Read the Blog

I spend quite a while posting a blog on this site, linking it on twitter and Facebook and on the clubs page.

Then every session, every week, I get asked, what’s training today?

From now on, either read what I post in advance or learn as you go.

Our aim between now and Xmas is to resolve our technical issues with backside mechanics. That means that most of our Tuesday and Thursday work will be technical. Not all, but quite a lot. The bulk of the grunt work will be on Saturdays. Better light and more time.

Saturdays sessions are mandatory for group 1 and for those in group 2 who want to be in group 1. They start at 12 noon. The weights sessions beforehand are fro group 1 athletes or those who have been specifically invited by Coach Sutton.

Please note – for those in group 2 (or group 1 for that matter) who don’t turn up for training without my prior knowledge, you will be excluded from the sprint group. This is for two reasons as explained at the start of the season:

1. Training is progressive and people who come intermittently will get injured.

2. I have a large group and I would rather spend my (and Jenny, Sutts and Lucy’s) time on the people that are committed.

Circuit Training and Track October

Saturday 11 October:

Weight Training starts at 10:30 with Sutts. Do not be late. All Group 1 athletes must attend unless I’ve already excused you.

Monday 13th October:

Circuit Training at Bishops Wordsworth School.


Mandatory for Group 1 athletes (unless I’ve exempted you). All other groups it is optional but advised.

Conscious Competence: Week 1 training summary

Week 1 of the season has gone well so far and we’ve started to move to conscious competence which is our aim for Xmas.

All the coaches have seen the direct effects of the new movement challenges and preparation, as I’m sure some of you have. The new movement patterns won’t automatically embed themselves though. Just because we see it in the preparation work, in the sessions doesn’t mean you’ve learned it.

There are four stages of skill acquisition as follows:

Unconscious Incompetence:

This means you can’t do something, or you don’t have a particular skill, but you don’t know. This is where we were before we started this training season. You didn’t realise until Craig came how poor the back side mechanics were.

Conscious Incompetence:

This is where we are now. You know you are struggling to learn a new movement pattern, but it’s difficult. It feels clumsy because you have to concentrate on the movement. It feel slow.

Conscious Competence:

This will be the future state where you can perform the movement when you mean to but if you stop thinking about it, you will lapse back into “bad habits”.

Unconscious Competence.

This is where the movement patter is so ingrained it feels natural. Like folding your arms. It’s an unconscious movement. You don’t think about it. Try folding them the other way.  If you are normal left over right, try right over left and see how it feels.

Weird right? Thats what we are trying to do at the moment. We’ve made you change arms (figuratively) and we won’t finish until you forget that you’re even doing the new movement, but this will take time.


The biggest thing you can do to accelerate this is to practice. If you feel you are struggling then practise at home. Do the “channel 4’s” with the thigh slap. At home, in your bedroom. You can do them on the sport. You will learn the movement and it will start to get easier.


Training Plan 2014/15 Season

This is a draft training plan. It gives Lucy, Jenny, Nathan, Sutts and I something to hang our hat on and you guys have an indication of what’s coming up and how it fits together. However, it is flexible. we will change things based on weather, conditions, how we think you’re progressing, if he coaches have an issue or need a session off and so on.

The plan goes to Xmas so you will need to scroll from left to right to see the whole plan.

A new language for the sprint team

I read an article recently about the culture of sports teams and the language that they use.

Read the original article here:

One thing that struck me was calling specific workouts “Vitamins”


Well, what is a vitamin? It is a supplement to boost your performance, health and wellbeing.

Isn’t that exactly what our extra home sessions are? You may notice that I’ve already changed the title of the home sessions post for this.

Additionally I’ve changed some of the other language in my last post as well. No reference to drills, the new movements are movement challenges because they are things that we are all trying to master.

I hope you like it, but if you don’t I’m going to use it anyway!

Sprint Training Week 1

Tonight and Thursday will be the same sprint training session for both groups.

Our theme this year will be postural control and correcting front side mechanics (lack of). The next two sessions will be to learn the new movement challenges and preparation exercises and get the execution of these absolutely correct.

Mobility Preparation

Initially we will follow a mobility preparation exercises to get ready for the session ahead. This will be similar to what we did with Craig, a postural control/postural strength preparation phase:

800m jog to activate muscles, increase blood flow and raise core temperature.

10 minute skipping (two groups alternating with the mobility below)

Walking high knee

Walking forward lunge

Walking backward lunge

Side walks

Side walk crossovers

Pilates hip opening


Hip airplane


Straight leg scissors

A skip.

Movement Challenges

The movement challenges will be specifically focused on foot movement and front side mechanics. These will be:



Shin steps.

Step overs.

Step over/channel 4’s

Step over/channel 4’s/arm slaps.

Pipe Runs

The next stage will be pipe runs. These will help to improve postural mechanics and will build on the previous drills. The aim will be to run at an increasing speed, maintaining excellent sprint mechanics without using the arms for counterbalance. A plastic pipe will be held across the shoulders to lock the arms in place.

