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This article is guest blogged by Jim Hiserman, author of the books Program Design Method for Sprints & Hurdle Training and Strength and Power for Maximum Speed
October and November are the months most commonly associated with the starting of the Preparation Periods for World Class Sprinters and Hurdlers. In the past few weeks I have looked at the types of training methods employed by several World Class track athletes. Through the use of Twitter and Blogs, one can access the training of many of the most successful athletes. For instance, while Trey Hardee has just finished his first month of General Prep, LoLo Jones has just begun her first week of training. Many of the coaches I work with ask about specific training ideas they got from reading what the athletes like LoLo and Trey are doing.
My answer always comes in the form of another question; What is your training philosophy? As Coach Dan Pfaff has stated, “You can’t take the bits and pieces you like from different training programs, then throw them together and expect this to work for you”. The best plans are those that are realistic, suited to the individual, flexible and based on sound physiological and psychological principles. Learning to develop one’s own philosophy of Training Plan Design is both doable and most effective. It was once said that “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.”
In order to develop a sound Training Philosophy for one’s self or his/her athletes it is essential to develop the greatest background in training physiology and planning methodology. A thorough understanding of biomechanics, training physiology and types of planning can be found from a variety of sources. Only with a sound background in biomechanics and physiology can each coach construct “realistic” training plans that are compatible with each of their athlete’s physiological and psychological needs.
For instance, it is the philosophy of Glen Mills (aka Usain Bolt’s coach) that Speed Endurance and pure Speed should be developed concurrently and coaches should strive for a balance of the two. Because of this philosophy, Coach Mills’ plans require a greater amount of recovery to be planned into and between training sessions.
One observation that I have made from examining the training plans of many high school and college coaches is the absence of pure speed and maximum strength from their Preparation Period. This is incompatible with the principles of training physiology aimed at the development of maximum speed.
Dr. Ralph Mann, in his 2008 interview on PreraceJitters.com, stated;
“Since it has become evident that the development of explosive strength and the proper mechanics to deliver the power are the two most critical factors in sprint performance, ignoring either will guarantee that the athlete will not achieve their performance potential.”
Bruce Lee has two quotes that I have found as useful motivation for furthering knowledge:
“Use that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.”
“Be self aware, rather than a repetitious robot.”
To acquire the greatest background for “what works” in the development of maximum and explosive strength, proper sprint biomechanics and sound planning techniques, the following reading list can open the doors to creating a training philosophy that can be realistic, individually focused and flexible.
“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try and hold on to.”
Recommended Reading List
- The Mechanics of Sprinting and Hurdling, Dr. Ralph Mann, Phd.; self published, 2007.
- The Science of Hurdling Brent McFarlane, Canadian Track and Field Association, 1984.
- Strength and Power in Sport: Olympic Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine (The Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine) P.V. Komi, IOC Medical Commission, 1992.
- Principles and Practice of Resistance Training Mike Stone, Meg Stone and Bill Sands, Human Kinetics, 2007.
- Strength and Power for Maximum Speed, Jim Hiserman, SpeedEndurance.com, 2010.
- A Program Design Method for Sprint and Hurdle Training, Jim Hiserman, SpeedEndurance.com, 2008.
About the Author
Jim Hiserman is the author of the books Program Design Method for Sprints & Hurdle Training and Strength and Power for Maximum Speed. Other published articles on this site include:
- A Total Sprint-Training Program for Maximum Strength & Power, Core Strength, and Maximum Sprint Speed (5 part series).
- A Sprint & Hurdles Program Design Overview
- Training for Development of Maximum Speed
- Basic and Advanced Technical Models, including Proper Execution of Key Drills
- Speed throughout the Training Year
- 400 Meter Training: Greater Strength = Faster Times (3 Part Series)
- 400 Meter Training- Blending Short-to-Long and Long-to-Short Methods – (2 Part Series)