Bud Winter coached at San Jose State University from 1944 – 1974 and was responsible for the legendary “Speed City” in the mid 1960’s.
In total, he produced 1 NCAA Championship, 49 NCAA records, and 27 Olympians including great athletes like Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, and John Carlos, just to name a few. He also coached Greece’s Chris Papanicolaou, the first man to pole vault 18 feet.
His basic approach to sprinting was a simple 8 step plan:
1. Use high knee action
2. Use good foreleg reach
3. Run high on toes
4. Have good arm action
5. Maintain good forward lean
6. Bound forward, not up
7. Run tall, with back straight
8. Be relaxed, with loose jaw and loose hands
Many thanks to Gary G. from Scotia, NY, for providing the information below.
Here is an overview of Bud Winter’s program. I consider myself kind of an expert on Bud Winter as I studied all about him and have read his two books. I also have met John Carlos and Bud Winter, who was ahead of his time and many coaches have taken bits of his program and some quote him often.
Here is his “sprint” program, I will send his endurance 400 program on another email.
Basically, he classified his sprinters as either the sprint type or the endurance type. Tommie Smith never ran farther than 320m in training but set WR’s at 200m, 440 yards and 400m. Here is his program:
4 weeks of x/c running and strength games, every sprinter would start with 1 mile and by the end of the month they would run 10 miles without stopping.
Intervals would start; slowly at first, every month faster for 5 months, here is an example of a week:
- Monday – 10x 100 on grass, 100 walk, (they started @ 15 down to 11 after 5 months.)
- Tuesday – 6x 200m, with 200 walk ( started @ 30, 23 in 5 months)
- Wednesday – 3x 320m, 15 minutes rest between (started @46 to 38)
- Thursday – Repeat Monday
- Friday – Starts and Finishes @ 150m x 5 (Winter would blow whistle 4 times and group would speed up and slow down, at tape they would practice leans.
- Saturday – Test Day, 2x 60 yards, 1x 165 yards, 1-2x 320m
- Sunday – Jog or rest
During this time period they would do drills every day, when they were in top shape they would do what Winter called a “relaxation test”, almost like Charlie Francis’ flying 20’s, they would run 9/10 effort over 30 yards with running start, timed, idea was to show the sprinters that you run faster with 9/10’s speed and not all out.
In addition, after the main workout, they would do what they called “killer dillers”, you start at the common finish and sprint out for about 25 meters, Winter would blow his whistle and the sprinters would slow to almost a walk, he would then blow the whistle again to speed up, this would go on until the 300 mark, then everyone would TRY and sprint home, if they could.
They also would do starts every day but Monday at 20-40 yards, 6 total.
In-Season: Faster, shorter reps, quality.
- Monday – Choose 1:
- 10x 100, no time, 100 walk -or-
- 3-4 laps of wind sprints -or-
- 2x 275m, no time
- Tuesday – 3x 200m cut-downs, 200 walk, (Winter felt if you could do 25-24-23, you were ready for a 47 400m) Late season, just go out hard for 50m, float, 100m, sprint 50m, 3x.
- Tuesday – Time Trial Day: 2x 60 yards, 1x 320m, hard but not all out.
- Thursday – Starts and finishes or if big Meet on Saturday, then REST.
- Friday – REST
- Saturday – MEET
- Sunday – REST or jog
If you are a big fan of Tommie Smith, be sure to read his autobiography Silent Gesture: The Autobiography of Tommie Smith.
Nearly 40 years later, he details what the “Silent Gesture” meant to him and surprisingly enough, it wasn’t the “Black Power” that we all believed was the true meaning of the no shoes, black socks, single black-gloved right fist!
He also reveals what his life has been since. I feel the book was written 20 years too late. There is also a lot of baggage and bitterness to be told, but after all, it is his story.
I’ll post the training for Lee Evans on the next article, as it is totally different. It is refreshing to see how Bud had the insight to coach these two 43/44 second Quarter-milers differently. Most rookie coaches would put them all in the same training group, or heaven forbid, move them up to the 800m!