Sprinting Workouts - Training Volume Discussion
Training volume is an important factor in whether or not your body gets sent the proper signals to respond and adapt to training, but the improper application of training volume can ruin your sprinting workouts. Here we discuss some ideas related to training volume as it relates to sprinting workouts.
Training Volume Personal History
In my experience, I've found that I have tended to use similar levels of training volume over the course of many years of training. After some time, I started to wonder to myself whether or not I was performing enough sprinting volume each session in order to tell my body what I want it to do, such as to get faster or improve acceleration.
At some point, athletes need to identify how much training they have done in the past, and cross reference that with their results as well as with any issues they had. For example, if you performed a certain amount of training each session and each week, and this resulted in improvement, then you were likely using the right amount of volume. If instead you ended up hurt or constantly tired, then your training volume was too high or it did not align with the training frequency and density you wanted to perform in your training.
Volume, Frequency, and Density Interplay
Training volume must fit within the context of your training frequency and density, otherwise it will not work.
- Training Volume: The amount of work performed within a period of time.
- Training Frequency: The number of times you train within a period of time.
- Training Density: The number of times you train a specific quality within a period of time.
Let's assume your sprint training volume for the week is an arbitrary number like 1000 meters. With a training frequency of 2 sessions per week, you would be averaging 500 meters per session. This could be split evenly, or it could be something like 600 meters of speed endurance and 400 meters of acceleration training.
If your training density is high, the amount of volume performed per session will decrease, because you are splitting this volume over multiple sessions. For example if you sprint 4 times per week, your daily volume would max out at 200 or 250 meters per session.
You cannot sprint more often and perform the same amount of volume each session, as this is a recipe for disaster. Personally I believe that higher densities of training are more likely to cause injury than higher session volumes performed with less density, as there is a certain amount of time you need between sprinting workouts in order for your body to repair tissues and lower fatigue levels.
My Current Training Approach
For the time being, I am using a lower density schedule where I only sprint 2 times per week most weeks, but within those sessions I am doing higher volumes of sprinting than I have done in the past.
I believe there is a certain threshold of work that is required before the body will sense that it needs to respond to training by dedicating resources and energy toward repairing the body and learning to move more effectively.
If all we ever do is 250 meters per session of sprinting, but our body requires 300 meters or more before it will generate a significant response to training, then can we expect to improve much?