The fastest sprinters in the world, like Usain Bolt, take only a couple of breaths to power through a 100-meter sprint.
In order to perform speed drills that train your fast-twitch muscle fibers, you must have full rest between each rep, or it will quickly turn into aerobic rather than anaerobic training.
This leads us to our next mistake…
Not Enough Rest between Sets & Reps
There’s no quicker way to turn a speed training workout into an endurance workout than to not allow yourself enough rest between sets and reps.
If your speed training workout involves 20-50-meter sprints at full-speed, for example, and you only take 30 seconds between each rep, you will tire too quickly to perform the rest of the reps at your max speed.
With the increasing exhaustion due to short recovery periods, you will finish your sets much slower than your max speed and start sucking in extra oxygen along the way.
The result? You once again end up training your aerobic fitness rather than your speed.
A general rule of thumb when it comes to the recovery between reps is to rest one minute for every 10 meters of sprinting. Do not begin another rep or set until you feel ready to run at 100% effort again.
Not Enough Rest Days
Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Just like you need full recovery between reps and sets to make your workout a true speed workout, you need enough rest days to allow your body to perform at 100% on your speed training days.
The amount of rest days you take depends on how consistent your training has been and how fit you currently are.
If you’ve trained an average of three days per week, you do NOT want to suddenly start training six or seven days a week.
Your body needs to adjust so that it has the energy to carry you through the more explosive workouts.
Begin by adding a few minutes of speed training once a week, see how your body feels (your muscles may feel sore, but this soreness should disappear within 72 hours), and gradually increase until you are doing longer speed sessions about twice a week.
The key here is to listen to your body.
When it comes to speed training exercises such as plyometrics and Olympic weightlifting, you need to feel that you can perform at your maximum capacity.
Some signs that you are not including enough rest days into your speed training include:
- persistent soreness that lasts throughout the week
- fatigue, especially during and after workouts
- frequent colds (overtraining breaks down the immune system)
- sports performance declining or remaining at a standstill
- feeling that you just can’t get to 100% effort when trying an all-out sprint or speed drill
Instead of performing speed training every day (which inevitably leads to more harm done than good), focus on different areas of your sports performance each day.
Devote one day to strength, for example, another to endurance, another to agility, etc. Focusing on different areas of your performance each day will help you get the rest you need and enhance your overall sports performance.