Questions for Hurdle Coaches

Posted In: Hurdles

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        rcfan2 on #17493

        To pick the brains of hurdle coaches…primarily in regards to HS or college 100/110 hurdlers…

        While I rarely run my hurdlers over full height/full spaced hurdles at practice – let alone in sets of 10 – I know that some coaches do… And like most coaches, I have my my reasons/justifications for my training methods/theory. What I’d like to know is “why” a coach would practice hurdlers over full height and/or full spaced hurdles – occasionally or regularly at practice?

        So…understanding some of the “cons” of full height/full spaced hurdles…

        What are the possible “pros” – that would lead a coach to train over full height and/or spaced hurdles at practice?

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        eroszag on #107302

        Pros: Most specific training possible
        Cons: Too stressful to be proposed too often, does not allow a coach to work on some aspects better stressed with lesss hurdles, different spacing, more hurdles, also, like the 400m, a bit of mistical value on the competition.

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        rcfan2 on #107323

        Eroszag,

        Thanks for the reply…

        And like you – I can come up far more “Cons” than “Pros”.

        And while I agree that running a hurdle race (over 10 full height/spaced hurdles) is the most specific form of training in concept – I struggle to see how effective this would be in practice. And I suspect most hurdle coaches, especially age group & high school coaches, rarely if ever use full height/spaced hurdles as the teach the event.

        That being said – I’ve seen some age group and high school coaches run their kids over race height/spaced hurdles at practices. And I know some college coaches who do as well…

        So my question is what training benefit are these coaches after – that can’t be achieved with with “cheated” (lowered and or spaced in) hurdles?

        I’m assuming there is a specific reason/justification why – it just seems to elude me.

        I guess I’m looking to hear from a hurdle coach who does train hurdlers as described – or anyone who’d like to play “devil’s advocate” and suggest possible benefits.

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        Derrick Brito on #107340

        I believe in using regulation hurdles and do it often. I think it’s the best speed work method for those that can handle it. I think at a certain level you learn the rhythm and technique better when using regulation vs. non regulation. I view the issue the opposite way, why do you feel ‘cheating’ the hurdles is better? I don’t believe that it really is any more stressful, especially when some cheating (like I did today in practice) is something like a 10-12 inch difference in distance. Also, some athletes aren’t ready to three step in a race and I feel ‘cheating’ the hurdles doesn’t change that.

        Having said that, I use non regulation spacing and height every day to teach rhythm and prepare kids for the next level in the event. I also do speed work with non regulation. I will use it to build a quicker rhythm or sneak it in to build confidence. However, I NEVER use a full set of 10 hurdles. That might work for some coaches but when I have two oddly spaced meets in a week I’m not going to put anyone over a full set of hurdles, regardless of spacing and distance.

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        rcfan2 on #107356

        Derrick,

        I appreciate you taking the time to reply to this post. While I’ve seen other coaches warm-up/practice over regulation hurdles, I’ve struggled to see any advantage to doing so with the kids I coach.

        Being candid, I’ve watch other coaches who (try to) train their kids over regulation hurdles and was underwhelmed by the results. It can be pretty ugly.

        I feel we train over full height hurdles while at meets, which of course is the most specific form of training. Intensity is at it’s highest, reps are low and recovery is usually long/full.

        While my goal of posting this question was to better understand the benefits of training over regulation hurdles vs. debating the merits of cheated hurdles, I’ll take a swing 🙂

        In response to why I feel “cheated” hurdles are usually more appropriate (better):

        1) Environmental factors – we train in hallways and gyms during our indoor season. As such the kids are in trainers/flats. Speed & acceleration qualities are inhibited – so moving the hurdles in and lowering them helps compensate for the loss of velocity vs. race velocity at meets from blocks while in spikes.

        Likewise, when we finally get outdoors, we’re training in 40 degree weather and frequent winds (it’s supposed to be in the 40’s again this weekend). Despite an active & robust warm-up – the kids aren’t going to be able to produce quality runs over regulation hurdles – even my best 3 steppers. So the hurdles are moved in as much as it takes for the kids to 3 (or 4) step consistently. If the wind is behind us, it may not be much. If it’s a head/cross wind – it may be 3′. Last thing I want to see is hurdlers reaching/bounding (insuring a heel first landing at takeoff) to get to the hurdles. I see no benefit to kids struggling to run over hurdles.

        When warmer weather finally sets in – we may run into the wind as as strength/endurance workout (resisted run) over hurdles – so we’ll have to cheat them in to account for the added resistance. Likewise – we may turn them around and let them run with the wind behind them as an over-speed workout where the hurdles may be on regulation spacing, but still down a notch (again – I want fast speed/rhythm and clean runs where we’re challenged to move body parts more rapidly).

        2) Lack of adrenaline/intensity at practice. In my experience w/HS athletes – they’re not able to produce the same levels of intensity at practice as they will display in an actual competitive race. So hurdles are moved in to maintain and/or improve upon race touchdown times. If we’re trying to improve race performance – then I want to simulate equal or faster touchdowns. Again…I see no advantage to taking a 14 second female hurdler and having her run 1.2x or greater touchdowns when she’s going to be running 1.1x in her races.

        3) Hurdle Height – Females. Even my most vertically impaired female hurdler has little trouble clearing a 33″ hurdle in a race. Quite the contrary – they are almost always too high. So I prefer to take that variable out of training and just work over 30’s to insure we get as many quality runs as possible. And while males accept hitting (and sometimes will willingly hit) hurdles – I’ve yet to have a female that wasn’t shook after hitting one – either at practice and in races.

        Males- while the boys 39’s are more challenging and require the boy’s to raise their COM more than the girls (sometimes much more) – I again find I can teach better technique over the 36’s than 39’s. If they can’t hurdle a 36″ hurdle correctly (ie. running over the hurdle vs. jumping the hurdle) – then there’s little profit in raising the hurdle to 39″. Ironically – when their technique improves over the 36’s – I see a corresponding improvement over 39’s in races. And my best male 3 stepper has a minimal hurdle clearance over 39’s in races.

        I guess I’ve yet to coach a “stud” (both physically & technically gifted) that was capable of running excellent technique and race rhythms (touchdowns), over regulation hurdles, repeatedly in a practice setting.

        As such, my inclination is to “cheat” the hurdles to mimic the race rhythm/technique we’re after. Again, I never want to see a kid bounding/over-striding, jumping or banging into hurdles at practice. And running regulation hurdles at practice w/a slower rhythm vs. race tempo(assuming we’re working on speed)just doesn’t seem like it will have as good of training transfer to me.

