Off Season Training for Sprinters

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George Payan
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Off Season Training for Sprinters

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"Training Off Season" Cross Training, provides the gradual conditioning of the physiology. The major goal, is to achieve muscular strength, prevent injury, and we have to train on the edge. Your goal should be to learn where that edge is, and not to be afraid that sprinters can handle more.

Goals: improve force production; building strength and power in the lower body; work on bodyweight exercises ability to improve skeletal muscle strength; combining multi-race speeds training 100m - 400m; focus on plyometrics; focus on core strength; focus on mental toughness; focus on sprinting technique; focus on minimizing the amount of all-out sprinting in practice. (1)

You’ve just finished your season, and I hope you did well, and feel better about yourself. Hopefully, you have taken time off to relax and allow your body and mind to recover from the intense training and racing. All athletes should take a period of detraining. If you are coming off from a mental burnout or an injury during the season, seriously think about planning an additional time out and give your body and mind a chance to recover. I’d experience the burnout and injuries competing in college in both sports in Cross Country and Track & Field.

After you stopped from training and restarting, you could and you can return, stronger and make improvements from your previous condition when you resume Off Season Training. To restore your speed fitness and sprinting faster you’ll have to involve decreasing rest periods, time, repetitions, sets, and working out at a comfortable but challenging level, and then slowly increase the faster times of the workouts.

After a detraining period or after you have missed training for any reason it’s important to come back slowly. When you are completely rested, and feel the urge to restart training again, you must set new challenging realistic goals and plan out a new training schedule. "In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is absolutely necessary". - President and Military General, Dwight D. Eisenhower

Set up a program to best develop strength and work on weaknesses. Before you start your "Off Season Training", you need to consider all the aspects of training for speed. One of the aspects is being knowledgeable of Speed. Speed is based on the model of the 100-meter race. We must recognize that there is a plan to sprinting the 100-meter and grasp the five phases:

1. Reaction: When the gun is fired and ends upon the first movement.
2. Drive phase: The early part of acceleration and includes clearance from the starting blocks and several strides out of the blocks. The length
of the drive phase will vary from 2-8 steps for most athletes.
3. Transition: Transition is still part of acceleration and occurs when the athlete comes out of the driving phase and is working toward achieving
a taller posture in preparation for maximum speed running.
4. Maximum Speed (Velocity): This is the segment of the race where the athlete will exhibit the highest running speed. This phase usually comes
at about 4-6 seconds into the race and is maintained from 25-30 meters for most athletes.
5. Speed Maintenance: This segment is characterized by great relaxation and patience to maintain the athlete’s top running speed for as long as
possible. Too much effort expended in this phase will usually result in the athlete running tighter and slowing down sooner. There is some
“deceleration” which will occur in this segment. The goal is to minimize this deceleration. (2)

Muscles that make you sprint faster: Calves, Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Feet, and Core ( 5 main muscles).

Cross Training that produce force: Agility Training, Bodyweight Strength Exercises, Core Training and Medicine Ball Training, Functional Training, High Intensity Interval Training, Mechanic Techniques, Mobility and Stretching exercises, Plyometrics, Speed Training, Power Training, Weight Training and Quickness Training; a pool is not available at the school where I coach, pool training, I highly recommend to add to your list, great benefits for overall strength.

The training methods that are mentioned above improves overall performance and we need to work on muscular strength (a neurological function) to sprint fast. Muscles generate force to work and produce movement. Every movement of the body requires the use of muscular force (3). All the training methods and exercises are included in one workout, it will take 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. At the beginning, it takes longer time to familiarize learning the new speed skills.

Beginners or haven’t competed, the process of learning new speed skills takes all athletes some time and takes some athletes longer than others, be patient to see improvement, it may take 2-3 months.

The first workout: Training Strength and Weaknesses - "To finish first, you must first finish" - Rick Mears

Work on Standing breathing exercises. Belly breathing, breathing and exhaling through your nose. The exercise will take 3-6 minutes.

Next, Agility/5 Dot Drill (five separate exercises) quick feet drill:

Exercises: 1. Up and Back 2. Right Foot 3. Left Foot 4. Both Feet 5. Turn Around. (4)

All five separate dot drills, three times each, ten seconds rest between the drills; the sound of the whistle starts each drill, the first exercise "up and back", three times and rest; next, "right foot", three times and rest; repeat the same, until you finish the fifth exercise.

The routine on day two (separate day), all 5 dot drill exercises, the feet are moving on the sound of a whistle, a total of six times each drill, moving continuously, moving the feet as fast as they can move, there is no stopping, it's non-stop, until all five drills are complete, our goal, is to complete all five drills moving the feet quickly in sub 51 seconds. After every 3 weeks change the routine. On the first day workout, change the three reps to 2-4 reps; don't change day two routine, day two is a test day, to see if the quick feet are getting faster. Overall if the times are not improving, don't change the routines but if you do get improvements change the routine.

