The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    The Myth of the 40 Yard Dash

    This is from a newsletter I subscribe to from speed coach Latif Thomas.

    It's NFL Combine time and that can only mean one thing:

    My email inbox is filling up with coaches and athletes asking how to improve 40 yard dash times.

    There's something about hearing fast 40 times that gets football people salivating.

    There's only one problem.

    You can't believe 99% of the times you hear even at the highest levels of the game.

    Why not you ask.

    That can't be true you say.

    After all you saw so-and-so from such-and-such high school run a 4.5 last year.

    You timed it yourself...

    I believe one of the things about the 40 yard dash that make it such an enigma is the fact that it's really one of the only objective facets of football that can be universally understood by everyone involved in the game.

    You can rush for 300 yards against a terrible team and look like Barry Sanders. But against a great defense you get stuffed for 30 yards. Those totals are subjective based on the competition.

    So human nature and therefore Ego takes over and we see 40 times creeping down ever so slowly.

    That 4.7 your best player ran last year has magically become a
    4.6 in this year's conversations and would have been a 4.5 if he hadn't been sick that day...

    So now guess who's 40 time seems to have magically improved.

    (Don't get me wrong, I see the same mysterious improvements with track sprinters ALL the time.)

    If we ignore the fact that the 40 has no bearing on football skill whatsoever, it doesn't matter what level you play at or how competitive your conference is. A 4.5 is a 4.5 is a 4.5.

    Right?

    Wrong.

    Let's take a look at how and why the 40 time is arguably the most inaccurate number in all of sports.

    We'll start with a base time like 4.6. I hear this time a lot.
    When I do I'm never sure whether to laugh or cry.

    Sometimes I do both.

    So Johnny ran the 40 yesterday at his camp or practice.

    Well, chances are it was hand timed. That means there was no electronic equipment used. Just a coach with a stopwatch.

    So let's say Johnny's coach has him at 4.61.

    The rule with a hand time/stopwatch time is that you MUST ROUND UP to the next tenth even if it's a 4.61. Now Johnny's coach probably told him he ran a 4.6 but the fact is he ran a 4.7.

    Now, if a stopwatch was involved anywhere in the process, the time isn't accurate. Once the gun goes off there is a delay in the amount of time before the coach starts the watch. At the finish the coach doesn't accurately stop the watch at the exact moment the athlete crosses the line.

    So the rule is that you must add .24 seconds to compensate for the difference between a manual/hand time and an accurate fully automatic time.

    Where does this 'rule' come from?

    Track and Field where accurate timing is critically important.

    So if you have any interest in accuracy Johnny's 4.7 has now become a 4.94.

    Now let's be generous and say that Johnny used one of those timing pads that starts the clock as soon as his hand lifts off the pad.

    Since the clock starts at his first movement and not the sound of a gun connected to a computer connected to a laserbeam at the finish line, his 40 time is not accounting for the reaction time between the gun and his start.

    If you look at reaction time of a quality sprinter, they're looking at a delay of between .2 and .3 seconds between the start of the clock and when they actually start moving.

    So since the vast, vast majority of 40s and combines don't use a track and field start (aka an accurate start) you'll have to add (let's be nice) another .2 seconds to that 4.94.

    So Johnny's accurate 40 time is 5.14 seconds even though his coach had him at '4.6'.

    The truth hurts my friends and I doubt many people, even if they knew this, would actually take it into account when handing out times to their athletes or telling their peers about their times.

    What fun is it to know that you're not as fast as you think you are or that your athletes aren't as fast as you thought they were?

    So when you hear about that high school kid who runs a 4.4, he doesn't.

    When you hear about how Deion Sanders ran a 4.29 in the 40, he didn't. (It was run in 1989 and the NFL didn't start using any electronic timing until 1990.)

    Even at that, the timing used in these combines isn't as accurate as the timing that dictates official times and world records in track and field.

    So that means a couple of things if we want to truly talk in terms of equality.

    The only people who can run times approaching sub 4 seconds are elite track and field sprinters.

