The Top 3 Articles, Programs & Answers of November 2013

Posted by Latif Thomas

I understand you may not have time to catch everything that we post on during the course of the month.

So, today I’m doing a quick(ish) recap since you probably missed some stuff you’d be interested in.

Below are ‘The Top 3 of November 2013′ for the following categories: 3 Most Popular Articles, 3 Most Popular Training Programs, 3 Best Q&A discussions. Click on the title to visit the article page or program.


Top 3 Most Popular Articles (in terms of total views)

#3: Speed Endurance Workouts For Jumpers & Combo Sprinter/Jumpers by Reuben Jones (Columbia University)

Why it ranked: Reuben excels at simplifying program design and progressions so this article is easy to understand and apply. The topic doesn’t get much attention and people love sample workouts, which Reuben gives plenty of. They’re also divided by jumping event and training phase.

#2: The Best Way to Teach Top Speed Mechanics? The Wicket Drill (VIDEO) by Ron Grigg (Jacksonville University)

The Legend of the Wicket Drill continues to grow!

The Legend of the Wicket Drill continues to grow!

Why it ranked: Because everyone wants to know more about wicket drills, a ‘drill’ or ‘workout’ or whatever you want to call it that can be used by everyone from 55m specialists to cross country runners. Ron does a great job of explaining them and shows some video so you should know what it looks like when done right.

#1: The Truth About Coaching 400/600/800 Athletes by Ron Grigg (Jacksonville University)

Why it ranked: The 400/600/800 gets almost no love out here on the Interwebs. Many of us coach athletes who are at home in this event group range and an increasing number of coaches understand we can’t just coach them like 400+ runners because we’re sprints coaches or distance runners lite because we’re more comfortable coaching the endurance events.


Top 3 Most Popular Coaching/Training Programs (in terms of sales)

#3: Complete Speed Training Vol. 2 by Latif Thomas (Bishop Feehan HS – MA)

Why it ranked: CST2 sustains its 42 month streak in the Top 3 because coaching and developing HS sprinters and a HS sprints *program* has a unique set of challenges covered here in great detail. Positive word of mouth doesn’t hurt either.

#2: MultiEvent Coaching & Practice Organization by Boo Schexnayder (SAC Speed)

How to efficiently plan training for multiple event groups at once.

How to efficiently plan training for multiple event groups at once.



Why it ranked: Most coaches struggle with trying to write good workouts *and* coach a lot of kids *and* coach multiple event groups. Boo’s program clearly and concisely walks people through this process, with lots of sample workouts for every event group. (And with Individual Pentathlon now a scoring event at the MA State meet, having it is a big advantage for your athlete, team and program development.)


#1: Complete Program Design for 400/600/800 Meter Runners by Ron Grigg (Jacksonville University)

Why it ranked: A program addressing this event group is the first of its kind and Ron Grigg does an outstanding job teaching everything you need to know about the qualities, skills, progressions and race plans needed to improve performance in these events. I’m not the first to say his Wicket Drill calculator and Pace Equivalency Charts alone are worth the price of admission.


Top 3 Q&A Discussions (in terms of topics I found interesting and/or relevant to the time of year)

Note: I can’t really make a distinction between #3 and #1 so I’m posting them in alphabetical order.

#3: From ‘Complete Middle Distance (800-1600) Training for High School Runners’ by Scott Christensen (Stillwater HS – MN)

Question: I have athletes that run distance who do soccer in the fall, how do you recommend starting them off? Go right into the microcycles that you mention or give them a period of time to prepare for the microcycles? If they need time to prepare for the microcyles, how long? Season runs from December through May.

Answer from Coach Christensen: Always a good question. Soccer is a sport that builds VO2 max so the transition to running is easier than football or wrestling lets say. Having said that they will need to run before they can train. After a couple weeks off to pick up the desire and enthusiasm to start another sport they can start running. For 2 weeks just have them do casual, not long, distance at a very easy pace. Some kids may need 3 weeks. Each week have them run 5 days per week. Four to five miles each day. So about 22-23 miles each week for 2-3 weeks. Now they will be ready to drop into their first cycle. Best of luck.
#2: From ‘Complete 100 Meter Training’ by Marc Mangiacotti (Harvard University)

Question: Great program. Is the acceleration phase still 0-30 meters in the 55 meter sprint race? Also, when transitioning from the acceleration phase to the max. velocity phase what is the position of the legs? I know that during acceleration the legs are like pistons but when you get to max. velocity and you are upright what is a cue that you would use for how the legs should look? I see a lot of athletes running with their heels toward their butt and know that this is not correct form. What is the correct leg form? Should the knees be forward and up and the heels close to the ground?

Answer from Coach Mangiacotti: The 55m sets up the 100m so teach your sprinters to run the 55m the same way.

The position of the free or front leg is a hard Z as I indicated in the program.

Cues for Lower body while running:

1. “Think knee up and foot down.” (Too much to think toe up , knee up, heel up then foot down.)

2. “Step over and drive down”.

3. “Push underneath your center of mass.”

4. “No reaching.”

#1: From ‘Advanced Sprint Hurdle Development’ by Tony Veney (Ventura College)

If you already know how to teach kids to '3 step'...

If you already know how to teach kids to ‘3 step’…


Question: The shuffle board drill looks great. Just to clarify: Was the hurdle distance closer than normal? And also, what is distance from hurdle to first board? Do they still go 1.82, 1.82, 2.10 in between hurdles?

What changes do you make for men’s hurdles?

Answer from Coach Veney: I don’t make any changes for the men since the average stride length for the men is 1.88 and 1.86 for women. I use a 10-15m run in and the boards are 1.80 and 2.10 to the hurdle. I use 27-30″ hurdles to start for the women and 33-36″ for the men. Always start drill introduction on the grass since a fall will be less traumatic. When I introduce the drill I cut the distance down the first time I introduce the drill about 20-30cm (but keep the 2.10 distance to force them to attack and leave the trail leg behind). I hope this helps.


That’s it for this month’s installment of ‘The Best of’.

Post your questions, comments and/or topic suggestions for my monthly ‘Three Things’ below.

Latif Thomas - Latif Thomas owns and operates Complete Track and Field and serves as the Co-Director of the Complete Track and Field Clinic at Harvard University, the largest track and field clinic in the United States. A popular speaker and presenter at some of the largest coaching clinics across the country, Latif has true passion for the sport and it definitely shows. Over the past 19 years, he has coached more combined League, Division, All-State, and New England Champions in sprints, hurdles, and jumps than he can count. Follow @latif_thomas on Twitter.

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