"I got faster while spending less time running and more time laying around." Ummm yeah, I don't think so Tim.
If you are an athlete who is interested in getting faster there is one very simple strategy for success you should be adhering to right now...Running.
Simple right? Get out there and run or sprint at high speeds, speeds that will challenge your muscles, tendons and central nervous system to adapt and evolve to your training. I know, I know sounds too simple, I should be giving you a more precise formula for getting faster, an exact recipe for success. I agree, and I have added some links to this article to help you with this exactly. However, with all the quarantines, and stay at home orders my biggest concern right now is that athletes are not getting out and moving at high speeds as often as they should be. Consistently sprinting at high speeds not only helps you improve your speed output or sprint ability, it also helps to protect athletes from soft tissue injuries caused from high speed sprinting.
Repeated low doses of venom is how I look at speed training for our athletes, and it works very well at keeping them fast and also durable in high speed situations in sport. Right now I am very concerned with stay at home orders being lifted and athletes going back to sport after all the downtime from high speed running and being physically unprepared for the speed of sport. For one this is going to lead to less than best performances. In my opinion it will also lead to increased non contact injury rates because of all the laying around over the last 6 weeks. Yes some athletes have been doing tons of reps of body weight workouts in their living rooms or basements and this is great for keeping you strong and feeling good, agreed. But for those athletes who need to be explosive and run at high speeds in their sports this simply ain't enough and things will start to break.
My advice is to start running today, get back out there and do it, but be responsible about how you start back up again as those muscles and tendons are going to take a few weeks or more to get back to the old you. Here's a few tips for a more successful re entry into high speed training again.
1) Avoid doing too much too quick: Sudden increases in volume is one of the biggest contributing risk factors for soft tissue injuries in run based activity. So don't just dive back in to full competition distance, start with small doses and over the weeks slowly increase the distances and volumes of your workouts.
2) Focus on technique! Poor technique combined with too much volume will almost always lead to something bad happening, like a hamstring strain or shin splints. Then you are back on the couch, this time recovering from an injury and feeling like a real dummy. Here is a link to a previous article I wrote for the SimpliFaster blog on high speed warm ups and "drills" for athletes wanting to get faster. Incorporating these into your workouts will help you establish sound technique and decrease risk of injury. Ultimately your weaknesses in technique will hold you back from getting faster as well, so it's vital to stay focused on this every day you train.
3) Don't neglect your dynamic warm up before each workout begins. A proper warm up should not only prepare the system for the challenge ahead but it should include movements that will carry over well to high speed running or sprints training. Here are a few links to the warm ups we use with our athletes.
This is a very comprehensive warm up we use in house here at XIP with our HS and College athletes.
This warm up has many similarities to our Athlete Warm up but places a greater emphasis on linear movement, or running fast in a straight line.
4) Be consistent! Most of the time, I will take a crappy program trained consistently over a great program not trained consistently any day, as the consistent approach almost always shows greater results. Yes the devil is in the details I know, but athletes who consistently show up and train week after week will show much greater adaptations over the "willy nilly" approach to a training program. Invest yourself in the training and be intentful every day you train and good things will happen.
Now get out there and run like the wind baby!!