Thank for the responses 1 Man Island and Batman!
Most importantly, Batman- my deepest sympathies with your family situation. That's a lot to handle at age 33 (or any age) and I wish your wife a very swift recovery.
There's really no graceful way to segue back into our relatively trivial conversation but I hope your training is keeping you sane during trying times.
The fact that you both are well over 200 lbs raises an interesting question about the ideal size for a runner. Everyone knows that strength relative to body weight is crucial and provided you stay lean, I would think that ratio should increase the more muscle you add. The average sprinter however seems to be about 6-0, 185... so clearly at some point extra muscle becomes a negative.
I guess upper body muscle is only needed to the extent that the arms/shoulders counteract torso rotation so a 400lb bench press isn't necessary and just burdens the legs with more weight to carry. And sprinters' legs, at least compared to body builders, are pretty slender so maybe massive muscles create too heavy a lever to move quickly.
Anyway, I'm fairly close to the ideal size- maybe 15 more lbs of muscle, 5lbs less fat, and slighly lighter frame.... but even with that I'd never be a 10sec guy or even an 11sec guy so clearly there's more at play.
The fact that you can move that fast at 230lb is pretty impressive, Batman. Have you ever tried a 100m or 200m at 100% effort? Sounds to me like you'd be around 12.5 and 26. I think I may have asked you in the other thread what your times were like when you first started and you didn't remember. I guess I'm looking for someone to tell me that they started out slow and made steady progress because that would keep me motivated. Well, looking forward to hearing future updates from each of you.
Thanks for the kind words regarding my wife. It's tough, but it's amazing what you can handle when you have no choice.
As I mentioned in the other thread, I ran a hand timed 100 in 12 and change. Bodyweight was closer to 205# at the time though (I've got a fairly big/heavy frame). Never done a timed max effort 200. Also, my training/progression was way to haphazard to offer a time-line. Like I said though, I made a quantum leap when I (semi)figured out good sprint mechanics. Gains thereafter came much more slowly.
If you can afford it and it's important enough to you, I suggest investing in a reputable weekend "speed camp" of some kind where someone who knows their onions can break down your stride and make corrections. You may find it helps get you moving noticeably faster. Failing that there is lots of free info out there, but there is something about having somebody else evaluate what you're doing (and preferably reviewing video with you) that you can't get reading and practicing on your own. Our perceptions are skewed and we what we think we are doing often bears little resemblance to what we are actually doing.
1 Man Island- I've haven't tried hill work (not too many opportunities for that in Brooklyn) but you've got me curious. I did just purchase an 80 lb vest but it would look like I was doing SWAT team drills if I ever wore it outside of my apartment so for now I'm just going to use it for weighted pull ups and push ups.
Batman- I'm not sure I'm brave enough to go to a speed camp but filming myself is a great idea. I feel that my form has improved greatly but you're right- my perception might not match reality. I've been running taller and concentrating on not overstriding and it feels so much easier and more natural. I haven't seen any sort of quantum leap in my times yet but I do feel like I've raised the ceiling on what I'm capable of doing. Like you mentioned, now I feel like it's all about moving my legs back faster. When I want to run a 30 second 200m instead of a 31.5, I just focus on flinging my heels back towards my butt very quickly. Hopefully as I put in a little more time on the track and in the weight room, I can gradually increase the speed with which I drive my legs back. I'm trying to be patient in getting comfortable with these new mechanics rather than running 100% immediately.
One thing I'm not sure about is whether I'm getting enough knee lift. That's the one part that feels a bit unnatural though I watched a slow mo video of usain bolt and his knees go very high.
Update for anyone who's interested:
I ran some 200m intervals yesterday for the first time in a couple weeks. Previously if I ran at what felt like 95% effort I would time between 30-31. I started a couple months earlier not knowing what I could do because my tight hamstrings wouldn't allow even close to full effort. Well yesterday, I ran at what felt like 90% effort and was shocked to see 29 seconds on my stopwatch. I did two more runs and got in the 29s on both. I'm not sure if the 2 week rest helped me or if maybe it was the fact that I've been lifting and getting stronger. It felt good though. I had wondered what running faster would feel like and the fact that it didn't feel like I was exerting any more effort than usual was very encouraging. It makes me feel like I may have the potential to improve by a few more seconds.
On all three runs, I ran the curve at about 14.7 while taking a somewhat gradual start and feeling like I was holding back/pacing myself. I ran harder on the straight and felt a little jelly-legged over the final 30-40m. So endurance is definitely an issue. I should probably run some 100s at close to full effort if I want a better sense of my top speed. I feel like at max effort right now, I'd be in the low 13s for 100m and high 27s for 200m. That probably means I have just barely enough speed to crack 60 seconds in the 400m but I think it would take a lot more endurance training for me to actually do that.