Fall training is well underway for many sports, so it would be a good time to speak on the importance of building a base during your preseason training. Like building a house, the base level or foundation must be appropriate and reflect the house that it will eventually endure. The planner wouldn’t build a foundation suitable for a small house if building a skyscraper, nor would plans for a skyscraper set the foundation if a small house is being built. The base must reflect the end goal. In sports, the training prior to the season must also correlate accordingly.
If you are a sprinter with the goal to run fast, chances are that endless slow running in your off-season preparation will not reflect for your desired goal. A defined goal should be the defining force of the training that is endured, so a base must be defined. If the demands of your event are primarily acceleration, speed, speed endurance, required power and elastic tissue qualities, months spent on endurance may not aid in the progression of performance.
A more optimal base should include qualities that are critical to the success of sprinting. Qualities including Acceleration technique, Workload specific capacities, Basic Power Production, and even General Strength.
Effective and efficient acceleration is the key to reaching top speed. Without the presence of proper acceleration, absolute top speed will never be attained. Talks about speed endurance is skipping step 1 and jumping ahead. Acceleration is an exceptional rhythmic progression of movements where each step contributes to the effectiveness of the next, leading to a buildup of ultimate speed. For a skill that is necessary, it wouldn’t make sense to not allot a large amount of time developing.
High speed training is needed when time gets close to large competitions, but such training can be very taxing on the Central Nervous System (CNS). The effectiveness of the workouts done in-season will be dependent on the battery that was built during pre-season. Large amount of slow, controlled work does not prepare the energy system for the shock that will be endured. Energy systems, neurotransmitter systems, waste removal systems, and nervous system output need to be consistently developed early, so that the athlete can manage and produce very high intensity, high quality workouts later in the year.
The ability to produce large amounts of force in short amount of time is essential for successful sprinters. This is what defines power, and developing these qualities are done early in the season. How acceleration work prepares the athlete for speed work, basic power work is preparation for absolute strength development later in preparation.
General strength is strength defined with low loading, essentially body weight exercises. The purpose of general strength is to develop the base for core, limb, and postural strength through simple movements so that the athlete can better able perform more intense and specific movement later in preparation.
Overall, the base or foundation being built needs to be supportive of the end goal. For sprinters or athletes of high intensity, this means that the base should prepare the athlete for high intensities, speeds of movement, power outputs, and work capacities specific to the demands of the event.