Technical advice for a young hurdler?

Thanks for the kind words Ange. My warm up usually takes 30 minutes - 45 minutes. Usually on the lower end as I’m not a glutton for hard work … As for the regeneration… I actually didn’t do much after the meet. But I learned after the soreness which refused to go away I’ll probably have to do a cool-down job and some stretching. I take cold showers after my track workouts but I’ve never actually tried a contrast one after. By the time I get home I’m already reluctant to shower, and to have some cold water down my spine seems like a horrible idea… And from Brent McFarlane’s Speed book I learned that extensive tempo work can also aid in recovery (also provides a plethora of other benefits as well) Any tips on that regard?

Was I nervous? I actually wasn’t. The thing that just kept bugging me was, “Could I make it to the first hurdle in 8 steps?” The day before the meet I could not get 8 steps no matter what. However that idea disappeared now; I was probably a little excited and kept my strides and speed very sprinter like. Who’s filming me? My school track team :slight_smile: i love them. They make the very lonely sport so much more enjoyable.

Again thanks for your concerns Ange, your words provide so much motivation.

To help with video set up for 110m, using a bleacher if possible, around Hurdle 6. The zoom should be good enough for most of the race without zooming out. If no bleachers, then zoom the camera all the way in and walk back until you are a reasonable size on the screen. I would set up at hurdle 6. That would help with your analysis.

I think Your take off trunk position is good. But you delay your lead arm position until after flight.

This video has nice side camera action.

It looks like the delay in the lead arm position is causing you to bend forward on touchdown instead of being tall. Tall at take off, tall at touch down.

For training, Ange’s advice to me has worked incredibly well. For 14.1, you would need to run splits of around 1.1 per touchdown interval. Set up training distances to mimic this rhythm. For my sub 14 hurdler, its 9 yard spacing in spikes, or 8.5 yards in hallway in flats when weather is poor. Indoors we worked mainly through 4 hurdles in training, now working to 6 hurdles at race rhythm.


1:38 for sprint over 4 hurdles.

i didn’t feel the best for this workout. when i go over the first hurdle, im not scared at all, but after adding more hurdles, i start to doubt myself. for the past workouts, i’ve really tried to keep my trail arm tight and really use it to speed myself off the hurdle (also helps with torso rotation, though it’s still there). however my trail leg Is just making everything worse for me. I’m starting to implement more drills but it refuses to change. Are there any ways I can correct this faster and more efficient ?

I actually thought your trail leg was fine, it’s your trail arm that I think is causing you problems. Your trail arm seems to hover right next to your hips, when it should be going much further back - more like a running stride. While obviously your technique isn’t going to be as good as an Olympic gold medalist, check this out: I am a best an OK hurdle coach - maybe Ang or ESTII will chime in here.

One thing that stood out for me was how wide your first two steps are out of the blocks. Try keeping those first two steps tighter towards the midline of your body to keep yourself moving forward instead of ‘skating’. If I see you at BCHS this year, I might come say hello. :slight_smile:

I think the trail leg is coming to the front a lot better. A chest height camera view of the drills from head on will confirm it but it looked like on the drills your foot was coming over the line. The is coming down and then up and back causing trunk twisting on touchdown. I would probably cue you to stop the arm at the hip and see how you respond to that.

I agree with block starts as well. Do you do many medicine ball throws? Even a few sets of 3-5 throws during speed days will help. Without looking at the block set up and hip angles its hard to say more.

Keep working at it!


put in another session. i think that my trail leg is actually a lot better now! i tried to keep your guy’s advice for the bent trail arm like a sprinting position… but it’s a lot harder than just going out and trying to do it. my lead arm i think is better, but i think i can still improve it by keeping it on my forehead instead of too far in front of my body because it always makes me rotate.

