The way of the "400" Thanks to KK

Obviouly this is KKs thread but always think about the developmental age of the athletes and what you think will be most beneficial for them over the long run. I think quite a bit can be done just by focusing on speed and general conditoining for younger and less well developed athletes (e.g. modified 100m training). You can just push the SE out a bit to 300s etc if they want to run the quarter.

Apart from Wolfgang Meier’s short to long program, I think I have less “long stuff” in my program than any coach I know!

But to your question: I found that to be competitive at 400m at world level (top 8), you need to be good enough to be in the medal mix at 100 at State level, be in medal mix for 200 at National level as a prerequisit to reaching an OF at 400.

So, yes, definitely, plenty of work from 20-80m. We certainly did a lot at various times of the year.

TC, in his response (any contributions from TC always valued by me) was spot-on. That’s all I did to get a couple of girls onto the 92 Seoul world juniors (200m and the other was 400 hurdles).

Whatever else may come into the equation, the 400 is still primarily a Sprint.

Thanks for both of your replies.

We have tried to look at the longer view and work more on 100s and 200s and done no work towards the 400s thinking that we will go to the 400m much later.

I think many junior athletes look at their 200m time and think that it will be easy to run a fast 400m and that they will be more competitive in the 400m event but it requires even more hard work and the positive results don’t always occur.

I see with your 200m sessions you have initially a walk back recovery. Is there a maximum time you would restrict that recovery to like 5 minutes.

Also I know you have the session where the athlete runs 300m and follows with the shorter runs. Should the athlete run the 300m at the pace they would for the first 300m in the 400m or should it be as fast as they could go. I would think it should be the first 300m in the 400m pace because I’d imagine they would be very fatigued.

The capacity for invention/creativity in program design is informed primarily by your understanding of the human processes and the outcomes you’re looking for.

Recovery after 200 should be what the athlete needs based on his/her condition and the weather conditions.

Mostly we did the 300 + short rep(s) off a fast tempo 300m, especially if the session was a backup day following a pure-speed day previous. Also if the winds were such that a decent 300 was too hard, we’d set up the back-up rep(s) to run with the wind and do some race modeling off a short recovery, say 30seconds. But all this stuff has been discussed at length at various places on the original “lactate threshold” thread (also under Fundamentals)

bump 4 nee 400 runners on the forum

  • I am still using these guidelines with relative succes(no tournament appearance yet, but pb’s almost every year.)

Awesome. Do you mind laying out your PR progression while using these guidelines and perhaps a sample training week(s)? Do you use as much volume as KK lays out? If so, how do you find it in terms of recovery and the need to taper off before meets? Thanks!

I tried the volumes of KK the first year. That was a fatal error injuries all over the place.

than i did about half of the stuff and well it worked.

before going on the ‘KK plan’ my pb’s were
11.00/22.13/48.84/51.60 (100/200/400/400h)
not they are all fatsre 100/200 by .2 sec. and 400/400h by more than .5

I was happy to find out improvent can happen in 30+ years old, with working full time.

sample week jun 2008 after sunday rest and saterday comp

Mo warmup- 3x60(last 30 timed) FR
Th Rest
We 3x20/3x30block/4x60 +/- 5’ rest +weights
Th 3x200 2’ - 20’ 2x200 2’
Fr Rest
Sa 300+260/30’/200+250/20’/150+2*40
Su Rest
Next 2 weeks taper before my major competition wich i did good against all odds.

Hope my body can hold out for few mare years. would be nice to sub 50 in 400H

Thank you for all the info. I read the whole LT thread recently (took about five days!) and I will certainly use some of what is discussed there but its very useful to get an inside look at how someone adapted it to make good progress. Thanks again and good luck with the sub50!

I think as a general rule, you design the program around the individual athlete. All athletes will continue to need to improve their speed over 100m etc, so you need to make sure this ongoing process is catered for - preferably on the day(s) which follow a rest day. Then on the day following your high-speed development session, you go for your endurance work which might take the form of tempo or a split run, with the opening rep employed to fatigue the athlete a little bit, then request the athlete to back up off a short recovery to deliver something demanding a greater effort (even if the speed is actually slower).

