Why do some coaches have athletes run 400 races so that it improves their 200’s? I was talking to someone on Saturday who was running their 3rd one since mid October, Nationals are in March. The other times they have run 100’s & 200’s.
Running 400s didn’t hurt MJ. I think it depends on the standard of athlete. If their natural inclination is to be fast then running 400’s are not a bad idea. It gets them fit without placing high neuromuscular loads. I think Patrick Johnson could have run 20.0s if he raced & trained for a few 400s. Patrick has run 10.32e repeatedly on the first bend. He usually ends up with 20.5 because the final 100 is in 10.2. However he should be coming home in 9.8 to 10.0 at worst. PJ has run 32.8 e 300 yet still fades towards the end of the 200m. In his case SE qualities need to be extended out to 400m.
In most cases running 400s are not specific for the 200. However for the really gifted fast guys, it does make sense.
There could be a few reasons why an athlete would run 400’s to assist their 200’s.
Running 400’s early in the season to help one’s 200’s would be a normal graduation from a Long to Short regime. It’s part of building the fitness base, specifically to help the athlete’s speed endurance.
It’s probably not something you would do, once you are deep into the competition phase. Particularly tapering for a major 200m race. Unless of course you are very good at it, eg: Michael Johnson.
And I wouldn’t recommend it if you are doing a short to long type program - not until you have had sufficient races at the shorter distances. Not that you will get injured - just that it could be quite ugly!
The other issue that needs to be considered is the availability of races. Sometimes the 400m might be the only race available or an athlete is seeking multiple races in the one meet, hence they would double up on a 100/400 combination.
I personally like my athletes to be able to run a strong 400m as it offers another option at the various meets.