400m S-L questions

The 400m s-to-l SPP starts with 60m sprints. However the 400m has a significant need for aerobic development both in terms of the event itself and in increasing training capacity. Should the GPP’s main focus be on the development of aerobic capacity, or on short distance hill accelerations like in the gpp download in preparation for these 60’s?

that’s a fair point. the cycle we’ve just written starts out at around 2100m for the weekly total and ends around 1700m as after week one competition basically takes over the SE2 side of things and all that remains is the spped/speed endurance and SE1 (back up sessions). As for the max vel. component, we always start each session with block starts (as per charlie’s program) and the main work of my training covers everything from 60-150m (with full recoveries of course) - so that aspect is consistently present, if not the main focus of a session.
e.g. 4x30m blocks, 1x60m, 1x80m, 1x100m, 1x150m, 1x120m
i know it’s not perfect but i think we have more to gain at the end of my race (fitness-wise) than we have to lose speed wise at least in this cycle. the plan is to then go back to a speed/se1/compete format for 6 weeks which should bring us back in touch with speed and thus ensure i dont lose any speed reserve!

i’d go for the short hills for functional power and some intensive tempo for strength endurance/lactic ‘base work’ so that the athlete is able to tolerate the harder sessions to come. extensive tempo volume is established in the gpp and aerobic capacity is maintained by this method (and other low intensity options) for the rest of the training year

I have noticed there isn’t much attention paid to speed endurance in the CF400 S-L template. I am a 400m/200m runner and plan to use a double periodisation model for my upcoming season, with a greater emphasis on my 200m running in the first competition period. As I still want to be able to run a good 400, would I be risking overuse injuries if I extended the speed day into the section section of the program (weeks 7-12) as stand alone a speed endurance session (at the expense of the strength endurance), or would I be better off sacrificing a special endurance day? Typically I respond very well to special endurance training and speed endurance can be something of a weakness for me.
Alternatively – Does split special endurance runs (e.g. 4x80m, 3x100m, 2x150m off short recoveries) have a carry on effect into speed endurance abilities? Obviously they are all at 95-100% of max speed so theoretically at least one of the runs is going to be of very high quality and thus have a benefit to speed endurance (or so I would think). If this is true, then, would this set up still allow me to progress my speed endurance abilities without creating a specific speed endurance day?
[If it is of any use I am 19 years old, in my second year of full time training (PRs: 21.5, 47.97-underdone in the 400 department for sure). I would like to be running 21.0-21.1 in order to increase my speed reserve to take my 400 time down to low 47s-46s in the coming year.]

Are you training 5 or 6 days a week? I’ve had good success with a 5 day programme. 1 speed, 1 speed endurance and 1 special endurance in winter switching to a 1 speed 2 special for the latter part of the season. Results of 46.9s off of a 21.8 200m pb using short to long progression with a focus on 200m early on and then a sprinkling of 400m sessions during the outdoor season.

On recovery weeks we’d go to a 3 day tempo 2 day speed setup BTW.

Based on what your profile you can develop special endurance quite a bit for sure - maybe even dedicate a year to it once you are down to 21.2 or faster at 20 or so.

BTW you probably shouldn’t just copy the 400m programme as that is for a high level athlete. The kind of results you want can be done off something more moderate.

Also look at how you respond to this kind of programme and if you don’t respond well then consider using a session like KK’s 5x200m with 2min recovery at come home pace of the quarter - as that is a great session.

No SE?? SE can come from split-runs as well as continuous runs. If you investigate what Mennea was doing you’ll see his split 60s, similar to what you see, yielded plenty of SE - enough for the WR in the 200m. Check the rest breaks vs intensity vs number of runs… It’s all in how you perform it.

So to a certain extent, I can improve my 8-15second speed whilst still having a special endurance focus? I thought I would have to dedicate a day to speed endurance involving one-off runs between 80-150 at some point. I feel that I would respond well to the sort of work in the template as my coach has always approached things from a speed background and big quick gains could be made from the special endurance.