        Yes, some kids will never 3 step if they don’t have the speed or anthropometric’s. So we take the same philosophy if they are on 4 steps & again looking for quality. And if they are on 5, then we’re going to move the hurdles in and lower them to get them on 4 Once they get used to alternating (which is a plus for the 300H’s as well), we move them back towards regulation.

        I’ll also adjust spacings for hurdle endurance work – where we’re running over hurdles (still good lead/trail & arm/leg mechanics)lowered and either spaced in (for 3 steps) or out for 4 or 5 stepping (depending on our goal – ie. training the “B” leg) – for runs in the 80-85% range.

        For more speed we’ll run over H1 cheated in a bit, then space H2 & H3 for 5 stepping to increase velocity, then back to 3 steps over H4 & H5 (5533 drill).

        Or we’ll run “magic hurdles” with power hurdles at 24″ for H2-H4 to help increase velocity into H5. Not surprisingly the kids will still clear those 24″ hurdles by a country mile – as the bio-motor program is pretty much established for running a hurdle regardless of height.

        I guess we struggle at times to maintain quality workouts at practice over cheated hurdles, so I’m rarely tempted to run them over regulation hurdles. We will run over some full height hurdles (but again, probably cheated in a foot or so depending on weather) when we taper for Sectionals & State and are doing very low reps /but high quality work/race modeling.

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        ex400 on #107358

        I coach HS girl hurdlers, all of whom arrive having never hurdled before. I agree with pretty much all you are saying and doing, rcfan2. See also

        https://www.charliefrancis.com/community/showthread.php?41065-I-really-need-some-hurdle-help.

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        Derrick Brito on #107361

        rcfan2,

        I’m sorry my post wasn’t trying to ask a legitimate question. I’m acquainted with the reason coaches use ‘cheated’ hurdles. And I also use them the majority of the time. For example, I have not and will not use regulation this week. And I do think ‘cheated’ hurdles are particularly useful for teaching new people and fine tuning aspects of technique. However, I don’t think it is anathema to use regulation and I do so on a fairly regular basis. In high school all we did was regulation hurdles and I would say our results were pretty good (4 guys at 15.0 or better in four years). Do I think it was the most efficient? Probably not but it worked for the guys we had. I think the lack of results you speak of probably is a result of the whole program and not just regulation hurdles.

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        rcfan2 on #107372

        Derrick,

        Sorry for the verbose reply – it certainly seemed like you were taking a contrary position in regards to cheated hurdles in your first post: “I believe in using regulation hurdles and do it often. I think it’s the best speed work method for those that can handle it. I think at a certain level you learn the rhythm and technique better when using regulation vs. non regulation. I view the issue the opposite way, why do you feel ‘cheating’ the hurdles is better? I don’t believe that it really is any more stressful…

        And to be truthful…I’m still trying to understand how you use regulation hurdles “often” & on a “fairly regular basis” yet still use non-regulation hurdles “daily” and “most often”… Sounds like a lot of hurdling 🙂

        That said…my original post was not intended to created a debate of the merits of “cheated” hurdles in training (but I’m obviously willing…hah, hah). What I really want to know are the specific training benefits/qualities that you believe you can only achieve with regulation hurdles, and not with cheated hurdles, at practice?

        In other words – when you prescribe this specific training method (regulation hurdles) at practice – what is the training goals/outcomes you hope to achieve?

        In your first post you stated: “I think it’s the best speed work method for those that can handle it. I think at a certain level you learn the rhythm and technique better when using regulation vs. non regulation

        Why do you think training over regulation hurdles in a practice setting produces the “best speed work” vs. cheated hurdles? Basically, how and why do your hurdlers produce better speed work over regulation hurdles at practice than with cheated hurdles?

        As you use both regulation and cheated hurdles – your statement seems to imply that if you want their best speed work – you move the hurdles out and up to regulation settings. Are you basing this on touchdown times or ?

        And what is the specific advantage of regulation hurdles vs. cheated hurdles that allows hurdlers to “learn the rhythm and technique better when using regulation…”?

        What is it about raising the hurdles and increasing the spacing to regulation settings that help your athletes learn better rhythm and display better technique in a practice setting?

        P.S. If always running over regulation hurdles at practice will get me 4 guys at 15.0 or better – than I’m all for it. I’m not greedy…I’ll just take one guy running 14’s.

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        Chad Williams on #107378

        Couple quick points . . .

        Pick the hurdling spacing and height that establishes the best rhythm for the athlete. If you want the athlete to three-step, then have them three step close to learn the rhythm form the onset, as they age and mature, most likely they will be able to hit the pattern. Ever try changing a 4-stepper into a 3-stepper, it is damn near impossible.

        Choose the height for drills that technique reigns supreme. If raising the bar increases technique, then by all means, go for it, but as RC pointed out, most women will have that “fear” factor. I taught a 6th grader to hurdle over 24in foam on turf (close spacing) and she eventually ran 17.xx in a meet for the 100 hurdles. She had the rhythm and 3-step pattern established but needed the juice of the race to get over the fear.

        In this scenario, I found that the foam was better in maintaining speed through the hurdle and kept the flight path lower. IMHO it is easier to raise the flight path rather than lower it. Once they get used to running, they like that rhythm and the hurdle height will effect speed minimally.

        The athlete needs to be comfortable with the correct rhythm rather than the correct distance/height. So practices can be manipulated to elicit this response. They body will remember the motor pattern in between and make the adjustments to the hurdle and distance with adrenaline in a race scenario.

        Not to say there isn’t a place for regulation heights and distances but it will just depend on what the athlete is trying to achieve that day.

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        Derrick Brito on #107385

        Derrick,

        Sorry for the verbose reply – it certainly seemed like you were taking a contrary position in regards to cheated hurdles in your first post: “[i]I believe in using regulation hurdles and do it often. I think it’s the best speed work method for those that can handle it. I think at a certain level you learn the rhythm and technique better when using regulation vs. non regulation. I view the issue the opposite way, why do you feel ‘cheating’ the hurdles is better? I don’t believe that it really is any more stressful…[/i]”

        And to be truthful…I’m still trying to understand how you use regulation hurdles “often” & on a “fairly regular basis” yet still use non-regulation hurdles “daily” and “most often”… Sounds like a lot of hurdling 🙂

        That said…my original post was not intended to created a debate of the merits of “cheated” hurdles in training (but I’m obviously willing…hah, hah). What I really want to know are the specific training benefits/qualities that you believe you can only achieve with regulation hurdles, and not with cheated hurdles, at practice?

