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One of my earliest workouts when I was a long/triple jumper was jumping off the board from 7 strides.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my run-up distance was probably… 10 meters!
I wrote about 7 Strides for the First 10 meters back in 2010, where most sprinters reached 10 meters on their 7th step. Of course, the anomaly is Usain Bolt where he takes 6 strides to cover 10 meters.
If you want to sprint fast, then you might as well imitate the experts, at least to a certain degree. Before you can reach a certain speed, you have the the pre-requisites of strength, explosive strength and Elastic/Reactive strength first! You can look up Al Vermeil’s Hierarchy of Athletic Development and see what I mean. For Elastic/Reactive strength, see Driving Resistance Band Training with a video from Remi Korchemny.
Take a look at the Lausanne Diamond League 100 meter race see YouTube video below.
UPDATE: Sorry, the video is no longer on YouTube.
There are a couple of points to note in the video (the slo-mo appears afterwards). The photo above is taken at the 10 meter mark, which is clearly identified at the end of the 4x100m relay zone.
When you leave the blocks, keep the heel low until the shin is about 45° to the ground. Then drive the foot down landing on the ground just behind the body’s center of mass (COM).
In the next 7 strides, the angle of shin of the front leg will increase by 6 or 7° per stride so that by 10 meters (or 7 strides) the shin is vertical to the ground.
Your body shouldn’t be completely vertical at this point (i.e. not standing up, though most Masters and Youth athletes do this, and even myself on a bad day), but there is a still a noticeable forward lean. Note the body angle increases from about 45° from leaving the blocks to about 30° degrees or less… so that’s about 2° per step moving forward.
At the 10 meter mark, you should be about 70-75% of your max velocity, and by 30 meters, you’ll be at 90% maxV or more.
When you train short to long, you do Acceleration Development in September or October. These little things matter today.