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Old 04-06-2010, 02:34 PM   #1
Mike Gray
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Sprint Technique

Hi guys!

I'm trying to improve my sprint technique, and I had my son take this footage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imXLWrf7mYU

Unfortunately, youtube is very difficult to get in slow motion, but I'm guessing that people who know something about sprinting will see more than enough as is! What should I start working on first??

One specific question: I tend to have a lot of trouble with my ankles. Are there some technique problems that are aggravating this, or do I just have weak ankles? (I *am* working on a balance board every day, and I think I'm making some progress. After this workout - about 10 runs - I had very little pain.)

Mike
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:13 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Sprint Technique

Do foot drills wfs
http://bellsouthpwp2.net/n/a/navycfl...t%20Drills.doc

Check out brianmac stuff for sprinting. Bunch of cues there to keep in mind.

Looks OK so far, but I don't know the nuances specifically myself so that doesn't say much.
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Old 04-06-2010, 05:47 PM   #3
Andrew Breyer
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Re: Sprint Technique

Looks pretty solid to me.. I'm curious to see what the guru's on here have to say about it.

If you haven't already, check out posetech.com they've got some very good running articles.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:20 PM   #4
John Casey
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Re: Sprint Technique

Mike,

I read your post in the "exercises" forum about bringing down your 400m time with your bum shoulder (I think that was you...my computer is running slowly and I don't have the patience to go back and double check). To avoid double-posting, I'll say it all here.

For designing your sprint program, look in the "exercises" forum; a week or so ago, I outlined some basic ideas for building a sprint program. Again, I would go back and post the link here for you, but I was lucky to get my computer to load this page. The post title was "sprints" or something along those lines.

Regarding bringing down your 400m time, especially based on the fact you said you can only maintain speed for about 100m, I have to respectfully disagree with the guy who said to run hard 100s, then 200s, etc, increasing distance. When I was competing in the 400m, and when I was helping coach, we worked a lot of over-distance training. For the 400m, this means doing 450s, 500s, and 600s. Anything over 600 won't necessarily help too much because you'll be pretty far removed from the energy systems you'll be using in the 400m. Do repeats at a set effort output (for over-distance stuff, 80-90%, but more often in the lower 80s). If you do 5x450m at 80% effort, instead of deteriorating repeat max efforts (or from the sounds of it, partial single max effort), you will see far better improvements.

The single biggest mistake people make with doing sprint training is they go to the track (or wherever) and run as fast as they can. I discuss why that's not the way to go in the other post I mentioned.

Regarding this video specifically, I can't tell if it starts from a standstill or if you're already moving. Either way, your start looks like you're running at the bottom of a pool. I doubt your start is a major concern at this point, so I won't say much more than that.

The rest of the clip looks pretty solid. I wish I could've gotten my runners to have the nice back kick, and knee drive that you're getting. To nitpick (because we can all do better, right?), lean from your ankles and not your waist. If you hit play and pause really quickly, you'll see a slight crook at your waist. You want a slight forward lean, but do it from the ankles and not the hips. It's hard to do and takes concentration (really focus on it when you're doing over-distance stuff at a lower effort output). A way to practice it is to do your starts by standing with both feet together and lean forward from the ankles until you start to fall; then catch yourself with a small forward step, and keep running--maintaining your lean from the ankles.

A second nit-picky point is to relax. It looks like your neck, face, and shoulders are really tense. Relax your face so it feels like jello, and run with a long neck and nice, relaxed, low shoulders. This is one of my personal toughest form things to do (I was always tense boxing, too, but that's a different sport).

Recap: Good back kick and knee drive. Lean from the ankles and not the waist. Relax your face, keep your shoulders loose and down, and your neck long.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:31 PM   #5
Mike Gray
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Re: Sprint Technique

Thanks - that's great stuff!

Thanks in particular for those specific tips - I was working on keeping my back straight, but I see what you mean - I'm still hunching over a bit. Back to work! And I'll work on the face, too. I can loosen up, but I really have to think about it. as soon as I stop, I starting clenching up again.

Here are three questions:

1) First, ankles: My left Achilles tendons has been pretty tender after the 200m day. It feels like the lower end (where it connects to my heel bone) is bruised - it's not swollen but it is sensitive to touch and I feel any kind of running. What do coaches say in the sprinting world? Run through it? Just jog? Knock off completely till it's 100%? What I really don't want is a bum foot added to a bum shoulder!

2) "Run 80%": I find it extremely difficult to tell the difference between any kind of percentages! I think it has a lot to do with my lack of technique and experience, but to be honest, it seems like my modes of running are currently:

a. jog fast,
b. sprint really slow really tired,
c. sprint slow kind of tied,
d. sprint fresh,
e. sprint all out fresh and trying really, really hard.

But even (d) and (e) are hard to tell apart.

Every time I try to think about percentages during a run, I end up getting confused and typically end up muttering, "Ah, $%?*-it!!" and just run as fast as I can. I'm wondering whether I should try to find some kind of beeping pace setter for my cell phone ... that would help me quantify a little more - though it obviously wouldn't quantify how hard I'm pushing.