    Asafa Powell (the world record holder at 100 meters) would make a mockery of the fastest NFL guys on their best days.

    If you applied typical 40 yard dash timing rules to elite sprinters, Powell's 9.77 second world record at 100m would be something in the range of 9.2.

    Let me give you one more example to prove my point. In 1988 Ben Johnson ran a then world record of 9.79 seconds to win the Olympic Gold medal.

    Well it turns out that he was on steroids at the time and was stripped of his title.

    Subsequent breakdowns of his 'roid induced run timed him as he reached the 40 yard mark. (By the way his times at 50 and 60 meters were faster than the current world records at that
    distance.)

    His time?

    4.38 seconds.

    Mark Zeigler sums this up perfectly:

    'He was running in spikes . . . on a warm afternoon perfectly suited for sprinting . . . with a slight tailwind . . . with years of training from arguably track's top coach, Charlie Francis . . . with Carl Lewis and six others of the fastest men on the planet chasing him . . . with 69,000 people roaring at Seoul's Olympic Stadium . . . with hundreds of millions of people watching on TV . . . with the ultimate prize in sports, an Olympic gold medal, at stake.'

    Yet he only ran a 4.38 40 yard dash?

    Knowing that, can you really believe any of the 40 times you hear? Does it seem likely that any high school kid can run a 4.6?

    You have people claiming 260 pound linebackers have 4.5 speed.

    Well they don't. These times aren't real and you just shouldn't believe them.

    After reading this article, I hope you look at all the 40 times you've been hearing about with a healthy dose of skepticism.
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    "Test all things; hold fast what is good.": 1 Thessalonians 5:21

    "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
    So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
    Romans 7:14-25

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  3. #2
    Ex-Twig. Future Freak. Rock Steady's Avatar
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    Nice read. I can't help but notice, however, that the 'gun delay' is being double counted going from 4.7 to 4.94 and then from 4.94 to 5.14. The points are all valid though and the article really has got me thinking.
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  4. #3
    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock Steady View Post
    Nice read. I can't help but notice, however, that the 'gun delay' is being double counted going from 4.7 to 4.94 and then from 4.94 to 5.14. The points are all valid though and the article really has got me thinking.
    It's not a double count in the sense he's made a mistake. It's two seperate things that are adjusted as a result of the stop watch delay.
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    "Soli Deo Gloria"
    "Test all things; hold fast what is good.": 1 Thessalonians 5:21

    "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
    So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"
    Romans 7:14-25

    "Judo is not about strength. Yet in the learning curve, all Judokas get strong. Only with time do you learn where to apply that strength."
    The Art of Judo

  5. #4
    Senior Member dblockspky's Avatar
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    Good article. But I think he may well know that 40 times will never be discredited. I don't really agree with his logic on the comparison of elite track runners running the 100 meter to running the 40. It's completely different. But he's right, especially at the high school level most kids that think they know their 40 can tack about anoher .2 onto that time. Good read.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maki Riddington View Post
    This is from a newsletter I subscribe to from speed coach Latif Thomas.

    Let me give you one more example to prove my point. In 1988 Ben Johnson ran a then world record of 9.79 seconds to win the Olympic Gold medal.

    Subsequent breakdowns of his 'roid induced run timed him as he reached the 40 yard mark. (By the way his times at 50 and 60 meters were faster than the current world records at that
    distance.)

    His time?

    4.38 seconds.
    LOL! No surprise to me at all that 40 times are grossly exaggerated. Thanks for posting this here!
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  7. #6
    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dblockspky View Post
    Good article. But I think he may well know that 40 times will never be discredited. I don't really agree with his logic on the comparison of elite track runners running the 100 meter to running the 40. It's completely different. But he's right, especially at the high school level most kids that think they know their 40 can tack about anoher .2 onto that time. Good read.
    Actually, the 40 yard dash has more in common with with the 100 meter than not. Besides, that 40 yard dash reverse engineered from his 100 meter sprint is damn accurate, more accurate than you can imagine. Both the 100 meter and 40 yard dash are all out 100% sprinting. So it isn't like you can say the 40 yard dash represents the 100 meter and the 100 meter represents the 400 meter run, because the difference is huge in those two events, not so much in the 40 yard dash and the 100 meter

    I think this article was awesome and pretty much sums up what I have always believed about those times (BS!!!).

