Maximum Speed Track Workouts for Sprinters

March 18, 2013 | Corbin Lang

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As a sprinter, you always have to find ways to get faster. You may have spent the off-season developing this skill, but you can continue increasing your sprinting speed once the track season begins.

To improve your speed during the season you have to do all-out sprints. Maximum speed workouts should be the backbone of your training. However, as your season progresses, you can challenge your body in ways that take into account the demands of the specific phase you are in.

It's best to do the following maximum speed track workouts two to three times per week. This can be adjusted to accommodate your level of development, event and the time of the year. Remember to maintain proper sprint mechanics, and dedicate yourself to plyometric and weight training, and to general conditioning.

Early Season

Flying sprints are perfect early in the season, while you progress through a complementary sprinter workout for explosive acceleration. This top-end speed exercise begins with a rolling acceleration that is long enough to build up to top speed, and finishes with the "flying" sprint portion for a specified distance. This limits fatigue from a max sprint so you can reach your top velocity.

  • Slowly accelerate to top speed over 15 to 25 meters
  • Sprint at top speed for the entire distance of the fly zone
  • Gradually slow down to prevent muscle pulls or injury
  • Walk back to the start and rest 1 minute before the next sprint

Sets/Distance: 3-6x10-30 meters (start with 10 meters and progress to 30 meters)

Mid-Season

At this time of the season, effective track workouts for sprinters focus on sprints of 30 to 50 meters from the blocks. Compared to the speed drill above, this type of sprint takes you through the full acceleration phase, so it's important to maintain proper form through your acceleration.

  • Explode out of the blocks
  • Comfortably accelerate to near top speed
  • Maintain maximum speed with minimum effort
  • Gradually slow down to prevent muscle pulls or injury
  • Walk back to the start and rest 1 minute before the next sprint

Sets/Distance: 3-6x30-50 meters

End of Season

The cumulative effects of your speed training now have you primed for speed endurance workouts. These use longer intervals to build up fatigue slowly. Longer intervals are taxing and require more rest between repetitions. You must do fewer reps to compensate for the longer intervals and to avoid overtraining.

Sets/Distance: 

  • For 100-200m sprinters: 3-5x80m-150m with 5-8 minute recovery
  • For 200-400m sprinters: 3-5x150m-250m with 6-10 minute recovery
Corbin Lang
- Corbin Lang is the head track and field coach and a math teacher at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. He is a certified Level 2...
Corbin Lang
- Corbin Lang is the head track and field coach and a math teacher at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. He is a certified Level 2...

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