Tag Archives: workouts

Tempo Training is NOT Speed Training Part 3

Tempo Running…Extensive Tempo


Tempo Running is NOT Speed Training Part 3


In Part 2 of Tempo Running, we discussed how Continuous Tempo running consists of steady-state running from anywhere between 20-50 minutes. Another way to do steady-state running for a length of time and to change the stimulus is through Fartlek runs where the pace changes from past to slow, run to jog, run to walk for a length of time. These runs are done between 40-60% of aerobic capacity and don’t involve a lot of lactate formation in the blood stream although all energy systems are always at work.


In the last post I also advised against allowing sprinters to do this type of Tempo work although I left the door open for 300/400 hurdlers and long sprinters (400m sprinters) as the Aerobic System is definitely part of their race and should be part of their training regimen as well. I advised that if long sprinters and hurdlers are allowed to do Continuous Tempo runs then they should be done once a week to help aid in recovery, mostly on recovery days to help the body to prepare for the remainder of the training week or adjust and get ready for the next training week.


In this post Extensive Tempo is the name of the game and this is the type of Tempo runs that nearly all runners do to build a solid foundation on which all other tempo runs will be based. Now, each type of tempo run has the capacity to build upon the other. The problem with Continuous Tempo runs for sprinters is the length of the run and the intensity. Too many tempo runs at 40% seems to disrupt the adaptation to speed in sprinters, plus when dealing with events that has very little aerobic components, then doing long steady-state runs seems to not apply to the event. Specificity is always key!


With Extensive Tempo, the runs are between 60-80%, although I can assure that many don’t go below 70-75%! At first, even in trained athletes, lactic formation will occur and that’s because of the intensity of the run coupled with the volume. The volume of Extensive tempo runs can range from 1000m to over 3000m. With this high of volume, as you can imagine, the intensity must be kept low and manageable for the athlete to be able to finish the workout. Now, they won’t always finish in a ‘comfortable’ manner but they should nonetheless finish! This is relaxed and smooth repetitious running at 60-80% to help in recovery. So making the athletes vomit isn’t helping you or them at all…TRUST ME!


Extensive Tempo runs are usually done in the preseason/early season phases of training because of the large quantity of volume of runs and the slower tempos. These runs are another great way to build an aerobic base without going for long steady-state runs and extensive tempo runs keep the athletes more active at a pace that’s more measurable and more closely related to their event areas and demands.


So here’s how examples of Extensive Tempo would look through the General Prep phase:


Monday: Acceleration/Speed Training/Plyo’s

Tuesday: Strength/Endurance Training (Extensive Tempo)

Wednesday: Active Recovery

Thursday: Acceleration/Speed/Plyo’s

Friday: Special Endurance (Maybe another Tempo day depending on the system of training)

Saturday – Sunday: Off


Now here are some examples of Extensive Tempo workouts:


-10x100m. Speed: B-16 sec, G-18 sec. Rest: 30 sec

-2x10x100m. Speed: B-15-16 sec, G-17-18 sec. Rest 30 sec b/w reps; 5 min b/w sets

-6x200m. Speed: B-30-32 sec, G-34-36 sec. Rest: 2 min

-8x200m. Speed: B-30-32 sec, G-34-36 sec. Rest: 2 min

-4-5x250m. Speed: B-30@200m, G-32@200m. Rest: 3-4 min

-3-4xBroken 400m. (300m/100m – 200m/200m – 200m/200m – 300m/100m). Rest: 6-8 min b/w sets

-3xBroken 500m. (300m/200m – 400m/100m – 250m/250m – or any combination you can think of, be creative). Rest: 8-10 min b/w sets


Now, if you notice, these sets, reps, rest times and intensity start from a very simplistic base and continue to get more creative and intense. Don’t just pull workouts out of a hat! Start with something simple and work your way towards more complex, yet still simple, workouts as the athlete continues to improve their fitness levels.


Continue in knowledge my friends!






Tempo Running is NOT Speed Training!

