One core practice that I failed to touch on in my core practices series is sprinting. I tend to think of my sprinting as part of my parkour, the first obstacle is distance but in point of fact most traceurs do not practice flat ground sprinting regularly and many can not run with good form or particularly fast. To get an idea of just how slow the parkour community is by track standards let me tell you about my experience working with an elite track coach.
Two years ago in february Justin Sweeney and I did an 11 week training Cycle with Mike Cunliffe of the track team seattle speed, that year he had 17 year old athlete who ran a 10.32 hundred his daughter is multiple time national champion and he has trained multiple NBA and NFL players.
Justin has won every parkour visions local competition since 2010, he has finished in the top five at every major course running competition he has been to with one exception, won 2 of them and finished in the top 3 multiple times. He is legitimately one of the fastest traceurs going over a course in the world.
When we showed up he and I got dusted by their 14 year old girls, by the end of the 11 week cycle we were both able to run around 12.00 seconds for a hundred meters and out run the slowest male 400 meter runner on the team(over 60). The fastest athletes where were training with were running the mid 10’s.
Ok you might say specific adaption to imposed demand, traceurs aren’t very good sprinters but sprinters probably aren’t very good traceurs either. Well maybe not.
I happen to have accidentally invited a near elite sprinter with no parkour experience to acompetition once. James Mcgrath is a well known Ninja Warrior vet, after we met at ANW 2 I thought James was a traceur and seeing how he competed at ninja warrior I invited him to compete at a local outdoor competition at volunteer park, featuring a bunch of high level traceurs from Apex movement. James came in and ran the fastest time out of all the athletes on 1 of the 3 courses, was second on another but couldn’t complete a third. It turned out James had never really done parkour at all. What he had done was run track. h=He had had a scholarship offer as a 400, 800 meter runner as a junior in high school but lost it after a snowboarding accident wiped out his senior year. He had maintained his speed though and that foot speed allowed him to over come the fact that he didn’t know any vaults and had poor flow and really didn’t even jump that far, he simple ran that much faster on the flat ground in between obstacles to make up for it.
Distance is the first obstacle and if your not building your maximum speed capacity you are missing a huge piece of being a competent mover.
Your challenge today is to sprint.
My favorite sprinting protocols for generalist athletes are 10x10yards, and 5×50 yards with full recovery to build maximal acceleration and speed.
A word of warning sprinting is strong medicine and overdosing can hurt you. Make sure you are very warmed up before you try sprinting all out, if you have history of hamstring, or groin injuries consider working up to full sprints by doing several session of 80 percent sprints, then several 90 percent sprints before going all out, glute activation and active stretching work is good idea before doing sprints.
For good sprinting drills check out Sparta Point
For more on form look too Tom Tellez
and for deeper understanding of the sprint I love Boo schexnayder
For inspiration lets look at how an elite sprinters took too rugby