        Why do you think training over regulation hurdles in a practice setting produces the “best speed work” vs. cheated hurdles? Basically, how and why do your hurdlers produce better speed work over regulation hurdles at practice than with cheated hurdles?

        As you use both regulation and cheated hurdles – your statement seems to imply that if you want their best speed work – you move the hurdles out and up to regulation settings. Are you basing this on touchdown times or ?

        What is it about raising the hurdles and increasing the spacing to regulation settings that help your athletes learn better rhythm and display better technique in a practice setting?

        P.S. If always running over regulation hurdles at practice will get me 4 guys at 15.0 or better – than I’m all for it. I’m not greedy…I’ll just take one guy running 14’s.

        No worries, I suppose I was not clear about some things I was doing. So first of all, my athletes go over hurdles every day, whether that is speed work or drills. Obviously I don’t do speed work every day, so when I go over hurdles on non speed days they are not regulation. Distance is much shorter than regulation in fact, between 6 and 8 yards apart depending on session goals and gender. Height is usually regulation though, whether that is 300/400 regulation or 100/110 regulation.

        So on speed days (2-3 days per week) I make a decision as to whether to use regulation or non regulation. So I will use regulation a maximum of 2 days per week (which is rare) and a minimum of 0 (which happens much more frequently). And the number of hurdles I go over at this setting is also quite low. In the off season I don’t feel the need to use regulation, nor when there is a lot of other stress on the athlete like multiple meets.

        I’ll split the next section into two parts because I have different opinions on spacing (which I modify all the time) and height (which I believe shouldn’t be messed with as much).

        There are two main benefits I see to regulation hurdles. First is learning to get a long stride with the trail leg. I often see athletes slack on a strong trail leg if it isn’t forced. Granted working on this is usually a 16 or 17 second athlete problem, so this does look ugly in practice. But not everything looks pretty right away. 😉

        The second is because it is the most specific training possible. When an athlete already runs 14/15 seconds they have probably trained for a couple years already. That means they are strong and fast (I am a huge proponent of weight training in developing athletes so this fits in my training well) and don’t have as many technical problems from regulation spacing. Which to me means they don’t get the same benefits from non regulation. This means they can get much more familiar with the race than otherwise, especially if they have someone to run with in practice. I also feel that non regulation while practicing four steps is borderline useless.

        A third reason is practicality with mid season recruits. This is an edit so I don’t have a lot of space, but I don’t have trouble converting four steppers with a hurdling future.

        As for height I don’t believe in changing much at all. If I have a 14/15 second guy who can run in college (and thus go over 39s in practice because they are lower than 42s), why can’t he go over 39s now? That just makes no sense to me. Three inches can also make a huge difference in technique, so I just don’t use below 36 for guys or 30 for girls much. However, I obviously use lower heights for drills where you would better mimic hurdling technique with a lower height.

        As for how I measure things, I mostly rely on my eyes. I’m constantly recruiting more hurdlers to the squad so unfortunately I can’t always compare times or video. I think the biggest trick to getting a solid squad is to just get good to great athletes who are willing to hurdle. It’s easy to get kids who haven’t done well in other events, but those great or borderline great guys in jumps and sprints are usually who you want. Frustrated sprinters and jumpers are to hurdles what frustrated jocks are to coaching I think. 😉

        In the aforementioned high school program, that was the main success tool I believe. All of the great hurdlers in that four year block were football players and fast. We were recruited to hurdles as freshmen and worked on it for four years. That’s what made the program I believe, not hurdle spacing or height. I do think that if we had a better hurdle coach we would have been faster, but you could probably say that about a lot of high school programs and we had success regardless.

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        hscoach on #107388

        dangit. i miss charlie. thanks for sharing ex400.

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        ex400 on #107390

        When I posted on Charlie’s site a question, or asked for advice, in almost every case I would get a response from Charlie himself. I don’t imagine many, if any, other world-renowned coaches would do that. And his advice was always straightforward, uncomplicated and never condescending. He seemed to care just as much about helping a 63-second quarter-miler get to 60 as he did a 52-second girl get to 50. To me, he was not just a great coach but a great person. He loved the sport and all others who loved it.

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        eroszag on #107397

        I miss him too…It was a pleasure to exchange ideas with him ( mainly receiving great and helpful advice)
        Working on a Holy Relay for sure these days:)

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        rcfan2 on #107417

        Derrick,

        I wanted to thank you again for responding to this post and providing justification for when you feel training over regulation hurdles is warranted at your practices.

        And unlike a couple coaches I know who use regulation hurdles exclusively at practice – you also adjust the heights and spacings as needed (including one at the college level who I may end up locking horns with). And no, I have no idea why any coach would be reluctant to discount hurdles in practice…nor why he’d want to run a girl over 10 of them – but he does (sorry…venting here).

        And while I agree that regulation hurdles (spaced & height) represent the most specific form of training – I’m inclined to believe this is primarily true in a race/meet setting (and I account for meets/races as practices in my training plan). This is when I feel the adrenaline and intensity are the highest – something I just don’t feel I can get in a practice setting very often. So to emulate this – I feel I need to discount the hurdles. Maybe if I had two hyper competitive 14 second guys…and wanted to work on race modeling. Sadly…I don’t.

        Regarding trail leg mechanics – I guess I’ve yet to have a boy master the trail leg over 36″ hurdles at practice – so I’m hesitant to move them up to 39″ to focus on the nuances created by the extra 3″ of height. Again, I don’t have any 14 or 15 second boy hurdlers (although I have one who hopefully will dip into the 15’s this season if things go well) – so my guys may not be as advanced as yours. If I had a 13-14 second stud who was excellent over 36’s – but had some issues in races at 39’s – then I can see the possible benefit. Oh, to have such a problem 🙂

        For girls – I still struggle to see any advantage of raising the hurdles to 33″ during our practices. I have coached a 14 second girl – but like all the other girl’s I’ve coached – she still had excessive hurdle clearance in races over the 33’s. But again, that may be just the girls I’ve coached.

        I spend most of my time trying to get a vertical shin angle on the takeoff foot vs. posting the foot in front of the knee. So I need to move the hurdles in to keep them from reaching for their touchdown spot at practice when velocities are slower (and strides tend to be shorter) than in a race.

        First rule I teach the kids – “we run hurdles” not “jump hurdles” 🙂

        Still – I appreciate your thoughts on this topic. Gave me some food for thought.

