It's October and athletes up and down the country will be starting 'winter' training. The guys in my group that are in the US will have started back in late August, but their season ends in June and not Sep like the UK one. This is often why US-based athletes have trouble keeping going when they return to the UK in our late spring - but that's a story for another day.
At the time of writing of this post we have been back in training for about two weeks. I'm a believer in being very specific in training. My rationale is that long and triple require high-power, so why do significant amounts of low power activity? Will 10 x 200m improve your jump performance - unlikely. Another key foundation of my approach is recovery. It's when you are not training when your body is increasing in terms of power and work capacity, for example. So proper rest is very important, hence my 'less is more' philosophy. There are of corse exceptions for example, training for multi-events (and there are a couple of multi-eventers in the group). However, the same rest principle can be diluted for them. Coaches need to work out the minimum effective dose that brings about optimum results - I think it was Dan Pfaff that said that
So what are we doing in training? The video will show you a snippet. There are metabolic cost exercises, for example, bear crawls, press-ups and lunges and we are doing circuits, but the meat of the workouts are running drills, plyometrics including drop jumps, of which I am a firm believe in, acceleration work and some short faster running workouts i.e. no 200's but perhaps 8 x 60m with 90sec recovery between each.
Weights are taking place - sometimes these are included during our main three times a week sessions and/or in a separate workout. We're doing four to five sessions a week.
If you stay specific you can very quickly get more specific and enhance the qualities of the jumper that much better. Add power to power to power; add speed to speed to speed.
Many sprinters can't jump (long and triple jump that is) but all horizontal jumpers need to sprint. Pure speed merchants often have difficulty converting their speed through the take-off into the jump. All this talk of Usain Bolt breaking the world LJ record if he dd the event is based on the premise that he could convert his great speed to distance. It's not easy!
Approaching the board faster than any recent elite long jumper (11.5m/s a second) and having milliseconds to impart enough force through the take-off to get distance and height would undoubtedly prove a challenge for the GOAT! And he'd have to avoid injury. Long and triple jumpers have more resilience than sprinters - just as rugby players get 'used' to taking the hits, so too must horizontal jumpers in terms of impacts during the event and in training.
We use sprint drills to work on the posture and reactivity needed to hit the board and more importantly transition optimally across it. I've numerous ones that I use in 'units' across the training year to bring about maximum rounded transference. More on this in future posts.
This short video looks at some of them and then briefly looks at the role of incline sprints.
I'm currently writing a couple of articles for Athletics Weekly on the role of drills and also plyometrics so do look out for them!