ESTI - I did not know about the benefits of med ball throws. I guess that’s why I always pop-up near the start in my 100 races. I’ve read up some good exercises and how it can help with my start. I think it’ll help me a lot in the future. Are there any tips on using it? I was thinking about doing it between my drills in my warm-up.

just out of curiosity - how fast do you guys think i can run for the 110MH (39")? At the minute, I definitely think I am capable of a low 15. Just by watching me go over the first/second hurdle, do you have any guess at how fast I can run it?
What’s the biggest difference between me and your near sub-14 hurdler ESTI? Is it raw speed or just technique or what is it?

Judging by the looks of it - I think I am capable of taking the gold at the BCHS, and making the BC Team for Legion Nationals. But running 14.6 and anything lower this year would make it so much better…

The lead leg is getting around the front better than before. The reach arm on take off looks ok, but try to pause the video around 51 sec at touchdown. Notice the extreme trunk rotation with the arm nearly completely behind the back. I have found trying to get the hand under the trail leg knee often stops the trunk rotation. When my athletes arm gets too high he rotates the same way. When he keeps his hand low its a thing of beauty.

ESTI - I did not know about the benefits of med ball throws. I guess that’s why I always pop-up near the start in my 100 races. I’ve read up some good exercises and how it can help with my start. I think it’ll help me a lot in the future. Are there any tips on using it? I was thinking about doing it between my drills in my warm-up…

IF you can, try to get the GPP download. It has all the info there for throws.

just out of curiosity - how fast do you guys think i can run for the 110MH (39")? At the minute, I definitely think I am capable of a low 15. Just by watching me go over the first/second hurdle, do you have any guess at how fast I can run it?
What’s the biggest difference between me and your near sub-14 hurdler ESTI? Is it raw speed or just technique or what is it? …

In these videos, how far apart are the hurdles? Regular height and regularly spaced? Take a look through my journal on 110H.

We have found our success and improvements come from reducing hurdle height and spacing so that touchdown times are rhtymic to the goal time. We are shooting for sub 13.60 and I look at various hurdle charts to get an idea of what the touchdowns should be and then put him in position to achieve those. At this point, the only time he goes full height and spacing is in a race. Ideally for him, 9 yard spacing at 36" leads to 1.0 splits from H2-6 in training. When we trained inside the hallway, it was 8.5 yards in trainers to get the 1.0 splits.

He is also very fast, running in the 10.80 range, having done training runs at 120m of sub 13.2 and 150 at 16.1 4 weeks ago. I have used the speed first for several weeks with some hurdle work and then went to hurdle specific work with minimal maintance speed/SE work.

Is it not weird for the hurdler to practice at a lower height then come into a race and race at a different height…? That idea sounds good and I would like to try it but my only worry is that since 36" and 39" are different, the difference between training and racing would be too different. What are your thoughts on that?

And wow, he is a lot faster than me :p. I recorded a 11.74 just this week so he’s around 1 second faster than me!


Here is my race of 15.21 :

I know I’m definitely capable of a sub-15 now. This track is not that fast. And with higher competition, both quantity, and quality, my time will definitely improve. I hit the first hurdle, which is weird because I do a lot of sprints over the first hurdle. During the race I didn’t feel like I was floating the hurdles as I did earlier in the season, but I felt like the whole hurdling motion could be faster. There was a “time-warp” I believe. My lead arm and trail arm didn’t behave properly but it’s good; I know what to fix now. Looking back at the footage, I felt that I would benefit from my hurdle endurance work - I got less snappy over the last few hurdles.

What are your thoughts on this race ESTI?

It is very common for hurdlers to practice lower heights to get used to the rhythm/timing/feeling of going faster. My hurdlers are on low hurdles (or spaced closer) at least half the time.

I think you are used to being higher and slower over the hurdles, so as your technique improves and you get lower/faster, you don’t make as much use out of your speed as you could. You are hovering/pausing a big before your lead leg comes down and your trail leg comes through. Try pulling your trail leg through sooner.

