outperform company logo

Sprint Training Program - The Ultimate Blueprint for Speed

pages of a sprint training program on a track with a sprinter in the background

Sprinting is about more than just being fast. It is the synthesis of form, force, and endurance.

Likewise, a sprint training program is about much more than completing drills and honing sprinting technique.

It takes specific training done with the right timing, intensity, and focus to achieve top-end speed.  

As an Olympian and veteran sprints coach, Ken Harnden has created and refined sprint training plans that have been proven to get athletes across the line faster.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to build your own sprint training program using the some of the same philosophies and sprinting workouts Coach Harnden has developed for his 100m & 200m sprinters. 

infographic showing the different phases of a sprint training program

Why Not Just Use A Sprint Training Program PDF?

Despite what many websites claim, there is no one-size-fits-all plan for speed development. 

Individualization is the most important concept to consider when formulating a sprint training program. 

Sure, you can quickly search for a sprint training program pdf and get hundreds of paid and free options.

If you are going to trust your performance with any plan (even the one we're providing), it's helpful to ask a few questions:

Who wrote the plan?

Is it someone who has "studied the best coaches," or have they actually put in the time on the track and delivered tangible results?

The most successful sprinting coaches have years of first-hand experience working with different athletes that have unique strengths and weaknesses.

Experience develops the competency and wisdom required to maximize a sprinter's potential.

Who was the plan written for?

A first-year high school student will have substantially different needs than an elite college athlete. You want a program that takes into account where you are in your career and your individual abilities.

elite sprinter performing speed work on the track
College and professional sprinters can typically handle a much higher training volume than high school athletes.

Do I have the knowledge to change the plan?

This is by far the most important question to answer.

No matter how good a sprint training program is, you will need to make adjustments.

As the military strategist Helmuth von Moltke said, "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy."

In this case, the 'enemy' can be anything from a virus that knocks you out of training for two weeks, a strained hamstring, or something as common as a slight change to your track meet schedule.

Even if you stay perfectly healthy, understanding the 'why' behind each element of the plan is critical to optimal training.

Some athletes will benefit from high-volume sprint training, and others will require an approach that fosters injury prevention and recovery. 

Athletes that fall into the latter category must have the ability to prioritize and maximize their training.

As a coach or a self-coached athlete, you must balance multiple factors when designing your own sprint training plan.

Skill, training experience, recovery ability, prior injury, and lifestyle will affect the success of your program. So plan accordingly.

In the video below Coach Harnden talks about two sub-10 second sprinters he coached that required vastly different types of training and volume.

Walter Dix and Ngoni Makusha were both NCAA champions and ran similar times with vastly different training routines.

Building a Sprint Training Program

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.”

Yogi Berra

Planning is everything. Disorganized, random sprint training will undoubtedly lead to random results.

Great coaches and athletes know what they need to do to perform well, and they deliberately work towards it.

There are well-thought-out reasons behind every repetition and each recovery session.

It is calculated planning and purposeful work that drives progress. 

Over his many years of training elite athletes, Coach Ken Harnden learned that identifying a finishing point and working backward to plan the phases of training is the best way to ensure a successful season. 

As you plan your season, identify your finishing goal first.

  • Do you want to improve sprint times by a specific percentage within a set timeframe?
  • Do you need to work on a specific skill such as improving your block starts?
  • Do you want to achieve peak performance at a particular time?
  • Is there a meet where you could break your personal record?  

Find your target on a calendar and formulate it in reverse from there, working back to the first day.

Watch coach Harnden talk about the importance of building the plan from the destination in the short video below.

A well designed training plan helps athletes do the things they might not enjoy, but will make them great.

Five Sprint Training Program Phases

We’re not talking about acceleration, maximum velocity, and deceleration.

The structure is divided into five phases or training blocks to formulate your own sprint training plan.

Each of the five phases should focus on distinct objectives that will progressively lead to reaching your finishing goal. 

Phase One - Training to Train

To begin sprint training, you must first build a level of fitness to handle sprint training.

In this first phase, training is basic and focused on overall fitness rather than sprint-specific work.

Progression during this phase is achieved through increasing the volume of training each week.  

The emphasis of Phase One

  • Basic training to build general strength and technique.
  • No overloading. Intensity and volume should be progressed slowly.
  • The goal is to gain enough fitness to train at a high level without causing injury. 

