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Aaron Rouge-Serret - Training Days

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1Aaron Rouge-Serret - Training Days Empty Aaron Rouge-Serret - Training Days Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:46 pm



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Training Days

By Aaron Scott
Inside Sport
September 2010

Australian Sprinting hit its darkest days in 2008. At the Beijing Games there wasn’t a single Australian man or woman in the 100, 200 or sprint relays. Qualifying times had been clocked, but Athletics Australia had effectively hoisted the white flag. After all, why waste precious coin shipping sprinters over to China just to watch them tumble in the heats? Back home, the national sprinting program was in tatters. The head coach, Paul Hallam, found himself out of a job; there wasn’t a single sprinter on scholarship at the AIS. The discipline was fading into the blackness.

And yet, amidst the gloom, a new generation has emerged. And it’s being led by 22-year-old Melbournian Aaron Rouge-Serret. His time of 10.17secs at the WA Championships in March remains the fastest 100m on Australian soil for the past three years. That run carved .16secs from his PB and guaranteed his passage to Delhi next month. It’s also a run that would’ve earned him a bronze medal at the ’06 Comm Games. Our sprinting redemption may be at hand.

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“My coach and I both believe that genetics plays a massive part in sprinting. On the other hand, it’s also very easy to teach someone to run quicker ... But to sprint at an international level, genetics plays a huge role.

“One of the main things coaches look for in sprinters is tendon length. Basically, they’re looking for a long Achilles tendon and a small calf. Look at guys like Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell – they’ve got small, high calves. Beyond that, you’re looking for massive gluts and hamstrings; the ability to put on muscle bulk.

“Fast-twitch fibres are the main type of muscle fibre you need to sprint. You can train people to use more of their fast-twitch fibres but, again, that can only take you to a certain level. Genetically, you need to be born with a huge amount of fast-twitch fibres to be a world-class sprinter.”

“In the past, it has played on my mind ­ that black men just run faster. But recently a young Frenchman, Christophe Lemaitre, became the first white man to break ten seconds. He ran 9.98 in the south of France. You know, people have always said that there’s been an uncertainty within white sprinters; that self-questioning - is breaking ten seconds actually possible? But I reckon Lemaitre has really re-lit the spark for white sprinters. And that’s from an international level right down to local athletics. He’s given them the fuel they may need to get to that level, to break ten seconds. Who knows, one day white sprinters may be mixing it with the top guys?”

“I train five-to-six days a week and the majority of those days I’ll do double sessions. Normally, my days start at 11am with a track session, and that session varies depending on whether we’re in race season or not. Base training during the off-season involves a lot of the longer stuff. Most people don’t realise that to run 100m fast, you’ve got to be fit, your lactate threshold has to be very high. A lot of people don’t understand that, so they don’t train their body to cope at that lactate threshold. Most of our offseason training will be about pushing that threshold.

A popular session is running a 400, 300, 200 and 100 at roughly 80 per cent effort with a short recovery between each rep. Time-wise I’d be looking at running the 400 in 52-54 seconds, the 300 in 35-36 seconds, the 200 in 23 and after all that I’d want to be running the 100 in under 11. It’s very tough. I also do a lot of hill running. There’s a good hill near my Essendon athletics track which is roughly 120m long, so I’ll do ten reps up that hill at about 80 per cent effort.”

“In-season my focus moves to shorter distances. I’ll work a lot of starts over 20 to 40m. And the recoveries between each run will be quite long. My coach, Adam Larcom, will have a video camera, or a high-speed camera that takes ten shots per second, and after each rep we’ll have a good look at the images. We’ll really analyse my technique – that way I can adjust it for my next rep. Adam really emphasises this technical examination during my reps. It’s best doing it between reps because we can adjust something, then see how that adjustment impacts the next rep.

“If I’m doing starts, my run-throughs will normally be over 20 to 40m. If we’re working on the middle parts of the race, then the runthroughs will be up around 60-80m. The number of reps I do always depends on where we are in the season. If we’re, say, two weeks out from competition, then I’ll be doing no more than four-to-six reps. But if we’re eight weeks out from competition, then I’ll be up around eight-to-ten reps for the longer run throughs and 15 reps for the starts.

“Often my coach will lift the distances, just to keep working that lactate threshold. For these sessions I’ll do reps over 150m and-200m. I’ll also occasionally have a session where I do a one-off 300. Over these longer distances, the times are all indicators of what sort of form I’m in. So, for the 300, I’d be looking at a time of 33 seconds. Over 150m I’d be looking at the 15-to-16-second mark. At that speed I’d probably do five reps out of the blocks.”

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“In-season my coach and I work on things very technically. The 100m technique is very specific and if you get one thing wrong throughout the race it can cost you one-tenth of a second and that’s a big margin in the 100. So, if you don’t train smart, if you’re not focusing on your technique, then you won’t go fast. I’d say 80 per cent of my training is focussed on technique. Whether that’s on the track or lifting in the gym, the focus is always technique. Even in races I’m always thinking about what positions I need to be in, how I need to be hitting the ground, all that sort of stuff.”