    BTW - It isn't just a guestimate on what his 40 yard time would have been. If you bring out the 100 meter and the 40 yard dash to feet, we can figure out that the start time is being taking into account in this figures.

    40 yard dash is 120 feet running distance. The 100 meter is 328 feet running distance.

    120 / 328 = 2.666

    4.38 / 9.79 = 2.235

    As you can see, they didn't simply take the 100 meter time and cut it down to 36.6% where the 40 yard dash would have been assuming velocity were the same the entire distance. Instead, you see from the figures that plainly the start times were taken into account, else they would have figured the 40 yard dash time of 3.68, but they didn't! Understand?
    Last edited by ArchAngel777; 02-28-2007 at 07:11 PM.

  8. #7
    Senior Member dblockspky's Avatar
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    Running the 100 meter ESPECIALLY on an olympic or professional level is NOT a 100% sprint the whole time. Maybe 100% effort but not going all out as in the case of the 40 yard dash. If you read the technique's of some of the top sprinters they mention this. I had read that a while ago so unless sprinting styles have radically changed in the last year it should be the same.

  9. #8
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    I thought in the 100m sprinters are accelerating until the 50-60m mark

    EDIT: I'm not sure how this is relevant to anything
    Last edited by Bupp; 02-28-2007 at 10:19 PM.

  10. #9
    Senior Member 8.8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dblockspky View Post
    Running the 100 meter ESPECIALLY on an olympic or professional level is NOT a 100% sprint the whole time. Maybe 100% effort but not going all out as in the case of the 40 yard dash. If you read the technique's of some of the top sprinters they mention this. I had read that a while ago so unless sprinting styles have radically changed in the last year it should be the same.
    are you serious? you might be confused by athletes saying that when they try to run at 100% or 110% they actually run slower then when they run at 90% but this is because they are relaxed and can run a better race with better form not that they ease up at any point in the 100m expecially for at the olympic level that what they train for its a lot fo the time there main focus in life



    great post none the less
    Last edited by 8.8; 02-28-2007 at 10:39 PM.
    Way down this road, in a gym far away, a young man was once heard to say, "I've repped high and I've repped low, No matter what I do my legs won't grow."

    He tried leg extensions, leg curls, and leg presses, too. Trying to cheat these sissy workouts he'd do. From the corner of the gym where the big men train, Through a cloud of chalk and the midst of pain.

    Where the big iron rides high and threatens lives, Where the noise is made with big forty fives. A deep voice bellowed as he wrapped his knees, A very big man with legs like trees.

    Laughing as he snatched another plate from the stack, Chalking his hands and monstrous back, Said "Boy stop lying and don't say you've forgotten, Trouble with you is you ain't been SQUATTIN"

  11. #10
    Senior Member dblockspky's Avatar
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    No that's not what I meant at all. There's a specific article that Maurice Green or whatever his name was that he was featured in while he was the 100 meter champ that discussed his training methods and what his focus was going in to a race and how some others took the same approach. There's no way I'm going to find the article cuz that was forever ago, but as a sprinter it does make sense to me. If you sprint as well and disagree then ok..

  12. #11
    Senior Member 8.8's Avatar
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    to bad i'd really like to see that article

    no im not a sprinter but I do train with a bunch of sprinters and never heard that which are all at a higher level than you are (not to bash on you) but they have been at the game longer and have more experience

    but i would also say it depends on the athlete as well because some are fast out of the blocks while other arent im sure that has an eccect on how they approach their race
    Way down this road, in a gym far away, a young man was once heard to say, "I've repped high and I've repped low, No matter what I do my legs won't grow."

    He tried leg extensions, leg curls, and leg presses, too. Trying to cheat these sissy workouts he'd do. From the corner of the gym where the big men train, Through a cloud of chalk and the midst of pain.

