400 meter Training Workouts (Annual Plan)

This blog is full of training workouts from various coaches, and they all have various programs and approaches, such as long to short, vs. short to long philosophies.

You can read Lee Evans 400 meter training, or Bud Winter’s Endurance Sprint Program for Lee Evans.  You can get Clyde Hart and Stephen Francis programs simply by signing up for the newsletter and the free 30 day coaching program includes a 400 meter hurdle program from Mike Holloway.

Lance Brauman gave a week-in-the-life of his training program and that includes Tyson Gay and VCB (at the time).

You can read Team GB’s Martyn Rooney 400 meter training plan.

Enter Rolando Greene…

400 meter Training Workouts (Annual Plan)

Rolando Greene

Rolando Greene helped Arkansas’s women’s track program become a national power during his 16 years on the Razorbacks’ staff as the Associate Head Coach.  Now, he’ll try to duplicate that feat in West Lafayette as Coach Greene was hired in July 2012 as Head coach of the Men’s and Women’s cross country and track and field programs at Purdue.

Fall Conditioning: 8-10 Weeks


AM: 2 mile run with accelerations

PM: Strength/Endurance training

Circuit Day

Our objective here is to focus on fitness.  We teach and do continuous warm-up with drills, etc. and runs of 50-75 meter between exercises

For Example: we do 6-8 exercises at 12 reps with a 50-75 meter run in-between. We will do 2-3 sets of that with a 5 min run between each circuit.  We do this barefoot to strengthen the foot and the foot/ankle joint


Speed Development and acceleration is our focus and we start with 10 meter acceleration with lots of focus on technique and sprint mechanics, working up to 75 meters.


AM:  Morning runs with accelerations.

4×100 meter build ups working to 10×100 build ups after each morning run throughout the fall conditioning phase

PM: Rest


Speed Development – same as Tuesday


AM: 2 mile run with accelerations

PM: Strength/Endurance training

We train at the intramural field or trails with volume about 3000 meters total with runs as far as 1000 meters.  No matter what, our focus is on maintaining proper mechanics.  i.e. 3×1000 or 1000-800-600-400-200  The efforts are solid but only the recovery is times

Saturday and Sunday:

Rest.  If they feel they need to do something, I encourage a 25-30 minute run with grass accelerations.

Weekly Training Cycles

Monday:  Endurance

Continuous warm up  (20 min) with Efforts of 300-800 meters


  • 800  (Recovery is timed only)
  • 400 (From time to time, we do this uphill)
  • 200
  • 600
  • 400


  • 200 (use a great effort, recovery is timed)
  • 200 (always done on grass field or x-country course)
  • 600 3 min recovery
  • 200
  • 200

Wednesday: Pool/recovery run if 20-25 min or rest

They choose or sometimes I choose for them

Thursday: Speed Endurance

3-5 x 250m @90 second recovery, or

6-9 x 150m @ 3 minute recovery

This is vital in preparing the 400 meter runner to handle the rounds and prepare them mentally to double during Championship season

2-3 x 300m (Race Model), 12 minute recovery

Friday: Endurance Training

Purpose here is to help them flush the system, aids in recovery, and continue to fortify the base that was built in the beginning of the first 8 weeks

Split 500 or 400 x 3-4 sets

  • 300/200 w/90 sec rest, 7 min between sets
  • 250/250
  • 400/100
  • 350/150
  • 300/100 (same rests as 500’s)
  • 250/150
  • 200/200

Saturday and Sunday:

Rest.  Or, if I think it is necessary, I will encourage them to go for a run on the grass with accelerations

Competition Phases


  • General warm up
  • Block starts in turn, 30-50 meters, at 75%
    Focus is not speed here, just execute drive acceleration techniques
  • We do 3 efforts this day but we never exceed 1500 meters
    For example:  we might do 3×500 @ 15 sec intervals, with 15 minute rec or 3×400 meter with 5 min rec or 2×300 meters / walk 50 / sprint 50 / x 4 with 8 minutes between efforts
    End the day with 40 meter wind sprints


Block start again 30-50 meters.  For us, speed is the focus here. We do a workout where we sprint 80 meter, walk 100, sprint 100, x 4 sets w/5 min between sets


  • 20-30 minute run, easy
  • 10×100 (4×4 relay style)
  • focus on moving stick through the zones
  • core work / Med balls
  • Cool down
  • massage / Ice Tub


Shake out

1-3 efforts of Flying 100 or 150’s (5 min recovery) or 100-250-100 with 5 min recovery

(The times vary according to the time of the season)


AM: Shake out

Standing 3 point starts. 30-50 meters x 4 cool down.

Flexibility, massage, ice tub


Morning shake out / Breakfast before 8am

Wake the body up 3-6 hours before competition

Sunday: Rest

400 Meter Race Model

Key Elements:

  • Rhythm (establish early) within the first 150 meters, as smoothly as possible
  • The distribution of energy in the early phases of the race must be specific. You want to delay the onset of lactic acid as much as possible
  • Once the athlete commits they must do it with everything they have.  You want to embrace that discomfort gradually but confidently. There should be a differential of 1.5-2.5 seconds between the first and second 200 meters to allow for a smooth race and consistent finish.  Anything faster could be detrimental in the latter stages of the race.

As your athlete matures and they improve in their strength levels, you should work towards a faster differential between the first and second 200 meters; more like 1.0 – 2.0 seconds.  As their 200 meter time improves, their 400 times should get faster as well.

Again, some here might say this is not what they would do; but this is what I do and it works.  We have been pleased with the results we have had over the years.

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at SpeedEndurance.com
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
  • Can someone ask the question, what do they do for this portion? “with 10 meter acceleration with lots of focus on technique and sprint mechanics, working up to 75 meters.”
    What instructions are given for technique?
    What instructions are given for sprint mechanics?
    If they say posture how do they accomplish the effect they are looking for?
    If it is pushing, how do they accomplish it? Do they just say push?

  • hi, my son is 13 years old and is going to high school.he is running the 400m in pre season 56 sec.to quility for the south african junior champs he must do a 53.how do i get his speed wright between 300 and 150 meters.there is no problem between 150 and the last 50. He strong but between 150 till 300m help please