Strength Endurance

I noticed Strength Endurance is something Charlie included a lot in his programs. Either in the form of 3x80-120m running A’s or 4-6x30m running A’s. Does anyone have any experience integrating Strength Endurance into a sprint program? Any suggestions on how to best include it and what the overall rationale is?

One thing I would do is integrate running A’s quite conservatively. I once replaced a track session with 3x80m running A’s because of snow and it fried the hip flexors, an area you definitely want to stay loose and flexible.

I wouldn’t do them, I would perform Dep pushups before performing shit loads of running A’s.

Just as “ontheball” noted, the development of running A’s and similar drills - whether for power-speed or strength-endurance - was out of necessity due to inclement weather conditions. Mach’s drills were appropriate replacements for longer runs and sprints due to the snowy and cold weather in Poland. When they came out of winter training, Mach’s runners did very well on the track due to the use of such drills.

Your decision to use these drills will be based on what you are able to do in your given circumstances. Can you run outdoors over longer distances to build strength endurance? If so, perhaps your use of running A’s is limited to technical drilling and some minor supplementary strength endurance work. In Charlie’s case, they were stuck indoors for late fall and all of winter in Toronto. Hence, use of these drills was appropriate given the circumstances, much like his short- to long approach to speed work.

It should be noted that use of the Strength Endurance drills can be taken out of context and create lots of problems for athletes. I knew of coaches in Canada in the 1980’s that would extrapolate Gerard’s materials and have athletes perform a full 400m of running A’s around the track in multiple sets.

Do you have to use longer runs to build strength endurance? Could you perform a 60-80m sled pull follow by 60-80m bound follow by 20m jog or 3x3x100 very light sled pulls.

No2, always useful to get the context of why someone does something, reminds me of this story

A daughter was watching her mom prepare the turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner. The daughter noticed that her mom had cut one of the turkey’s legs off before placing it in the oven…when the daughter examined the turkey leg, it seemingly looked normal. This was something that her mom did every year, and always puzzled the daughter…so this time the daughter asked her mom, “why do you always cut off the turkey leg? is there something wrong with it?” The mom responded, “Actually, I’m not sure…it was something that my mother always did, and I guess it just stuck with me. Why don’t you ask grandma later tonight”. So that is what the daughter did, when her grandma arrived later that evening she asked her, “grandma, why do you cut off the turkey leg before placing it in the oven?”, but she got the exact same answer, the grandma did not know why and told her she should ask her great grandma once she got here. So when her great grandmother arrived she asked her, ”great grandma? why do you cut the turkey leg off of the turkey before placing it in the oven? Both mom and grandma do it too, but they don’t know why…”, the great grandmother chuckled and said, “honey, I cut it off because our oven was too small to fit the entire turkey inside”.

I prefer using the running A’s for hip flexor and postural strength endurance purposes. The upright mechanics of a running A (and the ground contact time) will be closer to the upright running for a 200-400m run. But that is a personal preference.

Having said that, many 400m coaches have used longer hills (i.e. 300-600m hills) to build strength endurance. I have workout plans from Jim Bush that use hills extensively in the preparatory phases of training. I believe John Smith (who trained under Bush) also did this with his athletes at UCLA. They would run up the road that goes up behind Drake stadium.

If I had the right hill, I would use it instead of a sled. I do not like the feel of the sled as it tends to lengthen ground contact times and many people have difficulty selecting appropriate loads. Can it be used in lieu of a good hill? Certainly. But it wouldn’t be my optimal choice.

In the context of non-track athletes, I’ve gotten tremendous mileage out of the Running A drills whether it be power speed, hamstring rehab/lessening hamstring stress for those who feel tight, a tempo run substitute for those who feel tight, with shin splints, and so on, or a teaching tool for young athletes who have no clue how to sprint. As for the strength endurance context, I’ve had athletes perform longer versions (which for my purposes haven’t exceeded 100yds) but at a Tempo intensity.

When training for speed is the emphasis, any activity other than sprinting must be selected on a case by case basis.

I understand that running A’s, in Charlie’s SE programs, are used for the 60m after the speed endurance sessions, and for the 400m on a separate day of their own (along with MB hops and throws and plyos).

