter of Charlie’s work I would advise a precautionary note with respect to any urgency one has in seeing an annual plan.

As Charlie has stated, entire training programs are often more reflective of history then philosophy.

I have found this to be true across a great number of methodological approaches.

What is already available are blueprints of what a sprinter would execute according to a CFTS program short to long or long to short.

This is what I perceive to be the most beneficial resource.

A complete sprint program can only responsibly be written for a specific individual. Beyond that, for the sake of demonstrating, it would have to be generalized to the point of what is already presented in various materials of Charlie’s.

Speaking for myself, I have had requests to see how I outline an annual cycle for my American footballers. There is always great reservation on my end to do so because I’m not sure that words can strongly enough convey to the reader that training programs don’t exist in a vacuum.

Meaning, they are a snapshot, even if it’s an entire annual plan, because all the preparation that comes before it, through previous months and years, is what sets the stage for what you see on paper.

In my experience I’ve seen a tendency for readers to be too quick to copy and past the programs of others into their own training or that of their athletes. While gains over the short term are generally observed, particularly regarding a change in programming for lower qualified athletes, the uncertainty down the line is typically sure to follow.

Again as a supporter of Charlie’s it is my recommendation to closely scrutinize the materials he has already made available in order that the methodological approach becomes familiar. From here, the reader is then equipped to integrate this information in a practical sense into the training of sprinters and numerous other speed-power athletes.

I state this as someone who has faithfully been studying Charlie’s work since 02/03 and never seen an annual plan laid out in any more detail then an outline.

thank you james,

I understand that a general program, even If made by charlie himself doesn’t make It perfect for everyone.

At the very start, a general plan Is a great place to start from. After that experience bring adaptation and more deep understanding that can unable us to adapt to every circumstances.

Unfortunately, my own understanding of speed periodization is at is beginning and a general plan would be a great help.

Remind me of the good old days when I did the exact Ian King weight training programs. I didn’t knew better at the time. Now, I go intuitively and get much better results, but those programs where a big help back then, when I didn’t knew enough for my own needs.