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Speed Training

Speed training is an important component of most athletic activities. Athletes like sprinters and jumpers need to train for speed for obvious reasons. Athletes such as long distance runners and cyclists require a different type of conditioning for speed, which is considered relative speed in terms of tempo required during a race. Speed training for non athletes is a little different and is not health related, however it is yet another training component, like the other nine, that we consider important in order to be physically prepared for anything.

Speed Training for Actual Speed

Athletes such as sprinters need actual speed at the highest level. This involves absolute maximum levels of speed maintained for short periods of time. This is trained in a number of different ways and differs from power training.

Pure physical speed can be trained by methods such as “over-speed” training. Over-speed training is a method where the athlete can be towed, run downhill or train on devices designed to support their weight. The idea of this training is to assist the athlete in reaching maximum speed so that they have to actually keep up. Running downhill is a good example; an athlete running downhill at maximum pace will reach speeds much faster than on flat ground and as a result will have to move their legs fast enough to keep up.

Speed Training for Tempo

Speed training for tempo is training to maintain higher speeds over longer periods of time. A marathon runner for instance needs to condition tempo in order to run at a given race pace for a certain period of time. Without speed work the marathon runner will possess endurance that is not sustainable at high enough levels.

Conditioning speed in this manner may involve methods such as 400 and 800 metre sprints conducted at paces higher than race pace or a race pace run for a given period of time.

This applies to other athletes also, not just runners and is a crucial component of endurance training.

The Need for Speed

Speed is an important factor in many different activities and is a defining feature of Unleashed Training. Speed to a non-athlete or to those not involved in the sport and fitness industry is very narrowly viewed. Speed is simply seen as moving as fast as possible. Our view of speed is broader and more inclusive.

Speed is the ability to minimise the time it takes to repeat an action. It’s as simple and broad as that. This includes the repetition of a running stride from 10 metres to 100 kilometres and beyond. It could mean turning the peddles fast enough on a sprint bike or in the ultra-endurance event Tour De France. Speed is necessary in one form or another in every athletic endeavour.

In addition to sports, speed is a necessary component in most jobs involving physical output. Physical jobs need to be performed at a reasonable pace, otherwise the workers are less efficient. Military personnel need to move at an efficient pace in both short and long tasks. Speed is just another of the ten components of fitness that prepare a person for a broader range of demands.

Reaction Time

Reaction time is an additional component of speed that we consider important. Reaction time is the time between recognition of a stimulus and physical reaction to that stimulus. It is believed that reaction time is largely genetically determined, however it can to a certain extent be developed and enhanced. Reaction time contributes to speed due to the fact that in order to move fast you must be able to react and begin an action almost immediately.

Reaction time is trained simply through repetition, using such things as reaction time drills or games that train reaction time.

Speed Training for General Physical Preparedness

General Physical Preparedness or GPP for short, is the quality of being physically prepared for the broadest range of physical demands and responding efficiently. Speed is an essential component of GPP, without it the individual is ill prepared to move quickly and efficiently.

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YOUR COACH – Chris Lyons

Chris Lyons is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, having trained athletes of all ages and levels since 2002. Chris specialises in coaching athletes for speed and power specific to fast-moving sports such as rugby league, rugby union, soccer, Aussie rules football etc. Since 2002 Chris has conducted close to 15,000 hours of training and coaching directly with athletes and members of the general population. From this experience comes Sprint Ninja, based on tried and tested training methods combined with up to date research. Chris continues to challenge himself not only as a coach, but also as an athlete, competing in sprinting events, strongman and Olympic-style weightlifting.

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