Leroy Burrell’s Sprint Training Plan

It appears that last week’s post on the 400 meter training plan by Rolando Greene generated a lot of email requests for more of the same.

Many thanks to Richie Mercado of the NACACTFCA for this information.  For the Spanish version, please refer to http://www.nacactfca.org/Burrell.htm.

Richie’s other notes include Loren Seagrave’s Neuro-Biomechanics of Maximum Velocity Part 1 and Part 2.

The NACACTFCA is the official Coaches Association of the IAAF-NACAC Area.

Leroy Burrell’s Sprint Training

I. Introduction

  • A. Sprinting is defined as the ability to run at maximal or near maximal speed for short periods of time.
  • B. Sprinting is the product of three factors
    • 1. Stride frequency
    • 2. Stride length
    • 3. Anaerobic endurance
  • C. The primary areas of coaching concern
    • 1. Running mechanics and proper running technique
    • 2. Running training
    • 3. Flexibility
    • 4 Strength/Power training
    • 5. Practice set up
    • 6. Competition strategy/Racing

II. Factors Which Determine Sprinting Ability

  • A. Stride frequency
    • 1. Limited to the physiology of the athlete
    • 2. Factors which effect frequency
      • 1. Leg Length
      • 2. Overstriding
  • B. Stride Length
    • 1. Proper technique is required to reach optimal stride length
    • 2. Flexibility and strength enhance stride frequency
    • C. Anaerobic endurance-the ability to sustain maximal effort

III. Running Technique And Running Mechanics

  • A. Running technique
    • 1. Driving out
    • 2. Forward lean
    • 3. Head alignment.
  • B. Running mechanics
    • 1. Front leg swing
      • a. Lower leg should not extend behind the body
      • b. Foot should be tucked under the body on the forward swing
      • c. The knee should lead during the forward motion of the leg
      • d. After the knee comes through, the knee joint opens then the foot starts to drop
      • e. The toe should be in at least a neutral position to prepare for the foot strike
    • 2. Foot strike
      • a. The foot should be slightly prone so as to cause a spring action upon contact with the ground
      • b. The foot should strike under the body’s center of mass
      • c. The athlete should land on the ball of the foot
      • d. The athlete should experience a heal strike to start the rebound process
    • 3. Back leg push
      • a. Characteristics
        • 1. Stretch reflex action as a result of the foot strike
        • 2. The foot leaves the ground with the leg extended slightly behind the center of gravity
        • 3. Upon leaving the ground the hamstring flexes bring the lower leg in a tuck position under the body
        • 4. This action is followed by leg swing forward
      • b. The different looks depending upon the phase of the race
        • 1. Drive phase-distinguished by a powerful down and back push of the ground to propel the body forward
        • 2. Acceleration phase-distinguished by backwards push but you begin to see a little bit of bouncing
        • 3. Maximum speed/maintenance phase-distinguished by a bit more spring of the ground
          • (a) A result of a stretch reflex action
          • (b) Helps to maintain speed and minimize deceleration
    • 4. Arm Action
      • A. Arm should swing from the shoulders
      • B. On the forward swing elbow joint should close
      • C. On the back swing elbow joint should open slightly

IV. Flexibility

  • A. Should be a part of the warm up and warm down
  • B. Should be done in a slow static manner so as to not cause injury
  • C. Should be done with the individual athletes needs taken into consideration

V. Running Training

  • A. The best way to learn to run fast is to run fast
  • B. Training program should be well rounded
    • 1. Fall
      • a. Monday aerobic and weight session
      • b. Tuesday technique session and resistance session
      • c. Wednesday resistance session I. E. stadiums polymers
      • d. Thursday aerobic or recovery and weight session
      • e. Friday start technique and weight session
      • f. Saturday sprint technique session
    • 2. Spring
      • a. Monday aerobic session weight session
      • b. Tuesday start techniques session
      • c. Wednesday sprint technique session
      • d. Thursday start technique day weight session
      • e. Friday travel rest/recovery day
      • f. Saturday competition day

