Table of Contents
Basic Hurdles Training
Hurdling the ability to apply movement or new movement speeds over hurdles while maintaining optimal sprint form.
This article will explain some fundamentals of Basic Hurdles Training.
The Differential to 100m sprints is
- Males add 1.8 to 2.0 seconds for 110m Hurdle Time Conversion.
- Females add 0.9 to 1.2 seconds for 100 Hurdles Time Conversion.
A good hurdler is aggressive and can attack the first hurdle with no fear of that first hurdle.
Block Starts 110 Hurdles Basic Hurdles Training
The Block start for the 100/110 Hurdles is different from that of the 100-meter dash as the athlete must come up sooner as not to crash or hit the first hurdle. Hurdlers are usually up and tall by the 4th step out of the blocks.
Trail leg is usually on the front block regardless of which leg they use in that position in the 100-meter dash.
One difficulty an athlete may have is adjusting steps as their 100-meter raw speed improves.`
- Variation of the start event. Ability correct position at Hurdle 1.
- Ability to fit in the correct number of steps to Hurdle 1.
- Most male athletes take about 8 strides to Hurdle 1.
- Females 9 strides to Hurdle 1.
However, the short Hurdler athlete, like in the 100 meters, keeps accelerating to 60 meters.
Maximum Velocity Basic Hurdles Training
Top speed hurdles reached 40 – 60 meters.
Speed increases with stride rhythm remain consistent. The athlete should be relaxing and not overthinking; this is basic hurdles training.
Hurdles Basics on Clearance Basic Hurdles Training
- Lead arm punches close to the hurdle, not through the body.
- Lead leg leads with the leg. Knee drive higher, crossing the hurdle.
- Trail leg tight high through the body extends back position.
- Dorsiflexed toe
- The trail leg comes through in front of the contact leg.
Clearance Steps Basic Hurdles Training
- Take off Phase
- Clearance Phase
- Landing Phase
4 steps are for beginners in Basic Hurdles Training; 3 steps between hurdles are ideal as it means clearing with the same leg throughout the race.
Hurdle Spacing Basic Hurdles Training
Basic Hurdles Training Programs
Examples of Basic Hurdles Training
110 Hurdles x 10 remove 1 Hurdle randomly. Each run.
Long Hurdles / Drills Basic Hurdles Training
400m Hurdles speed reserve rhythm 400 to 400 Hurdles Conversion.
400 Hurdles – 8 Hurdles sprint last 100 good indication race form if done solo
Low intensity drills both sides body
- Walk over-center side of hurdles.
- Scissor Drill Side
- Spider Drill Front
Progress easy runs over 400 Hurdles 3 or 5 steps
Complete warmup for basic hurdles training fast repetition, preferably from the blocks 1 or 2 or 3 flights of hurdles.
Basic Hurdles Training Sources:
- Level 3 Athletics Australia Sprints and Hurdles Coaching Notes
Why aren’t there more sprinters who double in the hurdle races of similar distances?
The timing of the events and difficulty of the events – particularly the intermediate hurdle race – makes it difficult to compete in the hurdles and a similar sprint race.
It’s not impossible, but this is generally reserved for the absolute best athletes.
This is an interesting topic because many strong 100m/110m hurdlers also have good open 100m speed, and almost all elite 400m hurdlers are also strong open 400m sprinters.
There are many reasons for this, and they vary depending on the level of the athlete.
It generally begins at the high school level.
The most common reason this combo isn’t often done on the high school and college level has to do with events.
Simply put, there is too little time between the hurdles and the comparable sprint races for athletes to get a full recovery.
In California, the highest school meets follow the order of events listed below.
- 4X100m relay
- 100m/110m hurdles
- 300m hurdles
- 4X400m relay
Notice how the 100/110m hurdles and the open 100m are only separated by one event, the 400m.
This means that athletes attempting this combination would have a very brief recovery period.
Though this is a doable sprint since both races are short sprints, it’s still a demanding combination.
It’s also worth considering that anyone attempting this combination could also be running on the 4X100 relay team, which means that they would end up running three of the first five events at a given meet.
While the 400m and 300m hurdles are spaced apart by the 100m and 800m, the 400m is a longer sprint race that requires a much longer recovery time.