These will be done at 50% upwards, depending on the session and the ability of the athlete to maintain posture at higher speed.

After this week, this will become our standard preparation for the specify sprint session.

Vitamins Workouts: Sprint Team

On the training plan, which will be uploaded tomorrow, there will be vitamin workouts scheduled.

These vitamin workouts will take about 20 minutes. That’s all. Do them three times per week. If you don;t have time, get out of bed 20 minutes earlier. Or 30 minutes if you want a shower!


Skip for 10 minutes. Keep the lower legs stiff and use your wrists not your arms. This is your warm up.

Speed Demons

This exercise works your core, but if you get it absolutely right, it will work your hip flexors. Keep you legs straight and your knees locked.

Find something to use as a weight. If you can’t feel it in your hips, either the weight isn’t heavy enough or you’re not doing it right. If you don’t have weights, use whatever is available. A bag of sand, a rucksack with things in it, your neighbours dog, your brother/sister. Whatever is available.

3 sets of 10 with 2 minutes recovery.

Glute Ham Raises

You need a partner for this. Control your down speed. Don;t push too hard or too long with your arms. The power should come from your ham strings and your butt (hence the name).

Trey Hardee Abs.

Finish with the Trey Hardees (called TH Abs) in the programme.

Exactly as in the video.

Inspiration: The Road Ahead

I listened to a TED talk by John Wooden, who was a legendary basketball coach.

You can find the talk here, it’s definitely worth 18 minutes of your life:

In it he recites a poem by a basketball umpire, George Moriarty which is equally inspirational. Read it and absorb:

Sometimes I think the fates must grin as we denounce them and insist,
The only reason we can’t win is the fates themselves have missed.
Yet, there lives on the ancient claim – we win or lose within ourselves,
The shining trophies on our shelves can never win tomorrow’s game.

So you and I know deeper down there is a chance to win the crown,
But when we fail to give our best, we simply haven’t met the test
Of giving all and saving none until the game is really won.
Of showing what is meant by grit, of fighting on when others quit,

Of playing through not letting up, it’s bearing down that wins the cup.
Of taking it and taking more until we gain the winning score,
Of dreaming there’s a goal ahead, of hoping when our dreams are dead,
Of praying when our hopes have fled. Yet, losing, not afraid to fall,

If bravely we have given all, for who can ask more of a man
than giving all, it seems to me, is not so far from – Victory.
And so the fates are seldom wrong, no matter how they twist and wind,

It’s you and I who make our fates, we open up or close the gates,
On the Road Ahead or the Road Behind.


Sprint Training: Beast Camp is Over for another year

Beast camp is over for another year. The last session was a good one and probably the hardest one we have done, as intended.

Obviously there are a lot of you and only three of us coaches. Jenny and I will continue to coach the sprint training and the sprinters and Lucy will continue with the hurdlers.


Sprint Training

We are going to work slightly differently this year. All the hurdlers will be drawn from the sprint group. The quantity of hurdling will be lower, but the quality will be higher for two reasons.

1. Lucy will be focusing on a smaller group of hurdlers at any one time.

2. The hurdlers will be learning to sprint between the times Lucy is teaching them to hurdle.

A second change is that Aishlen Taylor will be coaching the multi event group. This will include all under 15s barring a few exceptions. This group will be coached in conjunction with the other event group coaches, but the training programme and lead coach for this group will be Ash.

The remainder of the sprint group will be split into two sections over the winter.  Although there will be some individual differences within this, the general principles will be as follows:

Group 1 will have the highest physical training load with 8 sessions planned per week. This will include a prescribed weights programme and additional home based conditioning sessions. The track sessions will be more technical and more time based. Because of the training load, these athletes will be monitored by Nathan Cobern of SP Therapists to detect possible injury.

Group 2 will have a lower training load. The Monday conditioning and Saturday track sessions will be optional as will the home sessions, although all will be welcome to participate. The track sessions for this group will be preparation and volume based.

All groups will do some form of hurdle training. This will not mean anyone is thrown into 10 flights of the 110m hurdles in any sessions. This will involve learning the movement patterns through drills, learning the rhythm of hurdling by using the micro hurdles and so on.

All groups will warm up together and therefore will be together for over half of the session.

Monday evening training will be at Bishop Wordsworth School with Mike Godddard from 7-8pm starting on 12 October. More detail can be found here:


Based on the output of Craig Pickering‘s session, we will focus on front side mechanics this year. This means two things:

1. The warm ups and drills will be specifically geared to front side mechanics and/or reducing backside mechanics.

2. Each session will involve “Pipe Runs”. This means that the build-ups at the end of each warm up will be run holding a plastic pipe behind the neck, to take the arms out of the movements. This is the drill we have designed to modify the front side mechanics, learned from Olympic Triple Jumper Kenta’a Bell.


There will be a lot of skipping this year. It will be specified in the home sessions (so you will need your own skipping ropes) and it will be in every warm up. The benefit of skipping is that it increases lower leg stiffness and this in turn reduces ground contact time and force production.

We are all looking forward to a great season. The full training plan will be posted over the weekend for the next 12 weeks.