Now that we are just about to head into Spring, there are many athletes that have been preparing for the up coming Track & Field Season. Many these athletes have been training for months and there are others just finishing their season with their Winter or Fall sports. If you have not started your training there are some areas that need to be focused on in order to help prepare yourself for the season. Of course Strength is one of the biggest areas and is your base which needs to be addressed first in order to have a solid foundation to support your both Speed and Power output. With Speed, it is not only the basis of the sport but need to addressed in a variety of forms in your training to help in multiple areas of your performance. The third area is the amount of Power you can produce on the track and with the field events. Every athlete has to train in each one of these areas in order to have a solid foundation with their performance in both the track and field events.
The area that needs to be focused for the longest period and the is one of the most important is your Strength. It is both your foundation for all other movements that you need to do in your training program. When your Strength is continually focused on throughout the year, the other two areas can increase at a much higher rate. Choosing the right exercises is one of the biggest challenges that an athlete may have when designing a strength program. The key is to keep it simple and do not try to complicate things with exercises that do produce results. For example, for your lower body always focus on the major lifts as in Squats, Lunges, Split Squats, Step-Ups, Hamstring Curls and RDL’s and with your upper body always have a combination push/pull exercises. All of these can exercises can be modified during your program to help with your progression throughout the year. Not only having the variety of these lifts but have your tempo, sets and repetitions adjusted in order to meet your goal on the track.
As for Speed, the key is to run and run often. Also having a running program that will not only increase your running speed (mph) but will focus on acceleration, top end speed and stamina. The basic foundation of any Speed training program is to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to your runs. It would be somewhat useless to run a set of drills on the track if your form is suffering and that would of course decrease your Speed. Having a balance that can fit within your Strength/Power training program will not only benefit your runs but will help increase your Power on the track. The amount you run all depends on the types of events that you compete in. There are some field event athletes that do not need lots of time on the track and some that need to be on the track everyday. Having a skilled and knowledgable coach/trainer to help with your programming is key to your success now matter what level of athlete that you may be.
When it comes to developing Power for your events there are many avenues that can be taken and it all depends on the type of athlete you are in Track & Field. Those athletes that only focus on throwing events will have a Power program that will be a majority of their training program. Then you may be a sprinter and/or jumper, which your Power program will be combined with your Strength and Speed programs. Finally you have the distance runners, where they might be limited in what they do with Power exercises and have a majority of the programming focused on running. In all, Power exercises should include but not limited to the Deadlift, Power Clean, Hang Clean, Jerk, Split Jerk and Snatch. Your Power training program can be combined with your Strength training program and will be a key to your speed on the track. This is another area that you may need to coach/trainer to help with programming to help produce the most positive results for you on the Track and in the weight room.
The key for any athlete is to have a combination of different types of training stimulus to reach your maximum potential with your sport. When you want to increase your Speed and Power on the Track there are many avenues to take with your training. The key is to have a set plan with your progression and to make sure that you have a coach/trainer that will not only guide you in the right direction but will motivate you to get the best results from your body. Always take the necessary steps to have a detailed plan of attack with your training program with the correct progressions and a healthy diet to give the right type of fuel as well as aid your recovery from your training.
Derrick Campbell, USTF-L1