Do magic workouts exists?
At first, I always say “No”, there is no such thing. Consistent, injury free training is the way to go.
But after pouring through hundred of hours of live conferences, video conferences, recorded videos and books, I’ve changed my stance on the definition of a “magic workout”
The answer is “Your little friends are wrong. Yes Virginia, magic workouts do exists”. But ONLY if you can reach the target times of a workout for a certain performance, that is.
To me, that’s the magic workout you need to reach your goals at the next race. If you can’t reach those times in practice, how do you expect to do it on race day?
Real Time Examples of Magic Workouts
I recall at one conference, someone asked the coach of Marita Koch (Woman’s 400m WR holder of 47.60 set at the 1985 Canberra World Cup) what was her toughest workout. Was it 2 x 500 meters? Was it 4 sets of 6x60m?
No, it was the classic speed endurance workout of 4x30m, 60m, 100m, 120m, 150m. All with full recovery which took well over 2 hours to complete. She said she felt “bagged” for the next few days afterwards. CNS overload as well as the high demands on the alactic system.
One way around CNS recovery as well as training the muscular system is by using EMS devices. More on that in another post or read Derek’s review here.
Ben Johnson’s Magic Workout
Ben Johnson had the same workout (Charlie Francis was inspired by the East German system) and prior to his 9.83 world record set at the 1987 WC in Rome, ran:
workout: 30m, 60m, 100m, 120m, 150m
times: 3.80, 6.38, 9.90, 11.78, 14.68 seconds
He went on to run a 9.83 WR. That 60m time extrapolated to a 9.80 and 9.85 for 100 meters. See article on 60m to 100m conversions.
Bruny Surin’s Magic Workout
Both Dan Pfaff and Tom Tellez do similar workouts as above but in descending order of distance.
Bruny Surin’s (coached by Dan Pfaff) workout prior to his 1999 WC in Seville silver medal in 9.84 behind Maurice Green is shown below. In that race, a drug free Dwain Chambers finished 3rd. If you remember that race, in fact, Bruny was ahead at the 50 or 60 meter mark (video below or click here on YouTube)
workout: 120m, 90m, 60m, full recovery
times: 11.8, 8.7, 6.3 sec
No surprise, that workout wiped him out for a few days afterwards.
Again, another 6.3 for 60m.
Even Tim Montgomery was running 6.3 in training easily for 60 meters indoors in November after his Project WR of 9.78.
But as the article on 60m to 100m conversions mentions, just because you can run 6.3 for 60m is no guarantee you can run 9.8 for 100m. By the way, Usain Bolt’s splits were 6.32 and 6.29 for 2008 and 2009, and those are FAT splits.
End of Part 1. Part 2 will look at the Special Endurance workouts (i.e. 300-350m) of Michael Johnson and Jeremy Wariner.
Eric Lepine says
Such COOL stuff! Thanks Jimson!!!
Jimson Lee says
@Eric, just wait for tomorrow’s article on Special Endurance. Those times will make your jaw drop.
Jimson, 14.68 for Ben is that converted to electronic? I remember Charlie when he was alive and engaged in the forums saying it was something like 14.1 from first motion and standing start (can’t confirm this)
There was mention of a 9.19 hand time which Charlie himself said converted out to 9.84 electronic…pretty close to 9.83 eh? Even though Ben had a bit of a stumble 3rd step out (may have ended up with 9.80-9.81)
Mo Greene was reported to have run 9.78 in training leading up to Sydney Games, although I think it said it was a hand time but Ato piped up and said that they could never go real 9.7-9.8 in training as competition brought out the really fast times (adrenaline, competitiveness, etc.)….nevertheless 9.78 for Mo was pretty accurate indicator of potential for him in Sydney seeing as he went on to win 9.87 (-0.3) 0.197 reaction (fast gun in Sydney, reactions were terrible for many competitors throughout entire Games) and quite chilly
Jimson Lee says
I know Charlie’s times were always on the “fast” side. It’s a shame I can’t clarify that today.