I took advice of Ange based on what Charlie had her do. We have not had any issues hitting hurdles. Tuesday after a solid warm up, great drill sessions, we did 3 runs over 5 hurdles spaced 9 yards at 36". hand time splits were near 1.0. He then had 20 minutes and ran a 13.6 hand time. Execution was incredible. No video unfortunately. Below is his race Saturday. 14.41 FAT into head wind. Technically not his greatest from what I have seen.


As a general rule you do not want change much right now as you competing. Changing anything discounts what has already been accomplished from your existing training.
One thing you can do is post one week sample of your training with as much detail as possible. Post what you did for one week or what you plan to do for one week.
I see some inconsistent mobility from your trail leg which indicates tightness. Sometimes your trail leg looked more mobile.
How many days are you training?
How many speed days are you doing?
Have you been doing tempo at all?

" And wow, he is a lot faster than me :p. I recorded a 11.74 just this week so he’s around 1 second faster than me! "

Try and resist to compare yourself to someone JC.
Esti is a coach and he is watching his athlete and just focus on where you are at and once you post a sample of what your training we will be able to see if and where some small changes might help you right now.
Athletes with highly organized coaches have an advantage but you are young and interested in learning so be patient and learn as much as you can. Perhaps down the road you may see value ( or not ) in finding a coach to train you.


After a week of training, I’ve put together a few questions.

This is what I do for tempo: 4x100m, 3x200m, 4x100m. I focus on smooth running and “ok” form. I’ve realize when I incorporate too much sprint position factors, I go too fast and the running no longer becomes smooth. I run faster and naturally, get more tired. So if I drive my arms up to my face, the rep might come out really fast. But after this the speed becomes inconsistent - something I believe I should not go for. How important is the consistency of the tempo reps. Eg. In 100m - I run a 13.4, 13.5, 13.4… versus 13.1, 13.9, 14.2. Also after reps of 100m I walk back to the start line - is this too much rest? It’s usually like 50sec -60sec give or take. 200m is around 120sec. What are the recommended rest times of tempo? I read in CFTS that Charlie would only implement 50m walk. Also how would tempo sessions differ from week to week. I keep this workout the same for every tempo day of the week. Looking through training logs of other athletes on here - they have a difference between ‘easy’ tempo and a normal one. How would I progress in this regard?

Also for speed I usually do a step-up approach. So something like 1x2 hurdles, 2x3 hurdles… Same question applies here - how would I progress/periodize this? I hear a lot about short to long run approach/long to short run approach. That is beyond my understanding - what is your light on that and how can I apply it?


Yes I had a little epiphany yesterday. I back with my “club”, which I train long jump with. Hopefully I can do some hurdle stuff with the coach but that is only max 1 day a week. LJ coach said that the last three strides of your run up should be short. They are not short because you take less of a step, they are short because they are quick. Same goes for bounding - long strides are slow. I applied this very simple thinking into hurdles - if I practice going through the barriers at a shorter distance, also lower height, it will be quicker. And at the race, it will still be quick and I won’t hit the hurdles because each step should be longer (more adrenaline). So training through the shorter distances will have the neurological imprint of moving fast, and once at the race, these quick steps will be aided by the adrenaline - going through each hurdle at the necessary length, but quick!

It’s amazing how something so simple can make me understand something much more than that. I really want to give shortening the distance a try, but like Ange said, I don’t want to introduce it suddenly.

*Congrats on your athlete’s 13.7 race! Seems like the goal of 13.65 FAT is near.

I rewatched the video a few more times and realized, my trail leg is stalling. After yesterday’s session I think I improve it a little bit further. Let’s see if I can keep it up at the meet. Also, the BCHS is moved to Langley, hopefully I’ll catch you there in 2 weeks? :slight_smile:

If this is meant to be extensive tempo a la Charlie Francis, you’re running too fast. You should run the 100m in about 16s and walk 50m in between.