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        Derrick Brito on #107468

        Derrick,

        I wanted to thank you again for responding to this post and providing justification for when you feel training over regulation hurdles is warranted at your practices.

        And unlike a couple coaches I know who use regulation hurdles exclusively at practice – you also adjust the heights and spacings as needed (including one at the college level who I may end up locking horns with). And no, I have no idea why any coach would be reluctant to discount hurdles in practice…nor why he’d want to run a girl over 10 of them – but he does (sorry…venting here).

        And while I agree that regulation hurdles (spaced & height) represent the most specific form of training – I’m inclined to believe this is primarily true in a race/meet setting (and I account for meets/races as practices in my training plan). This is when I feel the adrenaline and intensity are the highest – something I just don’t feel I can get in a practice setting very often. So to emulate this – I feel I need to discount the hurdles. Maybe if I had two hyper competitive 14 second guys…and wanted to work on race modeling. Sadly…I don’t.

        Regarding trail leg mechanics – I guess I’ve yet to have a boy master the trail leg over 36″ hurdles at practice – so I’m hesitant to move them up to 39″ to focus on the nuances created by the extra 3″ of height. Again, I don’t have any 14 or 15 second boy hurdlers (although I have one who hopefully will dip into the 15’s this season if things go well) – so my guys may not be as advanced as yours. If I had a 13-14 second stud who was excellent over 36’s – but had some issues in races at 39’s – then I can see the possible benefit. Oh, to have such a problem 🙂

        For girls – I still struggle to see any advantage of raising the hurdles to 33″ during our practices. I have coached a 14 second girl – but like all the other girl’s I’ve coached – she still had excessive hurdle clearance in races over the 33’s. But again, that may be just the girls I’ve coached.

        I spend most of my time trying to get a vertical shin angle on the takeoff foot vs. posting the foot in front of the knee. So I need to move the hurdles in to keep them from reaching for their touchdown spot at practice when velocities are slower (and strides tend to be shorter) than in a race.

        First rule I teach the kids – “we run hurdles” not “jump hurdles” 🙂

        Still – I appreciate your thoughts on this topic. Gave me some food for thought.

        I have seen other coaches go over 7+ hurdles in speed work which just boggles me. If it works for them more power to them but it doesn’t fit in my philosophy. I also try to pit kids at a similar level against each other. I think this is where regular spacing works the best. I think friendly rivalries are healthy for the kids, especially if they don’t face a strong hurdling squad every week. For the trail leg I think the regular spacing is more important than the height, and height is more important for the lead leg. I have found some of my hurdlers struggle with higher heights if we raise them up. Fortunately I walked into a great situation with the team I started coaching this year. I have a hurdler that should go 14, another that should go high 15 and (hopefully) sub 40, plus an amazing array of talent. My hardest task is convincing girls to hurdle, though this team is built to do well for a number of years.

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        Jay Turner on #107476

        Personally, I think you BOTH (Derrick and rcfan) hit the nail on the head. I think you both are exactly right about how to train hurdlers, and your differences in opinion on certain topics is fine because it works for the particular hurdlers you have. I agree with every word of what you BOTH said. I have coached a 13.90 girl 100 hurdler, and a 40 second 300m girl hurdler (both high school seniors this year), as well as average hurdlers in the 15-16 second range and the 45-47 range and all needed different approaches to hurdle training.

        I think you both know your stuff, and I look forward to the both of you producing excellent hurdlers in the coming years.

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        ex400 on #107478

        Adding on to this topic a bit: I coach HS girls with no experience. None can 3-step; some will be able to in the future. For kids like these, do you have them race 4-stepping? Or do you keep them from racing until they can do it in 3?

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        rcfan2 on #107479

        ex400,

        Good question 🙂

        And for me…the answer is “yes”, you’re probably best off to let them race as 4-steppers – even the ones you think will become 3 steppers. I think the HS seasons are just too short to not let them race. I understand the logic of not imbedding a 4 step rhythm – just to have to change it. However, it’s a huge transition from 5 stepping to 3 stepping. If we had all fall and winter to train…maybe.

        Still, all my hurdlers end up running 300H’s, so they need to learn to alternate and develop their “B” leg – which they do a lot when 4 stepping 🙂

        This may seem contrary to some of my previous posts – but the reality (vs. theory) is the kids need to “learn to race” and again, this is when intensity & velocity is the highest. So it’s probably no surprise that it has been under these conditions that the kids will first begin to 3 step – and often not even realize they’re doing it!

        My daughter first 3 stepped a complete 100m hurdle race as a 7th grader at a USATF Regional meet (30’s on 8.0m spacing) because she was finally racing someone faster than her vs. the girl’s in middle school track she had raced. Although she was used to alternating (which is a huge asset in 7th grade where everyone else is 5 stepping) she just gave chase and raced. Naturally this was a huge PR…and even got her to the USATF Jr. Olympics for the first time. She had no clue she was 3 stepping… Ironically – she’s raced this same girl in high school and now races her in college (although she’s no longer chasing her 🙂 )

        I have freshman boy who began 3 stepping H2 & H3 a couple weeks ago and didn’t even realize it until I showed him the video. He was just trying to race and took the hurdles as they came. Huge motivator…now he “believes”. Now the focus is to keep him on 3 steps deeper into the race.

        I also have a sophomore girl who’s making the (often rough) transition from 4 stepping to 3 stepping. She went from a PR of 10.15 FAT last year in the 55H to 9.10 FAT this season. She had some troubles staying on 3 steps in a couple 55H races indoors and 4’d a couple here and there (and was frustrated doing so of course). It’s about rhythm and staying square into & off the hurdle (she get’s rotated on the vertical axis at times – a result of driving the lead arm across her body).

        Once we got outdoors – she had no problem getting over the first 6-7 hurdles – but then would have trouble late in the race and start 4 stepping again. She’s run a 16.4 and should work her way into the high 15’s by our conference and sectional meets. Just needs to stay on 3. High drama & frustration for her. I think I need a degree in Psychology…

        On the other side of the coin, I also have a senior girl who’s “vertically challenged” – but is quick and strong. Unfortunately, she ends up “bounding” and “over-striding” when she 3 steps. She can do it for 5-6 hurdles in a race – but it’s actually slower for her than 4 stepping. We’ve decided that it’s just not going to happen. And as she’s our best 300m hurdler, she’ll just use the 100H’s to work on alternating to help her “B” leg technique in the 300’s.

