Hello, I am a 60/100m sprinter who only started a few months ago, I am trying to design an effective training program for myself (for next season), but this post is just trying to see if I have the basic science down, and how to test for each aspect so I can see where my weaknesses/strengths are. Please chip in with your opinions/advice, any feedback would be appreciated. Obviously I have a lot more to learn.
Here is what I have gathered so far:
Speed is influenced by
Stride frequency, which is affected largely by nervous system characteristics, or the length of the levers, therefore hard to train. However I have read theories on how stride frequency can also depend upon the ‘stiffness’ of the tendons, especially at the ankle/foot. Supposedly having stiffer ankles results in less deformation of the foot therefore allowing for a shorter ground contact time. Could this be trained for? Or is it just a link-in to elastic strength?
Stride length, which is affected by firstly the structure of the sprinter e.g leg length and height. It is also affected by the force transferred into the ground. This force involves many components such as:
Max Strength – Relative to body mass of course. Arguably has little to do with speed unless the force can be expressed whilst sprinting. Can be tested with basic weight training exercises such as the squat/deadlift.
Explosive Strength – again relative to body mass, but this time it has to do with how quickly you can generate large amounts of force. This aspect of strength also decreases ground contact time when improved, so would also increase stride frequency (?) What would be the best way to test it? Power cleans come to mind but they rely heavily on technique, and the speed of the movement is way slower and different to sprinting. Would vertical jump be a good way to test it? There are thousands of theories on how to train it so lets not go too deep into that yet!
Elastic Strength – not the best description but the ability of the muscles to ‘spring’ and use elastic recoil which will overall increase the amount of force which they can apply during ground contact. Can be tested via comparison of vertical jump with reactive jumps off a box. Also would a 5 bound test be a good test? Trainable via jumps/hops/bounds.
Ofcourse I have missed out speed endurance, as I thought it would be less important for a short distance sprinter such as myself (I would like to focus on 60m because it will help my other sports I do in the winter where you never have to sprint more than 60m). I have also missed out the actual skill of sprinting and the neurological pathways involved, as that can be improved just by sprinting a few times a week, correct?
Anything else that I have missed? Please correct me if I am wrong on some points. Sorry if I have encompassed a very broad range of training topics here.