Regardless of the sport one principle remains true; in order to run fast, you must take the first step of taking the first step. That's where all movement begins and why it's so often used as a metaphor for success. As a former coach I worked with use to say "The greatest success a person has in life is learning to walk". It all starts with a single step! Walking, jogging, running and sprinting (we will discuss the difference between the last 2 in a later post) all have the same beginning of a single step.
What an athlete does in the first step can be just as critical as taking the first step. Elite sprinters will achieve approximately 33% of their max velocity in their first step out of the blocks. By the time their 3rd step hits the ground, they are at 60% of their max velocity. That means 60% of their max speed is achieved before the athlete even reaches the 10m mark. Sprinting is a beautiful symphony of coordinated movements, that has a very explosive and powerful start but sets up the flow for the rest of the composition. Showing that the first step is almost single handily one of the most important moments in a race. However, few coaches train this critical part of the race. How many coaches do you see training the first step? First two steps? First 3 steps? My guess is very few. Many coaches do starts to 10m 20m or 30m, but few do starts to 4 or 5 m or even just 1 or 2 steps despite this being a very critical zone of the race. Athletes across the world do Mach drills daily to work on max velocity mechanics, yet very little to target the part of the run that setups max velocity. In this regard, I think we can do better. It's not going to be as exciting. Athletes aren't going to leave practice saying "Wow that was one of the toughest workouts I've ever done. We ran repeat 2 steps!" But the benefits can be game-changing.
So now the question becomes what can we do. Stay tuned over the next couple weeks for our training inventory where we will gradually add drills we use to target this critical part of the race.
Who doesn't love a good cliff hanger!