Speed Training Advice for Tracksters

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Track athletes have plenty of options on the training menu to improve their speed and strength. Tastes vary, but finding a regimen that meets your specific needs should satisfy your appetite for success. Sample this training advice from Beijing Olympic Gold Medalist Sanya Richards, so you can peak at top speed for a big meet.

Starting on a light foot
My training usually starts off not easy, but [definitely] lighter in the fall. I go for long runs, and I lift weights four or five days per week. Also, I do Pilates for core strength, lengthening and for flexibility.

Prepping for big meets
As I get closer to the Olympics or to big meets, my training gets very specific. I may do hard interval 200s, hard interval 400s, 600s, and things like that. It's very specific, but I have an amazing coach (Clyde Hart), who actually coached Michael Johnson when he was competing.

Typical training week
[Coach Hart] does a great job of having [athletes] peak at the right times and loading us up whenever we need to get stronger. It's really a science. A usual Monday would be 10 200s. Tuesday would be three 450s; and then Wednesday would be like five 300s. If I'm just about to go into the Olympics, we cut it down to maybe five 200s, and I'm running them really, really fast with very little rest. I'm getting my body ready to give the best effort I can in the finals.

Strength training for speed
We do Olympic lifts [in the weight room]. I do heavy squatting, Hang Snatch and Hang Clean [and] Leg Press. We focus on the upper body, but very minimal. You don't have to have a lot of upper body strength to run a great 400, so we just kind of do that to keep it balanced. It's really more about building my quads and building my hamstrings, calf muscles and [developing] ankle flexibility.


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