A while back I had an injury that didn’t allow me to sprint, but running A’s felt wonderful, and I did a number of 100m x A’s at each session, for a period of about 2-3 months. When back to sprinting, sprinting was at the level of where I had left it, and slightly better.

(I also find that running As on a hill, as a warm up for hills themselves is very effective.)

Any thoughts on performing a 4 week block of depletion pushups - follow by a 4 week block of running A’s - before heading into SPP1 which would include a 4 week block of strength endurance hill work ex 2x3x60m along with two days of accel?

SE tends to be more location/movement specific than Max Strength, so I would not cluster your workouts into separate activities (i.e. push ups vs running A’s) - as there will be less cross-over effect. If you want to integrate these activities vertically, emphasize your push-ups earlier in the training period and then phase them out as you increase volume and distance of running A’s, I would see that as a more appropriate use of both means.

I would not do a 60m hill workout for SE but rather lengthen them out to 120m or greater (stretching it to special endurance duration). By using a 60m hill, athletes will tend to sprint at a higher intensity and get it over with within their alactic requirements. Over 120m, the athletes will relax more and satisfy the energy system requirements you are looking for. I would either use a 30m hill for acceleration work, or move it out to 120m for SE work. However, if all you have is 60m of hill, you would have to rush them back down the hill and cluster the sets (i.e. such as in a split run situation for SE).

Great, I wasn’t sure how/when Charlie used the depletion pushups.

I had the 60m hills in the program because I remember Charlie starting with 8x60m hills on Sat and progressing to 80-100 over a 4-6 week period before dropping and raising the intensity of the spp drills. I guess your right because normal strength endurance work last about 15sec, I was thinking about lower level athletes and thought 50-70m would give them a small amount of work in the strength endurance department.

Has anyone used single leg calf raises for strength endurance? I am recovering from an injury and my physio has me doing them. My PB is currently 112 (he can do 300+) and I find I start getting sore hip flexors around 90.

I assume you have the bar on the shoulders, I isolated and used the seated calf raise. guess the answer is yes but the first time I could not walk for 3 days

Hi RB, if you get the chance to look at the Strength DVD Series, Charlie gives an insight into the use of depletion press ups.

Number Two, in the Edmonton series graphs, Charlie has a sample L-S programme where he includes Running A’s after the 2 Special Endurance sessions. As I understand it was not an actual programme used for any particular athlete but why include strength endurance units when 300’s and 600’s were in the programme. I know you helped in the making of the DVD’s was this example aimed at a 200m or 400m athlete.

Good morning all…

I’ve used running A’s either at the end of special/strength endurance workout durring the SPP phase. I’ve even found them useful after a hill sessions or after individual hill runs (runs of 80m or longer). Lasty during late SPP (on Sats after Fri hill session) I have made them apart of a bound-run-drill circuit (i.e., 60m Straight leg bnd+200m Tempo+30 to 60m running A’s).

My distances were always between 30 and 60m for 6 to 2 reps…The few times I did such work above 60m (i.e., 80m) I’ve used skipping (fast marching) A’s.

I’ve hadn’t add any real hip issues that some have spoke of. I good post workout flexibility/mobility routine has helped that.


If you’ll humor my opinion, it follows that the additional work might be warranted for general endurance reasons for certain athletes, albeit at a lesser intensity than the special endurance runs and by placing them at the end of the session, on the same day, you maintain workload compatibility with the day’s emphasis.

I’ve experimented with KK’s split run hill workouts used in his GPP. As you mentioned, one can jog down and back up (i.e. KK), and can also sprint up, jog half way down, sprint up (and versions like that). KK Mentioned this in the Threshold thread on page 67,984. Nonetheless, there are many options to obtain the end result.

Strength endurance drills, much like power speed drills and speed work, isolate a specific quality of special endurance runs (i.e. hip flexor strength, postural integrity, elasticity) and allow you to do more work without taxing the organism in the manner that would result from doing more 300’s and 600’s. Think of Strength Endurance-to-Special Endurance as EMS is to Maximal Strength Training. Supportive and complimentary, but not redundantly destructive.

no weight, unsupported, single leg for high reps