Summer 400m Prep

This summer i’m gonna be training for the 400m. This is what i came up with, i was wondering if u guys can critic it:

I’m going to change the workout every 3-4 weeks due to anticipated improvement. I will basically just increase the volume of training.


Monday: 3x 300m @ 85-90% w/ 3’ rest ; 4x 150m @ 85-90% w/ 2’ rest [10’ rest between 300& 150]
Tuesday: 10x100m @ 75-80% w/ 5’ rest [weights]
Wednesday: Plyometrics/ Acc. Dev ( 5x 30m w/ 5’ rest)
Thursday: 8x150m @ 75-80% w/ 5’ rest
Friday: 6x200m @ 85% w/ 3’ rest
Saturday: Long Jump Drills/ Weights
Sunday: Active Rest

The second one is:

Monday: 2x 500m @ 85-90% w/ 5 min rest ; 2x 300m @ 85-90% w/ 3 min rest [10min rest in between]
Tuesday: 5x200m @ 75-80% w/ 5’ rest [weights]
Wednesday: Plyometrics/ Max V (5x Flying 50s w/ 5 min rest)
Thursday: 100-200-300-300-200-100 @ 70-75% w/ distance ran walk in between
Friday: 8x200m @ 85% w/ 3’ rest
Saturday: Long Jump Drills / Weights
Sunday: Active Rest


Monday: 2x600m @ 85-90% w/ 10 min rest ; 3x 300m @ 85-90% w/3 min rest
Tuesday: 8x200m @ 75%-80% w 5’ rest [weights]
Wednesday: Plyos, 4x150m @ 95% w/ 5 min rest
Thursday: 4x300m @ 75-80% w/ 5 min rest
Friday: 6x200m @ 90% w/ 3min rest ; 4x 150 @ 90% w/ 2 min recovery ; 2 x 100m @ 90% w/ 1 min recovery
Saturday: Long Jump Drills / Weights
Sunday: Active Rest

Oni, hi

Maybe you should think about increasing the speed/percentage-effort of your runs over the cycles to come as you get fitter, rather than increasing the volume. I would suggest your volume is sufficient to get a good result at 400m.

Your sample weeks look a bit more like General Preparation Phase work than in-summer season training. The plyo and the acceleration sessions seem to be the only days you are potentially going to go near 100% effort.

The other thing is you’ve got six sessions a week on the track (which is including the plyo/accel days). I hope you’re going to get massage because that’s quite a load for the legs and back.

There is also a bit of doubling up in each of those sample weeks. Why do two sessions of repeat 200s ( or a session of repeat 150s and repeat 200s in the same week)? It’s starting to look a bit like an 800m training program when you get too much into that area.

Perhaps you can play around with varying the intensities and/or recovery times, or introduce a new element such as a long hill with a slight incline (eg, 300m hill, incline 10-15-degrees, grass or dirt to lessen impact on legs).

How old are you Oni? What is your training background? What are your goals for the coming summer? Will you run only 400m, or long jump, hurdles? The answers (to where you’ve been) will help determine where you can proceed, if you know what I mean.
kk :slight_smile:

sorry for the irrelevant of the question, but i don’t remember this being covered in the “anaerobic threshold” thread, as it’s a question for track training twice per week

so, if one session is for accel/speed, how best is the other one managed for 200-400m? speed has improved indoors, but i am pretty sure i’ll have 400s in there in the summer for the club, so i need to get some relative fitness

would you have a simple progression of 200s getting the time down to that of the 2nd 200 of a 400m race and later on perhaps add, or alternate fast special endurance runs, when speed will also be there?

thanks and apologies to Oni!

Hey kitkat, thanks for the heads up. Now that i think about it, i really do lack speed work.

A little bit about myself, im 17 and have been running for 3 consecutive years. My goals for this the next season is to run 53s and below. So far my best is 55s. I will also do long jump, but im focusing primarily on 400m.

Oh by the way, when i said training during the summer, i meant im gonna be training for the next season (march - june).

Do you think i shoudl take out one of those 150/200m sessions, and add in speed work such as acc dev? The reason im not doing any hill runs is because i cant find any around here. Thanks

Hi Oni (& Niko),
I think you might get caught up in a kind of dynamic stereotype (stuck in the same rhythm) if you work too often, for too many reps in the same intensity over the same distance.

Despite what I wrote earlier, you don’t necessarily have to delete a 150/or 200 session but I think you can profit more by changing one of the variables (if you decide not to vary the distance).

