Relaxation rates are often talked about, but looking at the data of both force plates, EMG, and now TMG, we see some interesting relationships. Faster athletes can be evaluated not only in splits, but the body structure and how they achieved those performances in both context and training history. Theory is important, but theory driven by evidence is the main topic for us now. Re-engineering speed and seeing causation is seldom talked about because if one group is doing something right, why would they lecture their own methods? Sometimes genius isn’t aware of their own brilliance.
Maximum speed development is cornerstone, because eventually everyone has to get there. While acceleration is important, acceleration is more trainable and is highly dependent to maximum speed. You can change the rate of change, or how quickly one accelerates, but that is always a moving target if you are getting your maximum speed faster. Terminal acceleration is a glass is half empty view, and we need to ask ourselves do we we have the speed to go certain times? Perfect acceleration may happen, but perfect races are once in a lifetime and not enough to be able to be consistent. Usually a smoother acceleration, patient and consistent, leads to better races.
More athletes are getting faster at top speed, thus sub maximal acceleration speeds have improved as well. Most likely because athletes are spending more times in a Bud Winter’s approach and becoming better runners and putting the work tempo wise. This doesn’t mean that one is not lifting, jumping, or doing speed work. The long to short approach by Tellez was crucified by many in 2003 as I reviewed the workouts and the approach was nearly reverse of what Charlie suggested. Note no long to short or short to long discussion preceded that, and if I see it in print I would like a link immediately.PJV shared that nobody truly does either, and that is an interesting conjecture as well, because doing block technique is fast, even if you are not counting it as volume.
The resultant application of force is what we care about, and faster speeds with better times is evidence of what is working. Braking forces are minimized with elite athletes, but that is because propulsion allows a smaller drop off, so visual displacement can’t be the only evidence for vertical forces. Also horizontal forces are highly dependent on braking forces to load muscle groups. Elastic energy even in early acceleration is necessary for repositioning of limbs. Even lateral forces help some that don’t have the deep acceleration abilities.
The moral of the story is the evidence is clear who is winning an why, as the islands are not guarded or shrouded in mystery, they are tourist destinations! Relaxation rates need reps, and those reps are running not by attempted to be the world strongest man. A balanced program, and competition in the late summer, is why people are faster.