[400M] Where To Begin?

I sued to think I was good at Track. I became cocky, decided that I wouldn’t have to train and that I would be strong enough in one season to train to get a decent hook to get into college through Division 3.

Had a sharp realization today that I’m an absolute idiot.

I’m 140lbs.

Bench Press:200 lbs
Squat: 190lbs. (Only began relatively recently)

Can anyone tell me where to begin? Atleast or point me in a good direction. I can run about 7 miles nonstop right now.

I was training for a marathon in the summer but I slacked off.

I am currently running 58 seconds for the 400M. What’s the best way to decrease this time? I’m sorry if I’m a Newbie in a sphere of Advanced Sprinters, but if anyone is willing to help, I’d be more than excited.

getting in shape and increasing speed would be a start. look into tempo and acceleration development.

Take a look at the “lactate threshold” thread in this “sprint training” section. It’s mostly about training and race for 400m. Cockysprinter is right though, the muscle loading in sprinting is different from distance running, but your marathon training will have strengthened your tendons and ligaments. Start with great care, create a training program for yourrself and incorporate the different elements of performance into that structure. But acceleration and tempo (on alternate days) will get you on the right path.

The problem I’m having is everyone there seems so much more advanced than me. The skill level that the people there are truly amazing. I’ve considered myself very well acquanted with training but never to that extent yet.

I went through 7 pages of the posts before I realized I have no comprehension of the knowledge that is going there.

May I ask then what should be my largest weakness? I saw someone with an identical bench press yet had about 1.5x higher squat than me and about 16% faster at a near identical height. I’m going to try to stop over emphasizing bench press, and work for squat.

Should I work on squatting like crazy? I’m at 180x2 having only had about 5 real squat workouts in my life so I’m a lot behind everyone else.

If anyone has spare advice, it would be greatly loved.

Also would it be possible, ignoring the time factor of working on distance (6+ miles) at 5:00AM and then going to Track Pratice later in the day?


The faster you drop that 6 miles in the morning b.s. the better. You need to get more specific and talk with a good coach. My normal advice to newbies is to read through the threads, find a coach whose advice you find practical and helpful, and bug the hell out of him or her until they help you with your training.

So using long distance to help endurance won’t help. Hmmm. Darn.

Would swimming negatively affect speed? In an attempt to find a way to use morning time more effeciently, or should I just do Sprints twice a day?

Thanks for the quicky reply btw. It’s really appreciated. :o

If you want the 400 it is a sprint therefore you train like a sprinter, but you must include longer speed and special endurance runs (120m- up to 300m in your week) - short speed 15m to 40m full out speed runs is a cornerstone for your program and you must take care to do tempo runs (70% of max pace) inbetween short speed for recovery…then add your sprint endurance runs.
so week looks somewhat like this:
-short speed
-tempo (100s, 200s, 300s, 400s - up to about a a mile and a half with walk or short break between.
-sprint (speed) endurance : 120m (85-90%pace) and work up to 300m. full recovery in between reps.
-spec endurance: do reps that target your slower pace in the last 200m in the 400 with 2-4min. rest in btwn.
*bear in mind tht short speed is your basis; as you improve that you improve your 400 as an extension of that.
this is a very elementary sched (I omitted weights and core exercise - thats another chapter too for optimal) that is within CF and Kitkats philosophy. something to use as you move along your learning curve.

I wouldnt worry too much about specificity in the weightroom yet Just try and get a good solid base in.

How old are you?

Something like Joesdad mentioned will work great.

Where you are starting off I would consider doing an accumulation phase before getting into the heavier stuff.

So 4-6 weeks of something similar to the following:

Short hills/weights
Long hills/weights
fartlek or continuous

Then move into something like JoesDad outlined.


i agree with the smoother introduction to “normal” training, but what do you mean by fartlek/continuous and why would you include this? is this something short (15-20 min) as an adaptation phase, if you want, from long distance running? if it’s just for getting into things, why not two tempos in a row, a short and a longer one?

I meant a short run or fartlek 15-20 minutes for transition and variety. Tempo can sometimes seem taxing at first so this might be a nice alternative as he transitions and adjusts to the volume.


Clear enough!

Hi Cut&Waste,

Re: Bench. Your bench is more than adequate for an international 400 sprinter. A guy I coached ran 44.3 when his bench pb was 225lbs. He got it up to 325lbs in years to follow but he never ran any faster.

Work now toward Upperbody Endurance. So for example at the end of your lifting session, hit the punching bag or hit the pads with a buddy. Workup to something like 10 x 30sec with maybe 60sec rest between each flurry.

Your shoulder muscles will be working fast, the punching action will also work in co-ordination with your hips (so long as you don’t lock hips or shoulders into parallel placement - ie, let them roll a little bit) and the impact of fists against bag/pad will raise protein (keytone?) breakdown levels in the blood which is also what happens when feet/legs hit the track sprinting. IN your training you need to simulate racing to develop tolerance to race demands (& waste products, including lactic acid), so in that way the shoulder endurance work and especially the punching work has plenty to recommend it.

Re: Long distance running:
A lot of 400m runners (particularly those who do a 400m-800m double) build some distance running into their training program, but that is mostly to help improve aerobic power (raise the speed-tolerance threshold - see again “lactate threshold” thread, read on) and also to help flush waste products out of your muscles following more intense track or hill training, usually earlier that day or the previous day.

Re: Morning training: 5am is a hell of time to go training. But you could introduce some plyometric training into your program at that time of your daily routine. When I was in high school I used to go at 6.30am for about 30-45minutes to do multiple types of hops, skips and double-footed jumps up and down a grass hill in a park a mile from my home. So the mile jog warmed things up, then I did some runthroughs over 80m and horizontal skips along the grass. Then I moved onto a steep little hill (angle of incline about 45-degrees) and did bunnyhops and single-leg hops. I ended up stomping a staircase into that slope over the months. But it helped my leg-power and my first 50m.

Later in the day (evening) you could do track training as recommended by Joesdad or Chris30, or Pierrejean on the “lactate” thread. I’d encourage you to push on through that “lactate threshold” thread because at the very least you will become familiar with the terms and elements and structure of training that is standard proceedure in 400m training. You will also see that there are different ways to reach the top of the mountain. Maybe that’s the most important lesson of all.

The concepts that produce 50flat (female) and 44flat elite 400m runners are the same as for entry-level 400m competitors. YOu just have to go a bit easier and modify the target times (for the run as well as the recovery times) until you have adapted and found those times to be too comfortable (easy) for you.

kk :slight_smile: best wishes