It’s Speed Week! This week the featured topic at The Lifetime Athlete is SPEED. I’ll be doing a daily podcast (on all the major podcast platforms) July 24-28 with some bonus video and article content. Today’s post will set the stage and highlight the week’s schedule.
Speed is one of the 5 Capacities of Athleticism. Along with strength, power, agility, and endurance, speed is an aspect of human performance that deserves appreciation. I’d have to say that it is perhaps the most challenging attribute to maintain through the lifespan, but it’s probably the most fun. Speed wins on the playing field and it’s the expression of youthfulness. It’s revered by many who value fully functional, competent, and well-rounded beastliness. Speed is also misunderstood, feared, and loathed by some.
My goal with Speed Week is not necessarily to get buy-in from the doubters and haters on the necessity for speed in every Lifetime Athlete. Those people are cocked, locked, and ready to rock Doc with negativity and excuses. They are speed deniers. They are turds who must be flushed. This week is for you, me and us. Folks who want to be strong, agile, durable, and FAST over a long healthspan. Those who choose weak, slow, stiff, and fragile need not apply. Luckily those people don’t follow me so I don’t have to say “get the hell out of here.”
There is a small portion of our population who absolutely cannot, and should not, run. I respect that. Everybody else…I think you should be a functional locomotor. Someone who can sprint a 40 (doesn’t matter how fast…just needs to look and feel like a sprint) without blowing a hammy. Run a mile without stopping due to exhaustion. Walk 5 miles continuously. Do those back to back and on consecutive days if necessary. I don’t care how much you cycle or do yoga, if you can’t do that amount, you’re missing out on locomotive life and I guarantee it will bite you in the ass in your later decades. Salvage and maintain your speed or suffer real consequences.
Monday the 24th was an introduction to Speed Week. I talked about the definition of speed as a derivative of maximum velocity in human movement. This of course emphasizes sprinting, but also a variety of athletic and lifestyle movements. I generalized about the need for long warmups and very gradual training progressions. I touched on neurology, physiology, and biomechanics. I dispelled a few myths about what speed is and is not. And I discussed the exhilaration of going fast…at any age.
Today (Tuesday) showcased a discussion on preparatory training for speed. How to get ready to go fast. How to earn the right (or privilege) to sprint. Gym work, tempo lifting, plyometrics, and training adaptations were covered. I also reviewed the nomenclature for various footwork drills including hops, jumps, skips, and bounds. Effort, rhythm, coordination, and rest periods also got some air time.
Wednesday will be all about The Lifetime Athlete Track Warmup and will also feature a companion video. I’ll be demonstrating and describing a sequence of preparatory activities that will bring you to readiness. That’s’ readiness to run fast, and to do so safely. There are many ways to approach a warmup and this is only one suggestion, but it comprehensively includes walking, jogging, exercises, drills, and strides. I find it’s good to have a fairly set procedure that you use each time you go to the track. Then you can personalize it and adjust it as needed.
Thursday we are going to talk about Cues and Techniques for Optimal Speed Development. What you think, or say to yourself can be powerful. Keying in on a technique element is made more effective with the right focus. I’ll share some tips and tricks that can help you improve your running mechanics and get some free speed. The topics of efficiency and economy will be addressed. We’ll even look at how to sprint your way to better health and body composition.
Friday is going to include some sample workouts and a discussion of training program design. We’ll look at various ways to stimulate speed in your body at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Then we’ll cover how to incorporate speed training into your annual training plan, no matter what your sport or fitness pursuit. There’s a chance this could stretch into Saturday but we’ll see.
So that’s a taste of Speed Week. Right now the Training Tribe is finishing up month 1 (of 2) in the Speed Block and a lot of this stuff is going on around the country. I hope you’ll learn a few things, give speed a try, and enjoy it as much as I do.
If you like the idea of going fast, grab one of our Running Demons T-shirts. That shirt is for a bunch of members in our community who get some running coaching from me. The theme is “Don’t run from your demons…run with them!”