TopCat- I am going with 6 days a week with 3 HI days. Of course I don’t plan on copying the program run for run, but using a similar structure in my SPP. I like the special endurance focus due to the sort of improvements that can be made based on my 200m time - as you said. We have used KK’s intensive tempo style work to great effect so another consideration may be including that style of work out at times to add a strength endurance component (possibly at the end of the week). I find that sort of rhythm running is a real strength for me (same with 450-500s) but what I really need to work on is my intensity in the special endurance sessions.

Last year we did a little too much of this work in the SPP (working ‘concurrently’ as oppose to this year which we will try S-L alone) and a dynamic stereotype was established in the SPP. Niggling injuries meant that increasing the intensity as we came into the shorter special endurance runs (i.e.200-300s) was difficult. In the end, much of my improvement -48.5 to 47.9- came from split Sp. End runs (200+200 on race splits, 300 + 150, 150+150 sort of stuff).

Thanks for your comments!

can someone critque this summer base program for a short sprinter moving up to the 400m next year, the acc hills are more of a int/tempo/short SE

Meso 1
Micro 1 (3x)
Day 1 Acc Hills 2x10x10m, r=walk back rep,5min set Volume=200
Day 2 Ext Tempo 5-6X300m in 50, r=1:30-2 Volume=1500
Day 3 Acc 3x4x10m->15m, vary start ex- falling, pushup, r=1min rep, 5min set
Day 4 IT Hills 8-10X100m @80%, r=incomplete, 4-6min Volume=800
Day 5 ET/Active. Rec. 4x800m in 3mins, r=3mins + GS circuit Volume=3200
Day 6 Ext Tempo 2x10x100m @70% falling starts, r=walk 50m/1-2min rep, 5min set Volume=2000
Day 7 Rest
Micro 2 (1x)
Day 1 Acc Hills 2x7x20m r=walk back rep,5min set Volume=280
Day 2 Ext Tempo 3-4x500m (400 in 65-70),r=5-7min Volume=1500
Day 3 Rest Volume=0
Day 4 Acc 3x3x15m->20m vary start ex- falling, pushup, r=2min rep, 5min set Volume=135
Day 5 IT Hills 8-10X100m @85%, r=incomplete, 4-6min Volume=800
Day 6 ET/Active. Rec. 1-2miles @ decent pace Volume=3200
Day 7 Rest Volume=0

Meso 2
Micro 1 (2x)
Day 1 Acc Hills 3x5x25m r=walk back rep,5min set Volume=375
Day 2 Ext Tempo 5-6x300m in 50 , r=1:30-2 Volume=1500
Day 3 Acc 3x3-4x15m->20m, vary start ex- falling, pushup, r=2min rep, 5min set Volume=180
Day 4 ET/Active Rec. 2x600,500,400 @ 70%,r=4-6 min Volume=3000
Day 5 IT Hills 8-10X100m @ 85%,r=incomplete, 4-6min Volume=800
Day 6 ET/Active Rec. 2x10x100m@ 75% r=walk 50m/1min rep, 5min set + GS circuit Volume=2000
Day 7 Rest Volume=0
Micro 2 (1x)
Day 1 Acc Hills 4x4x30m Volume=480
Day 2 Ext Tempo 5x300m in 49, r=1:30-2:30 Volume=1500
Day 3 Acc 3x3x20m->25m, vary start ex- falling, pushup, r=2min rep, 5min set Volume=180
Day 4 ET/Active Rec. 2x600,500,400 @ 70%,r=4-6 min Volume=3000
Day 5 Int. Tempo 3x200 in 27,3-4x150 in 20, r=3-5min Volume=1050
Day 6 ET 8-10x200m in 31, (if you fall off pace do 150s,then 100s etc or increase rest), r=2-3mins Volume=1600
Day 7 Rest
Micro 3 (1x)
Day 1 Acc 3x2-3x25-30, vary start ex- falling, pushup, r=3min rep, 5min set Volume=225
Day 2 Int. Tempo 3x200m, 2x200m in 27 r=2min rep,8-10min set Volume=1000
Day 3 Rest Volume=0
Day 4 Acc 3x2-3x25-30, vary start ex- falling, pushup, r=3min rep, 5min set Volume=225
Day 5 Int.Tempo/SEII 3x450m (200 in 27), r=8-10 Volume=1350
Day 6 ET/Active Rec. 1.5-2miles @ decent pace Volume=2400
Day 7 Rest

Volume by micro
Meso 1
overall- 34600

  • There’s practically nil quality work over 50-150m. I understand this athlete may need less because of his 100/200 background but this is taking it to the extreme.
  • Acc/Hills are ultra-short. Maybe do the first two sessions over 20-25m but after that it needs to be 30-40m.
  • I would take longer breaks of 15 min or more between the split runs and 450m’s instead of 8-10min.
  • 3 reps at 450m is too much. Have yet to meet a short sprinter who will have something left after rep 2.
  • Can’t say much about overall weekly volume without knowing what he did before.

