Sprinting.

There are very few components to improving your sprint performance. Running form is number one. The amount of fast twitch muscle fiber you can recruit is number two. Lactic acid tolerance is number three. ATP and creatine phosphate usage is a marginally improvable number four. And that's everything worth mentioning.

Running form. This should not be something you have to think about. When I was growing up I was always running away from high schoolers who were trying to beat me up because I peed on their car or covered it in wet bologna and fish backs, something of that nature. I was really fast. But that's not because of scrupulous focus on proper running form. When you're 12 years old and fleeing for survival, you have no regard for technique. I would run 30 miles an hour through bumpy fields with perfect mechanics.

The way to train for technique is simply to run as fast as you possibly can. Your body will figure it out without your cognitive effort. You thinking about your form just messes it up. If you need evidence of this, find girls who play Dungeons & Dragons and make them do sprints. Their form is completely appalling. But if you let a vicious lion loose behind them, I promise these girls will run at world record pace with flawless form. Flawless. Especially if you keep the lion caged for 3 days while jagging it with sizzling pokers. I do this all the time, it's breathtaking.

The take home message is that your running form isn't something you need to worry about. Your body already has the ability to do it perfectly if you just get rid of the conscious energy and do everything in your power to move really, really fast.

Muscle fiber type orientation. This is partially genetic and partially a product of training methodology. It works like this: type II fibers contract with higher speed and greater force. Type I fibers don't. If you want to run fast, have tons of type II. If you weren't born with tons, this is kind of okay because you can train to make type I fibers take on the characteristics of type II. Problem solved. And even if you were born with tons, you still want more.

Here's how to train: not light or slow. If you do, there's nothing challenging speed or force, only fatigue. Type I fibers have low speed and force, but are fantastically resistant to fatigue. So given this training methodology, the ideal response for the body is to create a fiber orientation suitable in an aerobically fatiguing setting: tons of type I. This makes you slow.

But if your training places high demands on speed and strength, you challenge the type II fibers. Your body responds appropriately to this and you end up with a more ideal muscle fiber composition. Thus you're faster.

Your movements in the weight room are as follows: squats, power cleans and plyometric drills involving a lot of weight absorption followed by explosive jumping. That's all. Nothing else. And remember that if you're doing them slow or light, you’re bad at working out and you're getting slower. Control the weight and use proper form, but go as fast and heavy as you can within those constraints.

Other than that, use your new found anti-cognitive running form and sprint like a banshee. Your running practice should look like this: warm up thoroughly with some drills, no stretching. Do a couple 100s where you progressively increase speed. Then do 5 full out 100s, resting for several minutes between each. Stretch afterwards, never before. Stretching before messes up muscular and neural components, making you slower.

Regarding the frequency of training, do 1 day per week on weights and 2-3 days per week on sprinting. Don't overlap days and space them out to give yourself plenty of recovery time so that you don't sprint while you're sore. All working through soreness will do is mess up recruitment patterns of your muscle and slow you down.

Never exercise outside of this and especially no cardio or long distance running. And at the start of the year, go easy on the repetition. It's easy to do too much too early. If you start training for the year intensely, your results will come no faster and you'll probably end up hurting yourself and never be able to run as fast ever again in your life. So get plenty of rest and don't be a moron.

Lactic acid tolerance. The faster and stronger the muscle fiber is, the more glycolytic it is. This means it uses carbs for energy. A byproduct of carbohydrate metabolism at high energy demand is lactic acid. Lactic acid is tricky, because at lower demands, it's converted back into carbs for further energy. But at high demands that option isn't available. And you will be working out strictly at high demands. So you have to learn to tolerate it while it impedes on your muscle use.

The way muscle contracts is through the contractile proteins, actin and myosin. There are binding sites on these proteins and they need to bond together in order for the muscle to activate. When lactic acid builds up, it starts occupying the binding sites on the actin. If there are no binding sites available for the myosin to connect to, there can't be a muscle contraction. Now there are millions of actin and myosin in a muscle and this obviously isn't happening to all of them, but if enough lactic acid starts occupying the binding sites, the overall muscle contraction is definitely hindered. This is the largest contributor to anaerobic fatigue. And anaerobic fatigue happens to a considerable degree over the course of 100 meters.

If you were to split up your 100m dash time into 10-meter intervals, I guarantee your last few intervals in an all-out sprint would be slower. World record setting Olympic athletes slow down here, you do too. This is attributed to two phenomena. First, lactic acid hindering the total amount of muscle you can use. Second, depletion of the creatine phosphate stores, slowing down the rate of ATP available to your muscle.

Regarding the lactic acid, if you remember, type I fibers were fatigue resistant. Does this mean you want to use them? No. Lactic acid is a byproduct of fast ATP production. If you aren't producing ATP extremely quickly, you're not running very fast. Type I fibers are so slow in their metabolism that they're not really using elevated ATP levels until the race is over. Instead, you just subject yourself to the lactic acid in extreme levels and your system can build up a tolerance to it over time. Lucky for you it's easy to build up tons of lactic acid because its buildup is cumulative. Repeated trials causes progressively higher lactic acid levels that you can work through. Unlucky for you, this doesn't feel good. It's acid, and as such, it doesn't feel pleasing.

Either way, your practice should include repeated measures. You should be doing that anyway. Remember the 5 sprints per session? This is part of the justification for that. Build up a bunch of lactic acid, and train through it.

Creatine phosphate. You're not going to run out of phosphocreatine stores unless you die. But because death resides at phosphocreatine depletion, when levels dip far enough your body slows down its use. The creatine phosphate system is your fastest way to produce ATP. When you stop using it as a major energy contributor, you lose out on a substantial source of energy fueling the demands of your muscle. When demands aren't met, the amount of recruit-able muscle declines. It's kind of like lactic acid build up in that you end up not being able to use as much muscle. Plus it happens around the same time, contributing to your slower finishing pace in the 100. This is why you see athletes with better lactic acid tolerance and greater phosphocreatine stores gain the most ground during the final third of sprint competitions. And the way to improve your phosphocreatine stores is to train with pure anaerobic metabolism, pretty much exactly as you would to improve lactic acid tolerance.

So your exact weekly workout should look something like this:

Day One
Warm up drills: ass kicks, quick feet, karaoke, high knees, 3-step high hops, backwards sprints.
2 gradual increasing pace 100s.
5 full out 100s with several minutes of rest between each.
Stretch out your hammies, quads, hip flexors, and glutes.

Day Two
Warm with up squats.
Plyometric drills: quick box jumps, high box jumps, 1 leg, etc. Be be creative with speed and power.
3 sets of power cleans- rep range 5-8.
5 sets of squats- rep range 6-10.

Day Three
Rest.

Day Four
Warm up drills: ass kicks, quick feet, karaoke, high knees, 3-step high hops, backwards sprints.
2 gradual increasing pace 100s.
5 full out 100s with several minutes of rest between each.
Stretch out your hammies, quads, hip flexors, and glutes.

Day Five
Rest.

Day Six
Warm up drills: ass kicks, quick feet, karaoke, high knees, 3-step high hops, backwards sprints.
2 gradual increasing pace 100s.
5 full out 100s with several minutes of rest between each.
Stretch out your hammies, quads, hip flexors, and glutes.

Day Seven
Rest.





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