One of the most important parts of designing an annual plan is whether you have 2 days a week or 3 days a week of “hard days”.
Elite and Youth athletes can easily go 3X per week, but for Masters athletes, I like 2X. Masters athletes can work on other factors such as weight loss, flexibility and recovery & regeneration.
Plus, factor in the long-to-short or short-to-long desicsion, and thus you have to balance short speed with speed endurance (and to a lesser extent, special endurance early in the season).
On a short-to-long plan, I like the short speed sessions on Monday, as it can trash your CNS where you need up to 72 hours to recover. A trashed CNS is like feeling “hung-over” without drinking alcohol!
On a long-to-short plan, the speed and special endurance are early in the week, with the short speed on Friday (and 2 days rest on the weekend!)
Factor in a deep tissue massage day, and that can be either on the hard day itself, or on the rest day. It depends on the intrusion or invasiveness of the massage, and how much microscopic damage will occur to the tissues. It is not uncommon to leave a session with some bruises.
For my athletes, they key numbers for workouts in seconds are 3-7, 15, and 40 seconds. Usually, those numbers translate to 30-60m, 150m, and 325m. So generally, those are the key distance I like to work with.
In a recent interview from the IAAF New Studies in Athletics (NSA), they interviewed Glen Mills, otherwise known as Usain Bolt’s coach with some good insight. Here is the relevant portion:
NSA: How do you manage to keep the balance between speed endurance and pure speed work, so that the athlete is fresh and explosive?
MILLS: Speed endurance and pure speed have to work hand in hand. People tend to separate them and do speed endurance as a single component and then do explosive speed training as a single component. A lot of time we hear sprinters say that they have not started speed work yet, which means that they have been doing speed endurance work.
My philosophy is that the two should run concurrently and that coaches should try to develop a balance. To keep the athlete fresh and explosive, the load has to be slightly reduced as you go to high velocity and high quality performance in training, the work that is done in the last part of the competitive period leading up to the major completion.
A greater degree of rest is required for recovery and explosive training must be greatly reduced to maybe once or twice per week and a recovery should not be less than 36 hours, 48 hours would be even better. A lot of coaches feel that if you reduce the workload too much in terms of training time the athlete will lose something, but that is not my experience.