Usain Bolt 200 meter splits, Speed Reserve and Speed Endurance

19.19. Sounds like a year from the WWI history books.

What is the take home message, when you compare this with his 19.30 from Beijing 2008?

(1) The faster your 100m time (speed), the faster your 200m can potentially be, with a faster opening 100m (speed reserve) taking the curve in consideration.

(2) Everyone slows down the second half of the 200m.  Training the speed endurance components (and to some degree, special endurance) will improve this part of the race.


*One can argue if Usain Bolt ran through the line for 100m, he would have run 9.63 or 9.64, making his speed reserve 0.35

Usain Bolt’s WR splits were 5.60, 9.92, 14.44 and 19.19.  That’s 9.92 and 9.27 100m splits (compared to Beijing’s 9.98 and 9.32)

His Speed Reserve is 9.58 – 9.92 = 0.34 seconds, with the curve in consideration.

If you take away 1 full second for acceleration out of the blocks, as referenced in the Valeri Borzov – Training Procedures in Sprinting article, that gives a breakdown of:  (1.0 + 8.92) + 9.27

Therefore his slowdown is 9.27 – 8.92 = 0.35 seconds.  The above chart shows a similar execution from Beijing’s 19.30 200m.

Compared to Michael Johnson’s 19.32 from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, his splits were 10.12 + 9.20, so Johnson still has the fastest second half ever recorded.

Final Thoughts

You will never run the first 100m all out (hence the speed reserve), plus there is always a slowdown over the final 100m straightaway (hence the speed endurance training component).

My theoretical calculations for 100m and 200m is doubled your best 100m time +/- 0.2 seconds. This is a good indicator on what you need to improve on the respective events, or to determine which is your “better” event.

9.58 x 2 = 19.16
19.16 +/- 0.2 = 18.96 to 19.36 range.

That being said, there is potential improvement on the current WR.  And how about ideal win conditions?  Pretty scary, don’t you think?

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • Adjust for reaction time and we get to compare the 6/100ths (0.056s) difference between the 1st halves of the beijing & berlin 200m runs. controlling for elevation, temperature beijing & berlin are similar enough.

    Beijing RT 0.182s 1st half of 9.976s
    Berlin RT 0.133s 1st half of 9.92s

    5/100ths (0.049s) of the 6 100ths (0.056s) difference between the 2 runs can be explained by his lousy start in beijing. If you accept the data is accurate to the 1/1000th’s than the difference is only 7/1000ths.

    effort wise ignoring RT his beijing @ berlin runs are extremely consistent they’re virtually indistinguishable.