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Sprinters: Preparing for the New Season

Sprinters: Preparing for the New Athletics Season


It's that time of the year again where sprint athletes are starting to make a plan for their upcoming competitions!

So, to help you get into shape for the competition season (both physically and mentally), we collaborated with Destiny Ogali and his co-host JT for another spectacular podcast, which this time focuses on getting ready for the 2023 athletics season!

We are very lucky to have a great working partnership with The Visions Podcast, and we hope that you will enjoy what Destiny has to say in the video below!

We would once again like to thank Destiny for his sound advice on sprint competition prep, as well as JT for taking the time to interview Destiny for this episode.

For those of you who would like the transcript of this particular podcast, keep scrolling to read what Destiny had to say to his fellow sprinting athletes!

Female Track Athlete Preparing to Sprint


"I think it's all about ensuring that you're in the right place in terms of training.

As a sprinter, you're going to plan out your competitions as to when you want to have them. You might even opt to open up a little earlier in April to see where you're at. 

If you're a 100m or 200m runner, for example, you may choose to do something a little different like the 300m to test your endurance. 

It's important to know where you're at in your training and to plan the competitions specifically. You'll want to look at doing shorter stuff too, such as blocks, to see if anything needs to be adjusted. Over the winter period, things may have changed with your body, so you need to give yourself plenty of time ahead of competitions to make necessary adjustments if you need to.

Make sure to have your targets for your first competition, too. These targets can differ, and it all depends on what arrangement you have with your coach. You need to sit down with your coach and have a discussion as to how your winter training went, what you need to work on next, what races you're looking at competing in next and what your technical model will look like.

These are the things that you need to ideally be considering!"

Track Coach Motivating Young Sprint Athletes


"Do trust your training and do trust your coach!

When we reach the competition season, some people panic and wonder if they've done enough. Trust what you've done up to this point, and continue to build upon that!

Do NOT panic just because you're getting closer to the competition season! Also, don't worry about where you come in your race, or what time you run. Whatever happens, it's a great place to build off of and you can have a look at your race afterwards and make improvements where necessary (especially if you're opening up in April!).

For some people, adjustments might just be a small fix. However, I would also encourage people to have fun! The competition is meant to be the fun part, especially as you put in all of the work over the winter period. So, now you're at this stage, enjoy your athletics and the whole experience that comes with it!

If it's an open meeting, you might not get the call room. But, getting back into blocks again, racing against others, being around your friends, having your family support you... this is what matters, so do enjoy it and have fun! No matter what level you're at, you do this sport because you love it, so this is important to remember.

Also, do NOT make any swift changes on the day (this is something I've had to learn myself!). Don't try new drills on the day of the competition because you see others doing different things to you. Stick to what you know best, trust your coach and do what you normally do as best as you can!

This way you can feel more comfortable, as you'll be familiar with what you normally do outside of competitions and you can go out there and do what you normally do."

Woman on Running Track


"You need to know in your sprint plan why you're doing what you're doing.

Why are you doing your runs? Why are you doing your exercises? What are they going to help you with, and where are your weaknesses? These are all questions that you need to understand as part of your sprint plan.

It's all good and well for your coach to know, but if you know, then it makes you aware of the things that you need to do, whether that's paying more attention to a specific exercise or movement. All of these things are important to consider for your overall athletic development.

You also need to prompt yourself to have a look at places where things need to be added, or potentially taken away depending on how your body is feeling. Even at a young age, if you can recognise how your body is feeling, then it's going to help you so much more as you get older!

In my case, it's took me a little while to fully understand when I've done too much and when I need to rest. If you can pick up on that within a sprint plan, it's going to help you further down the line.

You also want to be as healthy as possible throughout the season. If you can have a whole season where you're completely healthy from the winter training period through to the competition season, then you're in a great place.

It's about asking those relevant questions, knowing and understanding your body, and not being afraid to ask those questions if you don't understand anything. If there's an exercise or something you haven't seen before, or a technique you haven't tried and want to look at, always feel comfortable enough to ask those questions so you can fully understand what you're incorporating within your sprint plan."

Sprint Start in Track and Field


"Get there on time!

For every meet, they normally ask you to get there at least 90 minutes before the event starts so you can sign in. When you get to your competition, there'll be a little desk or a sheet where you put down your name and what event you're doing.

This ultimately lets everyone there know how many people will be available. If someone isn't coming and they don't make it known to the event organisers ahead of time, then they could be there with an odd number of heats or people, so getting there on time is going to help put your mind at ease (as well as theirs!).

When it's those bigger meets where it's a smaller space, then it can be harder to find somewhere to plan accordingly. You want to be in a place where you feel comfortable, where you have enough time to warm up and where you can be organised.

You might not be one of those athletes where you want to get to your competition and start warming up. You might want to get there early and scope the place out! If you like talking to people, you can do that if you get there early too, so I like to get there early if possible!

