Freelap — this changes everything.

I love everything about the Freelap timing system, except what it’s telling me.  And it’s screaming that I’m “OLD AND SLOW”!!!

What is Freelap?  Well, that’s easy to answer; it’s a very precise timing system that an individual can use without or without a coach.  Imagine the timing system they use at the NFL Combine (Brower system), but way cooler!  It comes in several configurations, including a starting finger pad or foot pad, timing gates, and a watch with hip strap (they also make systems for mountain biking and swimming…very cool, but not relevant to a track blog).  How it works is also easy; the timing gates emits a magnetic fields which is detected by the watch and registered.  The watch will record each time you pass one of the timing gates (called TX Junior).  The watch can store a boat load of times (over 700) and those can be transferred to a computer via infrared…there’s a lot more to be said about what Freelap is and you can find it on their website:  Watch the video below to see exactly what I’m talking about:

But what it DOES FOR YOU is not immediately apparent.  When I first saw it online, I thought mildly, “that’s kind of cool.”  But now my eyes are open. Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Products, Sprinting | 3 Comments

I take it back…Weyand was right and Bolt can run 42.80

I made a statement in my last post that I now consider wrong.  I said “Weyand suggested you could use his equations for up to 240 seconds. I disagree with this.”  After making some adjustments, I now think the equations works perfectly well (97% accurate) with a few caveats.  These caveats are where I made my mistakes.

First caveat, you must use flying times (thanks Chris).  I knew this, but I fell victum to the example in Weyand’s own study.  In the study, as a side-sample, he uses Michael Johnsons 200m and 400m world records to create a speed curve.  I likewise used Usain Bolt’s 100m and 200m times from Bejing to estimate what he might run in the 400m.  But Weyand results are really based on average speed and thus including block starts throws it off, especially for shorter distances.  Taking this caveat into consideration, I should have used something like Bolt’s split between 30m and 60m in his 100m and something like his final 180m in his 200m. Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Sprinting | 1 Comment

Who’s Afraid of Loren Seagrave — not me (Barry Ross)

Not everyone agrees with Loren Seagrave’s sprint mechanics that I highlighted in my first post.  One of the most vocal opponents is famed strength coach Barry Ross.  And today his most claim-to-fame athlete Allyson Felix,  won the 200m at the Olympic Trials, setting a new PR of 21.69 and becoming the fourth fastest woman of all time.  It only seemed appropriate to highlight his ideas.

First, however, I need to clarify that Barry is not her current strength coach.  Nor was he ever her sprinting coach.  Barry was her high school strength coach.   Her high school sprint coach is Wes Smith and her current coach is legend Bobby Kersee.  Regardless, Ross was her high school strength coach and she did run a blistering 22.11 while in high school!!!  So, Ross deserves major “props”.

I must admit, I haven’t read his eBook “Underground Secrets to Faster Running”, but I have read much of his blog Bearpowered and his article “The Holy Grails of Speed Training” and he makes a lot sense.  Moreover, you have to respect someone who doesn’t shy away from controversy (and perhaps brings it on). Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Dorsiflexion, Sprinting | 7 Comments

Newton Shoes — Standing on the shoulders of giants

There are two kinds of people in this world…

One of my favorite geek jokes is “There are 10 kinds of people in this world, those that understand binary and those that don’t” (if you don’t get it, google it).

Well, a “two kinds of people” moment happened to me yesterday.  I received my “Newton Distance” shoes  in the mail, laced them up, and broke them in for the next hour or so.  The neon green/yellow almost glows in full sunlight.  Every single person I saw said something to the likes of “Whoa, bright shoes”…”Hey nice shoes” (sarcastically)…or better, my mother-in-law says “What in the world are those?!”   An hour later, I headed to the track for a workout and the first person I see says “Hey, nice Newtons!!!” with 100% sincerity.  So, the same joke applies — “There are two kinds of people in this world, those that know Newtons and those that don’t”.

How Newton usurped my Vibrams

For those who are in the “don’t” camp, let me bring you up to speed. Continue reading

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Strassburg Sock, oh my!!!

I was jovially chatting with the jump coach at Cuesta Junior College a couple months back, telling how it has been 18 years since I last strapped on my spikes.  He smiled and just said, watch out for you Achilles.  I had already been running and bounding for a month or so without any problem, but Murphy’s law struck and not a week later did my Achilles start to ache (I still blame that coach…thanks a lot!).

Quickly, I hit the web and found that ruptured Achilles is an extremely common injury for guys over 40 doing ballistic sports.  So, being the good boy that I am, I started icing after workouts and heat during the day, but that wasn’t making much progress.  I read about wearing a splint to bed, but I wasn’t ready to do that.  Instead, I just made sure that upon waking I slowly made circles with my ankles trying to loosen up my calf prior to putting my whole body weight down.  This did seem to help a bit.

Then, a week ago, I was at an orthopedic surgeon (my wife is getting rotator cuff surgery) and asked him if he treated Achilles issues.  Without hesitation he said “get a Strassburg Sock”.  Okay, that was all the nudging I needed. Continue reading

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Why in the world would my first post be about dorsiflexion.  I guess because in all my years training, I’d never heard this word.  In fact, the training in “my day” was focused on pushing off your toes.  Not until I moved to Texas and trained with Dan Pfaff did any coach ever tell me to “pull my toes up” as soon as my foot left the ground (still didn’t use the word dorsiflexion though… 🙂 ).

Now-a-days, every good sprint coach knows about dorsiflexion, which promotes “front side mechanics”.  So, this seemed as good a place as any to start.

Loren Seagrave explains the advantages of dorsiflexion is his article “Neuro-Biomechanics of Maximum Velocity Sprinting” (link to’s file).

“To minimise the moment of inertia of the thigh, it is critical for the athlete to make the leg as short as possible, as soon as possible. This means that high angular acceleration values must be realized at the knee joint.  Dorsiflexion of the ankle joint accomplishes both these tasks. Occurring actively at take-off, dorsiflexion facilitates the triple flexor response.  In addition, it facilitates knee flexion by the gastrocnemius.  Use of stored elastic energy in the gastrocnemius and its high contraction velocity makes it possible to generate high values of angular acceleration at the knee joint.  The result is a short lever as soon as possible.  The ankle remains in dorsiflexion, which maintains a small knee angle throughout the entire Recovery Phase.”

Continue reading

Categories: Coaching, Dorsiflexion, Sprinting | 1 Comment