So I just finished the BCHS Provincials today (equivalent to State finals in US). A few thoughts:

I qualified into 110MH with a time 15.21 - the fastest seed time. The second fastest was 15.7 I believe. I gained a lot of hubris because this margin is wide and I believed it was not my limit, since I ran it on a slow track, with essentially no competition. But throughout the week I’ve been getting nervous so I was afraid the race might go as planned. At the start today, when I was doing my warm-up, gave myself plenty of time, I saw other people, doing drills that I couldn’t do. I shouldn’t have felt this way, but I got afraid that these people will beat me. I was in heat 1, lane 4, the last lane. I just sat there and slowly got into my zone. I knew all the training was done and I just had to execute. When the starter called start, one person went off beside me. And I was really glad it wasn’t me who had false-started. Afterwards, the starter said that none of the sprinters were in “position”, so the guy was not handed the deadening red card. We were called back into position and I just focused again. I knew I had to push fast and good; I was thinking these guys are going to eat me up if I don’t! As soon as I heard the gun I was out. The guy beside me had a phenomenal start, but I didn’t focus on him. After the first hurdle, he disappeared from my sight. And I was really glad at this time, since that means the race was against the clock - no more pressure. I just executed and all I could think about was my lead arm. “Don’t bring it too far back” “Stop it at the knee!” After I got off the last hurdle, I glanced at the clock. It was a 14. I was very glad, I knew that 15.21 wasn’t my limit. And now all my pressure has been thwarted. I qualified for the finals and I was gonna show them a even better time.

After the 100m heat I got on the track - there was approximately 30 minutes left until my finals. The heats took a long time, they were 20 minutes behind schedule. But I knew a full warm up wasn’t needed. They called our finals pretty soon. We got on the line and someone false started again. I was kind of nervous at the start, I didn’t want to push it too fast out - seeing how many false starts there were at the meet, I didn’t want to take the chance. We got back on our line and waited for the set. I held my breath. And as soon as I heard the gun, the two next fastest guys popped out already. I knew I had a bad start. I went over the first hurdle, I knew I had to catch them. I went over around 5 hurdles and I was in front of them! I knew if I wanted to secure the win, I needed to push it faster. And then the worst thing a hurdler could do happened - I smashed the hurdle hard on hurdle 7/8. I slowed down so much, and the two guys went past me again. I got back on my feet and started sprinting, I felt like I could catch them. The winner ran 14.96 - a time I ran in the heats, 2nd was 15.19 - a time I could easily have beat. And I, the favourite - ran a glacial pace of 15.38. Immediately after my race, I wondered how it would feel if I could relive that race again. A feeling of sorrow that is congruent to someone close to you who just passed away. What if…

My breath was quickening. And one of our sister’s school coaches comes chat with me, giving me many, many encouraging words. I talked with a graduated alumni about the race - mainly about how aggressive, and focused I was, and especially about the disdain created by that 3rd last hurdle. I analyzed my race with him. He told me I had a bad start but I caught them. And I was thinking deep down - how said it really is seeing the winner running a time that you were completely, perfectly, capable of running.

After the race, when I was heading to the award ceremony, I heard a conversation about a hurdles race (this was approximately 20 minutes after the finals). He was saying how a guy who was leading and these two guys sandwiching him beat him off at the end. The leading guy caught a hurdle - a genuine representation of the worst and quickest way a medalist can head off into the bottom of the results. And that guy they were talking about, after many minutes of the race - was me. It felt really cool, having people analyze your race. I guess it was a good day :slight_smile:

Yeah that was unfortunate crashing hard into those 2 hurdles jc. I was going to introduce myself but was busy and never got a chance. I have a video of your race I’ll upload later. Do you have a hurdle coach yet? A friend of mine who’s a pretty good hurdle coach and is one of the all-time fastest youth hurdlers in BC said she’d work with you. :slight_smile: PM me if interested.


