200m/100m and 400m/200m Ratios

I’ve asked, and others have asked, how one could determine a particular athlete’s potential in one event based on a time in another event. I’ve been reading a paper (link is provided below) that seems to provide some fairly consistent ratios. Consistent at least from group to group, if not within group.

Group 200m/100m 400m/200m
High School Men 2.01 2.208
Elite High School Men 2.019 2.188
NCAA University Men 2.019 2.201
World Elite Men 2.007 2.217
Men’s Best 1.959 2.152

How do board members’ ratios compare to these. Do members here at CF agree that using these ratios could be an effective method of determining what aspect of training needs more focus…speed, speed endurance, special endurance etc?


Not sure about these ratio’s. Using MJ 200 pb gives 42.6 400m. I think a better indicator is flying 100m splits.

MJ probably had the potential to run in 42.6. Another way to look at it is for 400 meter, you double up your 200 meter time and add 3.5 seconds (for elite athletes). For high school athletes you might need to add anywhere 4 to 6 seconds depending on their special endurance. With MJ 19.3 x 2 = 38.6 + 3.5 = 42.1. So could be couple of reasons. When MJ ran his 400 WR, probably he was in 19.8 shape (for 200) rathen than 19.3 or may be his special endurance was not as good as other top athletes. But the doubling of 200m time and adding 3.5 to it has worked out close to figuring out 400 m best (or potential best) for elite athletes. MJ also set the record in World championships and he had to run couple of rounds prior to the final. Though for MJ, probably there were easy runs, nevertheless he had to run the rounds.

So how does your ratio help you figure when you fade over the last 100m of a 400m that your problem is lack of speed or lack of endurance? Or lack of pace judgement (perhaps in the first 100m), or poor balance (working too much through the quads, insufficient through the posterior chain early so you have nothing in the quads to run out the final 100m). Not being critical of you or anyone else, just saying why I dont like formulae.

Quincy Watts 43.5/20.5=2.12
Jeremy Wariner 43.45/20.19=2.15
Allyson Felix 49.7/21.81=2.27

Pietro Mennea 19.72/10.01 = 1.97

There is no one-size-fits-all anything.