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Top ten sprint training mistakes

Updated on July 1, 2013

For all those who are trying to improve their sprinting speed, there are good preferred training sessions and there are also bad habits to avoid in your training sessions. Some of the bad habits can actually do you more harm than good. In many cases people actually end up running slower than they first started, due to fatigue or injuries.

Bad training sessions are usually come from coaches who are rushing to get their athletes into season form too quickly. The result can be a whole season wasted due to injuries or simply being burnt out before the end of the season where all the major competitions take place.

I have compiled a list of training sessions and bad habits that should be avoided at all costs. Please try your best to eliminate these from your sessions.

The pointers to avoid

1. Trying to imitate another runners technique - Everyone has their own body type, the style you sprint should be suited to your own build for maximum efficiency. Minor adjustments won't hurt though.

2. Building muscle - Muscle is NOT the key ingredient for sprinting, although moderate weights can be used in the winter for power. Excessive weight training will cause stiffness with limits the range of movement.

3. Sprinting every session - You're muscle needs 3-4 days to recover to achieve maximum repair just like weight training. Alternate your sessions with drills, weights, distance work and technique training.

4. No long distance running - This is a mistake many young athletes make. Stamina is a major ingredient for sprinting, it helps you maintain top sped for a longer portion of the race.

5. Pulling up quickly after the finish line - This puts tremendous stress on your quad muscles. An injury can put you out for the whole season.

6. Holding you breath - One of the worst habits for young sprinters. You should NEVER hold your breath. Even though the distance is short your muscles need plenty of oxygen to maintain a peek speak.

7. Overuse of starting blocks - Again a lot of pressure on your joints for such an explosive action. Try standing starts or even rolling starts.

8. Zig zag starts - Powerful stocky sprinters may be seen adopting a zig zag style of start. This is due to their build and find it the only way to generate momentum. This however should not be implemented on purpose since its only a natural form of acceleration for bigger sprinters.

9. Avoiding the winter season - The winter season is an essential period for sprinters to build up on strength and endurance. Sprinting is also done using indoor 200m and 60m tracks.


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    • L R Goodman profile image

      L R Goodman 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for these wonderful tips!

    • killrats profile image


      8 years ago from Cape town South Africa

      The only mistake I can see in this whole thing is the sprinting part. The training I can do sitting thinking about it but the sprinting is going to be a problem


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