Transition from a long to short to short to long program

OK guys,

I’m finally sold and am switching my program. Heh. Ok, actually, it’s because of an addition of factors (curiosity to test a whole different program setup after reading posts on this forum for so much time, injury, time constraints among others) I have decided to change my program completely and will be starting a short to long program ala CFTS. My main concern is how to transition into the program. I’m going to consider the work I have done up to now this preseason in my long to short program as having completed a GPP and jump straight into my SPP. My main worry is that since I have done zero speed work for many months that if I jump too fast into too much intensity in speed work I’ll get injury. How to I deal with this?

Since I’ve rested about half a week while I’ve taken this decision and started making my program, maybe I should start with an accumulation week anyway, would a properly laid out accumulation week without any more measures be enough to jump into full throttle the week after with no worries?

After the accumulation week, should I

  1. Drop the volume on the speed work the first few weeks and keep the intensity up till I feel confident I won’t get hurt?
  2. Keep the intensities sub-maximal for a week or two (but then it wouldn’t be really effective for its purpose) and then step it up when I’m more confident?
  3. Reduce the number of speed sessions in the first few weeks (maybe two or even one the first week then 2 the second and then go to 3 the third)?

Or should I just be confident that if my program is appropriately structured (things in the right place, appropriate rest, etc) I shouldn’t get hurt and just jump right in?

I’m finalizing the details of my program and will post it when done (hopefully within the next few hours) in my training journal if anyone wants to check it for me :smiley: .

I suggest a combination of your three options. For shorter distances (i.e. 10-30m), runs can be done maximally, because the type of work being done can be accomplished during the heavy lifting phase (assuming you are going from accumulation to max-strength work) with less risk of injury. Of course, this assumes that your sprinting is technically sound and you are not exposing yourself to injury through poor mechanics. But shorter sprints are effective for developing acceleration abilities without exposing the athlete to excessive risk.

This leads into your next option. Many people think doing submaximal runs are non-productive. But runs at 95% can be effective at producing gains because a level of relaxation is present that allows the athlete to run fast (perhaps even faster than they think) while controlling and perfecting the technical side. Additionally, sub-maximal runs reduce the potential for injury. Once the technical elements have been improved and perfected, then the intensity can be increased. Additionally, the sub-max work allows you to build up the capacity for higher volume work.

Finally, introducing the speed work at lower volumes is a good idea. Depending on what condition you are in, you may or may not experience soreness after your initial workouts and may not be able to tolerate high volumes of speed work initially. So perhaps initially three speed workouts per week will not be possible, due to the length of time it takes you too recover (peripherally and centrally) from the initial session(s). But athletes can adapt quite quickly. Obviously, the stop watch will provide you with a lot of information (i.e. is performance falling off after 300m worth of speed?). If there is a performance decrement, then cut the workout short. But you are always better off to err on the side of less and anticipate decrements in performance - thereby minimizing risk. However, if you have prescribed some sub-max work, it will allow you to work at higher volumes to work on technical issues.

The good thing is that it sounds as though you are aware of all of the issues involved in introducing the short work. I know of many coaches who introduce speed work too late, and do too much of it too quickly. What ends up happening is that the athletes either get hurt (hamstring or quad pulls) or, if they manage to tolerate the work, they peak to early and then slowly watch their performances get worse as they approach the big meet. They also tend to have poor mechanics because they simply haven’t had the exposure to the speed work over a long period of time to work on the technical issues.

Good luck with your transition.