SPP1 Question on SE alternative

So let’s say you take Charlie’s S-L plan, and want to apply it to a team or someone where you want the athlete running both 60m & also a proficient 200m going into indoors (rather than just a 60m focus).

I was thinking like, for example, I took the example and looked at it two ways of maybe getting this done.

So I started working from right to left. Rather than end up at 4x60 for all 3 sessions, what if you wanted to end up at sessions like this: 1. 4x60, 2. 2x200, 3. 4x60. Is this possible or is that inadvisable anyways?

Well I thought of two ways of getting there.

Obviously, the speed session in the SL takes care of itself and will always become one of those 4x60s.
One SE session will also take care of itself in that it would progress pretty much in the manner Charlie suggests (intensity increases, volume drops, RI progress too etc etc)

Well then could we just modify one of the SE sessions to go maybe from 3x4x60 to 2x4x80, 2x3x80, 2x2x120, 3x150, 2x200 or something along those lines? Where the intensity limit obviously would progress slower.

OR, with that SE session we’re manipulating, progress from say 3x4x60 eventually to 2x3x60 but not progress the rest nearly as much as the other 2x3x60 session so that it is more lactic and more similar to a 180m? then could you just go into 3x150 to 2x200 from there or would you need to go with 80s/120s before you get there?

Just something I was thinking about after looking over SPP1 stuff. Thoughts?

Are you doing SE training on an indoor track or outside? One of the reasons Charlie used the spilt run 60s was to avoid training on the indoor oval as much as possible. If you’re outdoor you could use longer runs to build SE for the indoor 200s. Or you could stick to spilt runs and wait until the actual races to run the 200s and effectively use the races as part of your SE training to begin laying the foundation for SE2 in the spring.

Well I’m just talking about the future, for fall training. But say you have access to both, but in a climate where you will use a 300m track indoor for the cold months. So mostly anything goes for me.

The question is if you really want them to excel at 200m indoor or use that as part of the progression toward outdoor. If the indoor 200s are not the main goal, I would leave them for race day and use them to build upon split runs used during SPP1, allowing you to transition to the longer SE runs for SPP2. I think trying to excel at both the 60 and 200 indoor is difficult using a S-L approach. It requires you to speed up the SE progression. It might make more sense for younger developing athletes who require more speed endurance emphasis anyway.

The documented training paces in CFTS for phase1 are 30-120. But there’s more from newer physiology research that is reason not to go out too far, period (i.e., Charlie had it right, years ago):


Modern research has shown that ATP production from glycolytic means tops out in the 15-20 second range. You would need to go out beyond 200m in training distances to build buffering for 200m racing (if 200m is considered to be a primary race distance), but since I don’t, I do it like Ben these days. Go back to some of Charlie’s old threads about Asafa where Charlie was saying that Asafa needed a certain number of races and go out to 200m in races a few times before championship competition, but this was late in phase2 or phase3 . Charlie’s spp1 in Vancouver and Edmonton handouts is ALL 60s. I don’t see a reason to go beyond 80-120 for indoor season, assuming you’re primarily racing 60. You DO want a progression that gets you to 150-200 eventually, and that might be difficult if you don’t touch on 80-120 in phase1.

Just wondering what newer physiology research are you talking about and where is written that is reason not to go out too far, period?
The researches re glycolysis been done in 70s, you can find tests as early as 80s on swimmers/glycolysis.

Kind regards

Some of that research from the 70’s appears to be, well, not wrong but outdated, particularly the part about turn on time of energy systems from the onset of intense exercise (sprinting and jumping here, since we’re not throwers). I found this review a few years ago, with about 50 citations, all of which are later much later than the 1970’s and some of which will challenge what some/many coaches “know”:


There are also articles in the Journal of Applied Physiology dealing specifically with biochemistry of glycogenesis, as well as a number of laboratory measurements showing energy production tops out certainly in the 15-30 second range and more likely in the 15-20 second range (i.e., well BEFORE many coaches other than Charlie stop training the system). I see two general implications for issues discussed on this site:

(1) Remember the old quote from Angella Issajenko on here that “Ben’s secret was that he refused to do long SE.” What we see in laboratory measurements is that ATP production from glycogenesis tops out well before 30 seconds, which means that energy production from neural recruitment and buffering is declining. We also know now that aerobic contribution in a 10 second max sprint is 3%, but as high as 20-25% in some AOD measurements for 200, which is consistent with ATP production reaching maximum levels in about 15 seconds. If you’re emphasizing 60-100m, is doing 3X300m special endurance at 90% really more efficient than 3X150 at 100%? At 45 seconds, ATP turnover by glycogenesis appears to be barely more than half what it is at 15-20 seconds. I think that even if I wanted to race 200m, I’d listen to Charlie and train in a way to emphasize my ATP turnover more. The method we have to train by emphasizing aerobic performance is called distance running.

(2) There is an old thread started by DMA that talked about what you do in your first 7 seconds of a sprint. The implication was that you get 6-7 seconds of free alactic energy. We now know that implication is wrong: All systems turn on almost immediately and there is NO 7 seconds of free alactic energy. Energy production form CPK tops out in TWO seconds. At that time, the AMP enzyme is secreted, which is a stimulus to your glycolytic system. By the time you THINK you still have alactic energy, your contribution from phosphagen has already dropped by 30-40%, and by 10 seconds, energy production from glycogenesis is almost half of the total. Charlie’s method was almost entirely alactic, but what I see to do here is, instead of 4X4X60 with rest of 4.5 sec, do this as 4X4X60 or 3X3X80 with rest of 1-2 min as glycolytic short speed endurance, then do the more alactic stuff later as capacity has been build as split runs. I’m not saying that Charlie’s approach was wrong, only that it wasn’t the whole solution, based on what we know now in physiology.