I’m sure I’m going to ruffle some feathers with this series but here goes nothing:

Have you ever seen this workout or any of these workouts and seen it called ‘speed training’:


5-6x200m @goal pace. Rest: 45 seconds

4x400m @2-3 seconds faster than race pace. Rest: 2-3 minutes

4x400m @goal pace. Rest: 15-20 seconds

4-5x800m @5 seconds faster than race pace. Rest: 6 minutes


If you have seen these workouts then you know exactly how tough they are and how taxing they can be on the body and mind if you don’t make the goal pace times. But I have also seen these workouts labeled as ‘speed training’! Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble here, but that is NOT speed training! Just because you run really really super duper fast and faster than normal doesn’t mean that it has anything to do with speed.


Speed is defined as the ability to make body parts move through a given range of motion in the least amount of time. Speed is part of the ATP system which is called “free” energy and that free energy only last 4-7 seconds (maybe 8 if you’re lucky) and it includes a high intense effort for those 4-7 seconds that is not hindered by fatigue and bad technique. Speed is also part of the Anaerobic Alactic Energy System; meaning without oxygen for fuel for the muscles and without lactate. So the Anaerobic Alactic Energy System doesn’t use oxygen to fuel muscular activities and does it without the buildup of lactate but instead uses the free energy, ATP+CP, adenosine triphosphate+creatine phosphate, and is restored just by resting for long periods of time. Simple enough? Of course it’s not, it’s science! Still with me so far? Of course you’re not, it’s science!


Okay, now, go back and look at those workouts and I want you to tell me which of those workouts will last between 4-7 seconds at high intense (all out) effort with full recovery meaning recoveries of 8 minutes at least? Oh don’t worry, I’ll wait…… (cue the Jeopardy music)


Let me guess…the answer is…E! None of the above right! You got it! Now even though those workouts aren’t considered speed training they are considered something right? Of course they are. When you see a set pace for a number of reps for a length of distance then start to think about Tempo. Tempo is part of the Aerobic Energy System; meaning oxygen fuels the muscles and can do so for a very long time so long as the runs are at a low intensity. The workouts above are a different category such as race modeling and even touching on Special Endurance 1 or 2 but the rest times don’t line up with what’s needed to achieve quality runs so those workouts look like they just make athletes vomit honestly and they look like they do a great job of doing that!!!


Tempo running is a great way to build a solid foundation on which all specific intense work can be built. Tempo is broken up into 3 categories: Continuous Tempo (general endurance), Extensive Tempo and Intensive Tempo. Continuous is just that; continuous with a steady state of running at a low intensity for a long period of time such as 25-40 minutes of steady running or 30 minutes of fartlek work (run, jog combo’s).


Extensive Tempo is between 60-80% intensity and is usually used to help the muscles recover and help assist the muscles in the removal of lactic acid. These runs are done at the beginning of the training periods during the training week with high volumes of runs, over 100-200-300 even 400 meters in length with short recovery at a moderate pace.


Intensive Tempo is borderline Speed Endurance in that the intensity is 85% and up. The quality of the run is the focus of this tempo and the reps are kept low, usually 6-12 reps, and the volume isn’t very high, anywhere from 600-800m total.


Later I will give more examples of each Tempo so that you can see which is which and where to use each Tempo and what it does for you.


Continue in knowledge my friends!





The Preparation Season Part 2

The Preparation Season Pt. 2


Last time we ended Part 1 talking about preparing by setting up a plan and making sure that we can adjust to changes as time moves along. The one who can change quickly is usually the one who is the most successful. Having an overall plan for anything is important and what’s equally important is what goes into that plan.


Since we are still dealing with the preparation season, we will now dive into the training plan to get the athletes ready to train or what is more commonly known as pre-season or conditioning. During this time of year, as far as track and field training is concerned, we have a variety of focus. Knowing full well that most athletes didn’t do much of anything during the summer, we have to approach the conditioning period with caution. We can’t do too much too fast or else the athletes will always either be injured or unable to complete any workouts and the last thing we want is for athletes doubting their abilities! Mental preparation is just as, if not more, important as physical preparation. The reason being is that the mind will give way and set the precedent for how the body will perform and react to certain situations. So, while we are preparing workouts for our athletes, let’s remember that patience is a virtue and being able to finish a workout can and will do wonders for our athletes confidence level.


