Top Speed and Speed Endurance

Just to clarify as this discussion has weaved and perhaps gone away from its original question. Neither I, nor Sprinterl I believe, are advocating this training as top speed work. Clearly focusing on top speed and only top speed is the best way to improve it. However what I and subsequently Sprinterl were asking (and then defending) was the top speed component that occurs in the first rep of the 80m runs. I was not arguing that this was the best way to train top speed but I think a consensus can be arrived at that their is a top speed component as well as the speed endurance (which is what the run clearly is).

What I do disagree with is THEONE’s statement that top speed can hardly be developed in this method. That is like saying that running 100m races is not going to improve your 100m top speed since it would be considered a speed endurance run. Although I agree that the 80+80 is not the best way to improve top speed, it is definetely a method, and not altogether poor in my opinion.

I spend so much time at the training track that to be honest I would prefer to just train the best way and use the rest of my time watching tv or doing something else.

If you are training a component common sense shows you should use the best methods to work it…why do bicep curls to improve your bench :wink:

AussieBrad and all,

Common sense would also tell us that it is best to be moderate in our training. All anyone has said is that this training is not optimal. Fair enough. But the type of training Juggies does is useful not because it is the BEST method to train speed, but because it appears to train two different elements simultaneously.

Many of you seem to think that because this type of work doesn’t permit several repetitions, there is no place for it in a good program. Let’s remember what Juggies was trying to ascertain: whether or not a single run can train two qualitities simultaneously. The answer to this question has important practical implications. Wouldn’t a taper period be precisely a time when you would want to minimize repetitions by training two important elements simultaneously? Wouldn’t also a recovery phase be another such time? What about any time when the objective is to reduce volume? In this sense, it seems to me, broken speed endurance runs, or any old run where there is both a top speed and a speed endurance aspect, plays a vital role in the overall plan for the development and maintainence of speed and speed endurance.

you have some valid points, but any of the times you are reducing volume or tapering etc you are generally racing…which works everything in tandem anyway, leaving you to continue to work on the necessay components that make a sprint race at other times.

Chalie hit the nail on the head (suprise suprise) when he said that the more reps the more chances for learning. Would you think a start session is better serviced with one start over 300m or 10x30m?

Its what theone was getting at when he said that with your session, and the one rep that is being done that works top speed is more then likely not sufficient to develop top speed as you describe the session.

The 2 x 80 split workout is a great workout but I think it should be in addition to a top speed workout on a different day.

I also feel the top speed work should be early in the week when the athlete is freshest. (Working from most CNS intensive to least throughout the week (from CNS intensive to muscularly intensive)

Otherwise you will likely cook your CNS and feel a little heavy or flat near the end of the week.

For example:

First speed session) top speed work
flying 20’s, 30’s etc whatever the athlete can handle.

Second speed session) Block work, short accels
30’s, 50’s, 60’s etc

Third speed session) Speed/Strength Endurance
80’s, 120’s, split runs etc, Running As for distance etc

This way you hit each component individuallly within each session where you can dedicate the most energy (CNS and muscular) to that particular component.


Sorry to keep pressing the point,
I agree with AussieBrad’s central idea. However, a sprinter who relied solely on competitions to train or even maintain all components during a build up to an absolute peak would undoubtedly lose them on short notice. This is where runs that are “all-encompassing” can be useful.

Yes, they are useful in helping you maintain certain qualities not develop them. Is 80+80 good for speed “development”, NO. Can 80+80 be useful in helping you maintain top speed and attack speed endurance at the same time, Maybe.

I think we may be getting to the end of the discussion as the sides seem pretty firmly entrenched. But I’ll take one more crack at it.

  1. Is 80+80 good for speed development? Yes.
  2. Is it the best way to develop top speed? No.
  3. Will you improve your top speed if this was all you did? Yes.

Thus there is development, not the best development (which is not what we have been saying) but development nonetheless.

