Track: Peaking Schedule for Sprinters and Hurdlers

Track: Peaking Schedule for Sprinters and Hurdlers

Dave Hunt

The pdf version of this article provides the taper that I use for sprinters and hurdlers to prepare for championship competitions.

It's based on Charlie Francis' program for elite athletes. (Within a drug free setting!) This 10-day taper is the same peaking schedule I have used with OFSAA Level (Ontario High School) athletes, Canadian University Athletes and those who have competed for Canada at the World Championships and Olympic Games.

If your athletes have done the work and you want them to be bang-on when the big day hits, try this program. It may take a few tries to understand your athletes' body and mind, but it has worked with some success for my group.

Be Flexible
Keep in mind that we often modify our workouts based on feeling, visual observation and instinct. For instance, I am constantly monitoring each individual athlete for signs of fatigue. A great indicator is the sound of their feet contacting the track. I want to hear short crisp steps during any speed work, or I shut them down and move them into tempo or a cool down.

As athletes try to peak, it's important for both the coach and athlete to communicate openly about how the athlete feels and to constantly modify the program based on this interaction. It's an amazing thing to see athletes hit their peak.

A Few Tips

  1. Allow for a great deal of modification in each workout. At this point, less, at high quality, is far more important than quantity.
  2. Listen to your athletes. If they feel great, send them home with a confident smile leaving something in the "tank" for the next day. More work is not necessary at this point.
  3. Rest and regeneration are vital for optimal performance. If the athletes seem frustrated and tired, now is the time to give them a day off from the track. Even if they are feeling well, it's not a bad idea to reward their hard work with some R&R.
  4. Stay away from new training stimuli and certainly avoid making technical
  5. During a successful taper I find the athletes are going to really want to let loose at practice. Prepare to pull back on the reins, while letting them enjoy these last 10 days of relaxed high quality workouts.

To download the pdf version of this peaking schedule, click here: Download Now

Contributor: Dave Hunt is the University of Toronto sprints, hurdles and relays coach. He has been a coach with the Canadian National Team at the Pan-American Games and World Student Games and was a member of the Canadian Team Support Staff at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia .

© 2008, Physical Education Update,

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