The 300m hurdles are also a demanding race. So even with the extra rest time, it’s possible that an athlete attempting a 400m & 300m hurdle combination would still be fatigued from the 400m race.
The commonly combined individual races are spread out to make it easy to compete without fatigue.
The 200/400, 100/200, 1600/3200, 800/1600, and hurdle events are all spread out in a way that makes it more convenient for athletes to double in those.
However, the other two event combinations, like the 400m/800m or the above-mentioned sprint-hurdle combinations, are difficult.
Like the 100/200/110m hurdles, three individual sprint events are very uncommon.
I have seen a handful of athletes on the high school level attempt this combination.
When Nichole Denby was in her senior year of high school at JW North, she ran the 100m hurdles, the 100m, the 300m hurdles, and the 4X100 at the CIF State Meet.
Reggie Wyatt (who, oddly enough, also attended J.W. North before transferring to La Sierra) did the 400m-300m hurdles-200m combination at CIF Southern Section Finals.
He then competed in the 400m and 300 Hurdles at the CIF State meet and won both events.
In Denby and Wyatt’s cases, it’s worth noting that these were exceptional athletes in unusual circumstances.
Both athletes led their teams to State team titles, so their grueling event combinations were at least partially motivated by the desire to score team points at the meet.
Both of these athletes set national records in their events – Denby in the 100m hurdles and Wyatt in the 300m hurdles – so they were literally among the greatest performers of all time.
Lastly, I should also mention that Denby collapsed on the track after her final event from complete exhaustion.
On the college level, there tends to be more spacing between races due to a different schedule of events, which includes the addition of the 3000m steeplechase, the occasional 10,000m race, and the 5000m instead of the high school 3200.
Also, college athletes are stronger and more physically fit than their high school counterparts to run more theory events.
However, college coaches typically avoid overloading their athletes in training and meet, so you seldom see athletes take on a high volume of events.
It’s quite common to see athletes – particularly hurdlers – who only run one event per meet.
There are occasional exceptions. Devon Allen, reigning USA champ and a 2016 Olympian in the 110m Hurdles, currently competes for the University of Oregon.
At the 2016 Pac-12 Championships, he competed in three individual events: the 100, 110H, and 200. He won the hurdles and 200m and was 3rd in the 100m.
Very few collegiate 400m hurdlers also do the 400m.
While they are likely to star on their team’s 4X400m relays, the open 400 and the 400m hurdles at the same meet are tough.
Anecdotally speaking, I did the 400m/400m IH combination twice: once at an invitational and once in our meet against Stanford. It was extremely unpleasant.
Both times I didn’t fully recover from the first race, so I ran slow times in the second race.
I do recall that Rickey Harris of the University of Florida did both events at the NCAA Championships.
He was the champion in the 400m hurdles (48.12) and runner-up in the 400m (44.93).
Most people thought he was insane for even attempting that combo.
Finally, there are professional athletes whose training is even more specialized and less voluminous than college athletes.
Professional athletes typically find their best event and focus on that.
If they compete in other events, it usually serves a practical purpose, like a tune-up or training event to improve in their main event.
An example of this would be a hurdler who does the occasional 100m to get some speed work.
On the pro level, there are a few short hurdles that double up.
2-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell was a powerful combination sprinter and hurdler, particularly indoor.
In the 2006 Indoor World Championships in Moscow, he won gold in the 60m hurdles (7.43) and the open 60m (6.54).
In outdoor track, Gail Devers sets the gold standard from combination sprinter-hurdlers with multiple gold medals at the Olympics and World Championships in the 100m and 100m Hurdles, including many golds at the same meet, such as the 1993 World Championships.
On the other hand, pro 400m hurdles rarely run the 400m in the same meets to run the 400m hurdles unless running a leg on a relay. Angelo Taylor has multiple Olympic medals in the 400m Hurdles and 4X400m Relay, but he also has a bronze medal in the open 400m from the 2007 World Championships.
However, it’s worth noting that he did not compete in the 2007 World Championships’ hurdles.
Combining the hurdles with sprints is already a difficult task due to the timing of events, but as an athlete’s career continues to the college and pro levels, the difficulty of the events, the awareness to avoid running too many races in a single season, and the need to specialize in remaining competitive altogether force athletes to focus on just one race.
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Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years.
He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017.
Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program.
Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
He can be contacted on [email protected]
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