“There’s no room for error in the 100. In field events, for example, you might get six attempts to get something right. With sprinting you only get one shot. And that starts as soon as the gun goes. If you get your start wrong, then you can count yourself out of the race.

“Technically, when you’re on the blocks in the ‘on your marks’ position, you want your hands on the track to be a little more than shoulder-width apart. When you rise into the ‘set’ position, you want your front leg to be at 90 degrees and your back leg at 130 degrees. Those angles in your legs allow your body to snap out of the blocks at a 45-degree angle. This is the optimal arc in any sport: shot-putters want the shot to rise at 45 degrees, throwers want the javelin to rise at 45 degrees. In sprinting, that 45-degree angle ensures your legs don’t extend too far in front of your body. You don’t want to over-stride out of the blocks ­ you want your legs to be hitting under your body, creating horizontal force.

“You stay down in that drive phase for 20 to 30m. Then you start your transition from your drive phase to your acceleration phase. Then, from about 70 to 80m, you move into your maintenance phase. This phase, of course, is all about maintaining top speed.”

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“When you’re at top speed, when you’re really up and running, you want to focus on hitting the track both vertically and horizontally. A lot of people focus too much on horizontal movement ­ or extension, as we call it ­ so they tend to overstride and extend too far behind themselves. But with good sprinting technique you want to focus on lifting your knees and driving down into the ground. That’s the key – you want to be driving into the track, driving down horizontally, rather than clawing at the ground, dragging it under you. This projects your body forward at an optimal angle for sprinting. “You also need to focus on dorsiflexion ­ your upward ankle flexion when you’re at top speed. And you need to get good heel recovery ­ so when your foot leaves the ground and whips up towards your body, you want that heel moving quickly, almost hitting your bum.

“An aggressive arm drive is also really important. Out of the blocks, arm drive is one of the main things we focus on. When you drive your arm backwards, it forces your torso forward. And if you do that torso angle correct, then everything else should just follow.”

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“There’s actually not a whole lot of variation in my program. I enjoy training ­ I always find I want to go to the track – so mental stimulus isn’t a big issue for me. My coach trains me individually and fortunately we get along really well, so, as a result, training’s easy. We just go through the motions together. Every now and then we may go interstate for a week or two; train at a different track, in different weather. Sometimes Adam will also put me in a training group, just for something different, to ignite that spark again. But we enjoy what we do, so there’s really not a lot of stimulus needed.”

“When it comes to major comps, sprinters can’t be hit-and-miss. You’ve got to nail it on the day, otherwise it’s never going to happen.

“On race day I try to relax as much as possible, conserve as much energy as I can. I don’t have any pre-race rituals or anything like that. Leading into the race, I’m always extremely focused during my warm-up. I do my exercises away from everyone else so I can really focus on myself. In the warm-up, I’ll normally jog two laps of the track, do a long stretch, then get some physio from my coach, working my hamstrings and back. After that I’ll go through three basic drills. The first is a drill where I skip up on my toes, working my dorsiflexion. The second works extension, so I’ll go for a light jog and then every three or four strides I’ll put in a big sprint step, trying to hit the track as vertically as I can. And the third is just a basic skip to warm my entire body. I do all those drills over 20 to 40m.

“Then I’ll do four or five run-throughs over 60m. The first two or three I’ll run in flats (jogging shoes) so the pace will be pretty relaxed. After those, I’ll put my spikes on and the fourth and fifth run-throughs will be at around 80 per cent. I’ll normally finish with one hard rep at 95 per cent. After that, I’ve found that I only need to do two or three starts ­ then I know my body’s ready to race. By the time I get to the coolroom, I’m just thinking about technique, what I’ve got to do coming out of the blocks. As soon as I get to the start line, I clear my head. If I’ve done the training – I’ve worked hard, trained smart – then I’m going to run fast. So as soon as that whistle blows, and they call ‘on your marks’, I’m not thinking anything. I know I’ve done so many reps of this in training that it’ll just happen.”

A Week In The Life

Sunday: REST DAY

Monday: Morning track session (long reps), evening upper-body weights.

Tuesday: Morning track session (150m reps), evening lower-body weights.

Wednesday: DAY OFF Massage and physio.

Thursday: Morning track session (speed focus), evening upper-body weights.

Friday: Morning track session (speed focus with a lactate hit at the end), evening lower-body weights

Saturday: Heavy lactic session on the track, afternoon physio.

2Aaron Rouge-Serret - Training Days Empty Re: Aaron Rouge-Serret - Training Days Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:39 am

Like it


Great read. Enjoy the range of items and results. Keep them coming.

3Aaron Rouge-Serret - Training Days Empty Re: Aaron Rouge-Serret - Training Days Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:36 pm



It's a shame that Rouge-Serret doesn't even run anymore. Hopefully he makes a comeback one day. Justin Gatlin took 4 years off and came back so the talent isn't going to fade away.

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