January 30, 2018 2 min read

Linear speed development can be categorized into 3 zones. 

ZONE 1 – Acceleration

The Acceleration Zone is measured from approximately 0-15 yards/meters.  It is important during this zone to hold a forward posture or forward lean.  Your leg drive is a thrusting or chopping piston-like action moving directly into the ground.  In this zone your arms drive your legs.  The faster you pump your arms, the faster your legs will turnover.

The goal of this zone is to sustain a balanced posture while optimizing the direction and magnitude of force in an effort to reach maximal velocity as fast and efficiently as possible.  The key is to overcome body weight and gravity.

ZONE 2 – Transition

The Transition Zone roughly happens from 15-30 yards/meters.  The primary focus here should be on driving your hips up and in a tall position.  Your feet should be stepping over your shins and you should be thinking about snapping your heels under hips as your feet cycle down through the ground.

The goal of the Transition zone is to progressively move into an upright position while increasing and/or sustaining the velocity that was developed in the acceleration zone of the run. Remember that this zone should be entered into naturally. The biggest mistake you can make is to force the arrival of this zone and “pop” right up out of the gates. This should be a seamless and progressive rise to an upright posture.

ZONE 3 – Top-End Speed

The Top-End Speed Zone happens from approximately 30-40+ yards/meters.  This zone may also be referred to as the Absolute Speed or Maximal Velocity Zone. In this zone your hips and head are in a tall posture position.  You are stepping over your knee, continuing to snap your heel under your hip, and cycling your legs down through the ground, as if you are trying to turn the earth with each foot strike; like striking a match. Your ground reaction time, or the time your foot stays on the ground should be very minimal.

The goal of the Top-End Speed zone is to improve running economy at top end speeds while minimizing rotational moments and maximizing the reactivity of you body.

Understanding these zones and training for each of these individually will be your answer to becoming the fastest athlete you can be.