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RE: What would the average man's 100m time be after a year of sprint training?
First of all, I congratulate you for taking up sprinting post-college and in the situation you were inâ€”it's very rare to see this type of interest come about after hs or college. And thanks also for a very informative and well-written post.
As a coach who is also a sprinter, a few general thoughts:
Yes, the use of block starts and even sprint spikes can really throw off novices. The mechanics of sprinting obviously are unique and beyond the time demands of such short events, the physical aspects including the blocks and reaction time needed for a successful start are something not found in distance events.
There is a flip side to this, too: as I'm a sprinter, I was being evaluated by a physical therapist for a running injury two years ago and she was startled to see how close my feet were together running on a normal treadmill at an average jogging pace. I had unknowingly transferred too much of my sprinting stance into running. It was not related to my injury at hand, but something I was, I am embarrassed to say, unaware of in general.
While there is a "sprinter build", you can find sprinters outside of that build, too. In my own case, being 6'2" lead to agility with hurdles you don't get with shorter sprinters, but most people assume by looks I'm a distance runner. The most-integral thing about being successful in sprints is proper training and having the reaction time to get out of the blocks quickly. And overall that can come down to training. Yes, there can of course be genetic advantages, but you look at sprints and the derivative events of relays and hurdles and a lot comes down to proper training and very fast reaction times, which is why elite training outfits like IMG Academy devote so much effort and tech to reaction/coordination training.
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