Charlie Francis once said about Vertical Integration:
Do ALL the components, ALL of the time.
You shouldn’t do weights all Fall & Spring, only to stop in the Summer pre-competition, or even Competition phase. Today, it’s not unusual to see Sprinters do a weight session 4 days away from an Olympic First Round race (though it’s more of a neural stimulus effect, rather than for max strength)
So in a given seven day week, he would do all seven components. I feel, for the years I’ve been injured, its partially because I jump right back into track workouts, without being a “complete athlete”.
I truly believe now You Have To Be an Athlete First, Before You Can Be a Sprinter!
Not just fast, but strong, elastic, supple, resilient… and so on. A weak Achilles will result in a weak calf, and cause issues & imbalances in the knee and then quads. Does Pes Anserine Bursitis or tendonitis sound familiar? The end RESULT is soft tissue damage and a very tender tendon, but the CAUSE is something else (unless you had a car door slam on your Achilles, then yeah, we know the cause!)
I also believe you have to run, in order to run fast. But that is only part of the picture.
So for my current MASTERS PLAN, I now TRY TO DO ALL 7 of the following components in a given 10 day cycle (the big mistake was trying to box all 7 of the components in 7 days… That’s reasonable for Open or Elite athletes, but not enough recovery for Masters athletes. So in no particular order:
1) Max Velocity and Acceleration
Speed. It’s all about speed, baby!
I do ensure I am fully warmed up for this specific track workout, and it does consist of the Gerard Mach Drills of A B C PowerSpeed drills.
My current “pandemic” workout is building up to 1 or 2 sets of 5 x 60m, walk bak with a minimum of 5 minutes recovery. I do use a 20m fly in (so it’s really 80m), with the timing cones at 30m-30m splits using my Freelap Timing Systems, all wearing flats on grass surfaces. Next, I will try “long” spikes on grass, then finally racing spikes on a synthetic track (when they are open).
If you want to race fast, you have to train fast, but it doesn’t have to be 100% max in practice all the time. We’ll save that discussion for another time, as that has been a hot topic on Twitter.
2) Tempo and “Cardio”
Yes, I do Cardio session (i.e. 5K in 30 min) but I hate it. This workout will be replaced by 10-20x100m turnarounds once the legs can take the pounding. Maybe a world class athlete doesn’t need Cardio or aerobic work, but I think for a Masters or Youth athlete, having some form of fitness is important for recovery, running the rounds and other training elements.
Speaking of fitness, remember, Strength & Conditioning includes conditioning, but don’t over do it.
When I heard David Rudisha only did a 40 min jog (no drills, no strides) before his 1:40.91 2012 WR in London, it made me re-think about the importance of the warm up, which is increasing body temperature, and having your capillary system as efficient as possible. See my article and video on Tempo Running for Recovery & Regeneration.
3) Special Endurance / Speed Endurance / Lactate Session
See article on Why you Need 7-10 Weeks of Lactic Acid Tolerance Workouts (Plus Special & Speed Endurance) or the video here:
I was using indoor rowing for now i.e. 8x500m or 8x300m with 1 min recovery.
Now the Woodway Curve treadmill is my best friend, as I can run at top speeds of 20-21mph. Typical workouts are 10×15 sec (to copy 100m), or 8x30sec (to copy 200m), or even 6×45 sec (to copy 300m) I will transition to track eventually with workouts like 3x300m or 5-4-3-2-1 breakdowns (KEEP 2000m total volume for lower intensity work, and 1000m for higher intensity). Or 5x200m with short recovery, working down towards 3x200m. All this, and more, is covered in that Monster 2000 word article on The Woodway Curve Treadmill Training Guide for 400m Sprinters.
4) Circuit Training – Lactate Session
I can’t always do a 3 x 500m track work with the crappy weather of England, and the bloody pandemic!
So Indoor training, it is!
Circuit training included all body weight stuff, especially core abs and lower back. I think Tabata 8 sets of 20 sec on/10 sec off is good for now, doing 3 sets of ‘the 4 minute workout’ (most of my core training is done through Circuit training). If you have no time for anything, at least do the 2 min plank every night!
See my article on My Top 7 Circuit Training Workouts.
5) Strength Training (Max Strength)
Start with basics: squats, split squats, deadlift, then bench (currently focusing on Deadlift, then full Squats). Currently aiming for 3:4:5 weight ratios for bench:squats:deadlift so 100-133-166Kg. My yypical workout is 8-6-4-2-2 or sometimes 7-5-3-2-2.
5B) Explosive training: see power cleans above. Or even med ball throws.
5C) Ancillary training: Don’t forget hamstring curls, lower back extensions, reverse hypers etc. (really depends on what you have at gym)
In short, if you have to choose 1 exercise, do squats. If you have to choose 2, add power cleans.
6) Elastic Training (Explosive Power)
Plyometrics are usually added at the end of track workouts, maybe they can be done on days with no running other than the usual warmup and drills – so you need to watch the total volume! These are low hurdle hops, single leg hops, bounding, frog jumps, standing long jump, etc…
I have a future article on that coming up, so stay tuned. Below is a quick summary:
7) Flexibility & Mobility, for full Range of Motion
Before March 2020, when I used to belong to a gym, my Sunday late afternoons involved Hatha Yoga.
I am really really stiff and not flexible anymore, especially the hips. Have started using the foam roller more, especially the piriformus and hip flexor stretches. Also purchased spiky balls for a poor man’s trigger point massages. Trying to see a deep tissue massage guy 1X per week, but hard to find a decent guy who can go deep.
If there is a demand, I can post my simple routine, but my form could definitely use some improvement. Plenty of YouTube videos out there to choose from.
Gerard Mach’s Program
I really think it’s essential to keep doing these 7 components all year ’round. Be sure to have all these components in your repertoire. Below is a copy of Gerard Mach’s program which summarises the above 7 quite nicely.