I was going to do a meet tomorrow (Sunday). It is at one of my biggest favourite tracks in the province. Apparently it’s made of the same material as the Beijing 2008 Olympic venue. But I handed in my forms late and was not able to participate in it. I don’t regret it as I was introduced to a lot of new training elements and I want to stabilize them first. Our club’s new coach is called Derek. He is a very busy guy and has a long history of coaching. Just yesterday, when he was breaking down the start of the race and demonstrating the infamous ‘toe drag’ - I was just watching and saying “That looks so damn cool”. He knows so much and hopefully we can lower our time together. We haven’t started doing hurdling work yet but I believe it will be there by next week. I want to ask him some questions like discounting the hurdle height/distances, special end. stuff… etc. I feel really fast after practicing the ‘toe drag’ with him. Every time I’m at home just walking, I’ll always have the first two steps as low heel recovery then eventually move it up to high knee mechanics - it’s so crazy how cool it feels. My next meet is Saturday - I’ll do the 110MH at 36" - this is great because I get to see a ‘speedier’ run. There were many comments in this thread about lower the height and decreasing distance in between during training. I realized that all the fast guys do this - ESTI’s 13.6 athlete, Steve McGill (and most likely Wayne Davis, 13.08!!) and even Aries Meritt (12.80!!!). It is not a coincidence! And after watching my video, it seems that I really am REALLY slow compared to these fast guys. So running the 36" will definitely capture more speed, and hopefully I can carry this to 39". I will also want to run the 200m. I was reading some hurdlesfirst posts (McGill’s blog) and he mentioned that sprint hurdlers should really want to work at the longer distances earlier in the season - to build up more endurance. And again watching my race, I lost the snappiness near the end, and it must be linked to not running enough distances such as 200, 400, 400mH etc… Last year, at our cities (USA equivalent of regionals?) I did A LOT of 4x400m, 400MH and I seemed to finish better at my races last year. I want to touch the 200m more and hopefully I’ll see some positive carry-over into my speed end. of the sprint hurdles.

Also some stuff about school.

I’m grade 11 and I’ll be graduating next year. The class of 13 grad ceremony was yesterday and I really thought about how fast high school is ending. I have to plan for post secondary. Before this year I was always wanting to do track just for high school and just go to a university close here - track takes up too much energy and time after high school. But really watching the olympic replays on youtube and being submerged in the essence of track and field meets, I realized I really love it. The olympic energy is absolutely riveting; I’m watching the 100m final on youtube right now and just through the screen, I can feel this electric atmosphere. I want to continue this ecstasy after high school. The question is: should I continue my education/track career here, in BC, or should I take it south, to the states. Taking it to the USA - the highest quality and quantity of hurdlers in the USA will definitely catapult my track career miles ahead. But can I make it? My PB probably would not even make the state finals in the USA; will they accept me, and even give me a scholarship? Do any coaches down there linger around on this forum, if so, please shed some light. Cheers!

Regarding making NCAA teams & scholarships:

Because the signing season for NCAA scholarships starts is February, track athletes are judged primarily on their performances in grades 10-11 (and the summer after grade 11). Scholarship money for guys requires some pretty serious times (which I’m not familiar with for male hurdlers); ESTII could tell you what the range is for when some money starts being offered. USA can get very expensive if you aren’t getting mostly full-ride, though you could walk on to places assuming you show progression into next year. The decision about Canada vs. USA is a personal one that should be discussed with family. There is a pretty long thread on it on the forums you might want to read through. I have a graduating athlete staying in Canada next year despite getting full-ride offers from good schools.

One thing to note: the BC Team standard is 14.80 with the 110m 36" hurdles, which I think is within your capabilities if training goes well and you put together a good race.

You have really done an excellent job virtually on your own without much direction or coaching or planning from anyone other than yourself … right?
This is not an easy thing because the kids that you have been competing with have been training consistently with clubs and coaches for a while now.
Your ability to have analyzed what you were doing has been incredible. Pay attention to this analytic side of who you are as it’s a valuable life skill.
Notice that if were aware who came out of the blocks first the race was already not yours. Essentially you panicked. It happens and it’s tough when it does as you know it could have been a very different result.
You mentioned something else that is a difficult thought to have before a race. It’s the feeling you had that you were not prepared. You began to loose focus on going out and repeating what you knew you already did in the heats.