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Mastering the blocks is critical to success in the 100 meters.
The 100-meter dash has long been track and field's signature race. The Olympic champion in the 100 meters earns the unofficial title of "fastest man on earth" or "fastest woman on earth." As of August 2013, the men's and women's world records stood at 9.58 seconds and 10.49 seconds respectively. While you may be unlikely to approach these marks yourself, doing tried-and-true workouts will help you maximize your innate talent.
What you need to accomplish in training to maximize your speed in a 100-meter race depends on your age, goals, strengths, weakness, access to training facilities and other individual factors. UK Athletics track and field coach Brian MacKenzie notes that a sound training program breaks into cycles of about four weeks, the first three of which are dedicated to developing fitness and the last one serving as a time to test your training's effectiveness. You need a full range of speed sessions to reach your potential in the 100 meters, encompassing what MacKenzie terms speed, speed endurance and special endurance workouts.
Superior top-end speed is a must but by itself isn't enough to turn you into a superior sprinter. If you don't work on getting off the starting line as quickly as possible and accelerating to your fastest speed as early in the race as you can, you'll give up too much ground in the early going to run down a better-trained sprinter with similar top velocity.
University of Florida head track coach Mike Holloway has his athletes do workouts such as five times 20 meters, four times 30 meters and three times 40 meters out of the blocks to allow them to work on both their starts and their early-race acceleration. Countless variations exist -- for example, two sets of five times 30 meters; no reps should exceed 60 meters.
In the preseason and early part of the competitive season, you emphasize the development of specific aspects of speed in preparation for using these in an integrated way during the late competitive season. MacKenzie says you need to work on your strength, mobility, endurance and technical skills; Holloway concurs and says that the preseason is a good time for doing a plethora of form drills and improving your flexibility. For example, do a workout consisting of fast runs of 500, 400 and 300 meters to boost your endurance, or do drills including single-leg hops and box jumps to better your agility and explosive quickness.
As you transition to the part of your season in which the most important meets take place, Holloway advises reducing overall training so that you'll be more rested and stressing the technical aspects of the 100 meters -- your start, form and ability to accelerate in particular. He notes that it's easier to hone these skills when you're on increasingly fresher legs. Sprint workouts can include four times 40 meters, three times 70 meters and two times 80 meters out of the blocks. And if you participate in relays, you should spend extra time working on baton exchanges with your teammates.