Keep in mind the CNS component as well. Charlie used longer SE runs as much to manage CNS fatigue as to build energy system endurance. In fact, as some athletes got faster, Charlie emphasized longer SE runs for them even though their energy requirements during the actual race did not require it. The greater CNS demand of their max speed work required them to back off more during the SE workouts to allow proper recovery.

In the CFTS book, and other places as well, Charlie mentioned the example of a female sprinter (I can’t remember if it was Angela Bailey or Cheryl Thibedeau) being tested by a group of exercise physiologists for blood lactate levels. She felt fresher when her lactate levels were higher because the workouts that produced them had a lower CNS effect.

I believe the chief motivation for using the 60m split runs during the fall and winter was because they were training mostly indoor, and Charlie wanted to avoid using the banked track as much as possible due to injury potential from postural compensations related to the banking.

I also believe Pietro Mennea used a similar split 60 protocol. I remember talking to Charlie on the phone back around 2002, and he was telling me about Mennea’s workouts. When Pavoni trained with Mennea in the early 80s, the high volume of runs almost killed him, but then he went out and in Charlie’s words “jogged” a 10.16 at the European championships. (correction: it was 10.25, but you get the point)

Very good stuff lkh. Yeah, I think something relevant to what you’re talking about is also Pfaff’s view on this. And how we generate a lot more lactate at the start than we realize, so increasing that envelope is also a great way (especially for lower levels) to progress and make more room for alactic speed work.

But basically do you think it would be advantageous to have one of the SE sessions maintain the short rest intervals? (in spp1 of course as that’s the subject) Whereas the other SE session morphs to speed. Versus ending up with 3 speed sessions, if you aren’t necessarily trying to be all about the 60m. Like if you were coaching indoors and obviously have some athletes contend at both 60 and 200. Of course I know that using SL you wouldn’t focus on 200, but to still be a contender in it come indoor champs


The Vancouver slides show 3 days of Ben’s program, The first block of weeks was 2 days SE (repeat 60s with gradually increasing intensity limits) and one day max velocity work, like Easy fast easy and finish drills (i.e. flying 20s). I would suggest if doing short to long, potentially doing a 10 day micro cycle (vs. CF’s 7 day), and potentially going to 40 or 50m. Olu did 40s and 50s and ran 9.85. It depends on the athlete’s ability.

If incorporating a longer day of SE, I’d suggest fitness be in place during GPP. Based on the athlete, Charlie did program that in the early training phases as well.

I can’t remember where in the forum, but PJ suggested training from both ends simultaneously, where tempo progressively becomes SE, and accels eventually become speed and then SE.

A hypothetical question I have is what might Charlie’s short to long program looked like had he lived and trained in Arizona?

Sometimes I wonder if all the energy system analysis is even worth discussing. If one is somewhat enlightened, you should see simple, logical workouts and simple, logical progressions. Assuming I’m working under the umbrella of a sound technical model, do I care where the energy production comes from? I just want to go from A to B as fast as possible. What about all the various strength and elastic qualities that helped out along the way? In the end, I think athletes’ preparation simply needs to be in the ballpark. At some point won’t racing and mother nature handle the rest?

There’s mention of Marion Jones’s training in one of the videos where Charlie Francis discussed it as Modified short to long… she did 90s in sets of 3 I think? 3 by 3 … I don’t know if there was an accel limit or not. But that was in north Carolina , which isn’t as hot as the southwest, but I’ve lived there and it’s pretty mild in the winter. Maybe it could have been longer runs, maybe the athletes wouldn’t like them that far - 90 meters

Sprinters are biased in their personalities when it comes to anything long, at least I’ve found. They think anything over around 100m =punishment. I think there’s a psychological aspect to training that’s seldom spoken amongst coaches, but athletes have to like the way you train em’. I think the mindset of many sprinters is to prefer stuff like 60m reps. They stay interested that way. This is not absolute, but I really believe personality dictates how athletes “like” or “dislike” it, and that blends into how much effort they give. I haven’t found a sprinter yet begging me to throw in 150s or 200s. So I’d say the 60’s or 90’s seem like more “fun” to sprinters. That’s just my experience.

Another difference to consider: 250m [20+] vs. 4x60m [20+].

The total volume is about the same. However, with the split runs you’re performing four accelerations versus only one. That might be more beneficial for a S-L program that places more emphasis on developing acceleration in SPP1, especially if you’re only doing two speed workouts a week. Just food for thought. It’s times like this that I really miss Charlie.

I think for coaches is good to know what is actually happening in your body while running in the specific area. Sure all the important qualities should be developed through the whole year (ish). I think understanding of the subject re: energy system (physiology) is very important. So my answer is yes! I do care where the energy is coming from.

Correct me if I am wrong but as far as I know Charlie said himself if he had an access to the better outdoor condition his program might have been looking totally different. Charlie maximised his environment that’s it. I think that there is place for every run in the training program.

I honestly can’t remember. Ange might be able to answer that question. But I do believe the split runs were largely to avoid using the banked indoor track.

Such interesting possibilities to consider

As Charlie said many, many times, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Split runs were to avoid using the banked indoor track yes.
They were also used to favor the assets or asset an athlete has.
The individual rules don’t forget.
Yes, There is always more than one way to skin a cat.
Charlie was above anything else an innovator. Creative , cost effective and he believed anything could be done with the desire to do so. He also was not a fan of " No".