I am a big fan of Usain Bolt. Unfortunately, he was disqualified the other night at the world championships for a false start. The man is super human and I doubt we will see anyone near his speed in our lifetime again.
Think about his training for a minute. When he goes out and runs a 95% effort 100 meter dash, do you think his coach makes him jog back and do it again right away? The answer seems obvious and it is something I have been stressing to coaches and athletes the past few years. While reading Jim Wendler’s 531 for Football last night, he made the point too: SPEED WORK IS NOT CONDITIONING! If you want your athletes to get faster, give them time to get faster. This means that speed work must be done in a fresh state with full recovery between reps. Yes, this means that you may not be completely exhausted at the end of a workout, but who ever said that was the point anyway? The point of a training session is to give just enough stress to get an adaptive response. Just like medicine, too much equals trouble. Conditioning on the other hand can be done at the end of a workout, with much less rest between sets and more volume. True speed work takes time. It is an insanely intense thing to run all out for up to 100 yards. I remember reading that the forces that act on the body during a sprint are up to 20x bodyweight! Compare that to what you encounter in the weight room. Not even close! This is a simple concept that I wish more people took the time to understand. Next time you or your coach are going to do some speed work, just think of Bolt running six 100 meter sprints in a row without rest. Would he get faster doing this?
On to a different topic, one that always amazes me. I am shocked at the lack of willingness on people to truly want to become great. If I have to tell my athletes to push harder, or explain the value of learning to my friends, or investing in yourself frequently, how bad do they really want to be great? Most people are happy being average, to me, that is the worst thing to be. Who wants to be just average? I am constantly pushing the envelope with myself, heck, I’ve already invested a great deal of money for this upcoming year to get coaching myself in all areas of my life, including training, business and finance. I am at the point in my gym where an athlete who constantly needs to be prodded to do something, I will either refund them or simply refuse to renew them when their membership is up. Greatness takes effort and stepping outside your comfort box. Can you dig it?