early 400 training

I have 6 HS girls who all run open 200s in the range of 25-29 seconds. I have always calculated possible 400 times by doubling the 200 time and adding 4 seconds. That is if they can buildup enough speed easily in the first 200 so that they don’t tap into energy reserves too early. My goal is to break the state high school 4x400 record which is a modest 3:52. As of right now my former sprinters own the 4x100 and 4x200 relay records for the state. I want them all for the kids. That being said I am starting to build early on next year.

The track season is complete and none of the kids are running this summer except for one guy.
What would you suggest he do over the offseason to prepare for next spring. I was thinking of rest for a month or so then fire up the weights and short hills for acceleration work for the kids. Have them committ to this for two days per week as to avoid burnout.

Fall, the girls are playing volleyball so I assume this will help with some plyo work. NOw in November, some will start their base conditioning. I pray I will have the DVDs I ordered :rolleyes: back in March by then. Anyways, the base work will consist of Ext tempo, and 20min runs twice per week and this will go thru the end of the calendar year. It will be accompanied by weight training for strenghth and plyos. The speed work will be no longer that 10m for starting to work accel.

What ya think so far?

I think you’re on the right track with a month off and then starting in a couple of days a week. In the fall, I would rely on the GPP DVD for ideas and a training template and then start SPP about 8 to 10 weeks before your season starts. I’m not a big fan of 20-minute runs unless you’re a middle distance or distance runner. There is a wealth of info in the GPP DVD that should give you what you need.

best of luck too you in your quest to get the record. That would be great accomplishment. In two years the girls 4x400 at my school might come close to our school record from 1978, but some times would have to drop for that to happen.

as for what you said about having six girls in the 25-29 range, thats pretty fast but you have to have at least 4 of them who are able or willing to stretch it out to 400m. This year our girls could of had a much better 4x400 but two girls who ran 26’s for the 200 basicly refused to run it, 1 of them wouldn’t really come to practice that often and the other one wouldn’t work at practice so of course the most you could expect out of either of them was the 100 and the 200 and maybe the 4x100 and 4x200. and then we had another girl who decided that she would rather throw the discus and the shot than run the 400, so we went from having relay potental of somewhere around 58-9’s from the two lazy girls and a 63-4 from the discus thrower along with the two good girls who were already on there running 61’s and 62’s. so from 59-61-62-58 and alternate at 63 as the potental relay we ended up with 62-65-67-61 as our relay. the 59-61-62-58 group would of been close to making the state top 25 alltime list and would of gone to states. the other girls, they didn’t make it out of regionals. The coaches just didn’t care enough to coddle the two talented runners into the 4x400. This is probably because the differance between my school and where you coach is probably on the program focus, we’ve got more cross country banners and trophys than a sprinter would care to see in there lifetime, while you’ve got the state records in the 4x100 and 4x200. best of luck pulling a triple. it’d be great feat.

not gonna lie, i am not the most well versed person or anything on the ins and outs of setting state records(seems like you’ve got that under control) but what you’ve laid out seems good enough, but i would work more on setting the base for getting the 100 and 200 times down for the lady’s(that seems to be what your doing with the strength and plyos ect) and then having the 4x400 throughout the season to get the 400 times down. just from personal experiance 20minute runs havn’t really ever done anything for me except give me a chance to talk and catch up with everyone and i would only use 20 minute cross country runs when other practice facilities aren’t available. however if some of the girls are more 400-800 types then by all means 20minute and longer runs are great… for them.

thanks for your aid in advance. I will begin posting in a couple of weeks. I have also solicited the tutelage of KK in this matter. This WILL be a great new thread in the future to add to many others. Trust me the dilemna, drama and issues will come up.