On a separate point, Charlie you state that Flojo had great speed endurance. But was it really speed endurance if her 80m-100m was the fastest part of her race? It seems to me that it was top speed as in this last segment she was running 11.12 m/s. Her fastest speed all race. Both Ben and Mo in their fastest runs slowed down (or Ben would have even if he had run through the line) but it seems like Flojo was just hitting her stride. You notice this in all her races as she might be even or slightly ahead of the field at 60m but then pulls away, and through the splits it is shown that the reason is not that she is decelerating the least, but that she is in actuality increasing her speed (while everyone is decelerating).

Perhaps this should be a new thread on the wonders of Flojo, but I think there is a pretty good argument to be made that her 100m contained no speed endurance as she ran 90m-100m as fast or faster than any other segment of her race… and thus if she was doing these 80s it would most certainly be top speed :wink:


I think you take a very limited view by saying there are NO developmental speed gains in 80 +80. Any time a sprinter hits top speed, he exercises a learning opportunity.

But I think Chris30 brings up a good point about the distribution of speed work throughout the week. I see a couple of ways of approaching it:

  1. to compartmentalize the components (acceleration, top speed, speed endurance)
  2. to distribute them evenly in low volumes throughout the week

Perhaps this is dealt with in the archives. If the best way to develop a certain quality is through constant exposure, wouldn’t the second option be best, so long as volumes are kept low on each day? For example, each day would involve some acceleration work, some speed work, and even less speed endurance work, but the total weekly volume for each would be equivalent to what Chris30 described in his compartmentalized plan.

Or am I way off, and it’s better to specialize each element once a week.


Do you have a breakdown of Flo Jo’s workouts? How her training was broken down etc?


I think the main reason for breaking out top speed, acceleration and speed/strength endurance is to take advantage of the athletes limited CNS capacity. Often after top speed/accel work (especially with PB’s being set) it takes anywhere from 5-10 days for the CNS to recover fully.

If you trained each component at the same time in each workout (albeit in lower volumes) there is a pretty good probability you’ll fry your CNS.

By having top speed, accel and speed/strength endurance throughout the micro you have an inverse relationship between CNS intensity/fatigue and muscular intensity/fatigue throughout the week. This allows maximum CNS recovery between cycles.


I think Chris is on the money there, you need to break up the sessions to allow you to increase the volume of each session.

You can do a top speed session one day, rest 48 hrs and come back and do a 95% speed endurance session and still keep the numbers for each session high.

If you try to train all of the components as you say then you have to drop the volume and you limit your progress by not doing enough over a given period of time.

by constantly cycling each componet you protect from staleness, overtraining and allow the organism to super compensate when you do it properly.

Vertical intergration is the very nature of how the CFTS system stimulates the organism, addition of different stimuli at different times to elicit a positive effect on performance.

Entrenched? My ground troops are still at home. So far I am still using air warfare :stuck_out_tongue:
Why would you use Flojo to back up your point. Over 90% of all sprinters hit their top speed by 60m or before, making 80m an endurance run. You would change everything around for them because Flojo can still accelerate past the 60m mark? What you are saying is if we can find an athlete that can accelerate all the way to 100m we should rewrite the books and call 100m runs acceleration work. The Flojo idea is lame!

[If you try to train all of the components as you say then you have to drop the volume and you limit your progress by not doing enough over a given period of time.]


My idea was that the volume would stay the same, just spread out. Wouldn’t this allow the quality to stay high all week?

Also, the whole point of vertical integration is that all the elements are being trained simultaneously, only the volumes change:

“There is constant overlapping: as one component is being increased the nest is being reduced. You effect the transition gradually…”

I realize these words refer to a long term training block, but why doesn’t the logic apply to the weekly cycle? I think reserving 100% quality, higher volume speed work to only once a week is a good way to ensure soreness.

Low volume, high quality work done frequently allows for constant, progressive adaptation, and avoids the problems associated with truncated volumes done infrequently.

