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ABOUT SPRINT RELAY TRAINING

By I. ViIkov and P. Turin

The authors describe shortly the important factors involved in sprint relay racing
and outline recommended individual, pairs and full team training means, as well
as suggested control tests to evaluate progress. The article is a slightly edited
translation from Legkaya Atletika, USSR, No. 5, May 1990. Re-printed with
permission from Modern Athlete and Coach.

The coach has to consider the following aspects in his work with a sprint relay
team:

An efficient technique.

Specificity of the training methods.

An effective selection system of the athletes.

Psychological preparations.

The most important factors in the construction of effective relay training are made
up from:

Theat
hlet
esi
ndi
vi
dual
l00m times.

The consistency of the baton passing technique.

The coordinated training between team members.

The sprint relay rules require that the baton is passed over within a 20m long
changeover zone. The outgoing runners of the second, third and fourth legs start
their run l0m outside the changeover zone. This allows them to reach relatively
high speeds at the point where the pass takes place.

Taking the above into consideration, first leg runners cover 110m, second and
third leg runners 130m and the final leg runners 120m. In view of the varied
distanc esi ti
simpor tantforthec oacht ot akeeachat hlet
esi ndiv i
dual
characteristics into account in selecting the running order of the relay team.

Mostoft hewor l
dsbes trelayt eamsus et heal ter
nat echangeover method in
which the first and the third runner carry the baton in their right hand and the
second and third runners in their left hand. The passing of the baton takes place
in the upward or the downward method. Runners require having a well developed
spatial sense in order to perform an effective pass. They also need a well
developed sense of timing to reach the fastest possible speed at about the 15m
mark in the changeover zone for an effective pass.

The measure of technical effectiveness is the amount of time runners spend


inside the changeover zone. For high performance athletes the time is on an
average 1.8 to 1.9 sec. for men and 2.05 to 2.15 sec. for women. Relay times
recorded in major international competitions indicate that relay times for men can
be 2.5 to 3.0 sec. faster than the sum of individual 100m times of the team
members. The difference for women ranges between 2.4 and 2.7 sec.

Athletes reach their best speed around the 15 or 16m mark in the changeover
zone. For male relays the ideal speed for the incoming runner is 10.00 to 10.20
m/s and for the outgoing runner 9.80 to 10.00 m/s. The corresponding figures for
female relays are 8.8 to 9.2 m/s for the incoming and 8.5 to 8.8 m/s for the
outgoing runner.

There is a close correlation between the time spent in the changeover zone and
the following measurements:

The outgoing runner


ss peedf
ora25m segment(
l0m approach + 15m in
the changeover zone).

The incoming runner


sspeedf
ora25m segment(
l0m approach + 15m in
the changeover zone).

The distance between the incoming and outgoing runners at the moment
the incoming runner enters the changeover zone.

Thei
ncomi
ngr
unner
s time for the last 25m in a l00m sprint.

Theout
goi
ngr
unner
st
i
mef
ora25m sprint from a standing start.

The distance between the incoming and outgoing runners at the moment
the outgoing runner enters the changeover zone.

The training of a relay team is made up from two parts. The first part includes
individual training and training in pairs. The second part includes the whole team
running a relay either over training or over competition distances.

INDIVIDUAL TRAINING MEANS

Individual training means are made up from the following:

Running of 10 to 20m distances from a standing start and from a crouch


with a single arm support position. The runners of the second and fourth
legs position themselves on the outer edge of the lane, supported by their
right arm, the runner of the third leg is on the inner edge of the lane,
supported by the left arm.

o The number of recommended repetitions with 90 to 100% intensity


is 8 to 10, recoveries between repetitions 1.5 to 2 min.

Running of 30 to 50m distances from a standing start and from a crouch


with a single arm support positions. The runs on the straight are
performed along the outer edge of the lane, the runs on the curve along
the inner edge of the lane.

o The number of recommended repetitions with 90 to 100% intensity


is 5 to 8, recoveries between repetitions 2 to 3 min.

Running of 25 to 30m distances with the baton on the straight and on the
curve from a standing or low crouch positions.

o The number of recommended repetitions is 6 to 8 with 95 to 100%


intensity, recoveries between repetitions 1.5 to 2 mm.

Running of 25 to 30m distances from a standing start and from a crouch


with a single arm support position. The runs are started from the relay
approach zone at the moment the coach or a team member crosses a well
designated check mark.

o The number of recommended repetitions with 95 to 100% intensity


is 5 to 8, recoveries between repetitions 1.5 to 2 mm.

Baton passing imitation runs over 60 to l00m on the straight and on the
turn.

o The recommended number of repetitions is 4 to 6 at 90 to 100%


intensity with 3 to 5 min. recoveries between repetitions.

PAIRS TRAINING MEANS

The pairs training means, aiming to improve speed and timing, are made
up from the following:

Standing baton passing. The athletes stand 1.2 to 1.5m apart, perform
sprinting arm action and pass the baton on command.

Baton passing while walking and jogging. The athletes walk or jog 1.2 to
1.5m apart and pass the baton on command.

Baton passing over a 50 to 80m distance with a handicap. Following a


command the incoming runner places the baton in the firmly extended and
motionless hand of the outgoing runner.
The recommended number of repetitions is 5 to 8 at 90 to 100% intensity
with 3 to 4 min. recoveries between repetitions.

Group starting acceleration drill. The outgoing athletes start from the
approach zone at the moment the incoming runners reach the check
marks, placed on the first and second lanes. After the acceleration the
athletes perform on command an imitation changeover without a baton.

Baton changeover practice in several pairs over 50 to 80m in separate


lanes, allowing for individual handicaps.

o The number of recommended repetitions at 90 to 100% intensity is


4 to 6, recoveries between repetitions 3 to 4 min.

Baton changeover practice in several pairs at the same time over 2 x 50m,
2 x 60m, 2 x 80m distances.

o The number of recommended repetitions at 95 to 100% intensity is


4 to 6, recoveries between repetitions 4 to 6 min.

TEAM TRAINING MEANS

The team training means are made up from the following:

Relay running at maximum speed over 4 x 50m, 4 x 60m, 4 x 80m


distances by a single team. The recommended number of repetitions is 3
to 4.

Relay running at maximum speed over 4 x l00m by a single team.

Relay running at maximum speed over 4 x 50m, 4 x 60m, 4 x 80m


distances by several teams. The number recommended is 3 to 4.

Relay running at maximum speed over 4 x l00m by several teams.

CONTROL TESTS

Using the training means outlined above makes it possible to improve the
athl
etes batonchangi ngtechni ques,speedands peedendur ancedur i
ngt hepr e-
competition and competition periods. The training progress can be evaluated by
employing the following control tests:

Timing of a 50m sprint from a crouch start with a baton in the hand.

Timing of a 30m sprint (l0m approach + 20m changeover zone) from a


flying start of the first, second and third legs of the relay teams.
Timing of a 30m sprint (10m approach + 20m changeover zone) from a
standing or a single arm support position of the second, third and fourth
legs. The athletes imitate a changeover in the middle of the zone. This
time can also be compared with the 30m time without the imitation passing
of the baton.

Timing of a 30m sprint (10m approach + 20m changeover zone) from a


flying start of the first, second and third legs of the relay team. The
athletes carry a baton and perform a changeover in the middle of the
zone. This time can also be compared with the 30m time from a flying start
with the baton but without the imitation passing of the baton.

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