I have followed athletics closely since the age of 9 have competed in Track athletics at metropolitan level and spent most of my young adult years playing State level squash .
Important Training Principles
It is important in some event groups (notably Middle Distance) To plan the year in such a way as to perform at your best for the 6 week peak of the year. This is especially important in the formative years. But does not mean the athlete should expect to perform poorly at any stage in the year. They should be only 4-6 weeks away from good race performances all year.
One months active rest each year after the peak is of great value. The athlete should make sure that they maintain as much fitness as possible in this time but with minimal Physical and psychological effort.
Recovery In the first 4 months of the year we follow a 4 week cycle with every 4th week much easier. or a 3 week cycle with every 3rd easier.
Relaxed speed sessions are done all year to stay familiar with fast cadence and full range of motion.
All athletes do a core strength program that is mostly done to improve posture and trunk stability.
Pelvic stability and postural improvement is an area of strong focus. See the page of Core Conditioning
I also recommend Medicine Ball throwing and catching to help stabilize the trunk.
Athletes are encouraged to get a massage from a local sports massage therapist as often as possible and to
They should also have regular flexibility assessment
from a Physiotherapist and follow a structured stretching program
to develop adequate flexibility as well as another program to perform
at the track. The stretching should include a variety of stretches
both dynamic and static.
All athletes should maintain good levels of aerobic
power which may involve structured or unstructured fartlek or long
track sessions for sprinters.
Racing every weekend as routine is not recommended.
Training and adaptation are number 1 priority. Time trials or testing
can be performed about once every 4 weeks throughout the early stages
of training. They are a test of progress and keep the athlete closer
to race fitness. There are that many races available every week
that it would be easy for the young athletes to rest and taper
all year. This would lead them to injuries and mediocrity. When
the real season starts the athletes should feel eager to race and
be able to race hard. I am concerned that too many athletes race
too often at levels below their best and weaken their ability to
really spend themselves when they want to.
Speed Drills as promoted by Loren Seagrave of Speed Dynamics seem effective at improving cadence and posture. I think it is also good in that it gives the sprinters an opportunity to practise being perfect. This is an attitude that needs to be valued. You can't do drills properly (and effectively) unless perfection is pursued. My athletes do speed drills as part of the warmup period at least once per week all year. The sprinters do them at least twice. Each drill is done 3-6 times for 4seconds. The Video Drills for Speed is a must have if the Drills are to be learned properly. To develop the skill seems to take at least 3 months of practise for most athletes to master.
My own squad lately has simplified their drills to
I have had problems with Iron deficiency with a few athletes. They now all have routine FBC and Iron studies done to make sure all is OK. From what I gather ferritin needs to stay above 40 for an athlete to be well in the clear. My endurance athletes now take supplements 85mg once or twice per week.
Most training mostly follows a Hard-Easy day approach. My younger athletes take longer to recover after hard sessions . The challenge is to get the athlete to do everything possible to rapidly replace muscle glycogen and with that taken care of design the training to suit the athlete.
The extra factor that is now being revealed in Science is that of Neural Fatigue. Any high intensity training may have lasting negative effects on maximal performance that are not the contribution of muscle fueling or unrestored energy systems. Pay attention to how you or the athletes you coach are effected by any high intensity training. You may notice that you feel energetic but your ability to generate high cadences is impaired.
Lately I have structured most training weeks
All athletes are encouraged to fuel up after hard sessions with high carbohydrate source drinks etc. some research has found that there is a window of opportunity immediately after training within the first 15min for the body to rapidly replenish Glycogen if Carbohydrate is ingested.The recommended amount is about 1.5g/kg bodyweight of preferably Glucose Polymers.This can be repeated again 2 hrs later.
The quest to be a Great Athlete
The athletes need to set
goals and believe in themselves.
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