With regard to avoiding staleness, this plan allows for suffiecient variations in volumes, which are necessary to provide the variety needed to keep progressing.

I was just going by what you said above. When you draw each of the elements of speed into its seperate componets you are distributing them over a week period (or whatever timeframe your program allows for) in any event. I inferred you meant that you would be dropping volume lower then what would normally be achievable with three sessions in a week.

There is overlap present in your workouts, its just that its been found over time that working on key components over different macrocycles has developed a number of first class sprinters.

Using your workout may be good in a competition phase where you are running sessions at 95% to intensify for comps. However, outside of that (ie in gpp or precomp) its not really in the principle of going short to long.

First of all I am not suggesting that we train like Flojo, and I suggest you read posts a little more carefully before branding them lame, but you are most certainly correct about most sprinters and when they reach top speed and when they leave it.

The Flojo “point” was to show how your rigid views are unacceptable since there are most certainly exceptions. Is 80m speed endurance? Normally, but not for everyone. Certainly not Flojo, and certainly not for most 400m runners. We have a mid distance runner on our track team who ran some 300s last year. He had to run them all out since he wouldn’t even tire at the end of the race. Does that mean I should do that? No, but it shows that people are not all the same and there are always exceptions.

What I am advocating is that we try to broaden our horizons a little and not fall back on strict rules such as “You can’t do top speed over 6 seconds”, and “this and only this is top speed work”.

Sprinterl and I agree that it is not the best way to do top speed work, but we just want to see that people have actually read the question and thought about it, instead of regurgitating sprint “facts” that are not always right.

To restate the question as I did before:

Can top speed be developed in fully recovered sets of 80m+80m runs.

If you can prove, not that this is not the best way, but that there is no way that this develops top speed, please by all means do so. However so far the response has been either 1) How to improve top speed more effectively or 2) To deride the 80+80 workout. The question was never is this the best way to do speed development, or even is this a good workout. The question as Sprinterl put it was:

“whether or not a single run can train two qualitities simultaneously”

Once again I ask if you can state why it can not do this.

Thoughtfully (and I mean that),


women are different to men, they cant reach as high a top speed obviously so I thinK i remember someone saying that they needed more speed endurance. Flo jo is a case in point.

I doubt you will find anyone in the world that has done a study on your exact question, most people speak from experience (which is arguably much more important and carries more weight).

We can infer from a knowledge of training principles that more reps is more practice at a given task. In sprinting practice is limited due to the large number of motor units that are recruited each time a run is done at near 100% intensity.

There is a top speed element in an 80m run.

Whether it would develop a person’s top speed depends on their training background and current top speed. With such a low volume of top speed work (essentially just the middle bit on the first run) it is arguable that this would not really develop anyones top speed bar that of a relativly untrained subject, or perhaps depending on the volume of the whole session it could perhaps freshen up an athlete who is overtrained in certain circumstances.

There is no clear answer, get a group of 15yr olds and start coaching, you will soon find out after a few short years how good your theories are :wink:

That statement shows you don’t understand the concept of speed endurance. I am not trying to dis you, but you need to do a little research. Fyi, most 400m runners would more than likely be at max velocity by 50 or before.

I’m fairly certain I understand the concept of speed endurance but let me run through some ideas so I’m sure.

Speed Endurance Definition:Maintaining speed at a near optimal level (for as long as possible) [hint: the important word is near]

With Flojo you just assume she has great speed endurance, but she actually gets faster, thus her 100m in fact has no speed endurance component as she is never maintaining speed.

