1. Speed kills. This is true. 2. Speed cannot be trained. This is not true. Hopefully I have made some kid out there very happy by saying this. So why do some many people think that speed cannot be trained for? We can get stronger, jump higher, improve our mile time, improve flexibility but not speed? This seems a bit fishy to me. The reason why this myth is believed by so many is because no one gets faster. Stick with me here for a second because I know what I just said. It is actually pretty rare for athletes to improve their speed and the reason is because it is very difficult to get faster. Speed development is like getting your first kiss, it isn’t easy and it is going to take some work. I think this can be best described by a specific example from yours truly.
In the sports world if you can run a 4.5 second 40 yard dash you are considered fast and if you run above a 5 second 40 yard dash you are considered pretty darn slow. So anyone would agree that if an athlete went from a 5 second 40 to a 4.5 second 40 they made a huge improvement. This sort of improvement in reality is only a 10% increase in speed. (5x.10=.5). The first 40 I ever ran was 5.00 and seven years later I ran a 4.53 second 40. I was an odd case because I was injured half the time so lets just say that in the ideal situation this sort of improvement took 3 years to achieve. I think most people would say this is would be a worthwhile endeavor; dropping a half of a second off a 40.
Now let’s look at developing strength. Let’s say an athlete was trying to increase the number of push-ups they could do and can only perform 30 before training. Increasing that number by 10% with training would result in 3 extra push-ups (30+3=33 YAY). Even in the worst circumstances this sort of improvement would take 3 weeks at max to achieve. What if this took three years though? Would going from 30 push-ups to 33 push-ups be worthwhile? How many athletes would have the work ethic, the drive, the fortitude and determination to reach that goal? I would say very few and this is why athletes don’t get faster. **There is one other factor that will be addressed in a minture but this is the number one reason.
So hopefully we can appreciate how difficult speed is to achieve. It is not impossible but athletes need to realize it is going to take time. There are no special devices or gimmicks or tricks to gaining speed. Speed takes time and one other thing; a plan.
Athletes can go out and run miles everyday with no plan and continue to improve their mile time for years. Athletes can just do push-ups to failure everyday and consistently make improvements in strength but this is not the case with speed. Athletes need a plan to gain speed. They can’t just go out and sprint the same distances everyday for the same amount of time and expect to get faster. More times than not the athlete will end up with an injury and no increases in speed with this approach. A plan with proper exercises, sets, reps, distances and periodization is needed in order to reach this speed goal. So any athlete who wants to get faster needs to understand that it is very possible but they need to realize it isn’t going to happen overnight.