Earlier this season we were doing race pace 50m starts as part of our 400m training. Obviously, these are submaximal runs. However, my top 400m runner said that it felt like she had to go ‘all out’ to hit her times, and she was using starting blocks.
Why does it feel like this? Like most young sprinters, she is an inefficient accelerator.
Why is she so inefficient? Like most young sprinters, she does not push out of the blocks. She steps out of the blocks.
Each season I wait longer and longer to let athletes use starting blocks. After all, blocks are a privilege, not a right. And they’re usually like Kryptonite for sprinters!
I’m just not sure starting blocks are actually helpful to the majority of young sprinters. Our League Championship is on Thursday. My top 100m runner has not used blocks yet this season. Am I crazy? Maybe. After all, she is the only athlete making finals at meets who isn’t using starting blocks.
Check out the video below to see what ‘stepping out’ looks like, how it affects performance and how you can fix it.
– Latif Thomas
Follow me on Twitter: @latif_thomas
Latif Thomas owns and operates Complete Track and Field.