Speed Training Secrets from Asafa Powell’s Coach Stephen Francis

Nov 10 09:05 2011 Jimson Lee Print This Article


Since 2008, we’ve seen the rise of sprinting dominance in the 100 and 200 meters from Jamaica.  
2 coaches are responsible for this: Stephen Francis, who is Asafa Powell’s coach, and Glen Mills, the coach of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.
This article will attempt to shed some light on their secrets.

Since 2008,Guest Posting we’ve seen the rise of sprinting dominance in the 100 and 200 meters from Jamaica.  
2 coaches are responsible for this: Stephen Francis, who is Asafa Powell’s coach, and Glen Mills, the coach of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.
This article will attempt to shed some light on their secrets.
The first question is:  Are the sprinters using a long-to-short, or short-to-long program?
This is the classic question for sprint coaches.  A Long to Short approach is using high volume and over distance training at slower speeds early in the season.  As the season progresses towards the spring, you get into more specific, faster running at shorter distances.    Typical workouts early in the year include 10x300 meters or 500-400-300-200-100 meters.
A Short to Long approach starts on day 1 as you start acceleration development from week 1.  Elite athletes will typically start this in October and sometimes November.  These athletes will do well with 60 meter indoor competitions in the winter.  Typical workouts are 2 x 6x30 meters using a variety of starting positions.
Both of these training plans work, and we have proof from results.  But it all depends on the individual athlete’s background and genetics.
Stephen Francis’ training plan is a high volume, short recovery leading on to lower volume and longer recovery as the season progresses.  He doesn’t do much low intensity work as he “read in a book” a while back that to run longer than 20 minutes will affect your speed.   Thus his longest run for conditioning is 20 minutes.
So to answer the question, Francis training plan is a long to short approach with short to long in it.  That is, the short 30 meter sprint is there all year long.
While a lot of traditional coaches train their athletes hard 3 days a week, training hard 4 days a week does present its challenges.  Francis believes you can work hard on successive days if you are working different energy systems.  For example, short sprints to 30m one day, and then speed endurance the next day.  This makes sense as the CNS requirements for speed endurance is not as high as in short speed work.
One of the unique training weeks in the macrocycle is Francis’ group does 15 sessions in a week, because he “read a book” by Frank Dick a while back that said you need 15 sessions/week.  This volume and stimulus is more important than any theory about CNS and its recovery and it works well for his group. 
In terms of training women, they do the same workouts with 20% less volume than the men.
Athletes such as Asafa Powell or Usain Bolt are now household names, thanks to them.  But it doesn’t stop there.  They have success in the women’s sprints, as well as hurdles.  So it’s more than just getting lucky with 2 freak athletes.
So what’s their secret?  If you want to run fast, you can either innovate, or imitate!
More information can be found in the Jamaican Sprinting Secrets ebook from SpeedEndurance.com.

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Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee is a Coach and Masters sprinter. Visit SpeedEndurance.com for speed training tips, recovery tips, injury prevention, and nutrition information. Over 15,000 subscribers have joined the free monthly newsletter.

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