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Subject: RE: Question for the MASTER coaches visiting the boards: How do you develop that blazing finishing speed in a miler?????????
Body: Far and away the best advice on here along with the note about finishing speed also being a function of stamina etc. Good stuff, men.
Most coaches and athletes I know completely ignore neuromuscular training, aka alactic sprinting. I cringe every time I hear someone say they're going to work on their speed by doing 400m reps. 400m reps are not speed work. If you want to improve max speed, you need to run near max speed. Since this is obviously anaerobic, and since it doesn't make sense to blast a bunch of 200m reps most of the year if you're a distance guy, you want to try to spend time running fast without producing or building up a lot of lactate. The best way to do this is through short sprints with long recoveries, something like 60-100m reps with >90s recovery. This way, energy is produced mostly through the creatine-phosphate system, and the little lactate that is produced is fully cleared during the long rest period. These are essentially focused strides. The tendency is for athletes and coaches to try and make the workout difficult, which is exactly what you DON'T want to do. A typical workout like this would be something like 12-16x100m (starting out at mile pace for the first few reps and working down to 400m pace) with 90s rest between reps, 3:00 after every four. Good form should be a big focus throughout the workout as well.
A full day allotted to this type of training doesn't need to be done very often. If you have time you can do this sort of this sort of thing after workouts twice a week, but runners usually don't run a fast on the reps under these circumstances.
The year I worked on my speed by doing frequent strides and one of these workouts every 2-3 weeks I lowered my 800m time from 2:00 to 1:56 (I was in high school) and was able to kick home in 59.x in the mile, even off of a somewhat fast pace, which is good enough to win most high school races unless you're running <4:10.
There's a good chapter on this in Run Strong.
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