Monthly Archives: November 2012

Sprint/Running Workout Syntax Examples

In my last post, I ranted about posted/printed workouts missing key information (usually intensity and often rest) and the need for a  standard for describing sprint training (and proposed one).  I have since learned there is already an IAAF standard syntax that covers 90% of what I was looking for.  Since I’m someone who learns best by examples, I thought I’d print a handful of common workouts to get your juices flowing.

Here’s the IAAF format with two additions: “Classification” at the beginning to include any general information the athlete may require and “Modifier” for clarifying any additional information about the distance, e.g. “b” for blocks, “f” for flying, “c” for crouching…  Here’s a link to the IAAF standard.

Classification – Sets x repetitions x distance<modifier> (intensity/pace) [recovery between reps, recovery between sets]  

In general, I don’t like using time for my intensity — the first example in the IAAF document does exactly this: 10 x 400 (72”) [2’].  I think this is a mistake.   Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Sprinting | 2 Comments

Standardizing Sprint Workout Syntax

I read a lot of coach’s workouts online and in books and it absolutely drives me crazy when the sprint workouts are vague.  I continually have to make assumptions on what the workout means by filling in information like rest and intensity.  Honestly, in a standard sprint workout, there are very few variable.  In general, these variables are sets, reps, distance, rest, intensity.  Sure, there are non-standard workouts (e.g. change intensity mid-run, run for a specified time instead of distance, use a heart rate monitor instead of specific rest time…), but 9 out of 10 workouts fall into the “standard” category.  And thus, we should be able to create a basic vernacular for describing these workouts.

Just today I read an overview of some training for the young start sprinter Adam Gemili (  The first sprint workout just says — Track work: 4x350m.

What does that mean?  Without intensity and rest, this workout could be classified (using UKA-Michael_Khmel&Tony_Lester_CLASSIFYING_SPRINT_TRAINING_METHODS) as Specific Endurance, Special Endurance, Intensive Tempos, or Extensive Tempos.  All of these classification have very different goals.  The reason I read other coaches workouts is to try to find nuggets of information that I may be able to apply to my own training.  Forcing me to assume aspects of their training obfuscate the true meaning and leads to potentially massive misinformation. Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Sprinting | 3 Comments

Anaerobic Speed Reserve — ASR Spreadsheet

This post is a Do-It-Yourself Anaerobic Speed Reserve (ASR) spreadsheet tutorial.  If you don’t know what the ASR curve is, then please see my posts I take it back…Weyand was right and Bolt can run 42.80 and Dr. Peter Wayand’s study High-speed running performance: a new approach to assessment and prediction.

I’m not the best Excel guy, so I’m sure my approach can be greatly improved.  But, my spreadsheet works and it doesn’t use any tricky Macros, so I think it will be very useful to you.

Now, a quick tutorial on the ASR equation before getting into Excel DIY.  The basic ASR equation is as follows:

You won’t find this exact equation in Weyand paper.  I’ve done some basic variable replacements to make it, in my mind, easier to read.  The closest version of my derivitative can be found on page 8 (1961), equation 7.

The equation states that the maintainable maximum speed for a specified time (Spd(t)) of an athlete is equal to that athlete’s maintainable Aerobic Speed (Spdaer) plus that athlete’s exponentially decayed Anaerobic Speed Reserve (Spdasr).  I know, that’s a huge mouthful.  Feel free to completely forget it!

The import thing to note is that an athlete’s Spdaer and Spdasr are unchanging from one sprint to the next. Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Sprinting | 9 Comments

5 months with iThlete — tracking recovery through HRV

When I first learned about iThlete, I was extremely excited to get one.  I knew several NFL teams were using an HRV (Heart Rate Variability) system called Omegawave, but Omegawave was way out of my price range, costing thousands of dollars.  iThlete, built on some of the same science, was less than $100 with app, dongle, and chest strap (cheaper if you have the strap already).  Now that’s more like it!

So, what is HRV and why is it important?  Well, HRV is a way to test your current fatigue, but more specifically your CNS (Central Nervous System) fatigue.  An HRV test measures the time between your heart’s beats.  When rested, the time between heart beats will vary efficiently based on your breathing.  Your CNS regulates beats so that your heart beats more rapidly when inhaling (new supply of O2) and less rapidly when exhaling.  However, when your CNS is fatigued (like after a hard workout), your “heart beat efficiency” drops and times between beats are more regular (a little counter intuitive at first — I originally equated consistent beats with recovered — but your body is smarter than that).

The CNS and PNS (peripheral nervous system) controls everything about how we move.  Every stride is a complex loop of sensory input and coordinated motor unit firing.  Thus, understanding how your CNS is taxed and how long and well it responds to being stressed (via workouts) can greatly greatly benefit the athlete and coach.  A low HRV score means your CNS is suffering and working sub-optimally.  And thus your chance of injury is higher, especially if your workout calls for a taxing CNS regiment (e.g. maximal velocity sprints, heavy deadlifting…).  A high HRV score means you are primed for a good workout from a CNS perspective.

Think about it this way: A low HRV score means you are going to be less coordinated.  I don’t mean coordinated like rub you tummy while patting your head.  I mean motor units firing in synchronized and successive order to make accurate and powerful movements.

At least, that’s the theory.  My experiences weren’t perfect, but they were very good. Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Products, Sprinting | 5 Comments