        I’ve heard an audio interview with hurdle guru Gary Winkler where he advocates not racing kids until they are ready – as he feels it embeds technical errors that take years to undo (as a college coach). Still he acknowledges the reality that it’s just not likely to happen for most kids.

        My daughter’s middle school track seasons were just 6 weeks long – so they had a meet their very first week of the season!

        Not sure if this helps or not – but this has been my experience…

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        ex400 on #107481

        Your life sounds very much like mine — especially this:

        “High drama & frustration for her. I think I need a degree in Psychology…”

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        RussZHC on #107494

        2 cents worth:

        1] the only hurdle I won’t move (re: spacing) is the first; I will move the athlete if need be but its just my belief that visually that 1H needs to be at the right spot relative to the start line

        2] within reason height is fair came; so far the “numbers” would seem indicate that it is more difficult for males to move “cleanly” from 39″ to 42″ height than from 36″ to 39″ height so on occasion I will use full height as there is sometimes a real struggle to move away from a jump at 42″ while 39″ is far more like a run for the same individual [personally I think it is almost forced since locally the transition from high school to university would mean for sure in 99.99% of cases skipping the first year of hurdling, not that that would be a bad thing, but won’t often “fly” w the head coach or with most athletes; transition here it is moving from 36″ in May/June to 42″ by late November and given how much time is lost for a high schooler in that time span of graduation year…]

        3] can’t remember the last time TRAINING over 10H, 7H yes, 12H yes(very rarely) or more than a couple at full spacing (I am talking runs where the spacing varies); spend a lot of time w 3H or 5H or 7H outdoors in a foot to a foot and a half per flight;

        4] exception in the case of an athlete who, for some reason, views themselves as unable to either clear a height, make a space or run the full race [first two less and less as the athlete develops, hopefully; the latter on occasion if the transition from 5H indoors to 10H outdoors is really, really short (calendar issue more than anything) and once they know they can, they should not expect to do much of it in training at all]

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        rcfan2 on #107953

        Russell,

        Thanks for your input on this topic – and it’s worth more than 2 cents (inflation you know!). Still…worth every penny 🙂

        I appreciate everyone’s feedback.

        Unfortunately – I’m not on the same page as my daughter’s college coach in regards to using regulation hurdles and full flights of 10 at practice (she had a 5-7-10-10-7-5 workout a week or so ago). While I understand the “ladder” concept for sprinters and have no problems with the distance of the runs (55m, 70m, 100m, 100m, 70m, 55m)per se’ – I think adding regulation hurdles changes this workout dramatically.

        To me – this is virtually like asking a hurdler to run a 55H race, 60H race, 100H race, 100H race, 60H race & then another 55H race when using regulation height/spaced hurdles. They were told to take a “full recovery” in between – but I still can’t see how the hurdlers can be expected to maintain quality technique/rhythm throughout with this workout.

        Admittedly – I’ve never tried this type of workout…so I’m speculating a bit.

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        RussZHC on #108447

        OK, playing devil’s advocate here…I am always interested in the method/thoughts behind what various coaches do or don’t do.

        What is it about said series that bothers you the most?

        By my count, that is a total of 44 hurdle clearances which to me references as mid-high in terms of volume of clearances per session. Yes all of those clearances will not be 100% but one could question is the 10th hurdle of a race as technically sound as the first five say ? (for the sake of discussion).
        The flip side being it would require 15 starts to get that same volume using only 3H (mentioned as I see 3H used very frequently) and many hurdlers I have worked with seem to run out of gas for the best quality starts somewhere around 8 to 10 reps (very roughly half to what, 30% less).
        The part I think I would find most “difficult” about this is with full recovery (really the only way to make it close to functional) the session would be very long (see related next note).
        From my view its the starts and total duration that cause difficulty.

        If one uses the “conversion” factor sometimes applied to intermediate hurdling (that being intermediate hurdling is “like” a flat run with 25% more volume i.e. learn to run hard over 500m will give “volume” numbers needed for 400mH) it would be the “same” as running 69/88/125/125/88/69 as part of a sprinters session. Which to me puts it into Speed Endurance (short speed endurance for the most part…say something for a flat sprinter running 100/200 events) and not among the most difficult of those types of session because of the complete recovery.

        Again, for whatever its worth %-P I would likely split that session into two and add a bit.

        3/5/7/7/5/3 [the last 3 would depend on athlete and where they “were” on the day]

        and go

        1/1/10/10

        treat it somewhat like pure race prep (situational more than volume)

        The trouble I would have is deciding how far apart to put those two sessions and what was done in-between…could be something like a Tues/Sat of one week (if Sat was usually a meet day) with maybe some blocks and 1H (really low #) on Thurs.

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        rcfan2 on #108454

        Russell,

        I have no issues with the number of hurdles (44)- we have workouts where we run over a 100 or so.

        Likewise – I have no issues with the underlying distances – “raw” or by applying your “conversion factor”.

        Understanding that the girls I’ve coached range from high 14 second to 17-18 second hurdlers (33″ – 8.5m spacing)- I guess my concerns are that these workouts are done over regulation height and spaced hurdles. I might feel differently if I was coaching 12-13 second girls/women…

        Even with the best girl I’ve coached (14.7-14.9) – runs over regulation hurdles (33″ & 8.5m) have to be run at 95-100% intensity I imagine.

        So as I noted in my previous post regarding this workout: “this is virtually like asking a hurdler to run a 55H race, 60H race, 100H race, 100H race, 60H race & then another 55H race when using regulation height/spaced hurdles. They were told to take a “full recovery” in between – but I still can’t see how the hurdlers can be expected to maintain quality technique/rhythm throughout with this workout.

        There’s no way I can ask a HS girl to perform this workout over regulation hurdles at practice – and expect to get quality hurdling. How much recovery time would be required to produce consistent touchdown times over these (effectively) 6 “races” in a practice session? Going to be long workout I suspect…

        Really – even though I’m not a big advocate of 100% intensity runs over 10 hurdles at practice – my biggest concern is that this workout is prescribed over regulation vs. discounted hurdles. If the hurdles were discounted to allow the hurdler to maintain their race 3 step tempos (touchdown times) and technique (no reaching/over-striding/bounding)- set to set – then the workout might be do-able.

        In regards to technique over the H10 – to me technique begins to suffer as fatigue accumulates. So I don’t know that I wouldn’t rather spend my time improving their speed endurance/special endurance qualities (w/out hurdles) to help them resist fatigue vs. spending time practicing technique in a fatigued state to emulate the last hurdle or two in a race. Again…many roads lead to Rome…but that’s my instinct.