By that I’m suggesting maybe you break the 6-8 x 200m into maybe three sets, so for e.g. 3 x (200m + 200m) with the 200m in around 3sec slower than what you are currently able to run for 200m from a standing start. (So go run a time trial when you are a bit fresh and see what you can do today for 200m, then add 3sec and you’ll have the come-home speed for the 400m you are currently capable of running. E.g. If you can today run 200m in 23.8sec, then you’re talking about running 200m repeats in around 27sec 28sec.

If you could run 3 x (28sec + 28sec) with about 2 minutes between those two 200m runs done in 28sec, you would have a session that is relatively intense but still not so raging hot that you couldn’t do it in winter or do it without risking an injury. It is a pretty safe session. BUt it’s still hard. Try just one set of it.

The role of General Preparation Phase (GPP) is to cover all your fitness needs specific to your event. A high jumper or a thrower doesn’t need to run short recovery repeat 200s. It’s not relevent to their needs. BUt it probably is for your needs Oni. So you’ve chosen the right kind of distance to run your track reps over.

If you decide to drop one of your repeat 200 sessions and you don’t have a hill to run up, some people like to run on sand, some up stadium stairs, some through ankle-deep water (if you are near the beach).

If those sessions are part of your GPP you might opt for a circuit session, like dividing a football field (basketball or tennis court) into “stations” and skipping, hopping or bounding (or running) from point to point and then doing a set of exercises at each point, eg. 10 x sit ups, or 10 x pushups, of 10 x vertical jumps (knees to chest). You can build those reps up to 30 if you want (or more). BUt you want to build a few of those stations into a little circuit and go continuously for at least a few minutes. I like a circuit which is simple but we do it on a soccer field and the best of the athletes I’ve worked with have got the time down to well under six minutes (although some have taken 15 minuets to get through it when they first do it. We take full recovery between after completing a circuit and then do it one more time.

Stuff like the circuit, hills, sand, shallow water, stairs are all “bridges” from the strength developed in the gym (squats, power-cleans, benchpress etc) and the sprinting/jumping.

Niko hi,
You’re probably right in all you’ve said here. I think the session of repeat 200s I described to Oni (and the simple formula for arriving at a target time for your repeatable 200s) would be appropriate for anyone who is also looking to dabble with the 400m but may only want to do one session a week.

Of course, there will come a time when a 400m runner needs to go beyond 200m and run some 300m reps at a sustained pace, as described somewhere in that monsyer thread called “lactate threshold” (which, for Oni’s reference, if in the “Sprint Training” section, probably on page two now because no-one has contributed to it for a couple of weeks to boot it back to the top of the heap :frowning: )

kk :slight_smile:

Kitkat, I like the idea of the split runs. I’llprobably change my friday’s session into something like that. As for thecircuit sessions, I don’t know when to do it, maybe i should take off weight training during saturday and do that instead. By the way, do you think my speed development is adequate? Because i think to run a good 400m, my 200m time must be faster.

Hi Oni,
You haven’t said what your pb times are for 100, 150, 200, 300?

But yes, you don’t really have a speed development component in any of the three sample weeks here, except for the odd acceleration session.

You have to address that issue of course. You can do it by putting in a couple of high quality sessions per week, but you need to be pretty fresh when you do those sessions. So that means you may want to look at building a couple of very easy days (or rest days) into your week.
Or you may look at a structured system of cycles, where you do a little block of training where the emphasis is on speed development for a couple of weeks and then carry a thread of that speed into a secondary block of a couple of weeks where your emphasis will be on endurance (cardio-vascular as well as muscle - - the sort of stuff you’ve listed in your sample weeks). Oni there has been a huge amount of discussion on this idea (concurrent development plan for 400m) in that aforementioned “lactate threshold” thread.
kk :slight_smile:

much appreciated!

In terms of >200m intervals, depending on time and progress, i might have to “wait for it” to come through racing itself, which might suffer at first, but i can leave with it… -if some of these races come early… time and schedule will tell…


PS if i am not mistaken, the French is away…

Ya, i read that lactate threshold thread. It was long and brutal but yet i finished it. Here’s what im going to do, im going to rearrange the sessions, so that im more fresh for the speed work:

<GPP> 4 weeks

Monday: Acc Dev/Plyos *Weights
Tuesday: Tempos Runs 1200m (will slowly build up)
Wednesday: Split Runs 3x(2x200m w/ 30s rest) *Weights
Thursday: (same as tuesday or low intensity plyos)
Friday: 3x(300m + 150m w/ 30s rest)
Saturday: Core/Weights
Sunday: Rest

What do you think? Wednesday and Friday’s volume will go up as time pass.

