Adapting the Charlie Francis’s Ten Day Taper for High School Championships


As a track season reaches its crescendo the choices we make as a coach become increasingly more significant. As stated in my previous blogs I try to focus my training and season plan around the 400 dash. However, after a crazy set of circumstances we missed out on qualifying our 4×400. The remaining events we qualified were all less than 200 meters in distance. The season plan called for an extended interval day the Monday before the championships. The plan had to shift to maximize our remaining events. Late that Saturday after our sectional meet I came across an interesting article on another track website (I know I am obsessed with track) highlighting Charlie Francis’s ten day taper. I did not have ten days but I really like the structure and lay out of his 1st day of the ten day taper. I decided to use day 10 in replacement of our usual extended interval Monday. The workout called for the following work and recovery: 4 x 30m blocks then 15 min recovery, 80m then 20 min recovery, 100m then 25 min recovery, 120m then 35 min recovery and 150m. We did the workout with slightly reduced rest between the intervals due to time restrictions of practices. I did make sure our kid’s heart rate dropped below 120 before we moved on to the next rep. The kids performed these sprints from their go position in the 4×100 and all the kids were spiked up (I often don’t spike up due to potential shin issues). Each athlete ran separately and each individual was timed. I told the kids their times were expected to be “hot!” The kids did a great job and even one kid ran a personal best of 12.3 on her 100 interval. I want to point out the effort level by my athletes was so great some of the kids were sore on day two. In light of this fact I had planned to do very little between the workout Monday and Friday at the State prelims. Throughout the rest of the week we of course continued to warm up, do our drills (mentioned in my last blog), and did handoffs. All week I had told the girls we could win the 4×100. I went so far as printing off all 16 of the state qualifying 4x100s along with each team’s individual prs. In addition I highlighted the athletes competing in multiple events. I knew on Saturday we would be one of the few fresh 4×100 teams left. As fate would have it we ran .5 faster than we ran at sectionals for a season’s best in the prelim round at State. We qualified 6th overall running 48.70 and made it into the finals. Both days were hot and near a 100 degree heat index. The heat did a number on the girls who were forced to compete all day without a break. Our girls were prepared, fresh, and primed. In the end we finished 2nd at the state championship running 48.73 behind a great Nerinx Hall team. Coach Francis’s workout will be a permanent part of my coaches tool box from here on out.