        And I much prefer to run workouts similar to what you suggest (3,5,7,7,5,3) & (1,1,10,10). That being said – with our HS season we often have meets 1-2x a week – so the 1,1,10,10 workout tends to take care of itself at meets (warm up starts, prelims & finals). And our other short speed/acceleration day is pretty much starts over 3-5 100m hurdles with full recoveries, a short break & a couple starts over 1-3 300m hurdles (all of my kids train for both events).

        I like using the 1-3 300m hurdle starts to allow a higher velocity vs. running over 10 hurdles at a similar distance – while still having a couple hurdles to negotiate (almost like a missing hurdle drill). Depending on the athlete – we may cheat the hurdles a bit to get the desired lead leg (depending if we want to alternate or stay on the same lead).

        Not sure if this helps…

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        RussZHC on #108622

        If the hurdles were discounted to allow the hurdler to maintain their race 3 step tempos (touchdown times) and technique (no reaching/over-striding/bounding)- set to set

        I very much agree with this statement.

        Problems arise however and I don’t know that I have the skill or where-with-all as a coach to “solve” some of those dilemmas (firstly I have not coached anyone who has run fast enough in order for me to give an informed opinion but that aside… I am of the opinion a hurdle coach needs to work with athletes from as full a range of the spectrum as possible before, somehow, trying to apply what appears to work with one category of times to another faster/slower category of times)

        “Issues”:
        1] I don’t think one can use a stop watch and hand time accurately enough to get touch down times
        I am not saying I don’t use it…just that as the level of competition goes “up” the difference between a 1.05 and a 1.10 say becomes very much more important IMO and trying to get that amount of “error” consistently with a finger and a stop watch is tough if possible at all and if one can come within that .1 I have heard referenced as what the possible difference is between actual and hand timed…each click have possible variance of that much, plus or minus. To me this has to be video frame with clock or counted frames or speed traps of some sort at each hurdle…and for me, this only happens on a very infrequent basis.
        This all means a coach gains a lot of knowledge “after the fact” (after session is over, which of course makes it tough to apply in a timely fashion!) I spend a fair bit of time trying to get athletes to develop a “feel” as to what is fast, what is technically very good (those two do not always jive) and how given sections of a full series of flights should feel and that is difficult to do IMO if you don’t go full spacing and full heights (see personal remark below)

        2] even if you “assume” the touch down times are what you perceive them to be (ref: to point # 1) IF discounted spacings are used, does that not then imply (by extension, or extrapolation) that full competition velocity has NOT been reached? IF that is the actual scenario, then you are immediately presented with a somewhat more perplexing problem, that being you now have rhythm units that are of the correct time (that 1.05 say) but with a velocity every so slightly less than race (since the spacing is less, the same velocity can not be reached, and if it is, then the unit time would be less than race since distance is less). Now, to me, that can work in one’s favor but it does seem to contradict slightly the notion of making a practice session as much like a competition as possible (I realize one does not do this for all sessions but with hurdling it does seem to lend itself to competition simulation in nearly every practice, IMO)

        Both of the above are far more general issues I have than dealing directly with your concerns about spacings and heights in training versus competition.

        Slightly off the direct topic, I have far more difficulty in understanding the methodology of how some coaches time when rhythms other than the 3 stride (or whatever the athlete is going to be using in competition, so as to include those in HS say that are not 3 stride sprint hurdlers), other than the 3 stride gets used in training relative to competition dates. I mention this not since I disagree with some of what I have seen, I do (vehemently in some cases) but because one of the solutions is to use 5 stride patterns with the idea that this will be “overspeed” work (due to the extra strides and the, hopefully, resulting higher velocity) and, to me, what is trying to be accomplished is having the athlete hurdle at higher than competition velocities (THIS, of itself, I do not disagree with, just the timing of when in the program of training it is inserted)

        To go even further off topic, I would bring up intermediate hurdles. Unless forced by circumstance (indoors during winter say) to use less than full intermediate spacings, do you know of or have heard of anyone using discounted spacings for intermediate training?

        Personally I don’t think I have athletes spending enough time going over 10H, my only excuse would be very short time spans between the start of outdoor training, the first competitions and then, like you say, full race spacing and distances are pretty much restricted to competition dates. Even then I doubt very much I would have them work over 10H at full spacings.

        I would also be of the opinion that the general situation you have described varies based on gender. The women’s clearance heights and full spacings being simpler for most any female hurdler compared to how I have seen reasonably good male hurdlers practice using mostly 39″ and a foot to 18″ “in” and coming a bit unglued when competition at full spacing and 42″ is needed…granted that is for some fairly young senior age athletes. I think a secondary indicator of this is the higher percentage of female hurdlers compared to males who kick up a fuss when being told to use discounted or lower height hurdles in training.

        Bottom line, I question application “carte blanche” of many things taken for gospel in hurdling…often proven wrong :red: but I still question.

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        rcfan2 on #108645

        Russell,

        I hope I didn’t imply that my approach to teaching hurdles to developmental athletes (14-18) would apply to all age/skill levels (and I’ve also worked with 12 & 13 year old’s). Certainly, I’d have to change my training plans/methods significantly for college level hurdlers – to account for the taller 42″ hurdles for the guys – and the transition from 300H > 400H for both genders.

        The 400H is a completely different animal than a 300H. It’s not merely 100m further – but 25% longer. A 100m doesn’t seem like much – until you add it to the end of a 300H race….

        To address the issues you raised:

        1) I’ve used a stopwatch, video and even timing gates (although primarily for “flys” – not for hurdles)at practice. I prefer using a digital camcorder (30fps – so 1 frame=.033 seconds) and Kinovea’s “free” motion analysis software (Kinovea[/url])

        Sample 100H race (blue uniform – pink sock!) – 100H Prelim – Slow Motion

        And I agree – hand timing w/a stop watch isn’t going to be as accurate or repeatable as video. And video taping and analysis at practice can be time consuming and problematic (like viewing the videos on a laptop on a bright/sunny day). And even w/video at 30fps – you’re only going to be accurate to +/- one frame – or .03-.04 (w/rounding). Not perfect – but we don’t work in those tolerances.

        I agree that I’d like my hurdlers to be able to “feel” fast, but don’t necessarily agree that they are going to get that same sensation at practice over regulation hurdles vs. the “fast” they feel in an actual hurdle race. To the contrary – I think that training over regulation hurdles in a practice setting, without the adrenaline and competition of a race setting, will often create a sensation/feeling of running slower (because they probably are). So by discounting the spacings of the hurdles – I think you can emulate the same rhythm & feeling of a race (ie. the hurdles are coming just as fast)- but at the lower velocities we inevitably see at practice.