    Where the big iron rides high and threatens lives, Where the noise is made with big forty fives. A deep voice bellowed as he wrapped his knees, A very big man with legs like trees.

    Laughing as he snatched another plate from the stack, Chalking his hands and monstrous back, Said "Boy stop lying and don't say you've forgotten, Trouble with you is you ain't been SQUATTIN"

  13. #12
    Senior Member dblockspky's Avatar
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    I wish I had it.

    I've trained with a couple as well. Most notably a kid that held a state record when he was younger in the 200. He's going full ride to Maryland next year on a football scholarship. And I can't say that when I went to meets I walked around asking kids how they ran but I've met a couple decent sprinters that said the same including my friend. Something about pacing yourself and accelerating at the right moment.
    And you're right, different sprinters have different styles so it depends on the athlete.
    Me, myself managed to run an 11 flat once in the hundred and normally floated around 11.3 for electric times in the dual meets. But I was slow as **** coming out of the blocks cuz I was never really a sprinter, I did field events, but every other meet if I chose not to throw disc I would run the 100. Anyway my point was I had to go balls out from the beginning.
    So I understand the whole you do have to go 100% because I do, but I was referring to the elite of the elite. I doubt you train with the likes of Maurice Greene or Asafa Powell.

    Oh and I think a good example would be to consider if say J Gatlin raced Deangelo Hall in the 100. Deangelo Hall is supposedly the fastest guy in the NFL but I don't think anybody on earth would question the fact that Gatlin would smoke him in the 100. The basic technique for running the 40 is to explode out, stay low in the beginning and gradually straighten out as you approach the 40 yard mark. There's so much more to running the 100 especially on that level.
    Last edited by dblockspky; 02-28-2007 at 11:12 PM.

  14. #13
    Do that voodoo that he do
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    This is one of the things I hate about my profession. I can train guys for combines, or I can train them to play football. My combine guys spend an absurd amount of time working on the specific events, learning the quickest shuttle, the best 40 technique, etc.

    Some of the things that make them faster will make them better players (ie GPP work, some SPP work), but for the most part they're just learning another skill that doesn't really carry over to the field.

    I'd rather make them the biggest, strongest, fastest-playing athlete they can be. However, if they don't do well at the combines, they won't get the opportunity to be that athlete anyway.
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  15. #14
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    Stupid article. the times can be used as a comparison if nothing else if someone runs a 4.5 and someone runs a 4.7 person a is .2 faster than person B. and I'd like to see an olympian run a 40 at indy on combine day. too see what he runs.
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  16. #15
    Breaker of Skulls Guido's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRic View Post
    Stupid article. the times can be used as a comparison if nothing else if someone runs a 4.5 and someone runs a 4.7 person a is .2 faster than person B. and I'd like to see an olympian run a 40 at indy on combine day. too see what he runs.
    For comparisons sake, if using electronic timing, it's true that there is value is assessing the relative differences. As for the Olympic sprinters at the combine? I'd love to see that! Especially racing aginst some of the fastest NFL guys.
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  18. #17
    IRL my name is Trent Hazerboy's Avatar
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    BigRic - the article would be pretty stupid if everyone is timing the same way, but they don't. High school players that use electronic timers are essentially screwed, and comparing high school times to NFL times becomes ridiculous. The time playing field simply isn't level.

    Personally, as a physics student, I'd love to see some uncertainties attached to these high school kids times - slap a big fat +- .5 or .75 seconds to those who hand time everything - this will level out the playing field a bit and encourage more accurate timing.

  19. #18
    Do that voodoo that he do
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guido View Post
    For comparisons sake, if using electronic timing, it's true that there is value is assessing the relative differences. As for the Olympic sprinters at the combine? I'd love to see that! Especially racing aginst some of the fastest NFL guys.
    Some of the NFL guys would stack up better than people think. As somebody alluded to above the Olympic 100-meter guys are still accelerating beyond 40 yds. They'd smoke an NFL sprinter in the 100, but might not cross the 40 as quickly.

