I coach sprinters at high school and university level. April here in South Africa is when all the major meets take place, national youth/junior and senior champs, student champs and varsity cup.
My question is regarding the training during this stage.
What should we concentrate on, taking into account all the meets are on weekends and some early-week meets and traveling?
How much is enough, or too much? I am sometimes guilty of not doing enough with my athletes and they “fall flat”. What about tapering?
I find planning for this period has always been my nemeses.
Any thoughts and ideas welcome
Well, there is quite a debate raging on linkedin on exactly this subject. If you DM me I will send you the link to it so you can catch a lot of other opinions, but here’s mine.
Here’s my thoughts though. First, it depends how long the championship meets go on for. If it is just for April, you should be able to maintain a peak for that period.
Tapering for me is simply a case of reducing training volume to reduce fatigue going into championships. For a major taper like yours I would do about 2 weeks. At this stage the intensity would be high still, but volume low, culminating in one-off race pace efforts.
Between meets if they are a week apart as an example for us, our strength day is on Monday, so we would do 5RM type efforts but with less sets and exercises. Tuesday we would do a race pace effort, possibly at full distance depending on the effort level from the weekend previous. Wednesday would be a full flexibility workout. Thursday would be light training, basically warm up and warm down with a shorter than race, but high intensity effort in the middle. Maybe a few starts or a couple of fly 30’s or similar. Friday would be off. If I thought the athletes were getting tired late in the peak, I would do the Thursday session on the Tuesday and rest them on the Thursday as well.
I’d repeat the basic cycle for the whol four weeks.
In all I’d err on the side of caution with training. I like Clyde Harts comment on whether you’re putting money in the bank or withdrawing it during training. In this phase you have to be sure you’re not withdrawing it. It’s unlikely you’ll be making hem better at this stage. To quote Latif Thomas, “The hay’s in the barn!”.