Block Starts

On this page we use a series of videos to help you set up and use blocks proficiently. This is quite a complicated process, if we are to get it right, but performed well this start can be the difference between winning and losing.

To start with here is a brief video showing you how to set up your blocks

Generally, block settings will mean that your front block will be two foot lengths back from the starting line and your back foot three lengths.

To place your blocks on the track you need to have the central part of the block put down first, pointing directly in the direction which you are going to run in. This will be straight down the middle of the lane in a 100m race, or may be angled from the outside of the lane towards the inside to help your run in a straight line to start with and then hug the inside of the lane to run the shortest distance.

A crouch start is similar - here a video on how to do this. These starts are generally used by more novice athletes.

If you are doing a crouch start without blocks try having your feet 1 1/2 and 3 foot lengths respectively back from the start line, with the direction of your running to be the same as if you were running from blocks.

When the gun goes to start the race the aim is to drive out hard from the blocks, with relatively short fast strides to build up speed quickly, without standing up straight. It should take about 20-30m before you are in your full running action and standing upright.

Once your blocks are set up, the "on your marks" position should take care of itself. In this next video we look at the set position and the first 2 steps into the race.

One key point here is that since your hips form your centre of gravity it is useful to think of forcing them forwards and only slightly up as you build up speed. It will also help to drive your arms fast to build up speed, as you legs will automatically follow.

Finally we have a look at the drive or transition phase from the first couple of steps, progressing up to top speed.

To finish with, we've created a summary of what to look for in your blocks start - a 10 point checklist of the most important elements to concentrate on.

Running Session Types and Definitions

  1. Running Strides
  2. Race Starts - All Distances
  3. Sprints
  4. Speed / Speed Endurance
  5. Lactic Acid Training
  6. Interval Training
  7. Fartlek Sessions
  8. Steady Running
  9. Recovery Runs
  10. Threshold / Tempo Runs
  11. Split Run Training
  12. Pyramid Training
  13. Hill Running
  14. Paarlauf Intervals
  15. Running Races


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