    Hell, some NFL backs have a hard time keeping up with the linemen in the 10.
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  20. #19
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    Also interesting to point out is NFL runningback from the Vikings last name Bennet I believe ran a 9.98 - 100. The one thing I noticed when I ran track is that I was fully accelerated in the first 25 metres of the race and it was hard for me to maintain down the full 100. So I'd usually get beat in the last 10-20 metres of the race. As well the high school combines Nike host are all Electornic finishes with a person starting the clock by hand. I ran a 4.52 after a travel day. about 2 or 3 weeks later I ran a 4.52 hand times after a travel day. so I'd say hand time can be accurate.
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  21. #20
    Do that voodoo that he do
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRic View Post
    Also interesting to point out is NFL runningback from the Vikings last name Bennet I believe ran a 9.98 - 100. The one thing I noticed when I ran track is that I was fully accelerated in the first 25 metres of the race and it was hard for me to maintain down the full 100. So I'd usually get beat in the last 10-20 metres of the race. As well the high school combines Nike host are all Electornic finishes with a person starting the clock by hand. I ran a 4.52 after a travel day. about 2 or 3 weeks later I ran a 4.52 hand times after a travel day. so I'd say hand time can be accurate.
    Sure, hand times can be accurate. It's not always accurate, though. A good rule of thumb is to add .2 to most hand times, especially high school, because their coaches did it.

    How many kids do you know in high school that were apparently running a 4.4-4.5? I hear about it all the time. How many kids actually are running that fast? Not nearly as many.

    The Viking was Michael Bennett. If I remember correctly he (or another NFL back, but I think it was him) was invited to the US Olympic Training Facility.
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  22. #21
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    I have been to college combines that used both electronic and hand held. The time difference was usually between .2 and .3 , there was a lot of upset young men who found out they were not as fast as they thought they were. Most of the kids thought the timer was broken.... Untill there was an actual 4.38 who ran, lightning fast......the hand held was something like 4.21 The kid ended up as a Corner in the Big12 if I remember right.

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    Improving your 40 time is definitely a good goal to aim for. As long as you are using the same person timing/same method each time you test your 40 you will be able to compare your times to see if you are improving.

  24. #23
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRic View Post
    The one thing I noticed when I ran track is that I was fully accelerated in the first 25 metres of the race and it was hard for me to maintain down the full 100. So I'd usually get beat in the last 10-20 metres of the race.
    This is EXACTLY how it was for me. I was always the fastest on my team at the 40 by a long shot. At one high school combine my senior year I clocked a 4.45 (by hand) after earlier clocking a 4.52.

    BUT
    When it came to the 100 I would be out in the lead very quickly but after that people would catch up and pass me. I'm just assuming my quads were awesome for the acceleration but my hamstrings couldn't maintain a high enough top-speed. Man was it frustrating to watch your lead diminish and then have people pass you. I'd like to see what my 40 time is now that I've been lifting hardcore (although not doing much running).
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    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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    I was slower then hell so I didn't care, I ran like a 5.4-5.5 back in highschool... to my credit though I was 310+ pounds when I did it. Still slower then hell. Wonder what I run now, I'm down to 270 and my legs are not only stronger then they were but have to move less weight now. It'd be sweet if I were close to a 5

  26. #25
    Senior Member dblockspky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d'Anconia View Post
    This is EXACTLY how it was for me. I was always the fastest on my team at the 40 by a long shot. At one high school combine my senior year I clocked a 4.45 (by hand) after earlier clocking a 4.52.

    BUT
    When it came to the 100 I would be out in the lead very quickly but after that people would catch up and pass me. I'm just assuming my quads were awesome for the acceleration but my hamstrings couldn't maintain a high enough top-speed. Man was it frustrating to watch your lead diminish and then have people pass you. I'd like to see what my 40 time is now that I've been lifting hardcore (although not doing much running).
    You guys lacked the proper training that separates the good from the elite. You were obviously fast. But if somebody could have coached you the proper technique and had you doing drills so that you wouldn't start dying out after 60 meters than your times could of been a lot better.. Not that they weren't already.

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