400m Race Secrets: First 60, Last 60

Out of the blocks, how hard do you run the first part of your 400 meters?

I usually run 40 meters, then relax.  For younger athletes, I put a piece of tape and tell them to drive hard (but relaxed) until they hit that mark, then relax and fast until the straightaway where you can start to “float”.

Clyde Hart suggests to drive the first 60 meters hard.

[For more information, see How do you lose a 400m race?]

At the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Martin Manley of Jamaica ran and won in 45.89… and it wasn’t until the last 60 meters when he made his move over the American.  In fact, he ran a full 1 second PB since Champs in March.

Martin MANLEY 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk

Martin said in his post race interview that he executed the first 60, last 60 very well, meaning he drove out of the blocks and made a final push over the last 60 meters.

Great piece of advice, but don’t forget the middle 280 meters!

Interview here:

Race here:

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
  • I agree with this article but I would add that it is very important to start your build up from 200m – 300m. Then you can make your final push in the last 60m or even earlier if you are feeling great. One of the biggest mistakes quarter milers make is when they fall asleep on the second curve.

  • Wow! Look at the control over his limbs at the last 60m. He kept his mechanics front (ahead of hips) and kept them fairly straight. Not to mention his relaxation! Compare his arms the last 60m to every other athlete (USA and Kenya had horrible flailing limbs–No offense).