Now to deal with 400m runners. I’m sure with a lot of 400m runners (not 200/400 runners) that they are able if not to increase their top speed then to hold it (at that level) for a long period of time. You would claim that this is speed endurance. But where is the division. The classic top speed development technique is flying 20s or 30s with a 20-30m run in. But why is that 30m considered top speed? Let’s assume for argument’s sake that you perform the flying 30 in 2.70 seconds with each 10m segment being .90. Shouldn’t the first 10m be top speed and then the next 20m be considered speed endurance, for you are maintaining the top speed. Yet it would undoubtedly be argued that this is top speed work. There seems to be an ingrained belief that top speed is 30m and no further.

You suggest I don’t understand speed endurance when refering to 400m runners and yet let’s once again look at an example. If a 400m runner runs a 100m and reaches a top speed of 1 second per 10m segment at 50-60m, and then continues at 1sec per 10m for the next 40m, when is the run (constantly at the same speed) no longer top speed but speed endurance?

I appreciate Flojo is an anomaly but if I may use her in another example. If she were to do a flying 60 with a 20m run in, and for argument’s sake (as evidenced by her results) she ran .90 segments for each 10m. When does speed endurance start and top speed end?

I would argue that speed endurance is maintaining speeds at near-optimal, and not optimal levels. Thus my two examples, Flojo and a 400m runner are perfectly valid as they maintain their speed at optimal levels and not at near-optimal levels, thus their 100m races would not involve a speed endurance (as defined as near-optimal) component.

If you examine most sprinters (which I will once again point out is an area I agree with you) they do hit a “top speed”, usually before or around 50-60m and then maintain a sub-optimal speed, perhaps .01 or .02 less for top level athletes, but sub-optimal nonetheless.

Finally to address AussieBrad, your statement about women is unfortunately incorrect as the 100m World Championships final in Athens '97 both Marion Jones and Maurice Greene reached their top speeds at 50m, and then both athletes “maintained their speed at near optimal levels” for the remainder of the race. Thus I see no evidence that women do not reach their top speed later, and Flojo is definetely not a case in point. She is an anomaly yet to be seen in a male 100m sprinter (although I believe that Maurice had a chance of doing it in Edmonton, in which case he would have run 9.6 low, a stunning result equal to Flojo’s accomplishment)

Proof of the Marion and Mo:

"The data from the last world champs in Athens is available It was done by the German Sport University Cologne, Institute for Athletics.

EG 10 m splits 100m Gold medallists
Marion Jones 1.81, 1.11, 1.02, 0.97, 0.95, 0.94, 0.95, 0.95, 0.97, 0.99
Maurice Greene 1.71, 1.04, 0.92, 0.88, 0.87, 0.85, 0.85, 0.86, 0.87, 0.88 "

I apologize for being long winded but I believe I have conveyed my intention. Speed endurance is clear: Maintenance of speed at near optimal levels. But when looking at anomalies like Flojo, AND 400m runners it becomes clear that the difference between top speed and speed endurance becomes blurred when longer distance runners are able to keep a top speed for a long distance.

I also appreciate that this effort was most likely in vain and that those who stubbornly believe in speed endurance will think me ignorant and uneducated, for surely a 100m sprint involves speed endurance in all cases. All I can ask is that you read my post carefully and address my points and agree or refute them as you see fit.

Once again thoughtfully,

My point on women and speed endurance is that because women cant reach as high a top speed as men, generally they respond better to more speed endurance and post 6 sec training then elite men, who as Charlie says (if I can quote him correctly) needs more alactic work as they get faster.

I think 400m runners are a poor example when talking about top speed as they are not running flat out in a 400m race relative to what they can do.

Furthermore, while the splits look like they are close the difference between Greene’s top speed and end of race 10m split is about half a metre over 10m which is massive when you consider the winning margin between the finalists at this world champs.

Based on those splits 20m-30m looks like a great distance for max speed development, allowing speed endurance to occur on another day.

You have some great theories, now you just need to apply them and get someone to run 9.7 and you will be the man :wink:

I still dont understand the right way to do flying 30’s. When you say fly zones do you mean ex. 20meters to reach top-speed before you are out of that zone and maintain it for 30 meters??