The 7 Phases of the 100m Sprint
The 100 meter sprint race is always a crowd favorite. It’s happens quickly and it’s over before you know it but there’s a lot of parts and pieces that all work together for a successful race. The 7 race phases below rely on, and support each other as the athlete sprints down the track. The first 3 phases (Reaction, Block & Drive) take place in the opening 8 – 10 meters.
The goal of the reaction phase is to react to the gun as quickly as possible without sacrificing the 2nd phase (block clearance). The most important mechanics of reaction is to clear your head of all thoughts except for triggering your hands to be split free (forward/backward) by the sound of the gun. Reaction is important because it sets the pace, the intention to perform, and mentally affects the confidence level of the athlete at the beginning of the race.
2. Block clearance
The goal of the block clearance is to eject from the blocks with the proper mechanics to successfully set up the rest of YOUR race. The technique is to eject from the blocks pushing through your heels using your glute muscles, with a forward lean, and head down. The importance of the block clearance is that it will set up the rhythm, and execution of the remaining phases.
3. Drive phase
In the drive phase you need come out of the blocks staying low, with your body at a 45-degree angle, with good triple extension in the ankles, knees, and hips. Apply as much force as possible into the ground and drive your arms and legs as fast you can. At the 10-meter mark, transition into the acceleration phase.
4. Acceleration phase
In the acceleration phase, you are pushing your hips forward and applying force into the ground. On ground contact, your feet should push back against the track. Keep your head in line with your body and your eyes are transitioning from looking down to looking up toward the finish line. Get tall with your knees up.
5. Top speed
This is your max velocity phase, where you should be at full speed. Some athletes can transition early and be at full speed at the 40-meter mark; others reach it at the 50-meter mark. Your body should be upright and standing tall, with no forward or backward lean. You’ll only be able to run in this phase for around two to three seconds.
6. Speed maintenance
From your top speed you’ll then transition into the speed maintenance phase. Don’t try to run faster or you might tighten up. All you want to do is to maintain your current speed. Some athletes can start this phase at the 60-meter mark, others at the 70-meter mark. Maintain proper form to avoid slowing any more than you have to in the final 10 or 20 meters. Keep your knees high and move your legs quickly and lightly. Also, drive your arms harder as you push through the final meters of the race
You want to stay relaxed until you reach the finish line. Lean forward with your shoulders and chest at the final two meters before the finish line. This will push your body forward, getting it over the finish line fractions of a section faster. This may not seem like much, but it can be the difference between being on the podium or watching from the stands. Also, do not let up until you’ve completely crossed the line. Treat the finish line as something you run through not something you run to.