A good training plan can’t guarantee you a world record, but I can tell you a bad training plan will prevent you from reaching a personal best.
The book Program Design Method for Sprints & Hurdle Training was written by former Sonoma State coach Jim Hiserman. Sadly, due to budget cuts, the school no longer has a Track and Field program.
That’s being said, this book a great foundation for beginner and intermediate coaches. Even advanced coaches will benefit, as each chapter follows a list of resources and references. If you are a serious track coach, you probably own half of those references already.
Speaking of chapters, there was one thing odd about the book when I first cracked it open. There was no Table of Contents! (This was intentional by the author)
Thus, I was forced to start from the beginning, quickly scan the book, then re-read in detail. Each chapter had its own table of contents.
The book is laid out into 6 key chapters:
- program design overview – foundational principles in sprint training
- foundational principles in maximal strength
- constructing the program outline
- designing the preparation phase
- designing the pre-competitive phase
- designing the competitive phase
Of course, Chapter 4 is the longest read, and it should be! The key to a good season is a good foundation!
First thing I checked is the accuracy of a 400m lactic acid theory. It’s not lactic acid per se that limits the muscles, but rather Acidosis or the increase of positive H+ hydrogen ions. Just being picky. This book had it correct.
Another good point was the race modeling in the 100m. A lot of coaches leave out the breathing part. Phil Campbell stresses the importance of the valsalva maneuver in obtaining extra bursts of speed.
The book also discusses Jeremy Wariner’s 2 x 350m workout on 5 minutes rest prior to Osaka WC in 2007. Non-elite can do a similar workout using distances of 2 x 40 seconds. We used to do 3x300m with 15 minutes recovery at near race pace. Whatever workout you choose, make sure you apply the basic principles as each workout must have a goal in mind, even if it’s psychological!
There’s a lot of sample training programs for both running and weight training for Sprints and Hurdles. So you can take those and apply them right away. However, I recommend taking an Excel spreadsheet, mapping your season (as recommended in the book), and design your building blocks backwards.
Best Tip: Competition is the most specific training for the improvement of Sprint Performance Skills. I couldn’t agree more, and I’ll bet Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay had more races leading up to Beijing 2008. I believe 5-7 100 meter races, and 3-5 400m races are required leading up to a Championship meet.
This is a well researched book. There were a few points where the author could go more in detail, but he gives references to a recommended reading. An example would be the start. A lot of athletes just want to focus on blocks for starts, but other starting drills are just as effective such as standing starts, 3 point starts, single leg or balanced starts, falling starts (with and without resistance) and of course using starting blocks. Sometimes, you may go to a meet and blocks may not be allowed on the indoor ovals. So being flexible helps.
I recommend buying two books. One to keep for yourself and highlight and add scribble notes to it. The other is to lend out to your fellow coaches or assistant coaches!
When I read a book, especially business books, I start with chapter 1, and highlight the key points. The next day, before I start Chapter 2, I quickly go over the highlights of the previous chapters. Thus, in effect, you read the book over and over each time you start a new chapter. I do this will all my business books, and for those who know me, I have a pretty darn good memory when I sleep enough!
The book is only available in hard copy. No downloadable ebook is available.
Jim Hiserman is also the author of Strength and Power for Maximum Speed.