KitKat will comment on that, i suppose.

however, if i remember correctly he recommended 2 min rests between the split 200s. Look for consistency throughout this session, i think it’ll work better this way…

also, Fri’s session seems pretty hard with this volume -and you say that it might go up later on, too; what speed are you planning to run these at? In any case, full recoveries between sets should be a must


2 min rest? Hm i must’ve misread then. Ill go back and check later. As for fridays session. Im going to have around 15-20 min recovery between each set. The intensity will be around 90%.

Hi Oni,

If you run backup 200s with only 30sec rest, the second rep will become either very slow, very technically poor or most probably both. Nikoluski is correct. Please stick to two minutes and hold your form and race rhythm (even if the rhythm you set is the target pace of only the last 100m or last 200m of your target 400m time-model).

Re: Fri - If you can run 3 x 300+150 off 30sec with 20mins between sets you are either going to run both reps of each set slowly, or you will be signing up for extreme pain. There are two basic approaches to running a 300+150; run the first 300 at tempo as a depletion effort and then hit the 150 very fast with help of prevailing wind behind you. Or you can hit both reps at 400m race effort, which is essentially a broken time-trial. When you run them that way, you really don’t want to be doing three sets. It will bury you for several days.

Re: Volume: More work isn’t necessarily going to make you a better sprinter. Go with a bias toward speed, rather than volume. You will find 2 x 300+150 off 30sec rec will sort you out. Remember the “specificity” rule. If you stray too far from your race rhythm in your training, you will not be training to race. If your technique is not close to your racing technical model, you will not be training to race your optimal race.
kk :eek: :slight_smile:

Isee, thanks for the enlightment again kitkat. I ran a 300m trial yesterday, i hit 38.8s. maybe i shouldve gotten by 200m split but darn i forgot. Track season is ending in 3 weeks. After that, i have about 4 weeks prior to summer. I’m gonna use these 4 weeks as GPP before moving on to other stuff. How should i change the sessions as i move into spp? Increase intensity and vary the distance?

Oh by the way, what can i use to replace hill runs?

Hi Oni,

I gave some thoughts earlier on options to replace hills. Personally, I favour hills (especially long hills in the GPP, moving to long with short backups in pre-season or strength wedge cycles of training). You could try some combination sets on the track - something that will serve to bridge gym strength to track strength. But the long hills for me also develop endurance more targeted at 400m.

Combo sets you might contemplate include my favourite: 2 x 80m sled drag, then 2 x 80m alternate high skip (like high jump take-offs) and then 2x80m buildup sprints (to 95% effort or whatever comes comfortably).

You can build up to do from three to five sets of that in the pre-season phase.

It will help convert your weightlifting strength into something you can apply when sprinting or jumping. It will help you long jumping too, due to the plyometric element.

Re SPP: Yes, get more specific to the events your want to contest. Usually that means you cannot do as much volume, but I’m not a high volume believer anyway, so I tend to increase the velocities and sometimes lengthen the recoveries. It varies with the effect you’re trying to obtain by your training.

kk :slight_smile:

KK, thanks for everything so far. I now understand what needs to be done. A little off topic but have you heard of oxygen deficit training? I was just wondering if those will aid a 400m runner. just a little curiosity. :slight_smile:

Oxygen deficit training? You means like run while you hold your breath? Or run up at high altitude? It’s a bit out of my experience. But if it’s holding your breath while exercising, I’m not thrilled with the idea.
I would be extremely interested though to learn how those deep-sea free-divers manage to stay underwater for so long just holding their breath while paddling around catching fish or shell fish. That may have implications for endurance running, though I doubt it because runners move so quickly, must bear the weight of their own body and must pump blood so fast for those reasons and therefore they could probably not slow their heart down the way deep-sea free-divers do.

I see, well it came across my mind because i read an article that stated it might help a 100m sprinter finish the last 20m portion of the race faster.

it’s a term used to measure anaerobic capacity of athletes, usually in middle distance runners, but i am not aware of any specific “oxygen deficit” training; apart from that and although not my area, the concept is under questioning -as so many other things in life… :rolleyes:

Hmm, maybe i should dig up more info about it. Anyway i forgot to mention one thing, drills and technique work. I am thinking about doing drills (A+B skips, high knees etc) after a running session rather than after warm up because it would teach my body to hold form when fatigued. Is that right?

In regards to the final template that i had came up with:

<GPP> 4 weeks

Monday: Acc Dev/Plyos *Weights
Tuesday: Tempos Runs 1200m (will slowly build up)
Wednesday: Split Runs 3x(2x200m w/ 2 min rest) *Weights
Thursday: (same as tuesday or low intensity plyos)
Friday: 2x(300m + 150m )
Saturday: Core/Weights
Sunday: Rest

I was wondering if i can use this same template until preseason, then change things up.