400 Metre and Relaxation

I have recently run into a problem, I have not seen my best performance in the 400 for 2 years now despite being much stronger and much faster. For example I came through a 200 split last week at 24.3 and then the 250 at 30.6 and then the 300 and 36.9 only to finish the 400 in 54.6. The pace I had set for the first 300 had me looking to run 51 and I self destructed.

Wondering if this is a strength issue or a relaxation issue.

Thanks Stiver

It’s probably not a relaxation issue. Relaxation is important, but it can’t account for approximately 3-4 seconds. It’s more likely a pacing issue (did you take it out too hard?), or a fitness issue (lack of endurance). Also, it may be that your splits were incorrectly timed.

From a certain level of performance, improvements in speed or strength area will make the endurance curve falling. The more improvements in the left of the curve, the more falling in the right of the curve. Also, as your physical abilities have changed, your race tactics must change too. What is your previous and current 200m times?

My 200 Time now is 23.3 I had not really had a real 200 time that I can remember in the last while, last year right after an injury I ran 23.4 and then it was not since high school that I had run one.

From your speed level, i suggest you run the first half between 1.5 and 2sec slower than your 200m PB. 1.0, assuming that your 200 split was accurate (hand time, from video, etc), it too short and no wonder why you exploded in the last straight.

What did you mean it was too short?


I think your splits are wrong. I doubt you went through in 24.3, 36.9 and then 54.6. I saw the race and you didn’t die that bad. Break it down:

>6.3 (around curve)
>6.6 (straight)
>17.7 (let’s say 7.5+10.2 (pathetic) (curve +straight)

Now even if you did go through in about 10s for the last 50 (which I doubt), the solution is not necessarily more “strength” work. A focus on speed work will have several benefits, namely, you’ll come through the 200 at the same pace or faster with less effort (i.e., better speed reserve), placing you in a strategically advantageous position going into lap 2 (i.e., in front, possibly) which will give you a little breathing room and let you relax (helping THAT problem). Furthermore, the faster speed with equal effort that you demonstrated in lap 1 will reduce overall running time and make the elusive “strength” requirement less important. In other words, your whole race will have been shifted “left” along the energy spectrum, delving less deeply into the lactic zone which kills guys like you after 50s or so.

This isn’t to say that special endurance should be ignored, just make sure you’re doing it fast with full recovery. But above all, use your great foot speed (your biggest strength around those tight indoor turns) to your advantage and dip that 200 PB into the mid 22s!


Hmmm well I do not believe the splits were wrong except for maybe the 300 time, I know I came through in a 24.3 and for the 250 a 30.6 but am not positive about the 300 time. Therefore for 150 meters we have 24 seconds. which is quite possibly considering my 150 time is taht of 17.5 roughly.

What is it of importance to work on


Work on your speed! Yeah I agree your 300 time is probably wrong. Going through in 30.6 probably means more like 37 high or even closer to 38 for the 300. This would make your last 100 about 16.7, or let’s say 8.0 for 300 to 350 and then 8.7 for 350 to 400.

My point was that speed work helps speed endurance because more speed shortens the first half of your race AND/OR allows you to go through your 200 split at the same pace or faster with less effort.

See you later,

hahaha i can see a very slow last 100m. i had a split once of 22.0 then 28.9

Was this last weekend at York?

I saw all the 400’s and I think I remember your race.

Are you a short guy?

If so I remember you TEARING around the first bend and down the straight and then tightening up after the second turn.

If it was indeed you I think you went out too hard and started to tighten up a lot at ~200meters.

I think pace management would help you a lot.

It might be a good idea to practice 400m race pace for the first 200m with repeat 200’s with adequate recovery.

What is your indoor 200m PB?

You may want to look at getting a beeper to properly pace yourself based on your current 200PB and what you think your best 400m is.

If you are who I am thinking of you had great cadence and great dynamic strength, with proper pacing in the first 200 I think you’d improve greatly.

Chris I like you points, where would I go about getting a pacer. Will this be very effective. Yes I am short and did tighten up in the last 200 meters at York.

My PB in the 200 is 23.3 which was last year coming off an injury. I trained throughout the summer but did not run any 200’s and was physically exhausted.

They are available online but I can’t remember off the top of my head. I’ll have a look for you and post it here.

You were blazing on that first turn, the straight and the second turn. First straight especially.

What is your 60m and 100pb?

I would consider practicing repeat 200’s at 400 race pace in certain phases of your training. ie: if you’re best 200 is 23.0 try repeat 200’s in 25.0 seconds with good recovery in between. The beeper helps tremendously with this. (You aren’t allowed to use it in competitions but that is ok) :slight_smile:

Here is an excerpt from Clyde Hart:

Technique The ability to distribute one’s speed and energies in the most efficient manner over the total racing distance becomes the primary concern in reaching success in the 400 meter dash. No one is capable of running the 400 meters from start to finish all out. Good pace judgment in effort and distribution is a must. Remember, the 400 meters is not a full sprint. Speed at 100 and 200 meters can be a tremendous advantage to the 400 meter runners but only if they learn to distribute these energies properly. Generally the outstanding 400 meter runner will have approximately a one second deferential between their best open 200 meters and the time it takes them to run the first 200 meters of the 400 meter dash. The less experienced 400 meter runner should have approximately a two second deferential. A good formula for predicting the potential 400 meter time for 200 meter runners, providing they are willing to train and to give all they can to become a top 400 meter runner, would be to double the time of their best open 200 meters then add 3.5 seconds to this. It is obvious that the sprinter type has the advantage through the early stages of the 400 meters; however, if they are not trained properly, this advantage can melt away in a hurry toward the end of the race. The half miler type will definitely have an advantage from the 300 meters mark on into the finish. The main reason we are seeing more of the sprinter type succeed in the 400 meters today is largely due to the fact that we are able to develop "stamina and endurance more effectively than we can increase the sprinting abilities of the middledistance runner.


Best of luck, when do you race again?


Don’t remind me! I don’t want to hear you doing something like that again!!! You should be splitting in high 22 seconds!

Krusty not sure what you are meaning ???

Sorry my response was directed to Canspeed. He knows what I am talking about!

What is this ‘pacer’ you are talking about? Where can I go about buying one?