Speed in a Week

Sounds ridiculous?
If you had a week to work on a 40 time in a trained athlete who has never run a 40 what would you emphasise?
Just looking for opinion on this one.

In only 1 week?!?

I would probably do 90% technique, and the rest speed work. There is no way you can get faster in 1 week by just doing speed work. Since he is new he could probably gain a lot just from getting proper starting/running technique down.

  1. Teach him how to set up for the start of a timed 40. Drive leg and opposite hand set right on the line, other foot back only about 12 inches, and other hand held high behind the body with hips as high as possible. This can cut the first 20 down 1-2 tenths. You basically FALL into the start this way.

  2. If he has relatively low top speed, then you CAN improve that if you practice VERY VERY slightly angled downhill runs. The slope down should be no more than 5 feet in 50 yards and that is the limit. If you can find a 50-60 yard stretch which is only about 2% grade. Thats about five feet rise for 100 yards. Smoothly jog 20 yards and then go for max speed for 30-40. You could probably fit in 2 sessions, but if he hasn’t been running at all he could easily pull a hamstring.

6-8 jog-in downhill 40s with plenty of rest. At these specifications, this has been shown to improve stride frequency by 5% within a couple of sessions if someone has naturally low stride frequency.

Then again, I know FAST guys who downhill sprinting did nothing for.

And if you can’t find a hill, just do jog-in sprints. Most runners can up their TOP speed if they don’t expend so much with the start.

So basically

Practice starts-20 yards max.

Flying 40s-jog in rather than powerful start and then try to hit top speed.

Thanks Dude!
You have basically reinforced what I was planning while expanding on some things. Do you have any advice on helping him relax under the pressure? He needs to run a sub 4.7 and is quick enough.
Thanks a heap!

This is from Defranco’s site. Seems like you could get the breathing technique down in a week.

Q: Joe,
In running the forty how should the athlete breathe?

A: RP,
Great question. Breathing may be the most overlooked component of running the 40-yard dash. Proper breathing can have a profound effect on your forty time. One of my college athletes took .12 seconds off of his forty time this year just by correcting his breathing! (I was even a little bit shocked how well it worked.)

Anyway, I?ve experimented with many different breathing patterns and I think I have found the answer. The breathing pattern I am currently recommending is relatively simple and it works. There are speed ?experts? out there who will disagree with my method. Once again, I don?t care. I?ve experimented with this method for quite some time and I think it?s the best. Although it takes some practice, it is very efficient and can be mastered within days. Once again, this adheres to the training economy. Here?s how to do it:

Once you?ve set up in your 3-point stance and you?re bringing your off hand to your hip, take a HUGE breath in.

As you fire out of your stance, perform the Valsalva maneuver. Basically, you will forcefully ?exhale? without letting any of your air out.

Hold your breath through the first 10 yards. At approximately the 10-yard mark, exhale a little of your air. (Make the exhale short & quick.)

At about the 20-25-yard line, exhale a little of your air again. (Again, make it short & quick.)

At about the 30-35-yard line, perform a ?relaxed? exhalation of the rest of your air. This final exhalation should take you through the finish. You should be ?out of air? at about the 41-42-yard line.

You must practice this technique to get it down. The biggest mistake that athletes make is they release all of their air too soon. For example, if you run out of air during your final exhalation at the 35-yard line, you will be slower (as well as light-headed). The 2 keys to this technique are:

Take a big enough breathe at the start so you have enough air to get you through the race.
Time your exhalations properly. (I suggest you practice this by performing tempo runs at first. When you put it all together, it?s a great feeling!)
Joe D.

thats great thanks

[quote]kylmo wrote:
Thanks Dude!
You have basically reinforced what I was planning while expanding on some things. Do you have any advice on helping him relax under the pressure? He needs to run a sub 4.7 and is quick enough.
Thanks a heap![/quote]

Have him listen to a comedy tape of CD. Make sure that he is running with his head still and his eyes straight ahead into the distance. Maybe tell him to imagine that he’s running on a giant marshmallow.