Hurdles and Middle distance running

Hurdles

Hurdles

The sprint hurdles are an event that can be quite challenging.  A common misconception with hurdling is that an athlete must use a jumping action to clear the barrier; nothing could be farther from the truth.  The main aim whilst hurdling is to maintain as much speed as possible whilst clearing the barrier.  Clearly jumping a good 30cm over the top of the barrier isn’t going to maintain an athlete’s speed.

Unfortunately becoming good at hurdles takes a fair amount of practice, so it isn’t an event the athlete is going become good at overnight.  The main coaching philosophy behind hurdles is start off small, quite literally, lower hurdle heights, and closer distances between the hurdles.  This allows the athlete to develop confidence and attack the hurdle (clear the hurdle by less).  Only progress when the athlete thinks they can!
Some more direct coaching points make sure the athlete leans forward whilst hurdling and that the trail is brought round to the side not underneath the body.  Last but not least it’s important to stress running normally in between the hurdles, make sure the athlete doesn’t try to take too large steps in order reach the next hurdle.

Middle Distance

400m, 800m and 1500m are arguably the hardest events an athlete will ever do, especially at little athletics.  All three events require a combination of speed, endurance and speed endurance.  In order to be good at middle distance the athlete needs to be able to run efficiently.  This means not wasting energy whilst running, so an athlete’s technique is important. 

The running technique for a distance runner is somewhat different from sprinting however the 3 key points are still there.  These are knee drive, leg recovery and posture.  It hard to be effective in running if your athlete is leaning back or running with no knee drive.

A few points to help you run quicker times:

  1. When trying to sprint for the line think about moving your arms faster (your legs do the work so they are tired but your arms aren’t and what you do with arms will affect your legs).
  2. Make sure you start off hard for that first 10 to 15 seconds (your body uses the same energy system for the first 10 to 15 seconds regardless of the exercise you are doing, so if you sprint or jog you’ll use the same energy)
  3. Try to be as relaxed as you can whilst you run, running tense only makes you tired and wastes energy
  4. Try to take long deep breaths as you go this helps you to relax.