The Training Equipment of a Sprinter

The Training Equipment of a Sprinter

- Kia Schollar

When you think about training equipment used by sprinters, what comes to mind?

Sam Effah, fourth fastest Canadian in the 100m with a time of 10.06 and sights set on the 2020 Olympic games, chuckled when asked the question.

“Most people think the answer is nothing but shoes”

But according to Sam, there are 3 integral pieces of equipment for training at a high level:

  1. Starting blocks: For Sam, the start of a race is his bread and butter. So having a set of starting blocks to train with is incredibly important. As it turns out, Sam practices with starting blocks ALL the time, ensuring the first few meters of his race are like second nature. But even more important than being comfortable with starting blocks, is having the right setup. As Sam points out, rules and regulations play a major role in track & field - you need to be able to set up your blocks the same way, every single time. However, different events have different rules. For example, the World Championships only allow athletes two minutes on the track and are not allowed to bring anything with them. So, Sam uses what he always has with him, his hands and feet. His front block is 2 feet and 2 fingers from the start line and his back block is 3 feet and 6 fingers away. Training with starting blocks on a frequent basis makes this whole setup process take about 30 seconds to set up, leaving Sam with plenty of time to prepare for go time.

  2. Timing gates: Sam uses an advanced timer called Free Lap for detailed time splits during his sprint workouts. Sam opts for this tech gadget while training because of its accuracy and precision. When the margin for error in the 100m is often a few hundredths of a second, knowing where you stand in training is a huge advantage and opens up areas of improvement.
  3. Athletic apparel: Now I am sure you’re thinking, “uh huh”. But Sam elaborated. Shoes and the type of spikes one wears are largely a personal choice, but can affect performance. Technology has come a long way; modern sprinting shoes are built with solid-plated soles to create a firmer shoe that loses less energy per stride. Shoe designs are also built to help increase stride efficiency. Beyond the shoes, Sam noted clothing impacts the amount of drag sprinters experience when running. And when hundredths of a second matter, the clothing you choose becomes essential.

So as Sam is cruising to the finish line - at what seems like lightning speed, his equipment plays an integral role in making each stride come together.

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