JON'S 400 comeback

Well i’ve enjoyed reading everybody else’s journals and decided to start one of my own as a means of staying committed in what is sure to be a difficult journey. A brief bio:

I started running track in the summer of 1991, grade 11 of highschool and did a 53.99 for 400m. After that summer I was hooked pretty much and worked really hard my senior year to get my time down to 51.6. After that I decided I needed to work on my speed the next year and get a lot faster if I wanted to succeed at 400m. As fate would have it I also discovered an early edition of the Charlie Francis training system in 1993 and set to work doing a combination of that system with Gerard Mach’s philosophy. I managed to bring my 60m time down from 7.64e to 7.27e in one year, so the system definetely worked. I think I had the speed to go sub 50.0 the next year. Unfortunately I went off to college and got swept off into the party scene and slowly but surely I disappeared from the track world.

Three years ago I decided to get back into it and try to mount one last comeback and get that sub 50 time. That spring I trained for a couple of months but started to notice a growing pain in my achilles tendon just when my speed was starting to come back to me. It just got worse and worse until I eventually had to abandon running completely. The last two years, same thing, just when the speed comes back so does the pain. This year is different however as i’ve finally taken the time to treat the injury which i’ve discovered is achilles tendinosis. Eccentric exercises have made me pain free for the first time in many years now and i’m ready to return full-time to training. I think that sub-50 is still in me despite my age of 32.

So for this year my main goal is to get down to 52.0 as a means of setting me up for sub 50 next year. Even 52 is going to be tough this year, as for the last 10 years i’ve been a pretty regular smoker :eek: I’ve quit finally, but general fitness is lacking. I plan to use a combination of CFTS and the ideas outlined by KitKat in the Lactate Threshold Thread and a few ideas of my own. I’ve set an intermediate general fitness goal for the winter of running 56.0. Once I can do that I’ll be in good enough general shape to start to target the faster times.

So that said, let the insanity begin!

First good luck with the training :slight_smile:

Second, I would consider adjusting your expectations a little until after you get a race or a time trial in.

52 is a very ambitious goal after one year back at 32 years old. I’d hate for you to work hard and then be disapointed. Given what you’ve described I think a 55-56 second 400m would be a very good time for your first year back.

Check out some of KITKAT’s threads, he has great information on the subject especially lactate training.

Best of luck to you and congrats on quitting smoking!

Thanks for the encouragement Chris30!

Well workout number one is in the books. Not much but you have to start somewhere.

  1. 15 minute dynamic warmup

  2. Acceleration:
    2 x 20m (rest 2’)
    3 x 30m (rest 3’)

  3. Race rhythm 56.0 pace
    6 x 40m w/ 30 sec rest btw

I will definetely have to work on my general aerobic capacity, as I felt no pain on the 400pace stuff but was quite out of breath. It’s a long way from 6 x 40m to KK’s 5 x 200m, but it’s only the beginning.

It would be interesting to see the rehabilitation process you followed for your Achilles tendon in more detail!
Thanks and good luck with your plan!

Yet another training log to keep an eye on. :stuck_out_tongue: Hope it all goes well.

Looks like you have set some goals that positively influence your life habits, good work :smiley:


Basically I rested completely for a week until the pain subsided enough that I could go for brief light jogging (10minutes), then I began eccentric calf raises, where you stand at the end of a stair, raise up with the good leg, shift weight over to the bad foot and use that to slowly lower down past the stair. I did 1 week at 2 x 15 twice a day, then a week of 3 x 15 twice a day, then a week of 3 x 20, and finally 4 x 20. I am now at the point where I will be adding weight via a backpack. At first it didn’t seem to be doing much but giving me a good stretch, but after a couple of weeks I began to notice I wasn’t stiff in the morning anymore and I eventually became pain free.

I spent a bit of time after that bouncing around on the balls of my feet , just short hops at first to begin introducing load onto the achilles, then after time increasing the height of the hops and the reps on each foot. I am now at the point where I can tolerate a bit of light sprinting but I am going to keep that sort of work to every fifth day or so for now, just to be safe until I am sure my achilles can handle it.

I got this idea from an article I read where 15 participants with chronic tendinosis were able to achieve pre-injury exercise status using eccentric exercises twice a day for 3 months. I doubt anyone in their study was undergoing the kind of load that a sprinter’s achilles takes but I was desperate so I tried it.

