As Much as Necessary- Maximally Safe Dosage


One has two options to create speed while sprinting. One is obvious, stimulating it with maximal efforts to overload, or, one can use submaximal work to deplete the system. Other actions such as lifting and plyometrics support speed, but at the end of the day sprinting begets sprinting faster. If one does a contemporary program of maximal work, especially indoors, you have very little margin of error as you have very little time to get ready. While depletion work such as long to short programs seem to help the very talented, it’s up to the coach and athlete to decide what is best for them. In various blogs I am hearing about stress management, recovery of the nervous system, how little we need to train, and the most bang for one buck. Sorry, work is work, and you eventually need to train more or more intense while training smarter. Those are the rules. During one debate a smart PT said it’s not about minimum needed, it’s about maximally safe dose.

If someone is not doing indoors I go long to short and focus on the weight room and plyos. Conversely I do the opposite with short to long programs because running is priority and the volumes and intensities must be very precise or one can overtrain, especially with a heavy competition schedule. I have learned from a few coaches what guidelines to use because they over years have found ways to manage the training load to create adaptations.

Stimulation-I use a 4-3-5-2 loading scheme (1-5 intensity) for each meso cycle. I know more aggressive loading protocols exist but simple 3 weeks on and 1 week off is not specific for me and is too vague. Use the same microcycle and repeat the structure except the last week is very technique and general strength/conditioning based to prepare for the next load. The following month look at the times and lifts to ensure that one is improving the average sprint bout. By getting the average and median times of similar training, one can see if someone is improving. Week three is the hardest effort and the fit athletes tend to get one pr a month while the less experienced athletes tend to get faster week one because of the supercompensation effects. Again create a sequence that works for you and repeat it so you know what is working. Chasing the practice PR for some athletes has done nothing, but I do see success with the breadth of speed work getting faster. I tend to see advanced athletes needing higher qualities and the need for better meet set-ups.

Depletion– Volume is manipulated while time is usually constant, and intensities will vary. At first depletion work was frightening to me as I came from a classic USATF II program. Depletion doesn’t have to be a long to short program but warm weather areas tend to use this as it less risky with acute injuries but prone to illness and overuse syndromes. I find it very useful for those that have no work capacity and are early in their career. Neophytes just get faster easier and going from long to short programs to short to long has worked provided that the switch is gradual . Depletion doesn’t need to be just volume of longer reps, it can get into repeat work like Italian speed endurance. I have no clue how to put this together but I have been surrounded by programs that have made All-Americans out of walk on type talents.
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Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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