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Tip: Some tips on sprinting for high schoolers - NikeRunning.com

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NikeTF.com - Nike High School Track and Field   Apr 26th 2012, 8:51pm

Hey my name is Kylee. I’m a junior in high school and was wondering if you could give me some tips on sprinting.

My 100m time last year as a sophomore was 12.9, my 200m time was 29, and my 400m time was 63.4. I haven't ran even close to that this outdoor track season. Any thoughts on how to get my times back down or faster than what they were last year?

Thanks for your help getting back up to speed!



Hi Kylee.
My first two thoughts after reading your email is that you need both to be patient and to focus on the process of becoming faster rather than the times you’re running. Obviously these things are linked, but I would like to look at them individually.

Patience is a key for all track athletes, even in events as explosive as the shot put or the 100m. For example, you need to have the patience to put force into the starting block pedals to correctly run an acceleration pattern in the 100m. I'm a big fan of sprint coach Vince Anderson and he talks about the fact that the same athletes who lack the patience in the weight room with Olympic lifting are the athletes who fail to fully execute a correct start in the 100m. So when you're working with your coaches and teammates out on the track or in the weight room, have a mindset of patience. You'll better execute your acceleration mechanics in the 100m and get more out of each rep during your speed development and speed endurance workouts.

The other thing that comes to mind for a track athlete is to realize that you're not going to break your PRs early in the outdoor season. You need some weeks of solid work, some meets to get back into the flow of competition, and time for your body to get back into the rhythm of stress and recovery (i.e. hard days of practice or meets followed by a easy day or two to recover). I love your enthusiasm and the fact that you want to run faster now, but be patient with yourself. PRs will come, but only if you're patient with your training.  

Final thought is that there is a famous psychologist named Carol Dweck who has studied how humans view their abilities, be it intelligence or athletic ability, to name a few. She has found that some people have a "fixed mindset" where they view their abilities as fixed — i.e. you're either born a fast runner or you're not. But other people have a "growth mindset" where they believe their abilities can be improved. One of her findings is that when it comes to failure, people with the fixed mindset are really upset by their failure because they think they can't do anything about it. But those with a growth mindset don't get too down from a failure because the have confidence that they can grow and evolve and at some later date have a different experience. My point with all of this is you need to have faith that if you do everything your coaches ask, if you are patient with your training and you focus on becoming a better athlete, you'll likely PR this year.

I wish you the best Kylee and thanks for writing in.  


*Coach Jay's advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.

Interested in Coach Jay's General Strength Videos and other training tips? Check out the NikeRunning.com Training blog.

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And don't forget, if you have a training question for Coach Jay, email him here:coachjay@nike.com.

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