Now that we know the conditioning workouts don’t have a need to be too hard since we are only preparing the athletes to train, we can begin to write workouts based on the strengths and weaknesses of the athletes. From what I’ve seen over the past years as a coach is that many athletes come back to school from having an entire summer of sitting on the couch, laying in the bed or working at a summer job with very little time for fun or training, so the weakness spectrum covers all biomotor abilities. They lack everything from speed, strength all the way to coordination and flexibility and all of these need to be addressed all the time. The key is learning how to design workouts that address all of these components at the same time.


Now, how do we write these workouts that challenge the athlete while making it manageable enough for them to finish the workout? Well that’s where years of experience comes in along with some mentors who can guide you and make sure that you aren’t just making your athletes vomit everyday and getting nothing out of them at the same time.


I want to address everything in a week from speed/acceleration, special strength, aerobic capacity, strength, power development and endurance along with flexibility and coordination. So here’s how I would set up the first week of training:


Monday: Warm up (the warm up should address all biomotor abilities)

-Standing Long Jump, Standing Triple Jump 2/3×5 (Power Development/Starting strength)

-6x30m Accelerations – Crouch start. Rest: 3’ b/w reps (30 Abs b/w reps)

-4×6 Hurdle Hops, Frog Hops, Low intense bounds

-Cool down


Tuesday: Warm up

-Hurdle Mobility (walkovers, right leg lead/left leg lead, 2 up-1 back, Under-Unders) 2x8H

-General Strength Circuit

-2x10x100m. B-16 sec, G-18 sec. Rest: 30 sec b/w reps; 3 min b/w sets

OR you can do 10x100m and use the general strength circuit part of the cool down

-Cool down (ice bath for 15 min)


Wednesday: Warm up

-General strength (more than likely a circuit that doesn’t involve any running)

-Cool down


Thursday: Warm up

-Hurdle Mobility (same as Tuesday) 2x8H (every drill twice over 8 hurdles)

-Standing Long Jump, Standing Triple Jump 2/3×5

-2x4x30m (or 8x30m) Accelerations – Crouch start. Rest: 3’ b/w reps (30 Abs b/w reps)

-4×6 Hurdle Hops, Frog Hops, Low intense bounds (straight leg, bent leg)

-Cool down (ice bath for 15 min)


Friday: Warm up

-3/4x20m Accelerations (working technique – can be part of the warm up)

-6-8x200m. B-30-32 sec, G-34-36 sec. Rest: 2-3’ b/w reps

(of course these speeds depend on the level of athlete you coach!)

-Cool down


Saturday and Sunday: Complete Rest


I would do this for 3 more week while raising the volume to accommodate the growing adaptation of the athletes and to make sure that they are being challenged each week.


Training design isn’t hard and neither is preparing, it’s just knowing what goes where, how and why. Once you figure those out and the more workouts you have in your arsenal, then it just becomes a matter of which route to take to get the athletes (and yourself) better.


Continue in knowledge my friends!



Want to get faster…Try High Quality Workouts!

Throughout my years as an athlete and coach I have acquired various exercises and workouts to help improve confidence and athletic ability. The workouts that I’ve kept around in my training program for my athletes are workouts that have been proven to get results, workouts that are tailored for their individual needs, workouts that address all 5 Biomotor abilities that ALL athletes need and should have(Coordination, Strength, Speed, Endurance and Flexibility) and workouts that challenge the correct energy systems.


If I want to improve Speed, then I’m going up to 60 meters; if I want to improve Speed Endurance, then I’m going from 60 meters to 150 meters; if I want to improve Special Endurance 1 (or Special Speed Endurance as I like to call it), then I’m going from 150 meters to 300 meters; and if I want to improve the Special Endurance (Special Endurance 2 as it is more commonly called), then I’m going from 300 meters to 600 meters.  However, depending on how you combine the distances run and how much rest you give your athletes will determine which part of the Anaerobic Energy System you will be training (remember it’s Alactic-without oxygen which is Speed (0 meters to 60 meters) or Lactic which is Speed Endurance, Special Endurance 1 and Special Endurance 2 (60m-150m; 150m-300m; 300m-600m)).


