How to Race and Train for the 200 Meters (Part 2) -

July 8, 2010 by Jimson Lee

This article is guest posted by Latif Thomas, CSCS, USATF Level II, Creator of Complete Speed Training for Sprinters.

Part 1: How to Race for the 200 Meters

Part 2: How to Train for the 200 Meters

Generally, I follow the flow of their training schedule.

Assuming a 12 week season, the training focus is generally going to look like the following. Now keep in mind, this schedule breakdown considers that the athlete competed in a sport or did some degree of organized training the previous season, even if it wasn’t track. Therefore, the prep periods are not as long or as general as they would be, say, during winter track (if you compete indoors in your area):

Weeks 1-3

During this time we’re going heavy on the acceleration development, speed drills and mechanics. We’re also going to start in the weight room immediately and focus on improving work capacity and pillar strength on recovery days. We’re doing 2 days of low intensity, double leg plyos.

They’ll likely spend one day per week with the 2/4 group (through the whole season) and perform a rep or two of short end Special Endurance II or long end Special I. I know that once the season is in full swing, with many 2 and even 3 meet weeks, we’re not going to be able to do a ton of formal training. So building a ‘base’ is important now, just not a base of excessive low and middle intensity training.

We’ll probably have our first competition at the end of this period. Ideally, I’ll run the athlete in the 100 and 400 or 100/4×4 plus field event/s. Trust me I understand that most times athletes run what you need them to run to win meets.

Weeks 4-6

During this mesocycle, things are starting to get a little bit more specific. We’re still doing the things we did during the first 3 weeks, except I’m reducing the volume of tempo work on recovery days and I’m moving from 2 days per week of speed to 3 days over the 6 day schedule. I’m also transitioning to single leg plyos only if athletes have proven themselves.

Now I’m adding maximum velocity work (fly 30s – 40s, sprint/float/sprints), working out of blocks and starting to work on running the turns.

We’ll also move from Special I runs to some long Speed Endurance runs at the low end of intensity (90%), most likely with the 200/400 groups, assuming their speed work is on schedule.

In meets they’ll see their first open 200. In this time I like the 200/400 double and probably a 400/4×4 double toward the end of the cycle as things will be getting much crisper and faster in the coming weeks. This is the hardest part of the season from an energy system and psychological standpoint. Kids are sore, they can smell the end of the season and they’re running lots of meets. On recovery days and days where you’re competing, say, Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Saturday you have to break the monotony of doing the same old thing, especially since there isn’t the possibility of getting in a workout. That’s when I break out the movement based games. Ultimate Frisbee, speed tag, split the cone and other games are really fun and your athletes will request them on the next recovery day.

It can breathe new life into a long season.

Weeks 7-8 – Pre-Competition

We’re now getting to the early stages of the part of the season my athletes call ‘Fun Track’. Fun track is when we’re not doing tempo work or GS circuits every recovery day, but we’re still doing aerobic capacity work and GS work. Practices are shorter and contain less drills, reps and exercises.

The weight room is still going strong (3x per week), some athletes have graduated to single leg bounding drills and they can hold Swedish Ab (plank) positions for a good 2 minutes before threatening to kill you or quit the sport forever.

We’re doing fly 40’s and Speed Endurance transitioning from the turn to the straightaway. Blockwork is taking place on the turn from all lanes and we’re learning to how to drive for the 5-6 seconds out of the blocks before going into a float.

We’ve mostly left ‘intervals’ behind us in favor of ‘reps’, meaning that our rest periods are much longer, we’re doing far fewer total runs and all speed days require spikes.

Athletes can now hit their times within a tenth or two in either direction and can generally tell you what their workouts should be (if you’ve taught them well) and by week 8 they aren’t complaining about feeling so ‘heavy’ all the time.

In meets, athletes are running more open 100s and 200s. The 4×4 is still part of their lives, generally at least 2/3 meets during this time.

Weeks 9-12 – Competition

True ‘fun track’ has arrived. The League Championship or first major meet is just a week or two away. Recovery days consist of extended warm up routines and a few strides. Non-CNS days are done in 45 minutes and people either take off right away or stay to socialize. Athletes are smiling in the warm weather and talking about where they’re going to be seeded for the upcoming championship meets. There’s a good chance there’s a few seeding sheets going around and people are talking about the PR’s they’ll run and how their relays will do.

Speed work is all full recovery and you generally let athletes run when they’re good and ready. Additionally, speed work is all various elements of race modeling:

  1. The start and drive phase
  2. floating the turn
  3. the transition from the turn to the straight or sling shotting the turn
  4. lifting over the last 50meters
  5. even learning how to time the lean at the tape

We’re still in the weight room of course. Generally we’re in there until athletes start to peak. Some athletes prefer to keep lifting a couple sets early in the week of a major meet, others don’t.

At this point of the season, as the saying goes:

The hay is in the barn.

You’ve either prepared your 200 runners to get through the rounds and run a good relay leg or you haven’t. But there’s nothing you can really do about it now.

Meet events are all business and athletes are trying to prime themselves for a big PR at their biggest meet. So they’re running their post-season events now.

If you follow this general format for your season, the timing of your progressions should all come together at the right time. Of course, this is all dependent on your writing your athletes’ training plan starting from Week 12 and working backward to Day 1, Week 1.

You have to know where you want to go before you can figure out how you’re going to get there.  But by teaching your athletes how to run the race the way I suggested and following this general outline, your 200 meter sprinters will run their Personal Best.

About the Author

Latif Thomas (CSCS, USATF Level II) is the creator of Complete Speed Training for Sprinters.