HMMR Podcast Episode 244: Sprint strategies (with PJ Vazel)

Look back at history and there are a lot of debates about strategies from sprint planning. PJ Vazel has meticulously researched centuries of training journals and joins this week’s podcast to look at one historic debate in particular: should sprinters train long-to-short or short-to-long? Learn about what the nuances of history tell us, as well as some parallels in throws planning.

Listen Now

Notes and quotes

Pierre-Jean Vazel is a track and field coach with the Athletisme Metz Métropole club in northern France, where he works with sprinters and throwers including hammer thrower Quentin Bigot, the world championships silver medalist. Previously he has worked with such sprinters as African record holder Olusoji Fasuba and top French sprinter Christine Arron. He has also worked as a journalist and statistician.

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 1:30 – First impressions after starting up the season in California.
  • 5:45 – Introducing the long-to-short/short-to-long debate.
  • 8:30 – Comparison to training strategies in strength training and throws training.
  • 14:30 – Vazel’s history of the long-to-short/short-to-long debate. “The debate about long-to-short or short-to-long has going on for a century and there is no consensus. The common point is: progression. Coaches are not doing the same thing week after week.”
  • 16:45 – Muscle typing and individualization: “It would make sense that athletes fast typology would be more succesful with short-to-long, and athletes with a more endurance typology with long-to-short.”
  • 19:15 – Concurrent programs and reconsidering Charlie Francis: “Even as Charlie Francis was doing short-to-long, they were doing long-to-short with tempo runs. So it was kind of a concurrent program, not a pure short-to-long program.”
  • 21:30 – Complexities and downsides of pure approaches: “If you have a pure long to short program, fast type sprinters are not happy for four months a year.”
  • 23:00 – Individual circumstances: “It’s not like coaches say they will do short-to-long or long-to-short. Historically it is often the facilities or weather that have dictated that.”

To hear more on these topics, listen to the full episode above. Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and review it on iTunes.

Further reading

  • This episode is brought to you by HMMR Plus. Become a member for full access to our videos, articles, and podcast archives. This month’s theme is speed. Stay tuned for more content, including our new Soccer Speed video from Vern Gambetta.
  • The interview from Vazel was taken from our new Video Lesson 27. HMMR Plus members can access the full 66-minute video covering a variety of topics on speed training.
  • PJ Vazel was also a guest on HMMR Podcast 234 where he shared his experiences in starting to coach the hammer throw and lessons learned from sprinting. We also spoke about anti-doping on HMMR Podcast 61.
  • You can learn more about Vazel on Instagram (@pjvazel) and Twitter (@pjvazel).
  • For more about the history of training Video Lesson 3 look at broader trends in training and periodization. We also discussed the long-to-short debate in our interview Gary Winckler.
  • Our top sprinting resources are summarized on our topic page. We give a good overview of basic sprinting drills in Video Lesson 6 with Joe McNab and GAIN Video 8 with Vern Gambetta.