3) Technique: This is actually kind of the same issue as above: With a lot of warming up and concentration, I can run the way I did in the clip. However, I pretty much have to go full bore, fast as I can move - otherwise I either lapse back into jogging or just kind of do these weird, slow motion bounds - which is pretty much what I was doing at the start of the video. ("Running in a swimming pool" - bingo!) Are there some cues here?
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:56 AM   #6
Jason M Struck
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Re: Sprint Technique

80% need not be subjective.

time a PR and then time subsequent training. 80/100=80%. Go too fast, too slow or do it right. Not too hard.
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:41 AM   #7
John Casey
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Re: Sprint Technique

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Gray View Post

Here are three questions:

1) First, ankles: My left Achilles tendons has been pretty tender after the 200m day. It feels like the lower end (where it connects to my heel bone) is bruised - it's not swollen but it is sensitive to touch and I feel any kind of running. What do coaches say in the sprinting world? Run through it? Just jog? Knock off completely till it's 100%? What I really don't want is a bum foot added to a bum shoulder!

I had this same exact thing two years ago, and I'm not completely sure what it is. I was able to work through it with a lot of stretching, ice, and some anti-inflammatories. I have a pretty good feel for what I can do with my body running, though, so I knew when to take it easy and when to press. Without knowing your daily programming, though, I can almost gaurantee you're not doing enough to warm up and cool down, which can cause tightness like that.

2) "Run 80%": I find it extremely difficult to tell the difference between any kind of percentages! I think it has a lot to do with my lack of technique and experience, but to be honest, it seems like my modes of running are currently:

a. jog fast,
b. sprint really slow really tired,
c. sprint slow kind of tied,
d. sprint fresh,
e. sprint all out fresh and trying really, really hard.

But even (d) and (e) are hard to tell apart.

Every time I try to think about percentages during a run, I end up getting confused and typically end up muttering, "Ah, $%?*-it!!" and just run as fast as I can. I'm wondering whether I should try to find some kind of beeping pace setter for my cell phone ... that would help me quantify a little more - though it obviously wouldn't quantify how hard I'm pushing.


I have to disagree a bit with the guy who suggested to do an 80% time. The stopwatch is necessary, but comes in later. Don't over-think running a percentage of effort. It should actually be easier than running the stopwatch, because you don't have to wonder if you're going fast enough, or too fast to hit your wicket. I will try to explain it a bit better, though.

70%-80%: We always told our runners to focus on being smooth, and concentrating on building good form. You should be able to think clearly the entire time, focusing on where your body is and what it's doing the entire time. You can even say the words with each foot strike "smooth--form, smooth--form" to keep you focused. Your breathing should be easy during and after, and you shouldn't be tired at the end of this. You shouldn't need over a minute of rest for these sets. Your foot strike should be extremely quiet, and really try to just glide. This is where you can really focus on being relaxed, and making relaxed form natural. Try to run these "cocky". By that, I mean that if people are watching you, they should think, "wow, he makes that look easy."

80%-85%: You still want to be able to think about form, but thinking is harder and non-continuous. You should be tired at the end of this, and your breathing taxed, but not to the point where you can't repeat after a couple minutes' rest (give yourself the rest). If you're doing 6 repeats of some distance at 80%, when you're done you should still be able to do a 7th--but you won't. Again, these are work sets, not max-effort sets.

The point is to be able to maintain the same effort for the entire distance each repeat without deteriorating. If you're deteriorating, then ease up until you aren't.

90%--99% (but what happened to 85%-90%? It's a grey area where you should be training most of your work sets late in the season and after you have developed greater control over your running): These are high-output and you should only do a couple (at 400m pretty much only one) as your entire work for the day. These should "hurt" (not injury hurt, but "my body wants to shut down" hurt). You pretty much should not be able to think during these--which is why you want to have a lot of 70%-85% runs in before moving to these. Don't wait until you're completely free of form breakdown to run these, because there's no such thing. Just make sure you don't need to think about form the entire time you're running. You should be pressing hard enough to where your form is on the brink of suffering, if not suffering slightly (usually relaxation and good arms are the first to go).

100% is race-day type stuff. Even on race day (depending on the race and goals for the race) not every runner gives 100%. Plus, I philosophically believe that people rarely give, or are even able to give, 100%.

3) Technique: This is actually kind of the same issue as above: With a lot of warming up and concentration, I can run the way I did in the clip. However, I pretty much have to go full bore, fast as I can move - otherwise I either lapse back into jogging or just kind of do these weird, slow motion bounds - which is pretty much what I was doing at the start of the video. ("Running in a swimming pool" - bingo!) Are there some cues here?

Work in the 70% range as discussed above until you can fix this. Speed is a function of foot turnover and stride length. Shorten your stride a bit, and don't drive as hard. It's okay if you're exaggerating your form at slower speeds. Going slower doesn't mean you have to shuffle your feet. It's natural that you won't express as much back kick, knee drive, and arm action, because you're not going as fast. A lot of warming up and concentration aren't bad things, though. Alternate some longer 70% distances with shorter 80% distances, and really concentrate during that 70% effort.

For example:
600m at 70%
300m at 80%
600m at 70%
300m at 80%
600m at 70%
300m at 80%



hope this helps. let me know if you need more (or less...)
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Last edited by John Casey : 04-12-2010 at 11:45 AM.
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