Building an Aerobic Base

For some strange reason the myth that you must build an aerobic base for sprinting still lives. All over the country now as high school track practice is starting sprint coaches are working hard to get their sprinters ready. I have had several emails in the past ten days asking me about the need to build an aerobic base for sprinters. It is not necessary to build an aerobic base, you need to build a work capacity base, not an aerobic base. Taking a group of sprinters and running then for 30 or 40 minutes continuously will have no positive effect on their development. In fact everything about that is negative: 1) The kids get turned off, they are in the sprints because they are faster and explosive – fast, explosive people do not tolerate running slow 2) Irrefutable empirical and scientific evidence tells us that continuous slow aerobic work significantly compromises explosiveness. Very simply said, you are what you train to be – if you train slow, you will be slow! To get fast you must train fast. Start by teaching good running and acceleration mechanics. Get them functionally strong, do something fast every day. For more on this see my book, Athletic Development, this is a recurrent theme throughout the book. Once again I invoke the mantra, train your athletes to be adaptable rather than adapted. Incidentally the same concept holds true for you soccer, field hockey and basketball coaches out there. This will be a whole topic in our Apprentorship program. It is a huge problem today and the genesis of many injuries. This is a topic for another blog.


At 3/13/08, 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vern - I was just talkin about this with a group of high school Lacrosse players last night. They started practice yesterday and the coach told them to JOG for up to an hour on the weekend when not at practice to build up there aerobic base. So, of course, I had to ask what the coach had them doing for a warm-up before practice.They JOG 3-4 miles around the field, do static stretching and go into a yoga routine. Then they go practice for 1.5 hours. It is a never ending battle. Educate,Educate,Educate

Ron B.

At 3/13/08, 11:17 AM, Blogger Joe P. said...

"the genesis of many injuries" indeed. The longer the foot spends on the ground, the more things can go wrong. Which reminds me- I don't believe you've ever addressed Mach drills in this blog. Bosch & Klomp demonstrate similar drills in their book. I use them in rehab to build up sensitivity and reactivity to the ground, sort of speak. How about a little blurb Vern?

At 3/13/08, 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for the post....you know you can try to spread the word but sometimes just having it come from somebody like you it makes all the sence..i will be providing my head track coach with some reading material soon...



Post a Comment

<< Home