By the way, for anyone who has followed my post “loosing speed”, Sprinter A with the bad ankle advanced to the finals with the 3rd overall fastest time. Chilly out with a 4mps head wind. Coasted to a modest time but that speed endurance hw lost while injured is giving him fits. THanks for your help.

hey, you know I don’t know what to say about the the 20 min runs. For 2-3 years now I have given my sprinters every workout they could have for the 400 in Hs and they still are not improving enough. I have two girls that have been at 64 and 65 for 2 yrs now. I honestly believe they are 400-800 types and will need the heavier aerobic conditioning to really improve.
Well let me ask this…How often would a particular segment of a race in a 400 need to be worked on in practice in order to see results. Lets say it is the 1st exposure to training that particualr system for the season. How long would it last?
Eg- 3x300s at 95% w/ full rest and recovery (frr). When do they see the results if they have only been doing Intensive tempo and 60m sprints w/ srr for a few weeks?

as too what you say about them being middle distance types. too my knowledge there isn’t really anyway too test this except perhaps giving a 400m time trial and see how they look afterwards.

i look like i am about to die after a 400. the number 1 high school miler in america looks like he could do it again in 5 minutes. and i still lose.

as for signs that they are more suited for middle distance: watching how they run a 400. do they hold an almost even pace throughout the race. do they “kick”. do they hold form well through the last 100m. do they seem like they have anything to give at the end? if the anwsers to some of these are yes. then imo you might have some girls more suited to middle distance type training and would probably respond well too it. It might be hard to explain too them that you feel 50 minute runs at 9 minute mile paces are better than 3x10 in the squat rack but thats for you not me.

for our middle distance girls and boys for that matter they ussally have 2 or 3 long easy runs and 2 or 3 workouts in a week. and the workouts are brutal. some pretty sick stuff with limited recoverys. needless to say i try not too display any talent at the 800 lest i be drafted into the cult. i pretend that i triple jump to avoid these workouts, because i don’t have the requisite basic training and it would kill the moderate natrual speed i have. I am in no way suggesting these types of sessions. They are for when you coach cross country and are trying to win state championships over the 5km in the woods not on the 1,600 total on the track.

how many days a week do you have to work with the girls during the summer and winter?. I know you mentioned they played vollyball. the closer to 5 days the better imo. Hopefully the vollyball team doesn’t go deep into the state playoffs… if there season ends on time you should have from november till febuary too work with the girls. Btw which state are you in. that has a huge bearing on what kind of work you can do. espically with the middle distance types. 50minutes in the snow isn’t fun. it’s sadistic.

maybe you can coddle them into working out 5 days a week, tell them that you think they have a shot at the state record. that would be awesome motivation imo.

Perhaps you can get them to be willing to workout 4 days a week. fridays off.

I think the GPP dvd would be the best bet for a general prep for all of the girls middle distance or sprinters. So the 7 weeks of that. stopping during christmas break. hope that they do something over christmas break too not waste away everything. then you can comeback and work with them as indivduals.
if you could group them into middle distance and sprinter then it could go smoothly. hopefully they don’t end up being grouped black and white that would be awkward. so the faster girls over 200m as the sprinters and the others as middle distance.

and as a template of what you could have them do:
sprinter group:
speed/accel session.
weights: bench, squat, upright row and an assitance lower bodylift.
tempo/circut training.
the infamous 6x200 session.
The way of the “400” Thanks to KK
or perhaps special endurance work.
weights if you feel like it although that may not be a good idea.
tempo and circut training. hops and such.

as for the distance girls:
a “speed session” for distance people. i’ve seen them before and there not pretty. i would make it more akin too the sprinters session. just less focus on max speed and more on holding pace.
weights: so that the sprinters and distance girls will workout together and not become 2 seperate groups entirelly. and those skinny distance runners need to find a squat rack.
over the 9 weeks or so leading up too the season build up to eventually letting them loose over 50minutes at 9ish minutes a mile if possible. recovery and oxygen uptake are the goals. it’s like tempo for distance runners.
have them join the sprinters for 6x200.
another 50. well not 50 but areobic distance running on the trails.

