Get Faster With This Year-Long Speed Training Program

This introductory article previews an upcoming series that will detail a year of sprint training.

I am the head coach/sprint coach for City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club in the UK. I have been coaching for many years, but recently had the honor of spending a whole weekend with Kelvin Giles of Movement Dynamics.

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The experience changed my whole outlook on coaching and has led to changes at our club, particularly in the 9-10-year-old and 11-12-year-old age groups. Having spent a year modifying my sprint group's speed workout program, trying out different elements of what I learned from Kelvin, I have now drafted a whole year's program for my team and will be sharing it week by week on STACK. My reason for doing it this way is so that I can get feedback from my team, my assistants and from the sessions themselves, so that the details I post on STACK will not contain any planning mistakes I might make.

Kelvin's principles for training are:

  • Get them Strong
  • Get them Fast
  • Get them Fit

Quality comes before intensity, which comes before volume.

For my speed workout program, I focus on acceleration, speed and speed endurance as the primary elements for my team. Endurance is handled by the workload within the sessions, not by anything specific. My team is aged between 15 and 20 years old, but the sessions described will be for more senior athletes (of reasonable training age) and will include guidance on how to dial down the session for less-experienced or younger athletes.

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I plan the sessions in advance for the whole year, but they form the basis of the workout and will not necessarily dictate the specification of the session, which may change based on conditions of the time—athletes, weather, other elements of the session, etc.

All my sprinters train the same basic sessions. I don't have separate sessions for different distance specialists. I don't believe in specializing in specific distances in the younger age groups, certainly for training purposes (although my athletes have definite preferences in what they compete in!) On Week 4 of every Meso Cycle, the week is assigned to technical workouts across all the elements, and this is where the focus on hurdles will be for the hurdlers. I strongly believe that hurdlers are sprinters first, hurdlers second. I will not be including the hurdling details in this series, as this would become too confusing and complex.

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Each session will follow the format:

WU: P: E: Ph: P: E: Ph: P: E: Ph: CD

WU - Warm Up, P - Movement Puzzles/Drills, E - Event Specific, Ph - Physical, CD - Cool Down.

Training Year: 48 Weeks/3 Macro Cycles

Macro Cycle - 16 Weeks/4 Meso Cycles

Meso Cycle - 4 Weeks/4 Micro Cycles

Micro Cycle - 1 Week/3 Sessions

Session - 90 Minutes

Each Movement Puzzle/Drill segment will be specific to the event-specific session that will follow it. An event-specific session for acceleration, for example, will last only 10 minutes, and therefore the quality of every repetition has to be perfect (another of Kelvin's teachings).

I have considered the potential interference effect of training the different types, but because of the age of the athletes, the fact that all the elements are intensive to a similar degree (across the various cycles), I believe this will have a relatively low impact, if any. I am not training maximum power and long endurance in the same workout (or at all in the latter case!) More detail on this issue can be found here.

The sessions run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. They are short duration and high intensity, which is why there is 48 hours between them.

Prior to the start of the training year, I carry out a 4-week period of preparation work and movement assessments.

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