However, if you’re looking for quality workouts (you should always go for quality within every workout aka don’t beat the kids into the ground just working them to make them tough; that just shows a lack of coaching knowledge), especially during this part of the Florida high school season, then you are looking to give your athletes plenty of rest between reps and sets.  This also means that they are running very fast which is near or at their maximum speed which means that the volume is pretty low to achieve the desired result. During competition phase of training, the number of quality workouts will greatly depend on how much time you give the athlete to rest between workouts and rest between the workout and the next competition. Just remember, when planning these quality workouts, be sure to take all those factors into consideration before executing a theme for the training week.


Now, some of my favorite workouts for my athletes include the following:


  • 1x60m, 1x80m, 1x100m, 1x120m, 1x150m. Full recovery between each one
  • 2x350m. Full recovery between each rep
  • 1x250m, 1x150m. Full recovery between each one
  • 2x(150m+60m+150m). Rest 3 minutes between reps, Full recovery between sets


Those workouts just barely scratche the surface of my training inventory, but these are among some of my favorite to implement when the time is right and when the athlete has proven that they can handle this quality of a workout.


I hope this helps in your workout planning. Let me know if I can help you with this or if you have questions just leave a comment below!

Continue in knowledge my friends!



Who wants more speed??

Training for Speed


Every athlete wants to get faster! Ask any athlete what their concerns would be in their training or what it is that they would like to improve the most and aside from jumping higher, getting stronger, kicking further, going the distance and a host of other athletic abilities that can be improved I guarantee that the most common answer, if not number one, would be to get faster…whether it’s lateral speed, turning the corner more quickly or just plain linear speed! And why does every athlete want to get faster…well as the saying goes…Speed kills!


So what exactly is ‘speed training’? How do you design training programs to get athletes faster? Let’s start with the ‘what’. Speed is the rate of change in motion (this does not include the aspect of direction) and is usually used interchangeably with velocity in athletic training. So, to make that definition really simple, speed is moving from one point to the next in the shortest amount of time. The resynthesis of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate ) has a supply that is readily available in everyone and that initial “burst” of energy lasts 1 to 2 seconds. After that, the resynthesis can last for another 4 to 5 seconds, thus bringing the total resynthesis of ATP a total of 7 seconds and for argumentative purposes we can even say 8 seconds taking into consideration the start of deceleration. So taking the above information and as scientists (we as coaches and athletes are scientist, except we don’t wear white coats and work inside a building, we work outside, that’s our lab and our training is the experiment and the outcome are the results) we can theorize that speed training involves work that lasts 2 to 8 seconds in length and is high in intensity. This type of training occurs without oxygen and without the build-up of the chemical that inhibits muscular action because of long durations of exercise commonly known as lactic acid (for future references, lactic acid is a good thing, lactate is an energy system which we will get into in another article, but it’s the build-up of hydrogen ions and calcium deposits that really inhibit muscle functions making it harder to continue to exercise). This energy system is known as Anaerobic (without oxygen) Alactic (without lactate) Energy System (the ‘a’ means without). So therefore if you are training for speed and wanting to improve speed, then this is your primary energy system that you will be working within.


Now that we have that information, how do we design training programs to get athletes faster? At this point, it takes careful consideration, knowledge and proper planning and program design to make sure that athletes can achieve their full potential. This requires knowing what the athlete needs to achieve for that training session, what needs to be taught, technical issues that need to be reinforced, a good warm up is a must (as a matter of fact, make it a must on a daily basis) and having a good balance of rest days and speed days mixed with strength training days and other days that cater to the needs of your particular sport. Applying the short to long approach is advised, especially when dealing with amateur athletes. This means that you start with low volume and work your way up to high volume as the weeks go by.


So, to put pen to paper and in real world training, let’s go to the lab and workout this experiment shall we! Here’s a 4 week (1 mesocycle-a collection of 4 to 6 microcycles (a microcycle is 7-10 days of training sessions and, yes, rest is considered a training session)) sample speed training program for an intermediate athlete who runs track who is training for the 100m-200m-400m-Hurdles (Yes, ALL sprinters should learn the 100m acceleration pattern). My goal is to get the athlete to training in an overall volume of 500 meters total for sprint training, but I’m going to have the athlete start out with low volume and really reinforcing particular technical issues such as fast hands or low heel recovery, driving the foot downward or high recovery as they transition to max velocity and so on. Design speed training AT LEAST twice a week to allow for stabilization and adaptation.

Stay tuned for more in depth examples!


Continue in knowledge my friends!