Any Good 400 meter Hurdle Workouts out there?

This is a follow-up to the article Estimating 400 meter Hurdles Potential.

There are so many social media sites out there, it’s hard to keep up to date: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

One of them I belong to is LinkedIn, and their Discussion Groups.  I belong to one group called Track and Field Coaches and recently Sarah from Seattle asked the question,

“Any Good 400 meter Hurdle Workouts out there?”

(By the way, she is trying to break 57 seconds in the 400mH, so she is a seasoned athlete.)

I responded with my question: Are you training long-to-short, or short-to-long?

There are some good responses, but the best one (so far) is from Charone Williams of www.athleticgrowth.com

Below is a cut and paste from his response, unedited.  I’ll add my comments to the comment section later, but overall, Charone offers some solid advice and great ideas.

Well, first remembering that Hurdlers are Sprinters, workouts that train all energy systems are good for the 400 hurdler. Some really good specific workouts target every zone in the 400 hurdle race such as starts over H1-H3, tempo runs over H1-H4 or H5, 150’s over H6-H10, etc. I really don’t know which part of the season that you are asking about and your training method whether it’s long to short or short to long, however, just looking at the month and time of year, I would assume that you would be in the early to mid season phase, but I will give you some workouts to cover all energy systems and every phase of the training year. Some of my favorite workouts are:

GPP General Prep: 2x5x30m, 2x5x40m, any combination of 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s not to exceed 500 meters in a given training session; 4x150H (H1-H4); 4-6x300m; Sprint Hurdle training 3-5xH1-H6 with reduced height and distance (bring them in closer so the hurdler can run faster between them); 2-4x500m; 2-3x600m

SPP Specific Prep: Continue with speed training 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s; 5x200H (H1-H5); 3x350m; Sprint Hurdle training 3-4xH8-H12 (14 hurdles if you’re tough! lol) with reduced height or distance or both; 2-3×500; 2-3xBroken 500’s and 600’s with a combination of running over hurdles and without hurdles (2xBroken 500H-300H, rest 30-60 sec, 200 flat, repeat); Speed endurance 60m-150m

Early and Mid Season: Continue with speed training; 2x(250H, 250)-max effort; 2×80, 2×100, 2×120, 1×150-max effort (increase and decrease the reps as the athlete shows improvement), 2-3xBroken 400-500 hurdles, 2x450m; Special Speed Endurance 150m-300m, 2x3x250

Late Season: Continue with speed training, continue with previous training sessions and lower the volume and increase the intensity, you’re looking for quality at this time and resting the athlete more and more, ice therapy is important throughout the season and very important now especially for regeneration; 1x250H, 1×150-max effort; 2x300H, rest 45 sec, 100m-max effort and full recovery (15-20 minutes); 2×320-max effort and full recovery; 2×350-max effort and full recovery; 1×220, 1×180, 1×150-max effort and full recovery; Sprint hurdle training 2-3x8H-full recovery

I know this is a lot, but I hope it helps in your training.

  • I would have her run the full flight of hurdles after a 500 or 600m run.
    I would also not give her for recovery more than 1 minute after max efforts.

  • one of my hurdlers’ favorite workouts was the week of our District/Conference meet. In high school we ran only 300m hurdles, but I am sure you could adapt it to 400m hurdles easily. We called it the “Perfect Race” workout. The hurdler would go on a gun and run the first 3 hurdles–I would time to the touchdown of the 3rd hurdle.

    If the hurdler was satisfied with that section of the race we would continue; if not satisfied, then we would have a short break and do it again until the hurdler was satisfied with that section. For the second section, the hurdler would start halfway between the 2nd and 3 hurdle and run and go over the 3rd hurdle–I would start the stopwatch on the touchdown on the 3rd hurdle (continuing the perfect race) and stop on the touchdown on the 6th hurdle.

    Just like the first section, if the hurdler was satisfied with the run, we would go to the last section–if not, we would do it until the hurdler was satisfied with the 2nd section. The hurdler would now start between the 5th and 6th hurdle to build up speed and strides and go over the 6th hurdle–I would start the stopwatch again on the touchdown on the 6th hurdle.

    The hurdler would then run the 7th and 8th hurdles and then go to the finish line where I would stop the watch. Same as the other 2 sections–if the hurdler was satisfied with the run, you were finished; if not, keep doing it until you ran that section perfectly.

    The “Perfect Race” was now complete! You add up the 3 sections of times and look at the total. It will be faster than they have run competitively ( unless they just don’t want to do the repeats until perfect). You can then tell your athlete that the time he/she just ran is the perfect race, and that he/she could actually run that time if they put together their “Perfect Race.”

    Hopefully, this will inspire them to run a great time the next few important meet. I actually had 1 boy (only 1) that ran faster at the State Meet than he had run his “Perfect Race” 2 weeks before–he won the race and set a school record in the process.