spike lengths and sprinting

Hello =)

  1. I was wondering what people’s opinion/knowledge is on the change of biomechanics in sprinting (and if there is change) when shifting for example from 5mm spikes to 7mm.
  2. I would also like to know what kind of length Charlie’s athletes used throughout the year (on the track) for training, and if they switched to longer ones for racing (and how gradually, exactly when, etc).
  3. Thirdly, If the spike length should depend on track surface. (mondo versus tartan, with the argument being that perhaps in tartan the spike should not be so long, because it penetrates deeply and ‘blocks’ the movement > this is what my engineer-teammate’s first take is, anyhow =)))

I have been using 5mm all year since September (and not having any problems), and today I decided to switch to 7mm for 80s and 60s and got a pull/niggle in my right glute s and was forced to stop. Yes, I was running my best times during today’s training when it happened, but now I’m hurt (nothing serious though). So … lets talk =)

Stefanie, I think you raise a really interesting point, so to speak, and I hope your niggle clears quickly. I do remember Charlie saying that Christmas tree spikes work best on softer surfaces.

Your 5mm spikes sound very short but maybe okay for training. I assume this is for a harder mondo? But, hey, if it’s helped to keep you injury-free that’s the main thing. Here in Britain a lot of tracks are made of a crumbed rubber base with a rubber skim across the top so are softer and Christmas trees and pyramids work better than needles.

As for spike lengths, I think a lot will depend on the distance too: faster speeds and shorter distances = longer spikes even if we’re only talking about a few extra millimetres. I have no problem advising the kids I coach to race in 7-9mm but they mainly do the 100m.

I know back in the day (when I was still competing and tracks were generally softer) a few big 100m runners tore it up in races with 12mm spikes but that must have been tough on the achilles.

Will be interested to hear other thoughts.

Great… =) Thank you, I appreciate the input.

Anyone/anything on biomechanic changes/influences/risks? (so I can understand how to react with spikes from now on. I really do want to continue running in the longer 7mm ones… ).

I can say that the track at York where Charlie’s athletes train has an indoor spike maximum length of 5mm, whereas the limit for outdoor races is 7mm. I can ask Angella Issajenko what they used indoors vs outdoors, as the policy may have differed at the time. Maybe Ange will weigh in here.