400m time prediction based on 800m pb

A guy, who’s been training for just a year, has an 800 time of 2’29"90, (wich is very poor I admit), wants to try 400m because he thinks he can be better at it.
He’s 24, and obviously he has very poor possibilities of improving.
His coach said him that he will be able to run a sub-2’15" 800m and a sub-60 400m by May 2012.
He’s never run sprint events before, just a few 800m.
So, he asked why can’t he aim to a sub or near-55 400m.

What would you say?
Thanks, and sorry for my rudimental english

Sanya Richards-Ross ran an 800 in 2:10 earlier this year I believe, and Usain Bolt has run 2:06 or 2:08 (NOT sub-2). These are people who can, of course, run 400s in the 40s. I’m not saying that he has 45 second 400 potential, but just because a guy can’t run a faster 800 with endurance training doesn’t mean he can’t do significantly faster as a sprinter. Run a single 200m time trial (with a long warmup) to get some idea of potential or do some special endurance in the 200-450 range and see how he progresses.

I used to run 800s in the 2.21 to 2.30 range. Managed 62-64 secs for 400m at the same time. But coming off a background of endurance running (10k etc) so lacking pure speed. I agree with the idea of 200 time trials, if he has 800 endurance a 200 run will calibrate the speed end of his range. Also look at things like body size and shape, explosiveness and strength for an indication.

My reason to run a 200m trial is to find out whether he’s really a sprinter or a distance guy. For most people that haven’t been training for 400, the 400m potential is roughly 2X200 + 4 seconds. For a true endurance-oriented 800m guy, 400m pace is going to be about 10% faster than 800m pace. If your potential is in the sprints, those two things are going to be very different.

How does one train for a 800m without doing a ton of 400’s in training?

I had an athlete who start the season running 2.23 once he realised how he had to run it he got 2.13. His PB in 400 is 55-56.

Bold, I am pretty sure you wouldn’t be shocked how a lot of 800 runners wouldn’t know what 400m training was…

A rough guide that I use (pretty certain it is common) your first lap is about 3 seconds slower than your personal best.

Can he run 55, without knowing more details I would say 55 should be his aim.

Well, he improved from 2.33.30 to 2.29.90 in three months just by cooling down the first lap, and losing 5kg of weight, without
any specific workout.
That’s why I’m perplexed about coach’s predictions.
One thing is sure: with a road running background he had to spend one year and an half, just in order to teach his muscles to work at higher frequencies.
But anyways, in my humble opinion, a sub-60 400m is definitely something that many road runners can perform without significant toil.

Do you have any short fly times? I wrote an application that among other things, can best-fit an exponential curve to speed reduction data. If you send me another data point such as his current 30 meter fly time, combined with his 800 time, it will give a reasonable predictor of where he is currently at in the 400. With only two data points, I use k=0.013, but if you have a couple short distances (e.g. 30m and 60m fly times), it will find his k value too.


That’s what I was getting at above. With a jogging background and training improperly or not really training at all, if the guy has any sprint potential, you may find he can run a single 200 quite a bit faster than his 800 times (2:30 => 67 second 400 => 33-34 200) would predict.

Thanks a bunch, I’ll try to get those data!

Yesterday he did a 6x150 @20-21 secs, 3 min rest between each.
He was asked not to run them at his best, but to focus on form.

I would expect he would be damn close to sub 60 right now or certainly in a few weeks to get his pacing right.

3X150 @20-21 = 450m in 60-63.

I get a similar range when putting the 150 and 800 on an velocity curve. I don’t know if the 150 was standing or fly, and I don’t know if the 20-21 seconds was just an approximate range or if he actually hit a 20.0, but using the points 150/20 and 800/2:30 yields a fly 400 of 62.8. If the 150 was standing, then the fly 150 would be closer to 18.9, and using the points 150/18.9 and 800/2:30 puts the fly 400 at about 60.6.

An accurate time for a short sprint such as the fly 30 would provide a very good indicator.


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