Sprinters Need to Stop Running in Practice

Posted by Latif Thomas


Running is not sprinting.

Sprinting is not running.

Let’s say you can currently throw a fastball 90mph. You want to get it to 100mph. Do you think the solution is to spend the bulk of your time throwing large volumes of pitches at 75 miles per hour?

No because that would be dumb.

Sprinters hate running. Frequent tempo runs are death marches for sprinters.

They half ass them. They run with terrible mechanics which only makes it more difficult to express speed and power during the times they really need to.

These times are called “meets”.

QUESTION: How many days per week are your sprinters running in practice?

ANSWER: Too many.

“Oh but Latif if they’re not running enough they won’t be in shape.”

In shape for what, though?

What does “in shape” mean for sprinters and hurdlers?

What is all that running you’re doing supposed to be accomplishing, exactly?

They’re not running faster times because A) they’re weak and B) they’re uncoordinated.

12×200 won’t fix either of those problems.

Whenever I speak at clinics I can always tell the people who don’t like what I’m saying because they lean back in the chair with their arms crossed, frowning disapprovingly.

Maybe that’s you right now.

Maybe you agree completely. Maybe you’re intrigued.

Is running not a thing now?

What should you be spending your time doing at practice?

Regardless of how many emotions you may be having right now, you’ll benefit greatly from learning from someone who is smarter than both of us. The video at the top of the page has the answers you need.

But, maybe you’re having a hard time getting on board with this concept.

I understand.

Here’s the thing…

It’s no coincidence I waited until the Monday after my State Championship to release Kebba Tolbert’s CTF Exclusive new program: Specific Endurance Development for Sprints and Hurdles: An Advanced Approach.

Because I’ve been editing it, picking Kebba’s brain, and utilizing it for most of my indoor season.

And I know how good it is.

I expect it to do well based purely on Kebba’s reputation and results. . I’ll let the sales page do the work.

But here I just want to point out where it’s helped me this season – a high school coach at a school with a total of <750 kids with no indoor track who trains every day in a hallway. Like I said, we had our RI State Championship this past weekend.

So I’m only going to include the results from the biggest meet of the year. Top 6 kids in each event qualify for the New England Championships. I’m only including those placements.

(Also, I know splits aren’t real times but ½ of my 4×2 and ¾ of my 4×4 didn’t do indoor last year.)

Here they are in the order they placed:

1st – Girls 300 (41.66) Seasonal Best

2nd – Girls 4×200 (1:47.49) #2 time in school history [we broke the school record last year]
27.5 [fastest 200 last spring was 29.8]
26.4 [fastest 200 last spring was 29.3]
27.8 [2nd fastest split of season]
25.6 [fastest ever 4×2 split]

2nd – Boys 55H (7.79) Personal Best

3rd – Girls 4×400 (4:13.37) Seasonal Best by >5 seconds
63.7 Seasonal Best by 1.9 seconds
64.1 Seasonal Best by 1.4 seconds
65.4 Seasonal Best by 1.2 seconds
59.7 Seasonal Best by 1.4 seconds

6th – Girls 55 (7.62) Personal Best in trial and final [only broke 8.0 once last year. Didn’t qualify for this meet. Literally fell down during a race last spring. This is the 4×2 lead leg.]

Honorable Mentions:

Boys 55 – Didn’t do indoor last year. First meet ran 7.35. Got his PR down to 6.83.
Boys LJ – 2nd place (21′ 2 ½’) Personal Best [didn’t include it because I’m talking about a sprints and hurdles program.

Look, it’s not about whether your kids are faster or slower, only the rate of improvement and the meet in which they were able to perform their best. It’s about the clear and substantical improvement and development of the ability to specifically endure the physiological demands of their specific events.

The concepts, ideas, workouts, and progressions I got from studying (and I have by choice and necessity seen it more times than anyone ever will) Kebba’s program has made a significant impact in how I approach training.

I didn’t do a complete 180 or anything dramatic. What I’m already doing is philosophically in line.

But, it did do things like reaffirm I’m going in the right direction, help me clean up some sloppy areas, ‘re-remember’ some processes that had gotten away from me, etc.

Your experience is different than mine, but I’m confident you’ll have a similar experience.

If you want to know what Kebba does that works so well for him at the collegiate level, as well as for me at the high school level, order Kebba’s new program, Specific Endurance Development for Sprints and Hurdles: An Advanced Approach. You most certainly haven’t seen anything like it.

If this doesn’t convince you and the sales page/video/s don’t convince you, you can email me at latifthomas@completetrackandfield.com with questions.

But, if what I say holds any value to you from a coaching standpoint, this is an absolute Must Have for all sprints and hurdles coaches.

Good luck!

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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