Regarding the volume in my GPP, just start by doing one set, or by doing more than one set but by slowing the reps to suit your athlete.

If your athlete has no background at all beyond 200m, I’d be very careful about introducing too much quality beyond 250m, but you could use some of the sessions like 3x4x150 and reduce that to, saying one set and see how she copes. Give her 20mins rest and see if she can go another set or half a set. Just take the template, cut it up and re-paste it in terms appropriate to the athlete.

Also, the athletes I’ve worked with have always achieved their career best results over 100m while with me (either on the clock in training or in actual championship results or national team selections). So I definitely keep a speed thread going pretty much from the outset.


I didn’t mean to discredit your advice in any way. I read through this thread, as well as the entire LT thread, and thought they were jam packed full of great information! However, just looking at your GPP/transition outlines and some of the proposed workouts I was certain that I would not be able to handle the routine as written, especially coming from a 60/100/200m focus. That’s why I was interested in hearing how others had coped with the program and what their successes were at full and/or modified volumes. I think you are absolutely right about adjusting things to the tolerance and needs of the individual and I plan on doing just that (with some extra speed work in the plan for a slow-poke like me :cool:)!


Thought I would get this thread active again, to show what Kitkat has given this site.

Funnily enough i have used all this info and set up a plan for myself and my athletes to use this winter, I have adapted to an 8 week GPP cycling phases of 2 weeks, currently in week 7.

Following this will be a 4 week transition (spp) leading into a phase of racing indoor on the 4/5 12/13 and 20th February.

Will be interesting to see how everyone has progressed using a set up very similer in sessions to what has been posted. The training has been going very well with everyone appearing to be in great shape. guess we will see the results in february lol

Coach to coach a-j I really hope all goes well for you and your squad in 2012.

I think there are four very good young men in the 400m development group whose coaches I mentor.

I would realistically rate three of these guys as London Olympic selection long-shots and I do not discount the fourth guy although he is lacking in the finesse displayed by the others, yet he has a tremendous fighting spirit and is as fit as a mallee bull.

We have recently emerged from the Transition phase and everyone has had at least two or three races, albeit some of those were club relay contests over 100m.

Others have raced over 200m once or twice from the blocks and three guys have raced from blocks over 400 at least once to date.

The early results are exciting with 200m PB times or secondary PBs first up this new season Down Under. We have taken the opportunity presented by the Xmas and New Year suspension of interclub meets to go back into a micro base (two hill sessions in 10 days although I would have preferred three, a bunch of 6x200m sessions and other more voluminous sessions).

Very soon we will go into a very brief TRansition II micro phase to pre-empt a return to racing. We have a very compressed domestic season because the Olympic selection trials will run from March 1-3 in Melbourne.

There will be subsequent opportunities to reach qualifying marks, but performing well at the Trials is the imperative: Perform there or Perish. That is as it should be, although when working with new talent who are still either in their first, second or third domestic season racing 400m there are still going to be rookie mistakes made on and off the track.

So with that being my reality, I am glad there are national championships a few weeks later as a backup if required.

Being rookies there is also the question of getting their individual tapers right and that usually takes a few trials. Well, we won’t have that luxury with a couple of these guys this Oz summer.

But I am really pleased to report that all four of the guys I think have international potential (at least for the 4x400m relay) clocked personal best times two days ago on the long hill we use, even in spite of the fact they had to watch their step on the sodden grass where some trucks had indented tracks across our traditional pathway.

The hill which took some of these guys almost a minute to run a couple of winters ago is now being dismissed in under 42sec by two of the guys - one of whom logged it in 40.4sec this week. This was clocked by Matt Lynch and if he ever gets it together in a race on the track will open a lot of eyes.

He ran 46.6 on debut three summers ago and hasn’t looked like running that fast since, although he has wintered well in 2011 and may race his first 400m of the new season on 7 January 2012 at Blacktown stadium. Matt is one of those guys who just thinks too much. The issue for him is to think about the process and if he can keep that focus, he’ll do very well.

