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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

What I'm Reading: The Science of Speed The Art Of The Sprint

"It's a very basic book, but there's nothing in there that is … extraneous. If you're a sprint coach, and you're just starting out, this book will speak to you. If you're a sprint coach and you've been doing it for 20 years, this book will speak to you, because it's the most important, basic stuff."

That's how ALTIS CEO and sprint coach Stu McMillan summed up The Science of Speed The Art Of The Sprint by Tom Tellez, Carl Lewis, and Christopher J. Arellano, PhD.

I'd go a step further and say if you're a distance coach and you're just starting out, this book will speak to you.

Too many of us who specialize on the far side of 800 meters have neglected running technique in our coaching practice, resigning to the belief that an athlete "runs how they run." To an extent, that may be true, but I think it's used more often as an excuse not to dig deeper than actually being the appropriate response.

As Tellez writes in the book, "No matter what the distance, maximum speed always comes from proper application of force in order to propel the body forward." He even includes a chapter on distance running mechanics to explain how the underlying principles of force application remain the same as they do in sprinting but are "quieter so the athlete can sustain energy."

As McMillan mentioned, the book is basic. It's 139 pages, with plenty of pictures and large font. But every page is worth it. As Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard wrote in Let My People Go Surfing, “In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.”

That's the genius of The Science of Speed The Art Of The Sprint. Every word has purpose. There's nothing left to take away.

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