Heath Evans, Auburn Tiger alumnus and New Orleans Saints fullback, will provide STACK readers and web visitors with an exclusive look at his preseason workouts. Check back each week for new posts from Evans.
Whether it's an NFL, college or high school program, many coaches use 110-yard runs as a conditioning test. This is a beast. It can be used to evaluate players both mentally and physically, but there are certain techniques that allow athletes to run the test efficiently. During my workouts with the Auburn Tigers this summer, I've shared some of my approaches with the team, even as they face their own test of running 110 yards 16 times.
My main advice to them concerns their breathing. When I do my own conditioning runs, my mind goes strictly to controlling my breathing. I preach two keys:
1. Relax your breathing! When you are tense, you take significantly shorter breaths without even realizing it. Subconsciously, your body tries to speed up oxygen intake by taking quicker breaths, but this is detrimental to your goal of making it through the entire test. You must consciously counter your natural instinct by relaxing between reps [even though it might be hard to do] and forcing your body to take slower, deeper breaths, thus replenishing needed oxygen.
2. Break each run into three steps to achieve success in the long run [pun intended!].
- First 30 Yards — Where your burst of speed comes in; control yourself at a 90 percent tempo
- Next 60 Yards — Focus on relaxed breathing and a controlled 75 percent tempo
- Final 20 Yards — Bring your tempo down to a fast jog and start your recovery process for the next rep by taking relaxed, deep breaths
Between reps, keep your body upright to allow your lungs to work most efficiently. After a hard run, many guys bend over to breathe, but that actually constricts the lungs, reducing the body's ability to replenish oxygen. Keep your body upright as you either walk back to the start line or wait for your next run.
Remember, the goal is to pass the conditioning test with maximum efficiency. Use the above technique and you'll succeed. Some athletes coast the whole time and end up failing; others go 100 percent the whole time and end up failing. I always say, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Have a plan for making it through all 16 reps of the 110-Yard Conditioning Test, and you'll see success!
Super Bowl champion Heath Evans is a 10-year veteran fullback with the New Orleans Saints. For more information on Evans and the Heath Evans Foundation, visit heathevans.org.
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