Chernock, R--Track and Field Coaches Review, Gainesville, FL, 97 (1997),2, pp.
It is the purpose of this article to make some recommendations for the beginner and for the "journeyman" intermediate hurdlers who may never master the techniques or have the champion's abilities. With these athletes, in the beginning, the hurdles should be separated at any arbitrary distance under 20 yards so the beginner can immediately start to develop what the author calls the "eye-lead leg coordination." This is the ability to recognize, 10 to 15 yards in advance, which lead leg will come up at the next hurdle so the runner does not "chop" his steps. Coaches should begin immediately to get the athlete to hurdle with either leg as a lead. All workouts should be finished over the last intermediate hurdle so the athlete is constantly practicing running over the last hurdle without chopping steps. Stutter stepping is the worst fault an intermediate hurdler can develop.
Identifying and developing elite hurdlers in the United States
Wulf, K.---Track and Field Coaches Review, Gainesville FL, 72 (1999), 2,
The development of elite hurdlers takes approximately six to eight years of specialized training and an additional four years of general physical conditioning to reach top performance. Fifty percent of the world's best 400m hurdlers are over 27 years old and the average age of the female world-class 100m hurdler is between 24 and 30 years of age. The US looks to the US college coach to target this select group of upcoming hurdlers and develop them accordingly. The high school or club coach is responsible for the hurdlers' development during the ages of 14-17.
Periodization in setting up a training program is a must for progress. A good coach will be able to train all athletes together early in their program with the focus on developing all the bio-motor capabilities. Once prospective hurdlers are identified, introduction and encouragement to the hurdle events is necessary. Special attention must be given to developing horizontal velocity, mechanical efficiency, mobility of the hip joint, and hurdle rhythm. Sound sprint training and exercise selection principles, such as sequencing, are certain to be a critical asset to the training program and hence overall development.
400-meter hurdle theory
Lindeman, R---In:J. Jarver (Ed), The hurdles: Contemporary theory, technique and training (3rd ed.). Mountain View, CA: Tafnews Press, 1997, pp. 128-131.. original version in: Track Technique, Los Altos, CA (Spring, 1995), 131, pp. 4169-4171,4196
The following aspects of the 400m hurdles deserve a special emphasis:
1. The hurdler should strive to accelerate the last few strides into the hurdle.
2. Leading with the knee is the single most important fundamental of efficient hurdle technique. A quick lead knee results in what is often called a "delayed trail leg", that is, the trail leg gets full extension at takeoff.
3. The ideal stride pattern would be a consistent pattern of an odd number of steps between all hurdles. This odd step pattern (13's, 15's, 17's, 19's, etc., all the way) allows the hurdler to take all hurdles with the same lead leg (preferably the left).
4. The most valuable technique to be taught the developing hurdler is the ability to alternate lead legs over consecutive hurdles. The ability to make additional late-race adjustments is greatly enhanced if the hurdler can alternate lead legs efficiently. It is very important to be able to make any of these adjustments well in advance of the hurdle.
5. The long hurdler who leads with the left leg has a definitive advantage over a right-legged hurdler. The hurdler with the left lead leg can run the entire curve on the inside of his or her lane. The hurdler with the right lead leg must move more to the outside of his lane to efficiently (and legally) clear the hurdles on the curve.
6. Many 400m hurdlers make the mistake of "finishing" the race at the tenth hurdle, still 40m from the finish line. Making required adjustments in stride length and stride frequency well in advance of the final hurdle enables the hurdler to clear the hurdle efficiently. The hurdler then needs to begin a drive to the finish line, concentrating on sound sprinting mechanics. A high level of anaerobic endurance that results from including a large volume of speed endurance work in the training program is the key to a fast run-in from the last hurdle to the finish.
Imagery - a program for success
Collop, C.---Modern Athlete and Coach, Adelaide, 34 (1996), 4, pp. 32- 35; also in: J. Jarver (Ed.), The hurdles: Contemporary theory, technique and training (3rd ed.). Mountain View, CA: Tafnews Press, 1997, pp. 124- 127
The technical aspect covered in this paper is the approach to the 8th hurdle in a 400m hurdles race. Even though there are 10 hurdles in a 400m race, it is at the 8th hurdle that technique and rhythm are test- ed to the extreme. It is at this point in the race that the lactic effect is starting to bite, the wind directions are likely to change, the position within the race is starting to become crucial, stride pattern may need to change whilst stride rhythm remains the same and good technique and hurdle clearance is essential. Unless total focus and concentration is directed to the job at hand, then the attainment of a successful outcome is unlike- ly. In the past the problems experienced with this area of the race were simply repeated physically over and over again, however, there was never enough actual training time or energy available for the perfecting of this segment of the race. The use of imagery enables the athlete to perform numerous repetitions over this hurdle in order to perfect the segment. Imagery can treble the repetitions in a practice session of the actual segment without the risk of injury or fatigue.