i think this is a fair deal they workout 4 days a week and get 3 days off. it’s about like indoor track minus meets. if possible get them for 5 days. and have another speed session for the sprinters and a shorter distance session for the distance girls too make up on lost time since they will be new to middle distance training. and then have a weights session for both. that would be ideal but motivation too workout is ussally not that high espically with hs girls(not being sexist just observatory). so 4 days is probably better. don’t turn it into hell with you as a slave driver it will turn out badly for everyone involved.

also an observation of girls 400m running. motivation is the key. i’ve seen a girl who didn’t give a fuck all about the open 400 so she did just enough to get second or third or just enough too win if it was an easy meet. so like 65+++ as slow as possible to still get points. wham the relay comes around and she has too make up for the weaker legs on the relay. 62 flat from lane 8. if they want too do well then they can it’s your job to provide the pieces and the tools. they have too put it together.

on a side note. you might want to inlist someone besides a 53 second 16 year old for your help. but i do what i can.

on another side note. makeing 2 “groups” with this set of sprinters may be almost impossible because they’ve probably been working toghether as sprinters since freshmen year and they play vollyball togehter. but in the future… you should try too figure out whose 200-400 material and whose 400-800 material from the first day of pratice as freshmen. no 400-800 girl is gonna run 56 but she may be able to run 62 three times in one afternoon. once on the 4x400 once in the DMR and once in the open 400… wilson kiptikur couldn’t beat michael johnson in their primes over 400meters and probably not 500 meters. but have them run it again 5 minutes latter and see who wins.

Hi Sonic,

How did things go at state for your group?

As for the 400 stuff, it’s a tough call sometimes whether you play to strengths or try to focus on improving weaknesses.

Whenver I had 800 runners who were dropping down to the 400 open or for a relay, I always felt they needed more speed. They had all the endurance necessary but lacked the basic speed to get out with the quicker sprint types. So I always had them do some acceleration and max velocity work to get them out of that “cruise out” mindset and become sprinters. It didn’t always work, but it did for some. Most of them would do this work before joining the middle distance crew for the rest of their workout, but sometimes I would have them just devote a whole day to the sprint work, and it would have been two if I could have kept them away from the distance coach for another session.

On the other hand, the short sprinters typically need help stretching their speed out so they need more speed endurance work and special endurance work. Sets of 60s off short recovery or split 250s or 300s are good. So are repeats of 120 to 150 meters or so.

But I would reserve all this fine tuning until SPP. In the meantime, run them all through a couple of months of Charlie’s GPP stuff, which has a nice progression and good strength and power development, emphasizing acceleration.

I like the short to long approach, especially for the short sprinters, so I would reserve the longer reps for later in the SPP. You can find plenty of this stuff in other threads. Your long sprinters or middle distance types may go long to short, but there may be more value in keeping everyone together. The mid types will address their greatest needs first through the acceleration and power work. The speed types will address their greatest needs later, when they’re better equipped to do that more demanding work.

in regards to the state kids. First let me share the temp was between 55-59F with a 4mps head wind. My 200 guy did not make finals. I didn’t expect him to because he only ran 2 open 200s during the season and he was just starting to find his personal comfort zone in terms of how to run it. I can coach all I want but their bodies will dictate what they are going to do.
The 100 kid placed ninth overall. His ankle looked like a casaba melon the morning of finals (even with the icing). He ran a time that he has never even seen behind his name. He flew thru the phases so quick (impatience is his arch enemy) that he was in MV at the 10 meter mark or at least his posture so suggested.
The 300h girl placed 3rd from lane 9 :cool: She knocked 3 sec off her PR from last year. Too bad she was a senior.
The good of it all is that each one will be signing (a couple are redshirt) with a college so that there education will be taken care of :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: . That is most important in my community.

Now about the 400-800 types. Are you suggesting by omission that overdistance runs in GPP won’t help. I am anxiously awaiting my DVDs so I am trying to build w/o them right now and then tweak when they arrive.
What is the longest run they should have in lets say Nov-Dec?