At competitions, it's also important to know that you're NOT allowed to wear headphones while competing. I've been told off in the past for having headphones in, and I've learnt that lesson now! It's fine to wear them if you're just walking around, but for the most part, you're not allowed to have headphones in.

This is because you could be warming up and there's an adjustment that's made to your race in particular and you won't be able to hear it because you'll have your headphones in. That will be your fault and not theirs, as they'll of made the announcement and you won't have heard it!

There's also the danger aspect to this. If someone runs close by and you can't hear it, then they can crash into you and I've seen this happen before myself. Some officials issue warnings for this, or some can go as far as to disqualify you from that race. You don't want to take that risk!

Spike regulations are also 6mm, so you need to make sure you have the correct spikes in your shoes. I know that Lee Valley only allow Christmas Tree spikes, especially for their indoor area, because their track has just been re-laid and they want to keep it in good condition. 

Therefore, checking with the meeting organisers and the competition as a whole as to what types of spikes you can wear is important. Bringing spare ones with you is always a good idea too, as you could notice that the ones you were planning on using are really blunt. In this event, you'll be able to use your spare, sharper spikes instead.

Also, make sure that you have all of the equipment needed, which includes spare trainers, sliders (if you like those!), food, enough water, and even an umbrella in case it rains. You'll want everything that you need, especially if the competition is really far from home!

Of course, make sure that your conduct towards officials is correct when you get there too. You can't be rude to officials, so you need to ensure that you are always being respectful. Officials often have a very tough job and sacrifice a lot of their time to do what they do, so make sure to thank them for their work where you can!"

Athletics Coach and Young Female Sprinter


"I think there's a number of factors.

The time of the year in which you're training in is one. If it's colder, you'll be wearing more layers, which means your work won't be as fast as it would be in warmer weather. 

You've also got to factor in how your body is feeling, no matter what the training session may be like. You need to factor in what work you have done so far in the week already, and how you're able to tailor it so you can give the best in each session, and that comes from communication.

As much as your coach may set a session, he or she needs to be aware of how you feel, and how your body has reacted to previous sessions. There may be a certain type of session that requires a little more out of you, and if so, you need to make this known to your coach.

This also applies to other factors such as nutrition, and making sure that you're recovering properly. For the sake of this, it's having that communication, knowing how you're feeling and having that relevant conversation with your coach.

Another factor would definitely be how close you are to competition season. You're not going to be doing the same sessions that you were doing in your winter runs if you're close to the competition season. You might be doing more block practice, as was mentioned earlier, or you might be reducing the amount of runs and doing more recovery to get to the best race pace.

Personally, as I get closer to my competitions, I try to get the little details right so I can feel more comfortable. I also go over blocks and try to shorten up on runs to cover all of the bases. I like to feel comfortable and light so that my body is feeling good on the day, and I also try to keep everything I've been doing relatively the same.

The load is automatically going to reduce in the gym and on the track in most cases, as you're getting ready to race and don't want to have too much bulk on your body.

Ultimately, it depends on who your coach is, but that's how it works in my scenario. There's a lot of things we have to be aware of!"

Male Sprint Athlete in Starting Position


"I think every athlete's goals are always to improve, get faster and get better!

You have to be patient with yourself. As you grow, you will automatically get stronger and as you get stronger, you will have to learn how to use that strength to translate it to the track.

Honing in your technique is also going to help with your athletic development as you grow. If you can do your drills better, you can be more fluent in your running. Alternatively, by improving your technique in the gym, this is going to help you perform those movements better and you'll be able to shift more weight over time. It's not necessarily about how much weight you are shifting, but how you're shifting the weight!

You really want to prioritise being consistent at what you're doing to really develop yourself as an athlete. This includes your training and everything else that you're doing which supports your sprints. 

Consistent communications with coaches is also important, and I keep touching on communication as it's great to do this both inside and outside of the track, if possible. If you can have conversations with your coach where you can make tangible goals to work towards, then that's a great place to be as that shows your development is progressing well, even if it's over a period of time.

There's also the Power of 10 system which you can look at. It's a great way to look at your own progression over time and you and your coach can look at this analytical data and make changes in your routine where needed, based on previous or recent performances.

Even if you've done well, it's great to look back at these performances, but it's still a great opportunity to look at what can be improved in certain areas. Your coach may even say that you still have a long way to go, but if they do, then that's actually a good thing as this means you can still get stronger and build on your technique over time.

You always want to be developing as best as you can, but make sure to be patient, to trust your coach and to trust the process of everything. Enjoy whatever it is you're doing, and even small wins are always great, as they show that you're getting better at what you're doing!"


The Visions Podcast

The Visions Podcast is hosted by Destiny Ogali and his co-host JT.

Podcasts are released every Friday on their Apple Podcasts page, and their content focuses on conversations revolving around sports, culture and faith.

Take a better look at what they do by visiting their various channels. You can do this by checking out their Linktree page!

Instagram: @thevisionspod

Twitter: @visionspod

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