        2) I don’t think there is any escaping the reality that the kids aren’t going to be able to produce the same velocities in practice vs. a race.

        Assuming this is true – then training over regulation spaced & height hurdles combined with the lower velocities found at practice – we’d be modeling (bio-motor programming) a slower hurdle rhythm/technique (TD’s) than we’d expect in a race plus doing so at the inevitable lower velocities found at practice. So that’s a “lose – lose” situation to me. I can’t do much to compensate for the lack of adrenaline/competition – but I can help maintain the rhythm units (TDs).

        To recapture some of the lost velocity – I use discounted hurdles. The hurdle clearance, because the hurdle comes as quickly as in a race – has to be cleared with race like technique/mechanics/efficiency. If the hurdles are regulation spaced – with slower approach velocities – then I’d anticipate a correspondingly slower and less efficient hurdle clearance. In part because they’re not moving as fast coming into the hurdle – but also because the takeoff mechanics are going to be altered/compromised into the hurdle (especially if they’re reaching or over-striding to get to their takeoff window).

        We’ll also use “missing hurdle”, “magic hurdles” (24″ hurdles for H2-H3-H4 – in a 5 hurdle set), turn the kids around to run with the wind behind them, 5-step drills (with corresponding spacings) etc. to create an over-speed environment over hurdles – to try to evoke more velocity at practice. Under these circumstances – we hope the hurdler’s velocity actually exceeds their race velocity – so this should also “feel” faster.

        It could be argued, and I know hurdle “guru” Gary Winkler has done this, that “jamming” the hurdles to artificially create a desired race TD time (say take a hurdler from 1.20 to 1.10) can be used to emulate the targeted race tempo – and create the bio-motor programming and technique (moving body segments more quickly and accurately) required to run these TD’s in an actual race. In theory these adaptations/technical improvements would manifest themselves in the actual race and then combined with the higher velocities found in a race setting – resulting in a reduction in race time.

        …as you noted – this is “competition velocity” – or maximal attainable velocity – which will be less than the athletes true max V – as each hurdle represents a deceleration event and the hurdler is required to deviate from sprint mechanics during the hurdle clearance.

        I feel that max velocity work is still best addressed/developed w/o hurdles (flys, etc.) – even though we’ll use the over-speed hurdle drills mentioned above in the later part of the season.

        In regards to discounting hurdles for the intermediate hurdlers (300H) – yes…I’ll discount them under certain circumstances. The most common – weather. Our track is marked both directions for the high hurdles so we have some latitude – but is only marked for 300H start on the back straight. If we’re working on starts and specific stride patterns over the first 3 hurdles,and we’re stuck running into a headwind, then I’ll move them in a bit to insure the kids are hitting the hurdles on the correct leg (for a given hurdler). That being said – some of my kids will reverse their block pedals if they’re racing into a strong head wind (so they’ll take an extra step to H1).

        Intermediate hurdlers have to be very adaptive and have bigger tool set than a high hurdler (ie. the ability to lead w/both legs, hurdle on turns, run with or without a stride pattern depending on conditions, hurdle in a fatigued state, etc.) so sometimes we’ll even train with extra hurdles or random spacings.

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        rcfan2 on #108647

        And yes…I agree with your assessment that gender, or more specifically, the hurdle settings(height/spacing) for each gender, are more favorably biased for the females when it comes to the 100/110’s. I think it’s safe to say that a shorter female has a better chance of being successful than maybe a shorter male.

        I understand your observations about practicing w/discounted hurdles – and then struggling at race settings. Naturally, hurdles should only be discounted as much as necessary and spacings moved out as technique & speed improves. Certainly don’t want to inhibit a hurdler by having the hurdle spacings consistantly too tight (assuming you’re not trying to jam them). If technical errors are still present at 39″ in practice – then I suspect they’re going to be magnified at 42″ in a race.

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        Derrick Brito on #119319

        I know this is an old thread but I’m bringing it back because I think it’s a good one. So in the past roughly two years I’ve made some adjustments to my original beliefs.

        1) No reason to be afraid of race spacing and height, and discounting is fine as well. After all, if we are convnced that an athlete can run 110m over 10 hurdles without ever practicing that whole thing, why not make changes? I’m not sure how often I used race spacing, but I moved the hurdles in 1 foot the vast majority of the time. I feel 8.5m is too close for boys, and 7m is too close for women.

        2) One step drills are AMAZING for fixing technique. I don’t know how many athletes I struggled with and then put them on one steps only to see dramatic improvements.

        3) Speed is way more important than people are giving it credit for. For women this is especially true. If your girl is running 13.0 in the 100m, she isn’t running faster than 14.8 in the 100mh. There are exceptions, but they are extremely rare. And if someone tells you their guy ran 14.6 while running 12 in the 100m, he is either optimistic or outright lying.

        So since this thread was originally about hurdle spacing and distance, I’ll go though some more of my observations.

        4) Whether or not to drop hurdle height is dependant on the hurdler. Some kids just naturally jump the hurdles. You can fix it by having them go over really low hurdles for an extended period of time. They’ll get used to those clearance heights and then you can bump them back up. Some kids naturally drop low to the hurdle and they need to go over race height more often.

        5) In the offseason I will drop the hurdle height to the lowest settings but keep the spacing the same. Then tell them to sprint over the hurdles. Technique was already adequate in most cases. The reduced heights made 3 stepping possible even if they couldn’t do it cleanly with normal height. I expect them to hit 15s pace (or 14s for the more advanced guy) before I bump them up a height. I think this can even be viable in season if done properly.

        6) I would get split times via video camera (60fps) and compare them to hurdle charts. If I added .3 for every foot the hurdle is brought in and .2 for every three inches the hurdle was raised, I got pretty accurate conversions.

        And some case studies. I didn’t get to work with anyone long enough to get a 14 second hurdler, but I have no doubt I would have gotten there at the high school I was at within a year.

        -Started with a sophomore boy, 6’2″ ~135 lbs. Never hurdled before. First race in 19.4. In roughly 15 months, he ran 15.8. I had him running 14s paces over 33″ before we stopped working together.

        -Started with a sophomore boy, 6′, ~140 lbs. Hurdled in middle school but not as a high schooler. First race in 19.4. In roughly 6 months, he ran 16.2 practice paces. I stopped working with him for academic reasons, but see no reason he won’t run 15s this year.

