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Sprint Training

How to Train
This is work that is done at, or very near, maximum speed. Although, this may seem obvious, it is sometimes not realised that only repetitions of up to a maximum of 5 or 6 seconds can be completed at top speed. If it is longer than this, then this is speed endurance - ie the maintenance of a high speed for the duration of a run.

Many runners will find that they can complete no more than 30-35m in this time, whilst even the very elite men will cover at most 50-55m.

Often this kind of work will be done only in the summer and in conjunction with the practice of starts (whether they be from standing, crouching or blocks).

Also, it may be useful to do some sprint work at the start of a session following it with some running over longer distances to achieve two types of training in one session. In these cases, the shorter, faster work should always be done first or else the risk of injury is increased due to running at top speed when fatigued.

There are a number of different ways in which athletes can practice running at top speed. These include

Sprints from standing or tripod starts (meaning one hand on the floor)

Block work

Flying Runs For example timing 30m where the athlete has a run up to the start line

In and Outs Here cones are set up at 10-15m intervals and the athlete works hard between alternate cones - relaxing, but still moving quickly, on the others.

Relay changes This is a good way to get some fast running done where the athlete runs "naturally" because they are concentrating on changeovers.

A typical top speed session for a sprinter might be 3 x 30m flying runs, then 3 x 40m from blocks all with a full recovery, followed by some speed endurance work, for example 4 x 150m with 6 minutes between each repetition.

Sprint Starts from Blocks

It can be helpful to have someone else observing your running or recording you on a camcorder. Ideally, this person will be experienced at picking up good performance, but even if they are not, you can use their feedback for example by asking them specific questions. For instance, to what height do my arms reach at the front and back of my arm swing, if you know what skills you are trying to perform.

As mentioned above, drills are very useful in improving technique - please see the separate drills section.

Running Technique

In order to be able to sprint efficiently, a good running technique is important. This can be improved by thinking about how you are running and maintaining relaxation as much as possible.

Concentration on technique in the warm up and in the performing of strides and drills over a period of time will hopefully lead to good technique being transferred to the full sprinting action subconsciously.

Running Sessions
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Racing Starts - for all events

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