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Dr Margot Wells

Why is Usain Bolt running slower?

Written by Margot Wells
Coach to Allan Wells 1980 Olympic 100m Gold medallist
Director of Wellfast Performance Ltd

Why is Usain Bolt running slower?

There are many and varied reasons why a performer runs slower than before. If we look at British sprinters, they were all much faster when they were younger which suggests that their training is making them slower!

There are three main reasons why any performer would consistently run slower:

1) The wrong training
2) Illness and Injury
3) Lack of commitment to training

1) How can the training be wrong?

In order to do the right weight training for speed it is important that the coach understands the right technique used to run fast and which muscles are needed to run fast. Without this then it is easy to train the wrong muscles and in the wrong way. If you train muscles slowly with big heavy weights then you produce slow muscles and the muscles fibres work in clumps with no fine tuning. Today often the sprints coach doesn’t oversee the weights session or the power session! This to me is not in the best interest of the performer as training is a whole package not a series of separate units and each component of training has to be balanced by all the other parts or you are risking injuries and weak performances. This could be key to Usains recent slower performances from doing the wrong weights.

2) Illness and Injury

If a performer is constantly ill or injured then this is directly a result of overtraining , the wrong training or bad body management. If a performer does too much training or the training is not varied and structured then the body and mind break down. Body management systems are crucial to ensure that the body works in neutral and works as one piece. With the introduction of the Wellfast body management system the effectiveness of my training programmes has increased around 30% and the injury rate has been reduced dramatically. In a very tall person like Usain Bolt it is crucial that this system forms a daily part of his routine as he has such a long back that it is easy by doing squats in the wrong way to injure the back. Squats for speed can have a positive influence on speed and performance. Done for weight gain and strength then they will have a negative effect on speed as they will upset the power – weight ratio and make the performer too heavy to run fast.

3) Lack of commitment to training

Lack of commitment to training by the performer is not usually a reason for running slower and I would doubt in Olympic year that this is the case with Usain Bolt and British sprinters. Sometimes bad performances are enough to kick start a performer in committing fully to training, but if the performer is giving 100% and is still running slower, then the coaches need to start looking at themselves for some answers and start understanding the needs of speed.




Our friends say...

"Whether it be running between the stumps, sprinting to the crease or chasing down a ball in the outfield, speed and power gives a player tremendous confidence. They are great assets to any cricketer's game and all the legends have them...."

Alec Stewart
Former Captain of the England Cricket team

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