400 Meter Strength

I recently ran a workout which was 3X 400 with 20 mins recovery. For the first 400 I came into the 200 at 23 high 24 low and then just died and ran a 54 mid. The second one I had the outside line and this time my 200 splits were 26 28. I ran another 54 with ease this time. The last one was the same.

My question is what happened why is it so easy to go 26 28 but I struggle to go 24 26 etc.


You need more speed so that you have more speed reserve. As well, as a coach, I would have you doing 120m or shorter distances until you were running around 10.80 for the 100m, rather than 400m x 3. How old are you?

What are you PR.'s over 100 200 and 400 meters?

Yeah i was about to ask why would u do that workout anyways?

That workout was done as a time trial at the end of a training camp in which we had this past week. Throughout the week we had been doing two day practices. On day 1 we did 200 , 150 ,100 X 4 coming through in 25 for the 200, 18 for the 150 and 13 for the 100

Day 2 we did speed we had done 4X 25 meters, 2X 45 and 2X 60

Day 3 Was a pool workout

Day 4 was speed again we had flying 20’s to start I had 2.15, 2.14, 2.11

Day 5 was the 3 X 400 Time trial

Day 6 Tempo/ Flush

Each morning was a long warm up with a circuit.

PR’s for 200 is 23.0 and 400 is 49.9
I have not seen a time close to that 400 time in over two years
I have been told that I am training to train meaning that I have great consistency to run 3 400’s in decent time with a short recovery but when it comes down to it you really only need to know how to run 1 fast, that is my problem

That right there makes it blantantly obvious that you need to do more speed sessions. Just like Herb said, you need more speed so you can have more speed reserve.

Why would u need or want to run 3 400’s with consistant times and short break? For what purpose? sounds like my old team philosohpy of fitness above all else :mad: I agree with herb more speed work is required and you shoulnd’t do fricking 400’s! in the workout!

3*400 @ 90-95% is a decent SE2 session for a 400 meter guy IMO. True he needs more speed, but neglecting long SE entirely would be a huge mistake. BTW is 20 minutes really such a short break? I have no trouble believing that any athlete in good shape could be fully recovered in 20 minutes.

First off…90 and 95% is a hugeeeeee difference. For a 50 second quarter miler 90%=55 95%=52.6.

Not many 50 second quarter milers can run 3x55 second 400’s with 20 mins rest and even if they somehow did complete this workout it would be hell to recover from which would screw up the rest of the weeks work.
Also, I am willing to bet my automobile that NO 50 second quarter miler (if indeed that was their true PR) Can run 3x400’s in 52.6. They possibly may be able to run 2 somewhere around that time but 3 no way. But again even 2 400’s at that pace would be hard to recover from.

On the otherhand however 2x350’s or 2-3x300 may be a better choice. 95% of 36 flat which is about equal to a 50 second 400 is 37 mid to high which is def. attainable and more productive since you are runnning at race pace. Also 350 is training the same energy system as in the 400 and John Smith once mentioned something about he uses 350’s because of the energy system change that occurs after 40 seconds and he feels no need to go past 350 meters. 350 meters also would allow you to work on coming through the 200 and 300 in certain splits at race pace to get your body and mind use to it and come race time all you have to do is hang on for the last 50 meters.

try sessions such as …3x300 @95% 15-20 rest

                            350 300 250 with 15-20 mins rest

                            Or if you really need that 400+ distance then do
                            2x300 rest 90" 100 or 150 Rest 20' between sets

You’re right, 3400 @ 95% would be one hell of a tough workout that most probably couldn’t do. 3400@90% on the other hand should be very attainable for almost every athlete. I just wanted to point out that running 400’s in practice as not as destructive as Zenoth suggests, and I think it would be disasterous for him to neglect his long SE development when pursuing his speed (not that anyone suggested this). I still think overdistance work it important for most 400 runners, but you’re right when you say that success can be attained using distances of 350 or less.

I know it’s off topic, but probably the worst ?x400 workout I’ve ever done was a wierd combo…
2x400@+5Sec 800mRace Pace: 1min rest
5 min rest
2x400@ 800m RP: 1 min rest
5 min rest
2x400@ -4Sec 800m RP: 1 min rest
5 min rest
2x400@ +8Sec 800m RP:1 min rest

This workout was awful my coach didn’t even think this thing through. I pointed out afterwards that four seconds under my 800 PR racepace, was 2 seconds slower than my 400pr… He gave me a big nod and a blank stare when I pointed this out to him.
shrug oh, well. I’m probably moving up to the long distance camp, this year.