Phase One Sprinting Workout Week

DayWorkout TypeWorkout
MondayTempoWarm Up Wickets - 4 x 30M 8 x 250M on grass/walk 50m 3 x Plyos 2 x Med Ball Routine Lung Series Cool Down
TuesdayLow Level StairsWarm Up 8 x Stadium Stairs 5 x Half Stadium Stairs (Faster) A/B Skips Sand Walks Ab Work
ThursdayTempoWarm Up Acceleration Complex 8 x 300M Decreasing Recovery
FridaySand or PlyometricsWarm Up 3 x Plyo Circuit Lunge Series Cool Down
SaturdayHillsWarm Up 6 x 200M Hills Lunge Series
The Most Effective Online Sprinting Course. 
Explore Course

Phase Two - Event-Specific Preparation

After building general fitness in phase 1, you are ready to train specifically for sprinting. Intensity and volume are increased in this phase, and recovery becomes more active.

Plyometrics and hill work increase in volume, intensity, and/or variety, and the recovery day is active non-impact work in the pool.

The workouts in this phase are designed to prepare athletes for competition training and should remain constant throughout the season to measure progress from phase to phase.

Emphasis of Phase Two

  • The goal is to prepare the athlete for event-specific training.
  • Increase overall work by 40-50% from phase one.

Phase Two Sprinting Workout Week

DayWorkout TypeWorkout
MondaySpeed/Acceleration TempoWarm Up 4 x 50M From 120 Start 130/120/110 (Walk Back Recovery) 3 x 150/150 2 x Ab Circuit Lunge Series
TuesdayPower/Resistance Stadium StairsJog Warm Up 8 x Stadium Stairs 4 x 15 Double Hop Stadium Stairs 3 x 10 Single Hop Stadium Stairs 4 x 10 Stadium Stairs Skip Back Sand Drills Ab Circuit
WednesdayActive RecoveryPool Recovery
ThursdaySpeed/Acceleration TempoWarm Up 4 x 50M From 120 Start 3 x 140M Ins/Outs 4 x 200M 30/90 2 x Med Ball Circuit Lunge Series
FridayHillsWarm Up Sled Push/Pull Plyometrics Sand Drills Mat Jumps
SaturdayHills3 x 250M Hills 3 x 150M Hills 4 x 40M  Hills
mustaqeem williams performing sprinting plyometrics during phase one
Mustaqeem Williams performing sprinting plyometrics which are crucial in a well designed 100m/200m sprint training program.

Phase Three - Speed Phase

Phase three is a speed cycle specifically designed to make you faster. In this phase, pure speed training and more intense sprint workouts replace the tempo work in the previous phases.

On the track, traditional speed work forms the core of the training plan.

Sprinting technique is practiced every day from the warm-up through the end of the workout. During phase three, efforts should be timed to measure where you are and establish goals to chase.

Emphasis of Phase Three

  • Increase speed.
  • Replace tempo work with pure speed development training.
  • Begin training block starts.

Phase Three Sprinting Workout Week

DayWorkout TypeWorkout
MondaySpeed Short Distance3 x 20 Falling Starts 3 x 20M 2-Point Starts 3 x 20M 3-Point Starts 6 x Wickets or Sleds Hip & Ab Circuit
TuesdaySpeed Longer Distance3 x 20M Falling 3 x 20M 2-Point Starts 3 x 20M 3-Point Starts 2 x 250 M Hip & Ab Circuit
WednesdayActive RecoveryPool Recovery
ThursdayTechnical Training6 x 20M Tape Drill 6 x 20M Block Start 6 x 30M Sleds Hip & Ab Circuit
FridayPlyometrics3 x 30M Speed Bounds Plyometrics
SaturdayHills Longer but Lower Intensity4 x 60/90/120M Hills

Phase Four - Pre-Competition/Competition Phase

Phase Four is the pre-competition/competition phase. Preparation and planning during this phase is done in micro cycles (i.e. training for 2-4 weeks leading up to the next competition). 

Ultimately, to get the timing right, more than a week between competitions is necessary to do the training needed to improve.

In this phase, race performance is fine-tuned, nurturing strengths and adjusting faults from previous races.

Technical speed work is the focus and measuring efforts through timing, setting timing goals, and evaluating/adjusting to reach those goals.