Water Break

Next, go on the track, warm up, with track spikes, we have a dirt track, if you have an all-weather track use your training flats. Sprinters are striding at a good effort, working on technique, good arm action no straining, each distance with walk back recovery. All distance in the warm up, run with rolling starts. Each day tried to vary the distance and get in a total of 600m in total.

Day 1, start with 2 sets, after each set, run faster, 120m/60m/90m = 540m, w/ walking back, backwards.
Day 2, 7x60m plus 150m = 600m, after each repetition run faster, w/ walking back, backwards.

Water break

Next, stretch for 12 minutes: stretch 20 seconds for each exercise, 10 second rest between each exercise: Hamstring and Back Stretch, Latissimus Stretch, Pectoral Stretch, Calf Stretch, Achilles Stretch, Quadriceps Stretch, Groin Stretch, Adductor Stretch, Gluteus Maximus Stretch and Hip Flexor Stretch. (4)

Next, after stretching, you work on core exercises with medicine balls, using medicine balls, with sit-ups; Start with 5 sets of 10 sit-ups and 5 push-ups; working with a partner. Each week add one set to the sit-ups and push-ups.

Water break

Next, jump roping for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Do 4 jump roping exercises, there are many types of variety of exercises.

Next, start working with functional training 1-3 or 4-6 exercises listed below; using bodyweight. Select any three exercises, rotate the exercises each week. For each exercise work intensely for 3x20 seconds, w/10 seconds rests, or 3 sets, 3-6-9 reps, w/ 10 seconds rest. (5)

Standing in Place
1. Burpees
2. Star jumps
3. Jumping Jacks
4. Squats: two-legged, one-legged, full squat to the ground or floor, arms crossed, arms outstretched, and arms overhead; other variations
5. Standing, lunges other variations: forward, backwards and sideways
6. Standing ankle hops other variations: forward, backwards and sideways

Water break

Next, Wearing flats. Sprinting up the incline (grass) (sidewalk) (hill).

Working on accelerations and drive, four repetitions 1x10m, 1x20m, 1x30m, 1x40m; all with 5 meter rolling start. At a good effort speed, working on good arm action no straining, always walk back down recovery. Every three weeks, increase one acceleration up to 5 meters, we work up to seven reps, we do not do more than seven repetitions (10m, 15m, 20m, 25m, 30m, 35m, 40m,).

Water break

Next, plyometric and box jumping

Plyometrics (1-2-3)

1. 10 x vertical jumps; try to improve with each successive jump, 10 seconds taken between vertical jumps.
2. Three sets of three successive standing long jumps.
3. 3 sets, 3-6-9 reps, standing double leg tuck jumps, 10 second rest.

Next, Plyometrics - Pick two for each workout

1.Right Single leg Lunges 10m forward
Right Single leg Lunges 10m backwards

2. Left Single leg Lunges 10m forward
Left Single leg Lunges 10m backwards.

1. Right Single leg hops 10m forward
Right Single leg hops 10m backwards

2. Left Single leg hops 10m forward
Left Single leg hops 10m backward

Next, Movement Exercises 10m:
Pick any two for each workout

1.Bear Crawl forward
Bear Crawl backwards

2 .Lunges Walk forward
Lunges Walk backwards

1. Crab Walk forward
Crab Walk backwards

2. Pogo Hops forward
Pogo Hops backwards

Water break

Next, Box Jumping

Box Jumping from 12-14-16 inch depth box jumping (if you have stronger athletes, use higher boxes): Each drill is done a total of 3 times and sprinting 10m. Pick three exercises for each day (1-2-3) next workout (4-5-6) exercises

1. Step off the box and land on both feet and sprint 10m.
2. Jump in the same manner, recoil straight up as quickly as possible and land and sprint 10m.
3. 12-inch box single leg, right leg Jump on a box, jump from the box to the ground and sprint 10m.
4. 12-inch box single leg, left leg Jump on a box, jump from the box to the ground and sprint 10m.
5. 12-box box both feet on the ground, jump on to the top of the box, jump down and sprint 10m
6. 4 boxes: Single right and Single left Jump on a box, jump from the box to the ground and repeat for a total of four boxes.

Water break

Next, on the track with spikes:

3m rolling start 4-6 x 50m; walk back intervals

We have three workouts a week, the third workout, the sprinters run an aerobic run, at the end of the week, before the weekend, running a 12-15 minute aerobic run and rest on the weekend, after three weeks, increase minutes on the aerobic run.

Weight training days, after track practice, working on the total-body. We do not weight train before practice, the legs will be too tired and fatigued.

Coach George Payan

(1) Coach Clyde Hart
(2) Vern Gambetta & Gary Winckler
(3) Ralph V. Mann Ph.D.
(4) Dr. Greg Shepard
(5) Dr. Izumi Tabata
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