Lightening Fast
Athletic Speed Training

Athletic speed training

Athletic Speed Training

In track and field the most effective athletic speed training program is one where the athlete is able to maximize their full potential.

This is normally expressed by them reaching or surpassing there personal best. These types of programs encompass all the necessary elements expected from a speed based training program. Elements such as:

  1. Technical development
  2. Energy system development
  3. Neural development
  4. Strength development

Each athlete will have needs in each element that are either more or less, than other members of their group. The outcome of this is that we have speed training programs that are as diverse as the universe.

There are many different speed training programs about these days and a number of very successful speed coaches in track and field who implement them. Each with a slightly different slant on how they develop speed in their athletes – even those who have come through a similar coaching system - their philosophies might differ.

So, you will be glad to hear that I am not going tell you that my athletic speed training program is the best and only way to develop sprinting speed. But what you will get are the facts as they are currently known and proven to work. From there you can make up your own mind.

Most good athletic speed training programs tend to work on the 4 elements above. This article will deal with the first 2 elements…

Technical Development

It is probably true that the world fastest men and women (in the nicest possible sense) are genetics freaks. Therefore, those of us who are not so gifted have to rely on other means to help us to defeat these super gifted and talented athletes. That help comes in the form of any efficiency gains we can make in our movements i.e. our running technique.

Every athlete can increase their sprinting speed by improving their running technique. Even the super talented sprinters will benefit greatly from being in a speed training program design to help them run more efficiently. I don’t know of any elite sprinter who doesn’t work every single training session on their running mechanics.

Being technically sound ensures:

  • Optimum transfer of power on every stride
  • Economical use of the energy system
  • Prevent injuries

Good running form includes the following components:

  • Proper use of your arms
  • Stable and strong torso
  • Proper use of “front side” mechanics
  • Proper use of “back side” mechanics
  • Dorsi-flexed feet on ground contact

"A" Skips (Front Side)

Heel Recovery Bum Kicks (Back Side)

Form Running

Energy system development

Muscles need fuel in the form of ATP to perform work. ATP is produced through the body’s energy system, aerobically and anaerobically. Depending on your sport, different energy system are dominant in the production of ATP. A properly structure athletic speed training program calls on the body to utilize the anaerobic energy system to produce the fuel it needs. It is therefore the anaerobic energy system that sprinters need to develop to get the best from themselves

The following are examples of running based anaerobic training routines.

Anaerobic Alactic - Peak Power Training

  • Speed Drills: Fast Feet, Co-ordination Drills, Agility Drills, Limb Speed Drills
  • 15m -25m Acceleration Sprints – Standing start (full recovery)
  • 20m – 40m Sprints - Rolling or Flying start (full recovery)
  • 40m -60m Sprints - Standing Start - 5m &10m progressions (full recovery)
  • 60m Differential Sprints - 20/20/20 (full recovery)
  • 30m -60m Sled Runs (full recovery)


Anaerobic Alactic - Peak Power Endurance Training

  • 40m – 60m Back to Back Sprints, 90-95% intensity (recovery ratio 1:6)
  • 80m – 120m Limited recovery sprints 90-95% intensity (recovery ratio 1:6)
  • 90m – 150m Differential Sprints (recovery ratio 1:6)

Anaerobic Alactic - Capacity Training

  • 120m – 200m Runs @ 85-90% intensity (recovery ratio 1:6)

These training sessions target the right energy system and if you apply these athletic speed training tips, you won’t go far wrong.


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