I also took glucosamine, which is supposed to increase collagen production. I couldn’t find any information about this, so I don’t know if it played any role or not, but I figured it was worth a try

Although not an expert, the rehab sounds good (e.g., eccentrics)! I would also add some good stretching in there -even before sessions! I guess you already do this though…

Sept. 26th

General Endurance: 22 minute easy jog
Body weight circuit + 50 abs

Sept 27th

General Endurance: 25 minute easy jog
Body weight circuit + 50 abs

Sept. 28th

Long static flexibility session

Sept. 29th

Day off

Sept 30th

Acceleration: 2 x 20m, 3 x 30m

Race rhythm: (56 sec 400m pace)
(6 x 40m) + (4 x 40m)
-rest 30 sec reps, 2’ sets

Well not too bad for my first little block of work. I know the easy jogging is probably not recommended for a sprinter but I needed a low impact way of gettting my lungs back and also need to drop about 10-15 lbs so I’m going to do that for the first few weeks and replace it with extensive tempo eventually. The accelerations felt suprisingly good from 20-30m but am having a hard time getting out initially. I was able to add a second set of 400 rhythm work. This session will eventually morph into the 5 x 200m session from Kit Kat. I really am out of shape and need to ease into it slowly. The general progression I plan to follow is something along the lines of the following.

wk1 - 6 x 40m - 30 sec
wk2 - 2 x 6 x 40m - 30 sec - 2’
wk3 - 3 x 6 x 50m - 30 sec - 2’
wk4 - 4 x 5 x 60m - same
wk5 - 4 x 4 x 75m - same
wk6 - 4 x 3 x 100m - same

Still not sure how I will progress from wk6 into the 5 x 200m but maybe being able to do 3 x 100m with 30 sec rest will enable me to do 1 x 200m. We’ll see.

October 3rd

Speed & Power Session

2 x 20m (2.94, 2.91)
4 x 30m (4.03, 4.04, 4.06, 4.07)

2 x 5 x half squat jumps
2 x 8 x bounding alternate legs
2 x 8 x straight leg bounding
2 x 10 x tuck jumps inplace

20 max throws 4 exercises

4 x 50m tempo progressively slower

It felt really nice to get in a complete quality session. The accelerations are self-timed, from experience I know the clock usually starts around mid-way through my first stride, probably around 0.2 second advantage. Did all work on grass field, so I think they would be faster on the track, but for now to protect my achilles I will keep to the grass. Quads are a bit sore the day after.

October 5th

Recovery Day

Tempo: (60%)

16 x 50m
-recovery is walking back about 45 sec
-quads were still fried from my first plyometric workout. Can’t believe such a small volume of work could make me so sore

October 7th

Speed and Power

2 x 20m (2.90, 2.94)
4 x 30m (4.06, 4.03, 4.09, 4.00)

2 x 5 x half squat jumps
2 x 8 x bounding, alternate legs
2 x 8 x straight leg bounding
2 x 10 x tuck jumps in place

Medicine Ball:
20 throws (5 x 4 exercises)

Overall about the same as last speed workout, still feeling a bit heavy and have to find something low impact to lose weight. The jogging is aggravating my achilles, so that’s out. Maybe some one hour walks or something

October 10th

Speed and Power

2 x 20m (2.84, 2.84)
4 x 30m (3.97, 3.93, 4.06, 4.13)
1 x 40m (95%-5.35)

2 x 6 half squat hops
2 x 10 bounding alternate legs
2 x 10 straight leg bounds
2 x 12 tuck jumps in place

Medicine Ball:
24 throws (6 reps x 4 exercises)

Tried something new on my accels. Before and even last Spring I was taking short choppy steps in the first 10m. It felt fast and dynamic so I didn’t try to correct it. However I was pretty sure I wasn’t getting any kind of extension or range of movement. So to facilitate this I focused here on getting full rear extension on my arms as they drove back on each stride. The end result was I think better extension overall as my strides felt more extended also. They felt slower since I wasn’t taking the quick little hops but the end result was a couple of much faster times, so I will continue to work on this. Also upped my volume slightly from last session.

October 16th

Well I was down with the flu for a few days. Still not feeling 100% but I was sick of sitting around doing nothing so I got back to work. pretty much just did a repeat of last workout as I’m not feeling well enough to up the volume again

2 x 20m (2.84, 2.94)
4 x 30m (3.96, 3.96, 4.06, 4.12)

2 x 8 x half squat jump
2 x 10 x bounding, alternate legs
2 x 10 x straight leg bounding
2 x 12 x tuck jump inplace

24 throws (6 x 4 exercises)

Felt good on the first couple of accelerations, nice long smooth strokes, but got a little tight on the last ones as usual. Really need to work on my work capacity some as I shouldn’t be dying out after just a few accelerations. Will be attempting to string together a series of workouts this week instead one every 3rd or 4th day. Definetely need some tempo and general strength.