(Trying to be helpful, not harsh)

brian, you over at elitetrack?

does anyone know where to find the training programme of Mennea, i remember an old library book i had when i started athletics that had is full programme in but this has long since been removed (knew i should have stole/bought it lol)

Biggest problem in the uk is explainnig to the athletes the principle of s-to - l as everyone is so used to buidling the base in the winter the l-to - s way

I assume that is all for GPP right - 5 weeks?

Yes I’m at elite track.

-I was planning to put in work over that distance later the int tempo reps would become SE reps since it is just a summer base program to help improve aerobic abilities before fall training, do you think that should still be apart of the program?

-Ill adjust the accells
-The 450 is meant to be at 80-85% 200m pace for the first 200m and then the rest of the rep will be slower coming through 400m around 57. Now that i have actually thought about it the rest does need to be increased. I’ll drop the last 450 and leave it optional.

Thanks for the help it is much appreciated!

yea a gpp of sort, its a summer program before gpp to prepare for training for the 400m the following season

Good luck! You might get away with the 501-150m stuff provided that you have the right training conditions later this year when you do them.

A-J, check italian sprint training threads to have some infos on mennea.

If you go to the new UK athletics coaching website you can download handouts from the 2009 National Conference here. These handouts include a presentation by Kevin Tyler (from page 341 in the pdf) called “Short to Long & Long to short”, including detailed weekly plans. Nearly seems a copy of Charlie’s work, even the graphs are in the familiar blue and yellow. Highly recommended.

thanks eroszag :slight_smile: lol

martijn thats a bloody big handout lol good effort i think from uka to have the site though hopefully will become a great resource, anyone downloaded the interview with j deacon, interesting stuff with his approach over the years for 400

I read somewhere that Kevin Tyler trained under Charlie and he acknowledged his coaching influence on his own coaching. This influence is clear in Tyler’s coaching plans (e.g. short-to-long; small circuit; 4x30 80 100 120 150 sprint session, etc). Interestingly he does at times place the maximum strength work after the high intensity SE sessions and even has tempo on the same day as the SE sessions as well (see page 357). Also looking at the annual plan (page 354) it appears as though he continues max strength work through the competition periods (though I may just be misinterpreting his graph) unloading only what he calls specific strength. Also on Page 353 he states that the competition period is 4-6 weeks yet in his graph he includes scheduled competitions from end-May to end-August (approx 14 weeks). Does this mean that he has his athletes “train through” early season meets and has Charlie not warned against this?

I ask because for someone who acknowledges the influence of Charlie on his coaching; some of his work appears to be a bit of a departure from the CFTS.


Maximum strength after SE sessions (on the same day) also occurs in Charlie’s program. I suppose you’re referring to the maximum strength session on day 2 of the long-to-short program after an intensive SE session on day 1? There is room for that because day 3 is not as CNS intensive and day one is more focused on speed endurance, instead of speed.

I wonder if the extensive tempo’s on day 1 are a separate session or not. I thought doing extensive work at the end of a workout is counterproductive (lowering testosterone etc.).

An interesting read, and some good questions posed. I’ll take a stab, but correct me if I’m wrong.

Charlie’s influence is obvious, but you have to keep in mind, this program was developed in the relatively harsh conditions of Alberta, and specifically for Tyler Christopher (or athletes of his caliber). In other interviews, Kevin has stated that Tyler could not handle the high volumes that other world class 400m sprinters did, so he filled his work out with other stuff. I think that is consistent with what he presented, i.e. the volumes don’t seem excessive IMHO.

As for competitions, some of Charlie’s material shows that a 400m runner may only need 4-5races to peak, (maybe less for Tyler?) which would allow training through the early competition period. Thoughts?