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How to get faster: working with young athletes
How can I get faster?
One of the questions I get asked most. There are two main parts to the answer:
- Practice running fast.
- Do things that help you do the above.
Yesterday I was working with a group of young athletes from different sports as part of the South West Talent programme.
The day consisted of several different parts.
Part 1: Planning.
A lot of the athletes have a big competition at the end of this month. We looked at how to set a priority for the next 4 weeks, put that into a meaningful goal and then see what training we needed to do to achieve that. I spent some time looking at how different training sessions have an impact on what is to follow. Worryingly, a lot of the plans consisted of 4 weeks solid training with no rest days.
You will not get faster unless you schedule the training correctly.
Part 2: Running.
I split the group into 2 for the next 90 minutes. Those who we do not see regularly worked with Matt and Jason on their 5×5 exercises. These are designed to assist them in becoming more balanced, controlled, flexible and strong. They are the foundation upon which more intense and specific training can be built. You can not run fast if your body is either broken, or inefficient.
The regular group worked with me outside focussing on ankles and hips when running. I interspersed drills to develop rhythm and control, with running. The idea was to get the drill directly impacting on what was to follow, rather than just drilling. I also wanted the athletes to “feel” what was going on with their technique, rather than just “doing”.
The body is an amazing self organising system, by concentrating on only 2 aspects, the knee has to sort itself out, and the upper bodies of the runners also improved.
(Will Roberts was also there observing me Coach all day- pictured filming the athletes)
Part 3 – Hydration
It was getting warm yesterday, so a timely intervention with an interactive workshop and quiz was next. Presented by Matt and Jason,they looked at what constitutes a useful sports drink.
A useful benchmark on coaching is how many questions, and what type the athletes are asking? In both seminars, the questions, and thoughts behind them, showed a real level of excitement and engagement.
Part 4- Fun Time
All that learning can’t be good for you, so we finished the day with a Superstars style competition between 4 teams. The events worked on skill\ co ordination, teamwork, strength, and speed with skill. We finished with small sided football which was probably best described as “enthusiastic.”
Again, we wanted to get the athletes doing things they are not used to, so as to challenge these systems in a competitive, but fun environment.
Thanks to everyone concerned who participated. We will be supporting the planning and hydration aspects over the next 2 weeks with these athletes to continue to reinforce the message.
You can learn to run faster with our Run Faster programme here. My latest book Run Faster is now available here
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