Q&A: Fixing running technique + 400m workouts

Posted by Latif Thomas


Before I get to the Q&A, here are two new programs/resources you don’t want to miss:

1. After years of requests, I’m excited to announce we’re taking registrations for the 2011 New England Sprints & Jumps Clinic. Register early!

2. If you can’t get enough Track & Field information, tips and ideas, you’ll be sure to ‘Like’ our Complete Track & Field Fan Page.

Now, at this point of the season, we should see two things happening in practice:

1. Workouts should be getting more specific.
2. Running mechanics should be more efficient and more consistent.

If that’s happening, times should be getting faster. On that note, here are a couple of related questions and answers that will help you along the way:

 1.   Looking at the sample micro cycle workout in your presentation your Intensive Tempo workout is split 300’s. – 3 x 150/150.  I don’t understand what a split 300 is, could you explain?  When you reference intensity @ 75% or 80% is that based off of an athlete’s best time?

ANSWER: Instead of running a 300 at a slower pace, I’ll have them run 2 x 150 at a faster pace with a short rest in between runs. That way we’re getting the same training volume, but kids learn to train at a faster pace. As I’ve said on many occasions: Train slow, run slow. Train fast, run fast.

Intensity references are based on the athlete’s current best time. *Not* their goal time. That would completely change the physiological effect of the workout and not for the better.

2.  I am weak at the technical aspects of running and working to get better. In one of your online forums you were detailing some 200m training.  You referenced some specific techniques to work on, “focusing on quickly recovering the heel underneath the hips, running ‘hips tall’, ‘stepping over the knee and driving the foot into the ground’, ‘attack with the arms, down and back’, etc.  Could you expand on this or maybe refer me to something I can read that will help me understand this.  The only part I really get is driving the foot into the ground.  What does it mean to recover the heel underneath the hips?  What are hips tall and stepping over the knee?  When you say ‘attack with the arms down and back’ does that mean relaxing the shoulders and driving the elbows back?

ANSWER: Looking at these articles/videos will help:

1. The 3 Laws of Speed Development

2. The Fatal Flaw in Your Sprinters’ Technique

That said, I break down these concepts, from soup to nuts, in my Complete Speed Training 2 program. Coaches who want help improving every aspect of their sprinters’ training find that program to be a worthwhile investment.

To your success,

Latif Thomas

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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