Speed Work

Speed work is important whether you are a sprinter or distance runner. Athletes need to be able to run fast when they are tired. Here is a speed drill from Baylor’s Clyde Hart that can be used for your sprinters as well as your middle and long distance runners.

Coach Hart is currently the Director of Track and Field at Baylor University and has coached multiple Olympic Gold Medalist, including the the legendary Michael Johnson. In the clip below, from a recent Glazier Track and Field Clinic, Coach Hart shares one of his favorite speed work drills.

This drill is done on a football field and is executed as follows. The athletes will begin in the end zone running as slow as possible parallel to the goal line. Once the reach the hash marks, they will turn and sprint full speed to the 60-yard line and then “swing down” from the 60-yard line to the goal line.  The “swing down” phase simple means to gradually slow down. Coach Hart instructs his athletes to quit swinging their arms as he believes this gets them to slow down more appropriately. The athletes will now run very slowly parallel to the goal line. When the reach the hash marks, they will turn and sprint to the 60-yard line and then “swing down” from their to the goal line. He typically has his sprinters run two continuous laps in this fashion to complete a set. He might ask his sprinters to complete two sets with a five minute rest between. He adjusts the workout to include additional laps and or sets for his distance runners.

In one variation of this drill, he has his athletes complete the first  two lap set just as described above (60-yards sprint, 40-yard swing down). The second set, however, is executed as follows. The first sprint 60 yards/40-yard swing down. The second sprint is 70 yards. The third sprint is 80 yards and the fourth is 90 yards. This is a continuous drill. The athlete should not stop until two laps have been completed. Coach Hart typically cuts the rest time between sets to 3 minutes in this variation.

If you are interested in gaining access to Coach Hart’s entire presentation, as well as hundreds of other great clinic presentations, click the link Glazier Track and Field Clinics. 

The YouTube video below has audio, so please make sure that your sound is turned up and that you have access to the site. Note that some schools block access to YouTube.


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