Short to long...or...long to short?

Which is the better way to approach training for 200m and 400m for someone (that would be me) who is 32 years old, 5’11", 177 lbs. and just getting back into training? I want to gain back the speed of my youth and enter some masters meets in the near future. My ultimate goal is a sub 50 400m dash. A week ago I went out and did a trial run of the 400m for the first time in 15 years and ran 61.10 and 61.01. In HS, back in the day, I ran in the 52’s with crappy training. The basketball coach was the track coach also and he didn’t have a clue on training for the 200/400, he just had us run laps! I have no timeline and I can be patient with myself on this. Am I crazy to think I may be able to get below 50 someday? While I’m waiting on some replies, I’ll check the archives for some insight.

for one your not crazy to think you can do that… with motivation and determination anything is possible… second some research on gpp first, its going to be the most important phase for you… good luck

Yes, I’ll go with the gpp first. I need to get used to running again, then running fast. I’m basically having to re-learn sprinting, but I think I can do it, I’m not over the hill yet. How long is a typical gpp period, though, before I get into more specifics?

heatwave, I think the first step in your GPP may be to lose 20 lbs. Adjust the diet to be healthy and have only the calories you need. Maybe your first training ought to be just getting used to a volume of work. Some mileage, some general weight work, some gentle hillsprints… when the body weight is down and you’re training 6 days a week without trouble, then you’ll be ready. And you’re only 32, sub-50 is definitely possible.

He’s 5’11" and 177…you want him to lose 20lbs? :confused: His weight is fine.

Heatwave, a GPP period can be anwhere from like 3 weeks to 10 or more. For example, a beginner’s GPP would be longer and a veteran sprinter’s GPP would be shorter.

I think you can do it, by the way. Just keep researching on here. I would probably go long to short if you’re focusing on the 400m. But either method would work if executed properly.

short to long would be good as the distances would be short and the learning athlete can adjust distances that h/she can tolerate but for the 400m athlete this would take time.on the other hand long to short maybe too much for an athlete whom is untrained over such distances causing way too much breakdown.

if heatwave was accustomed to track sessions and was familiar then i would suggest L-S as the background work/fitnress would be automatically in place.

i would like to hear charlies opinion on this but as far as i can see S-L would suit him better.

so charlie what would you suggest?

Yeah, 20 lbs. may be a stretch for me; I would blow away in the wind if I lost that much. I’m just trying to sift throught the TONS of info and form a realistic, sensible plan that will eventually take me to below 50 seconds. I’m not asking for any records or anything, I just think that I was capable of sub 50 back in the day and I want to finally see if I can do it. Do I need to focus on getting a fast 200 first? Do I really have to run low 22’s in order to get sub 50 like some suggest? I never got low 22’s at my best; but I was always around high 22’s to low 23’s. I told this same story on another forum and someone suggested I move up to the 800 but I don’t know about that just yet.

If you 200 m time needs to get there first, or not depends on your approach, i.e., S to L, or L to S.
The latter again depends on your ability to withstand high intensity work (e.g., 2-3 high intensity sessions per week). If, as you posted on another thread, you think you are naturally fast, perhaps your best option would be to go S to L; having said that and for the time being, you are the only person who knows your self better than any members on this forum, I suppose.
Hope this helps!

Note: a S to L if you have some time to prepare and no competitions coming, that is; if you plan competing soon, a L to S approach would be more beneficial to start with perhaps.

I was thinking the weight loss would be good for starters so that he could put back on the lean muscle weight in place of what’s been put away since the glory days. Some examples from the elites suggest that leaner than 5-11 177 is ideal:

Wariner: 6-0 155
Williamson: 6-2 170
Merritt: 6-2 182
Blackwood: 6-2 175


I have all the time in the world right now to build any type of program. I don’t plan on any competition until next spring. I’m not in bad shape at all but, with regards to running fitness, I need some time to re-develop, then get more specific. My gut feeling tells me to go long to short. I think I mentioned that I got into 5k’s during my 20’s, so that’s the most recent form of running that I’m familiar with, however, short to long may help me to re-train my fast twitch muscle to fire again. I suppose, at this time, in my training, I just need to get to running, period, then see how my body adapts, and go from there.