VI. Strength And Power Training

  • A. Strength Training
    • 1. Strength training for sprinters should be activity specific
      • a. Should work the frequently used muscles and motions
      • b. Should work on the large muscle groups
      • c. Should not be designed to develop muscle mass not muscle density
      • d. Should be designed to help to develop balance between muscle systems
      • e. Should be done in an explosive manner
    • 2. Types of lifts
      • a. Olympic lifts-should focus on these lifts
        • 1. Power clean
        • 2. Snatch
        • 3. Clean and Jerk
        • 4. Squat/jump squat
      • b. Body sculpting lifts-use these to a lesser extent
        • 1. Bench press
        • 2. Arm curls
        • 3. Leg extensions
        • 4. Hamstring curls
        • 5. Hip flexor exercises
  • B. Power training
    • 1. Used to develop event specific motions
      • a. Program must be designed to supplement running and strength training program
      • b. Must be diverse so as not to over stress or over work the muscles, tendons and bones
      • 1. Types of power training exercises
        • a. Plyometrics
          • 1. Bounding
          • 2. Boxes
          • 3. Hurdle hops
          • 4. Depth jumps
        • 2. Resistance exercises
          • a. Hill running
          • b. Stadium stair climbs
          • c. Sled/tire pulls
          • d. Resisted running/push running
          • e. Running with a weight vest
          • f. Resistance bounding

VII. Practice set up

A. Conditioning phase

  • 1. Characterization of this period
    • a. 2-4 weeks duration of general conditioning
    • b. This period is learn and adapt to lifting and running
    • c. Time to get in shape to train
  • 2. Typical week of training
    • Day Workout
    • Mon. One mile run
    • Lift-3×10 Power Clean
    • Bench press
    • Squat
    • Standing dbl. arm curls
    • Tue. 800,600,400m or 2×800 4×100
    • 600,500,400m or 2×600 4×100
    • Wed. Lift-3×10 Bench press
    • Leg curl/leg extension
    • Dumb bell raises
    • Thur. 15-30 min run
    • Fri. (same as Monday)
    • Sat. 10x100m strides or 6x150m run

B. Anatomical adaptation

  • 1. Characterization of this period
    • a. 4-6 weeks of training used to start the adaptation to more event specific training
    • b. Long period of hard to moderate training in various areas of development
  • 2. Typical week of training
    • Day Workout
    • Mon. 600,500,400m-2×600 4×100
    • 500,400,300m-2×500 4×100
    • Tue. Lift-3×8-10 Power Clean
    • Bench press
    • Squat
    • Standing dbl. arm curls
    • Wed. Drills, Stadiums, Boxes, Plyometrics, hurdle hops
    • Thur. 15-30min run
    • Fri. Lift-3×8-10 Hanging Clean
    • Bench press
    • Jump Squat
    • 3 way Dumbbell raises
    • Sat. 10x100m or 6×150 or 6×200

C. Pre-Early season training

  • 1. Characterization of this period
    • a. This period is a transitional period where you are preparing for Competition
    • b. The athlete is allowed time to rest
  • 2. Typical week of training
    • Day Workout
    • Mon 500,400,300m or 2×500 4×100
    • 400,300,200m-2×400 4×100
    • Tue Starts
    • Lift-3×6-8 Power Clean
    • Bench press
    • Squat
    • Standing dbl. arm curls
    • Wed Drills, Stadiums, Boxes, Plyometrics, hurdle hops
    • Thur Starts
    • Lift 3×4-6 Hanging Clean
    • Bench press
    • Jump Squat
    • 3 way Dumbbell raises
    • Fri Rest or 10×100 or 6×150

D. Competitive phase

  • 1. Characterization of this phase
    • a. Training emphasis should be quality not quantity
    • b. Everything should be done fast but relaxed
  • 2. Typical week of training
    • Day Workout
    • Mon 400,300,200m-2×400 4×100
    • 300,200,100m-2×300 4x 100
    • Tue Starts, Relay handoffs
    • Lift-3×4-6 Power Clean
    • Bench press
    • Squat
    • 3×10 standing dbl. arm curls
    • Wed 10x100m or 90,80,70,60 m, Boxes
    • Thur Starts
    • Lift-6,4,2 Hanging Clean
    • Bench press
    • Jump Squat
    • 3 way Dumbbell raises
    • Fri Rest

E. Ultra competitive phase

  • 1. Characteristic of this phase
    • a. All work is quality
    • b. Athlete should focus on preparing for competition
  • 2. Typical week of training
    • Day Workout
    • Mon 300,200,100m-2×300 4x 100
    • 300, 4×100
    • Tue Starts
    • Wed 90,80,70,60 m, Boxes
    • Thur Starts or rest
    • Fri Rest

VIII. Competition/Racing

  • A. Block setting
    • 1. Front leg approximately 90 Degrees
    • 2. Back leg approximately 120 Degrees
  • B. The race
    • 1. The start phase
    • 2. Acceleration phase
    • 3. The maximum speed phase
    • 4. Maintenance phase
  • C. Post Race Evaluation

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at SpeedEndurance.com
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee