Friday, February 20, 2015

Approaching the 110 Hurdles

When running the one hundred and ten meter hurdles a major thing to consider is how much time you spend in the air.  One thing to keep in mind is the less time in the air the better. Since being on the ground and driving the legs is key for a good race the first eight steps to the hurdle is extremely important. Sometimes the race can be won or lost at the first hurdle, and by taking special care to understand your approach, it will greatly help your odds of being on the medal stand. “Most athletes will take 8 steps to the first hurdle.”1 During those eight steps the athlete needs to free his mind and at the same time concentrate on not rising up too quickly or too late. Here are a few tips to help with the approach.
  • While in the blocks stare at the ground. (This helps keep from rising too quickly.)
  • When the gun goes off gain as much ground as you can with your first step.
  • Maintain a low forward lean the first four to five steps.
  • When driving the out of the blocks, the one hundred and ten meter hurdler will rise slightly faster than an athlete who is running a one hundred meter dash. (This happens so the athlete can locate the hurdle.)
  • At the first hurdle the athlete must go over it in full stride with no stutter steps. (Stutter steps slows the athletes momentum making it difficult to be able to continue to attack the hurdles)

After that eighth step the athlete needs to be prepared to not jump, but take a very high aggressive step while leaning forward with a slight upright torso. This lean keeps the athlete from potentially sailing the hurdle. Sailing is where the athlete does not get their foot on the ground immediately after the hurdle causing to athlete to hang in the air losing precious ground that could be used to drive to the next hurdle. “In the hurdling motion, I urge my athletes to push off the back leg with force, put themselves in a position where they are looking down on the hurdle.”2 By doing this the athlete will get the sensation that they are gaining momentum, and this sensation is caused by the aggressive form that the athlete is using minimizing the time in the air. Combine staying out of the air with an aggressive drive phase toward the first hurdle, and the approach will take care of itself.

1 Giroux, J. (n.d.). 110 and 100 Meter Hurdles. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from

2 McGill, S. (2011, January 1). Forward Momentum in the Blocks - Hurdles First. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from

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