Emphasis of Phase Four

  • Pre-competition/competition training
  • Ideally, two weeks between competitions
  • It should be tailored to each individual athlete

Phase Four Sprinting Workout 2 Weeks

DayWorkout TypeWorkout
MondayRecoveryRecovery Warm Up Core Work Lunge Series
TuesdayAthlete Specific Training4 x 40M Wickets 5 x 90M - 8 Min Recovery
WednesdayAthlete Specific Training250M/150M/150M - 10 Min Recovery Plyometrics
ThursdayAthlete Specific TrainingRecovery Warm Up Core Work Lunge Series
FridayAthlete Specific Training5 x 20M Block Start 4 x 30M Flying 6 x 30M Sleds Plyometrics
SaturdayAthlete Specific Training250M/150M/150M - 10 Min Recovery Plyometrics
MondayAthlete Specific Training5 x 20M Block Start 5 x 20M Sleds Plyometrics Hip & Ab Circuit
TuesdayCompetition PrepRecovery Warm Up Core Work Lunge Series
WednesdayCompetition Prep4 x 30M Wickets 2 x 120M
FridayCompetition PrepCompetition Preparation

Recovery Phase

Recovery is crucial to the foundation of every training cycle and should be purposefully built into every phase of your sprint training plan. At the end of each phase, a recovery week should follow.

Quality recovery is active and includes low-impact, low-volume, or low-intensity workouts.

Off the track, there must be a focus on recovery through lifestyle as well. Proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep should also be thoughtful and monitored to ensure full recovery between training sessions.

Emphasis of Recovery Phase

  • Active recovery that is consistent with the training structure
  • Hydration, nutrition, and sleep are critical

Recovery Workout Week 

DayWorkout TypeWorkout
MondaySand/Turf Recovery2 x 10M Falling Start 3 x 10M 2-Point Start 3 x 120/90/60M
TuesdayLower Intensity6 x 20M 3-Point Start 6 x 20M Sleds Plyometrics
WednesdayRecoveryPool Recovery
ThursdaySand/Turf Recovery8 x 40M Block Starts 6 x 20M Sleds
FridayPool RecoveryPool Recovery
SaturdayHills Low Intensity3 x 150/120/90M Hills


We hope you enjoyed this sprint training program guide.

The basic structure we have laid out has proven to produce substantial results when tailored to the individual.

To learn more about developing and fine-tuning an annual training plan, check out Sprinting Smarter, Speed Progression.

recommended for you
View All Articles

10 comments on “Sprint Training Program - The Ultimate Blueprint for Speed”

  1. Great article! Love the emphasis on individualization and the 'why' behind each part of the sprint training plan. As a coach, I will definitely be incorporating these concepts into my own training programs.
    Curious what are you recommending for warm up, a skips b skips etc? How long. Thank you for sharing your insights and experience!

    1. Thanks Mark! We actually have a guide on sprinting warm-ups that will be posted soon.
      Yes, a and b skips focusing on ground contact and mechanics, straight leg bounds, dynamic stretches (leg swings, shoe sweeps), glute activation drills etc.
      In terms of how long, if you are talking about distance 20 meters. Check back in a week and you'll see it all broken down.

  2. I need the program more like what to do as 100m what to do for 200m what to do for block starts
    I hope u guys understand..
    Just make it clear cos there is some of us that's do not have like stairs advantage..

    1. It really depends on the athlete, how old they are, their response to training etc. For example, a high school sprinter that plays another sport in the fall might not start their phase 1 until Jan so it would be a bit shorter. College level sprinters might have anywhere from 8-16 weeks of phase 1 and 4-8 weeks of phase 2.
      In general, phase 1 is anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks and pre-competition or phase 2 is 4 to 8 weeks.

      1. I am 30 year old with some not much but some training experience . What could be ideal for me like 8 week each fase ?

        1. If you don't have a lot of training experience you'll want to spend a good amount of time in the general preparation phase to prepare your body and reduce the risk of injury. So at least 8 weeks and slowly build in intensity and volume. Listen to your body and keep a training journal. That will really help to inform you of when to move on to the next phase.

  3. I’ll be honest I jump from nothing to phase 4 lol been doing it for 8 weeks and I went from 12.30 to 11.40 . I feel great so should I start from phase one after I compete in the master next month ?

    1. That's some impressive gains in a short time! It's difficult to say, there are a lot of factors. Typically after the competition phase you would take some time off and do some other activities for a month or so. So yes, after the season going to phase 1 is a good idea. The stronger base you build the better your performance will be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2022 Outperform LLC, All Rights Reserved 
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram