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13 August 2004

How can I learn to do the sprints?

Sprinting needs special skills. You are either fast or not. If you can run fast, you may learn how to run faster. However, a slow, endurance athlete cannot suddenly become a sprinter.

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Sprinting needs special skills. You are either fast or not. If you can run fast, you may learn how to run faster. However, a slow, endurance athlete cannot suddenly become a sprinter.

The ideal body type: Muscular, with powerfull arms and legs.
Physical requirements: A sprinter must have very fast reaction time, a high percentage of white, fast-twitching muscle fibre, enormous explosive muscle power in his legs and arms to accelarate from zero to 43 km/h in less than eight seconds, huge muscle power to shift 70 kg per second, extremely strong core muscles for good balance and posture, and a very good sense of rhythm.

Who should opt for another sport: If you are slow, lean, with a slow reaction time, rather opt for middle or long distance running.

Type of exercise needed: Speed drills, plyometric exercises like bounds, running with high knees and strenghtening the muscles of your legs and arms, but most importantly, of you stomach, trunk and back.

More about the basics: When you start a sprint you’ll be down on one knee, with your fingertips on the ground just behind the starting line. It looks uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be. The more relaxed you are, the steadier you’ll feel. Look at the ground, not the finishing line. That way you’ll have better balance. When the starter shouts “Set!” you can lift you hips up above your shoulders. Keep looking down, or you’ll feel neck strain, and don’t lean so far forward that you fall. When the gun goes, launch yourself forward, but don’t start with giant strides. Rather lift your elbows and knees high and accelerate quickly.

 
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