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Thoughts on the 2009 European Indoor Athletics Championships in Torino
What is the best way to run an indoor 400 meters?
Run hard, but relaxed to the break at 150m, grab the lead, and try to hang on staying relaxed as much as possible? Surge if a runner attempts to pass you on the straightaway?
Or, run your race for the first 150m, and if you are not on the lead, tuck in and draft behind the leader, then “slingshot” off the final curve before the start of the home stretch?
It’s all in the Curves
The indoor track turns are definitely a factor on the sprinting oval.
There is a reason why the 200m is no longer contested indoors at Major Championships. Because the order on finish will come from, in order, lane 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. There’s a bit of unfairness with the tight turns, despite having a banked turn.
For the 300 meters, the official IAAF rules is a 2 turn stagger, then break for the pole, which makes Wallace Spearmon’s 31.88 WR in 2006 questionable.
The Canadian College system runs the 60m and 300m for a reason. Thus the 4x200m is similar to a NASCAR race with high speeds, bumping and grinding.
How to Run an Indoor 400 meters
What does that mean for a 2 turn stagger sprint for the 400m ?
When you have Lane 6, you are half way on the curve, and basically you start the race downhill. (check the video below)
Plus, the curvature is less severe from Lane 6 compared to Lane 1, even on a flat unbanked track. The lesser the curvature, the more of a straight line.
Thus, you better get out hard but relaxed for the first 150m. First one to the pole usually wins, unless you are Tyler Christopher who can win the race in the last 60 meters.
The 2009 Euro Indoor Championships
Both examples can be seen from the 400m and 4x400m races.
Johan Wissman takes the lead from the start in Lane 6 but his aggressiveness from 150-200 meters won the race.
The 4x400m was equally as exciting. Italy’s 2nd leg does a great job getting back into the race, but it’s their anchor Claudio Licciardello who comes from fourth to first to win the race. Shades of Darold Williamson Greatest Anchor Leg come to mind.
Here are the races on YouTube in case you missed it:
UPDATE: Sorry, the video is no longer on YouTube.