provide some basis for this to occur by inclusion of a wide variety of physical and technicalchallenges before the athlete performs the main part or subsequent parts of the session. Oftencoaches look at developing capacity through pushing their athletes further and harder in thetrack work alone. This can be damaging at a young age and doesn’t assist in developing the allround abilities required at a young age as part of the developmental process of the athlete. Take this thought a stage further. If the working capacity is assisted in being developed as partof the warm up routine, and not solely as part of the running session, then this means therunning session doesn’t need to be as long, large or difficult. It means it can be more qualityorientated - quality in terms of the speed the athletes can run and the technique they canperform the session with. Let’s bring in someone from outside of the coaching world to back upand promote this way of thinking. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying “Give me six hours tochop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” By allowing the athletes todo the right physical and technical work and skill based exercises in the warm up routine we aresharpening the axe in readiness to perform at the optimum level. It might take a bit more timeand effort on both the athletes and coaches’ part, but look at the potential benefits in both theshort and long term development of your athletes.Some practical examples:Female U17 80m Hurdles athlete. Trains 2/3 times per week.Example session – Duration 90mins
2 laps Jog and Skip
Activation and Mobilisation exercises from warm up sheet (see below)
Hurdle Walkover exercises 4/5 exercises over 6/8 hurdles increasing speed and specificityof movements
Weightlifting Skills – bar drills learning basic of squats and Olympic lifts
Running & Coordination Drills – 4/5 drills over 15-30m mixing in running strides betweendrills or drill directly into stride
Accelerations over 15-25m from various starting positions
Hurdling – some skills work with isolation and 5 strides followed by 3 stride runs over 3-6hurdles with adjusted spacings
Speed Endurance – using short distances with short recoveries eg 3x60m with 60secrecovery repeated 2 times with 8-12mins recovery Then either:
Med Ball Throws Circuit – power development
Core Circuit – general strength exercises for trunk
Barbell weights – slightly slower and heavier exercises not done pre-running eg squats,lunges with light barbell
Would you believe we can get through this in 90 minutes?
Where does the warm up end and thesession begin? By being planned it is a pretty straightforward process and the athlete will alwaysget through 7-9 different units of work within the session. A lot of time spent sharpening the axe– but when she runs, she runs fast and has the recoveries required to allow this to happen. This is week 1 of the training year in October 2010 which my group of athletes completed. Theyare aged 18+ and have some training history – normally 2-4 years. Many of the athletes in week1 I had not yet met or coached.
Each day they did some jogging and skipping at the start of the session includingmultidirectional jogs, crossovers, backwards etc.
This was followed by a small number of set mobilisation and activation exercises whichthey were coached in as they learned the techniques.
Then they performed various running and coordination drills which they were taught andcoached in.