There is so much more to being a winner than being physically gifted.


What is your experience with the transition phase and super compensation? This summer, weeks 2 and 3, athletes ran PBs (faster than trials 2 weeks prior) in the longer runs, yet week 4, they were sluggish. My feelings are they were quite loaded from the previous 3 weeks and felt it in week 4. Certainly, 2 weeks of PBs in a row should have signaled a possible sluggishness, although I was experimenting with the program a bit.

With my wordiness, how soon after transition would solid race be expected?


I only could predict based on athletes who strictly followed my own training program and cycles of GPP and Transition. But experience indicates they will run a solid race (200/400) first up and be looking at PBs by race 3. But for those athletes who have never trained or raced the 400m, then PBs can be expected all along the line for them because its all so new. And if I was correct in assessing they Do have talent for the 400m, then they will run a solid race first up unless they are overly cautious or wreckless with pace judgement. Wind conditions can also mess things up.

[b]BY the way ESTI, you asked me ages ago on Facebook or Twitter what I know about the Aussie 100m Hurdler Sally Pearson’s training. As you know she is now the IAAF Female AOY, the Athletics Weekly Female AOY and you can bet she’ll be Track & Field News’ Female AOY as well.

I don’t know anything much about her training but her coach Sharon Hannan was a big fan of Charlie’s and attended a seminar he gave on the Gold Coast I believe. She was tough enough to defy a ban by Athletics Australia on Oz coaches attending Charlie’s seminars. All the best coaches in the cities where Charlie spoke dismissed the ridiculous ban and sat at the feet of the master…

So that may give you an insight into why Sally was back racing over 100m or so on 20 December, after having completed cycles of training following her 12.28sec virtual world record for the 100 sticks in Daegu as recently as 3 September 2011. [/b]

Very interesting. With the different seasons down there, when is a typical gpp? With your previous posts about the olympic trials march 1-3??

Well, reverse it. The GPP in Oz would start post Nationals/Trials. These domestic majors are usually in March. Most elites would not take more than two weeks rest before resuming training. Whether they are preparing for international circuit or whether they have missed selection and will remain at home during winter, the first cycle of GPP would therefore usually start around mid-April. How long the GPP cycles last varies from coach to coach, athlete to athlete also in some cases. For those staying home to build a better machine, I’d be looking at two or sometimes three of the 6-week cycles of GPP which I use, before entering a Transition Phase with an eye to competing. We have just emerged from the standard Transition Phase just in time to squeeze in a comp or two before the Xmas-New Year recess (no decent comp available nation-wide, except for races on grass tracks at rural townships. I make it a rule never to race on grass. I think it’s just a risk not worth taking when an athlete is in or approaching the prime of their career … witness Sally Pearson who tore a quad sprinting on a cow paddock at some Victorian bush meet in Traralgon just a week or two ago).

[(no decent comp available nation-wide, except for races on grass tracks at rural townships. I make it a rule never to race on grass. I think it’s just a risk not worth taking when an athlete is in or approaching the prime of their career … witness Sally Pearson who tore a quad sprinting on a cow paddock at some Victorian bush meet in Traralgon just a week or two ago).[/QUOTE]

KK, why the negativity towards professional athletics and grass racing. It didn’t appear to hurt Capobianco,Brimmacombe, Naylor, Ross OR Cathy Freeman who regularly ran at the Tasmanian carnivals and Stawell. Would hardly call Burnie, Bay Sheffield or Stawell cow paddocks. interested in your thoughts on this.

KK, why the negativity towards professional athletics and grass racing. It didn’t appear to hurt Capobianco,Brimmacombe, Naylor, Ross OR Cathy Freeman who regularly ran at the Tasmanian carnivals and Stawell. Would hardly call Burnie, Bay Sheffield or Stawell cow paddocks. interested in your thoughts on this.[/QUOTE]

I don’t think it is a negativity towards pro, although I can’t speak for KK. I do understand were KK is coming from. I pull up sorer in back and quads running on grass than I do when I run on tracks (it is hamstring on the ttrack)