        -Started with a junior girl, 5’4″, no idea of weight. Hurdled in middle school, but not in high school. First race in 17.9. A month later she ran 15.7. Barely did any offseason work with her. Hard to take credit for her accomplishments she was so natural.

        -Started with a sophomore girl, 5’10”, no idea of weight. Hurdled in middle school, but not in high school. First race was a disaster so… second race in 22s. I worked with her about a year, and I expect her to run 15s this year.

        There were other examples with lesser results. A sophomore boy with minimal hurdling experience went from 18.2 to 16.8 in a month. Another freshman and sophomore boy with not so drastic results but major physical limitations. I had girls run 47.0s and 48.9s in the 300s respectively, but that race is less technical. I made sure to get kids with speed but no boys faster than 11.99, and no girls faster than 13.3 over 100m.

        So my takeaway message is that heavy doses of low hurdles and speed work can develop hurdlers quickly just like everyone has been saying for a while. With 15s or faster I would not be opposed to race spacing and height during the season, but definitely use lower heights for development.

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        Roswell on #119326

        What I typically do is to move use discounted height and length between hurdles at the beginning of the season, and then progressively move them out as I get faster and more able to handle the increased stress it may add. I’ve also recently adopted keeping the first hurdle at race height at all times because of the different trajectory needed (and also for me specifically because my hips are a little low and I need to raise my center of gravity a bit on my approach to take the first hurdle correctly). Typically you can race having only hurdled with discounted or lower hurdles simply because the adrenaline makes up for it.

        Occasionally I’ll begin in fall with 36″ hurdles, but I think that doesn’t really have as much effect for me as it might a more novice hurdler.

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        Derrick Brito on #119327

        I should add that when I used converted times I found something interesting. Above I noted that I added .3s for every foot I brought the hurdle in. One foot multiplied by ten hurdles is ten feet, or roughy 3m. Since a meter in boys sprints is typically worth a tenth of a second, you’ll notice that even though split times are faster for reduced hurdle spacing, the athlete’s speed is no faster. Thus, when you are bringing the hurdles closer together, you might get them the sensation of faster split times, but they are not running any faster. The only way to get the developmental kids to run faster is to drop the hurdle heights. I know Carl has brought up this idea before.

        What I typically do is to move use discounted height and length between hurdles at the beginning of the season, and then progressively move them out as I get faster and more able to handle the increased stress it may add. I’ve also recently adopted keeping the first hurdle at race height at all times because of the different trajectory needed (and also for me specifically because my hips are a little low and I need to raise my center of gravity a bit on my approach to take the first hurdle correctly). Typically you can race having only hurdled with discounted or lower hurdles simply because the adrenaline makes up for it.

        Out of curiosity, how much do you reduce spacing by? I still find it hard to believe that it affects an athlete of your level, but I won’t knock what works for you.

        Also, I am of the strong opinion that some athletes can adjust to races with less practice at real height better than others. The 5’10” girl mentioned above would jump and jump, no matter how much she loved to hurdle. But after running a couple thousand hurdles at 30″ she just ran the same over a 33″ hurdle. Conversely, the 6′ boy mentioned above cleared every hurdle by a couple inches. It bordered on insane how close he would get to a hurdle. But every time I bumped a hurdle up, there would be some crashing before he found his rhythm again.

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        Roswell on #119341

        That’s a pretty useful discounted hurdle timing conversion, I used to just compare the times to similarly discounted runs when I was timing myself in practice all the time last year.

        I start at 30cm, and move them out 5cm about every 2 weeks. It’s quite possible that I could just start at normal distance, but in the past it just feels sluggish, especially in the November/December time frame, when I’m only working on acceleration.

        As for individuals, I can’t speak with much credibility, as most of my experience is from my own workouts/experiences, and I have limited coaching familiarity. I would think that the difference between race height and a lower height wouldn’t have as much of an effect on women’s hurdles than it would on men’s. For a 5’10” girl, 30″ or 33″ would still be well below their inseam, whereas I would think that a 6′ guy would have to raise himself up over 39″ a little bit (I’m 6’4″ so not entirely sure).

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        Derrick Brito on #119355

        That’s a pretty useful discounted hurdle timing conversion, I used to just compare the times to similarly discounted runs when I was timing myself in practice all the time last year.

        I start at 30cm, and move them out 5cm about every 2 weeks. It’s quite possible that I could just start at normal distance, but in the past it just feels sluggish, especially in the November/December time frame, when I’m only working on acceleration.

        As for individuals, I can’t speak with much credibility, as most of my experience is from my own workouts/experiences, and I have limited coaching familiarity. I would think that the difference between race height and a lower height wouldn’t have as much of an effect on women’s hurdles than it would on men’s. For a 5’10” girl, 30″ or 33″ would still be well below their inseam, whereas I would think that a 6′ guy would have to raise himself up over 39″ a little bit (I’m 6’4″ so not entirely sure).

        I see. 30cm isn’t that much of change so I can’t see it hurting.

        Sorry, in my example I tried to condense a lot of information into a couple sentences. The 5’10” girl could do a lot of things in theory that she didn’t do in practice. We probably had 100+ practices together. When I first got her, her hips were raising maybe a foot over the hurdle. Regardless of the distance, it was still way beyond what you would expect from a girl so tall. After dropping the hurdles to 30″, she continued to soar above the hurdle, but it was roughly 3″ lower overall. But if I brought it back up to 33″, she would go right back up those 3″. Over time, she got used to 30″, and would clear a 30″ and 33″ hurdle the same way.

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        Derrick Brito on #224363

        I’ll resurrect this thread since it has so many of my observations already. I didn’t work for a school this year, but I did work with a couple kids at the request of one of my mentors. The most notable was a senior boy who had struggling with his 3 step. While we also made a couple technique changes, I think the biggest difference maker was the addition of speed drills starting with 30″ hurdles. I worked him up to the 36s in a couple days and he dropped his PR from 17.8c to 16.7 FAT the next week. His season ended the week after with a 16.6 PR but I’m pretty confident he would have run close to 16.0 with another week or two. He was running that well in practice, he just didn’t get a chance to do it in a race.

        The other kid dropped her times a second as well, but that was from switching her from a five step to a four step, and getting her to eight step the first hurdle.

        I bring up this anecdote because I think it reveals a critical time frame that it takes an athlete with good technique to transition to good times. This particular athlete didn’t adjust as fast as some of the kids I’ve coached, so I think if you have an athlete you are trying to get into the 15s, getting them good technique 4 weeks before you need them to break 16 should be enough.

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