Jump Runs

Posted by Marc Mangiacotti

It’s time for midterms in the wonderful world of coaching. Each semester, athletes are busy preparing for major exams and their schedules change.  The combination of stress and lack of sleep impel most athletes to request alternative practice times, or the day off, to prepare for these grueling examinations.  I have always preached the importance of hard work. Performing well in the classroom oftentimes translates onto the track. With that in mind, I try to gear practice times and workouts around the athlete’s academic schedule during these stressful times of year. My solution: Jump Runs.

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Sometimes coaches seem to forget how stressful the athlete’s lives can be outside of track (academically, personally, or financially).  Typically, when student-athletes have exams, I only ask for an hour of their time before sending them back to the library to study or into the classroom to take the exam. Though I understand midterms are challenging, I can’t give them the day off each time they have an exam or they will miss way too much training.  Therefore, I try to come up with workouts that do not absorb a lot of time, but still get the job done. For this role, jump runs are an excellent option.

Since we are starting the beginning of our outdoor season, I wanted to peel back and incorporate different levels of conditioning into our training. Many times, practice days that are time sensitive and geared toward conditioning, entail a variety of activities.

I stole the jump run workout below from Ron Grigg, who is the head coach at Jacksonville University.  Ron is a terrific coach and a great guy! Picking his brain has influenced my workouts and made me a better coach over the years. This is a great workout idea for this time of the year.


Jump (20”) x 1 w/ rest (40”)

Drill (15” x 4 w/ rest (15”)

1’ Tempo Run x 1 w/ rest (2-3’)


Session A:


1)      Rocket Jump/high knee

2)      Air TJs/A skip

3)      Lunge Jump/ dbl. alt. Fast leg

4)      Star Jump/ carioca


In set one the athlete will do rocket jumps for 20 seconds then rest for 40 seconds.  Then the athlete will do four sets of 15 seconds of high knees with 15 seconds recovery.  Next the athlete does a 1-minute technical build-up run around a football or soccer field.  I tell the men that they should be able to run the perimeter of the football field plus an extra 100 yards with good form.  The women should be able to run the perimeter plus 50 yards.  It is important to note that every athlete is different: some are capable of doing more sets and yards, while others struggle to the end. This workout will give you a good idea of the athlete’s fitness level.

In total, Session A has 4 sections.  That means the athletes will do a total of four 1-minute build-ups, along with four jumps, and 16 repetitions of various drills. If this is done correctly, the athlete should be very tired and feel as if they just completed a high quality workout.  If not, you can always add more sets in order to get the desired effect you are looking for. Either way, this workout does not usually take very long.  Generally, the jump runs workout runs an hour in length including a short warm up, the workout and a body weight circuit. Though it is unlikely to accomplish everything as in a full workout, we are able to hit the most important aspects: the meat and potatoes.

Usually a body weight circuit would be 3-5 sets of 8-20 of the following exercises.

Circuit 1:

Push Ups

Prisoner Squats


Back Hypers

Push Ups w/ clap



Leg Toss

Prone Opposite Arm/Leg


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You can alter a Jump Run Circuit to be as hard or easy as you want on a given day.  I used this exact workout the other day and got the desired effects that I was looking for – my athletes were huffing and puffing, but were not dead tired.  They were all able to come back the following day and get another quality workout accomplished.  If you can string together multiple quality workouts then your athletes will have a greater chance of running well throughout the season, even during high stress times in their academic lives.

Twitter: @MarcMangiacotti




Discover how to plan the perfect balance of speed and endurance training with Ron Grigg’s ‘7 Laws of 400/600/800 Coaching Success.’

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Marc Mangiacotti - Marc Mangiacotti enters his seventh season as an assistant coach with the Crimson for the 2018-19 school year. He oversees the men’s sprinters and hurdles for Harvard University. He is a USA Track & Field Level I and II certified coach in sprints, hurdles, relays, jumps and combined events. Mangiacotti came to Harvard after a two-year tenure at Brown University. During his time in Providence, R.I., he made a big impact on the Bears’ sprinters, coaching five Ivy League champions that combined for nine league titles. He also coached 15 athletes that earned All-Ivy League credentials and saw his group break four school records.

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