Training for 100 m runners

We recently received a request from our good friend and well-wisher, Gurumoorthy of Lee Sports, Salem, who wanted us to write about training a 100 m runner. Lakshmi Kumar entrusted that task to me and I have posted a story with information based on solid science and reference.

Before you start reading this story, I would like to make one thing very clear. To perform exceedingly well in sports such as running, swimming, soccer, basketball, high jump, long jump or athletics, a person needs to start training when he or she is very young. Training intensity has to be gradually increased over the period of years, which will help the person scale great heights in sports performance in the late teens or early twenties.

Realise that one cannot start training in his or her mid or late twenties for such sports (bodybuilding is an exception) and expect to be an extraordinary champion. Nevertheless, the person can perform well, that’s for sure….

Let’s see how to start training a little boy or girl in the 10-12 age group. Bodyweight and unilateral movements

When children are new to any kind of sport, they should be introduced to basic bodyweight movements that will get them into decent physical shape. With proper diet, they can build muscle tone, endurance and strength. Unilateral movements (exercises such as One-arm Dumbbell Press for shoulders that focus on working one side of the body at a time) using light weights should be employed to check imbalance in strength and coordination.

How flexible?

Flexibility should get the lion’s share in the training because an athlete thrives on reflexes. Children should always have fun following a workout program. Try to motivate them with positive words and pep-talk and don’t be very strict about their training.

More active

Make them participate in neighborhood games, physical activities and then the events they like to enter. This will motivate them to being more active and energetic.

 Flexibility routine (6 days a week)

Touch toes – 15 reps

Free Lunges – 10 reps on each leg

High knees – 25 reps on each leg

Arm rotations – 20 reps

Trunk twisting – 20 reps

Side bends – 20 reps

Resistance training

To start with, children can stick to basic bodyweight exercises. After few months of training, they can slowly include light weights into their programme.

Monday and Friday:

Push ups – 3 x Maximum reps Chin ups – 3 x As many reps as possible

Wide stance Squats (without weights) – 3 x 25

Walking Lunges – 3 x Maximum distance

One-leg Calf Raises – 3 x 25

Crunches – 3 x 25


Bench Dips – 3 x Maximum reps

Curl grip Pull Ups – 3 x Max reps

Lunges (without weight) – 3 x 15 (each leg)

Step Ups – 3 x 15 (each leg)

Lying Leg Raises – 3 x 15


Running is probably the most important form of exercise for all. Children should do 20 minutes of moderate speed running twice a week. As they improve their fitness levels, they can even run thrice a week.


The most important weapon in training arsenal is a good diet. Food fuels exercise and without nutritious diet, the children wont gain much from their training. Never impose very strict restrictions. Select foods that provide enough amounts of top-class proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats….However, see to it that you add a variety of foods to the menu to keep their taste buds alive. Good choices Lean cuts of meat, chicken, fish cereals, low-fat milk and milk products, seasonal fruits, salads, lots of green and yellow vegetables, wheat and wheat products.

 _ Murali Vijaykumar


Blair, S. N., & Connelly, J. C. (1996). How much physical activity should we do? The case for moderate amounts and intensities of physical activity. RESEARCH QUARTERLY FOR EXERCISE AND SPORT, 67(2), 193-205. EJ 533 437 Coakley, J.J. (1993). Social dimensions of intensive training and participation in youth sports. In B.R. Cahill & A.J. Pearl (Eds.), Intensive participation in children’s sports (pp. 77-94). Champaign, IL:Human Kinetics


2 Responses to “Training for 100 m runners”

  1. I honestly never knew that training for something as intensive as this requires going from a young age. I’ve seen people who are in their 30’s just starting their training for these sports after a long bout of being out-of-shape. I have seen them perform beyond their expectations after a few years of diligent workouts and a steady diet that they use more as fuel then enjoyment.

  2. takeupsculpting Says:

    My dear friend (your name?),
    your message appears a ‘tough nut to crack’ for me, though being a professional journalist.
    But, I would like to stress one point : Sports that call for onfield performance combined with extreme endurance and power cannot be acquired by someone who suddenly wakes up one morning and decides to get into the ring, after being a couch potato for over 2 decades.
    Nevertheless, Murali Vijaykumar’s story clearly said that a person can still improve and perfrom very well…just think for a moment, if a person can work such a miracle after being inactive for so many years, what could he not have achieved had he been training hard from a very young age?
    Also note that those who excel as champions in sports such as these, retire in their mid 30s or late 30s max. Their bodies, which function like high-performace engines, will burn out as they age. Sport-specific drills and training the joints in the same manner and pounding the ankles, wrist, elbows and joints in the same manner, year after year, will take a toll on these parts.
    When we say bodybuilding is an exception, its because you can train a muscle from a veriety of angles, use several techniques such as periodisation, perfom certain low-impact cardio and pain-free safe exercises and still enter a masters division and win titles. But, even here, a champ has to be careful and smart as he ages. I have posted a story on that too.
    So, what is the bottom line? Science says that a person can perform well in any sport at any age if he trains and eats properly and takes good care of his body. But, if the person wishes to go places, he HAS to be an early bird.
    Thanks for your feedback. Stay in touch with us.

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