Quikazhell: I was not sure if the comment about 3 400 at 52.6 pace was directed at me. I do believe that is hard and it was not what I had done. Was not sure what the comment was related too. Sorry just a little confused.

But yeah, I have been hearing a lot of various ideas in regards to a 400 meter pratice regime. Some coaches have stuck with the long stuff as others have really focused on speed. Going with the idea that you cannot run a 48 point until you run a 34 high 300 you cannot run that till you run a 22 low 200 you cannot run that until you run a 15 mid 150 you cannot run that until you run a 10 high for the 100.

I have experienced both types of training and find that the longer stuff was what was successful. At least the huge special endurance the 600’s 500’s in the fall.

I think now what has to happen is that I must use my weekends since I will be racing every weekend to race into shape and come end of march then go back to the basics.

Is this a good idea??? Should I encorporate anything now ???

The comment was to Alex regaurding the 3x400 @95% session.

Post some sample weeks and we’ll critique.

I don’t understand how you can come thru 200m at 23-24 seconds and finish in 54. Then come back and run 2 more in the same time. It’s hard to tell if it’s your endurance or speed that sucks. It’s probably just pacing i you would have split 25 or 26 you would have gone 52 or so. In regards to why it’s much easier to go 26/28 than 24/26 because you’d be running 4 seconds slower, at a much slower pace.

Im just more of a proponent of quality vs quantity. I’d rather see maybe a quality 250 and 350 instead of 3x400. High intensity low Volume. Least thats how we do it sorta. I’m probably missing something there was so much to take in at the seminar

Your right on with that. My 300 pr. is 35.9 hand time and Ive gone 36.33 fat this yr so today my session was 2x300 w/15 rest and I ran 37.4 and 37.1 which is around 97%. Those 2 quality reps would be more benifical than running 3x400 starting at 95% and dropping down all over the place feeling looking like shit with sloppy form and long ground contacts. That is not what you want to teach your body.

Yeah exactly, my old coach use to make everyone do ridiculous volume and see how much u could take it was retarded. I find to many ppl stress qauntity and this myth that shorter rest more volume makes u “stronger” Quality is so much more benificial.

Yea. I hate when ppl. refer to “stronger” as the abilty to finish a race. I ask them what “stronger means” and that is what they tell me though. So I come back with “what is the point in having a stronger finish if the start of the race and whole race as a whole was slow?” I dont even waste my time argueing with those coaches with that old school mentality who are close minded. Those are the same coaches who dont know anything about energy system demands of different races. They’re pretty much clueless.

Hi - I’m Joe’s dad (17yr. old sprinter)

after joining this site a few months ago, I dropped a consultant coach that wanted to work with my son in off season because he wanted high mileage in order for Joe to have staying power in doing the triple sprints this coming spring…
anyway, I tailored his gpp workouts to strength (hills), endurance (tempos to 1600m at 70-75%, and some short fartlek), and have gradualy added the speed work: short, flying 30s, to recently 80 accel, flight, relax.

We attempted a 4-5x (or 2x2x) 200m power endurance set at 25/26 sec target last monday and only got through 2 at 27/29sec before nausea and glute pain shut him down.

Took tues. off, and came in today to try a max 300,200,100, with 15-20min btween, did a suprisingly quick 36.07hand, and that was all she wrote…
some cramps, glute soreness, racing heart beat 20min. later.
I could have pushed him to do at least the 200 after 30 min. but decided to finish the week out tomorrow and friday with endurance tempo and steady mile or two, and start over with KitKats sched;;;

I have a little trouble with doing the power 200s the day after speed work 80’s…
I dont see the 200 reps at 25/26sec (back end 200) as endurance… not quite.
I would like to try and fit the short speed work, 200 power reps, and the 300.200.100 max speed in between endurance and still take a day off twice a week.

day1: off
day2: speed 80s
day3: tempo
day4: power 200 reps
day5: off
day6: max 300(350), 200(250), 180(120)
day7: long hills or tempo

I guess this is what I will shoot for now…aloha

Hi Joe’s dad,

I like the look of your sample program. It will work well for Joe.

It doesn’t matter what we call the work. It’s the effect we generate and the outcome it yields which is important. But, having said that, what else do you call back-to-back 200s in 27/29 that generate such a dramatic system shut-down (as in your quote above) if not “endurance” work…?

Just teasing JD

kk :slight_smile: