February 27, 2017
One of my go-to workouts for 300/400m hurdlers is the back and forth workout on the straightaway. This is a workout I’ve used for years, and it’s one of the only ones I’ve used for so long without making any changes to it. Though it’s generally a workout I like to use in the fall as a base-building conditioning workout, I often find that I need to use it in the early part of the outdoor season for athletes who, for whatever reasons, didn’t get in enough conditioning work in the fall and winter.
- For males the start line is the 110 start line. For females, the start line is the 100m start line.
- Hurdles 1, 3, 5, 7,and 9 of the 100/110m hurdle race are set up at the height for the 300/400m hurdle race (30” for females, 36” for males).
- Five hurdles are set up facing the finish line, and another five are set up right next to them, facing the start line.
- The athlete runs over the five hurdles facing the finish line, crosses the finish line, then turns around and runs over the five hurdles facing the start line, then crosses the start line. That constitutes one complete rep.
- From a standing start, the athlete takes 8 or 9 steps to the first hurdle, then anywhere from 7-11 strides between the rest. Faster athletes will take less strides, obviously.
- Rest between rest should range anywhere from 3-6 minutes. The aim is for the athlete to get to a point where just 3 minutes is enough between every rep.
- Five reps would be considered a full workout. I usually include some hurdle drilling afterwards.
This is not a full-speed workout. I call it a hurdle-endurance workout, as it is designed to build the athlete’s hurdle endurance so that race strategies that are developed later in other workouts can be executed. The workout will preferably be done in training shoes because the constant pushing off and landing can be too much on the ankles, Achilles, shins, and calves if done in spikes.
The aim of the workout is for the athlete to maintain a consistent rhythm. When having my athlete, Scout, do this workout last weekend, we were looking for her to take 8 steps to the first hurdle, and 10 between all the rest, alternating lead legs. If fatigue were to become a factor late in a rep or late in the workout, then the aim would be to change down to 11 strides. We didn’t have to do that, which means her conditioning is definitely improving. For recovery, I gave her 3 minutes rest after the first rep, 4 minutes after the second rep, 5 minutes after the third rep, and 5 minutes again after the fourth rep. The aim next time will be to start with 3 minutes, move up to 4 after the second rep, and to stay at 4 minutes for the rest of the workout.
So, decreasing the recovery time is a good way to challenge the athlete more each time he or she does the workout. I’ll probably have Scout do this workout once a week until the third week of March, which means we’ll do it four times. Then, we’ll look to emphasize more race-specific workouts. And she’ll be ready for them.
Below is a footage of a rep that Scout did that I recorded on my phone. Not the best footage, I know, but it provides a visual of the workout.