Chasing Greatness

Speed Training Questions

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Here are the questions:

“I really enjoy reading your training tips. However all of the articles pertain to the younger athletes. What about us old guys who still compete at one level or another. How do we get faster? I have tried some of the techniques you have listed in previous articles and all I do is hurt myself no matter how warmed up I am. I am not a weekend warrior. I bike, run two miles a couple of times a week and I lift three times a week.

What type of speed training should someone in their fifties do? Right now I am running a 7 second 40 – pretty pathetic. In my prime it was sub 5 seconds, not fast but a heck of a lot faster than I am now. I would like to cut a second off of my current time. Any ideas?”
– Dan R.

Training principles still fundamentally apply to a 50 year oldas they do to a 22 or 12 year old simply because all of thetraining concepts we go over are based soundly on science.

The key, then, is to know your own strengths and weaknessesand modify your workouts accordingly. Older athletes maynot have the same range of motion, ability to workout forextended periods of time or may have back, knee, shoulder problems that limit the types of activities they can perform.

That may mean you can’t deadlift heavy weights any more evenif it’s a fundamental strength building exercise. However, I see no reason that you would get injured from doing a speedworkout unless you were trying to do too many reps. Perhaps you need to be more active during the rest period to prevent tightening up.

Also, time each run. Once your times fall off, stop the workout.For example, if you’re running repeat 40 yard dashes and yourtimes are 7.1, 7.2, 7.1, 7.1, 7.4, 7.5 then it is clear thatthe workout should stop. The 7.4 should be a red flag. That’s where knowing yourself (or your athletes) and theart of coaching comes into play. Either give yourself another rep to see if it drops back to the standard range orshut it down. You’re reached the point of diminishing returns.

But if you truly want to improve your 40, STOP running distance!!!!

I’m not sure where I heard this, but it’s true. Many people, especially very young people or ‘old guys’ (your words not mine!!) will do something that doesn’t work or get the results theywant. Instead of stopping and doing something different, they do the same thing that doesn’t work, but just do it harder andmore often. Then they wonder why it still doesn’t work!
Running slow for 20 minutes or riding a bike for half an houris the exact opposite of what you should do if you want to run fast.

You told me you want to cut a second off your 40, but whenyou described what you do for workouts, speed work was never mentioned.

You lift three times a week, but what do you do? Most olderguys I see in the weightroom come in and do full body workoutson the Universal. A set of lat pulls, then a set or two ofleg extensions, over to the bench press, then some curls.

That type of training won’t make you faster. You have to improve your maximum strength with squats, deadlifts, lunges,Olympic Lifts, etc.

That’s how you’ll drop your 40 time.

“I am an assistant coach of an Arizona U11 girls soccer team.We are a very skilled team but overall are slow and smallerthan some of the other teams in the league. How would your speed training program assist me in getting more speed on the team? Also, what is a realistic time level each week to spend on the speed training? We currently practice tues/thurs with conditioning training every other Wed. We are just beginning the second half of the season with our state tournament beginning at the end of March. Because the parents support the team any purchases need to be approved by them. I need something concrete that I can sell. Maybe you can let me use the progam for 30 days and then we could purchase it if we find it useful. Also, since we are part of a larger club (approx 28 teams) any success that we experience would translate in the oter teams having interest in the program. Please let me know you thoughts. “
– Scott M.

The best way to develop speed, particularly in young athletes, is to develop overall athletic ability. This means focusing on developing the five biomotor abilities that affect athletic performance: speed, strength, coordination, flexibility, endurance. The Complete Speed Training program will assist you in getting more speed with your athletes because it specifically focuses on showing you how to develop these abilities in your athletes. Each of the 5 DVDs in the program focuses on one of the biomotor abilities, with there being some obvious carry over.
For athletes in that age group, I would recommend incorporating some degree of speed and agility/coordination training into their training twice per week. I especially believe that developing your girls’ coordination will get you positive results. I find the coordinative abilities of younger athletes to be a major detriment to success and it is often not something that people spend time focusing on. This may mean temporarily cutting back on some of the ‘skill’ work and focusing more on the speed/agility/coordination component, especially if speed is the clear area of weakness holding your team back.

We generally don’t give away or loan out free copies of our programs. First, people don’t return them. Second, we know the program works. You can read the countless testimonials from satisfied customers at the program website. That’s why we offer an unconditional 365 day money back guarantee if you try the program and don’t believe the price has provided an equal exchange of value . As a coach, parent, athlete, etc. if you’re not willing to invest in yourself, your team or your child’s success unless someone else gives it to you for free, then Complete Speed Training may not be the program for you. I don’t believe in getting something for nothing whichis one of the many reasons why we can not just give it away.

“Its too cold outside to train. Not to mention the daylight savings time has hurt. Any suggestions on training for the next 3 months at the gym? Running outdoors is impossible, and I don’t want to lose what progess I’ve made.”- Stephen S.

Coming from a cold weather environment, I understand all to well the limitations that come with being forced to train athletes indoors. As a very general rule of thumb, I don’t like to do any speed work outside if it’s less than 50 degrees out. I’m not saying I always follow that rule, but in my experience the quality of work you can do in those temperatures is limited. Ultimately if you want to continue to improve speed while training indoors you have to be able to find a place where you can do some degree of acceleration development and speed work.

If you’re in a school setting you need to get in the hallways. Because the hallways in the school I coach at are fairly short, I lean a high jump mat as a ‘crash mat’ against the wall for athletes to run into so I can extend the distance they run by a few meters. Believe me when I tell you that your athletes will love this workout. For you cold weather track coaches you can set up mats on both ends of the hall and now you can do speed endurance workouts by having them run, crash, turn around and start sprinting again.

If you don’t have a hallway, you can use a basketball court. I have athletes run on the diagonal since that provides moreroom to run. Of course, from an agility training standpoint, a basketball court provides infinite options.

Sometimes we’ll do stair work as well. It gets the feet moving quickly and teaches athletes to apply force to the ground to get their bodies moving. However, stair work is very hard on the legs and should be done in moderation. I have seen athletes develop severe shin splints and even stress fr
tures from doing excessive stair workouts. Coaches simply need to be more creative in their training. It’s harder to develop speed indoors then outdoors with limited space. But then again that’s a major reason why athletes who live in predominately warm weather climates run considerably faster, on the average, than their cold weather peers.

But as I will cover later in this section, speed gains are in large part determined by strength. So if you’re in a traditional gym setting where, at best, you might have an aerobics studio to do a warmup in, you’re going to have to focus on getting stronger and make due until it gets warm again, then get back into your traditional speed work. You’ll find that even without running real workouts all winter, you can get faster just by getting stronger.

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  • Michael Geib says:

    What are your recommendations for incorporating lower body lifting weights (squats/lunges/deadlifts)in conjunction with their sprint workouts?

    There is no doubt that weight training and strengthening your lower body is important – but when is the best time to devote to training heavy lifting in the weight room?

    Should someone lift weights for their lower extremity only after their sprint work is complete? OR should they strength train on a seperate day when there is no sprint training?

  • Richard Calligan says:

    I’ve been doing the partner march drills with my daughter. We have a lot a trouble with the ‘stable’ drill. Any tips?

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