Last Updated on March 28, 2010 by Jimson Lee
Watch any elite 400m race, and there’s one thing noticeable:
They all have rhythm for the first 250 or 300 meters. These guys are smooth!
Thus, a good sense of pace and rhythm is therefore crucial.
If a 50 second 400 meter runner with a 23 second PB is asked to go out in 24 (followed by a 26) what happens if he goes out in 23.5? Or 24.5?
The secret is RHYTHM. You have to know PACE. Every distance runners knows how to pace, say 8 min per mile or 5 min per kilometers. Sprinting at top speeds is another matter.
John Smith’s 7 x 100m Rhythm Workout @ 400 race pace
The following is a workout that John Smith of HSI (and former coach at UCLA) recommends in his Sprints, Starts and Relays DVD video to develop the correct sense of pace and rhythm in the 400 meters. I own this copy in VHS and now it’s re-released in DVD.
In short, it’s a series of 7 x 100m that take the athlete completely around the track, so the turns and straights are negotiated just as in an actual 400 m race. Great for visual & mental work!
You will need cones at every 50m interval.
The workout begins at the normal 400m starting line stagger. From this point the sprinters run 100 m at race pace. For example, if you want your athletes to reach a time of 50 sec (or 49 sec on the fly, allowing 1 second for acceleration out of the blocks) in 400m, they should aim to cover each 100m in 12.25 sec on the fly.
A 50 second quarter-miler usually has a PB of 11 low, and can easily run 10.5 for 100 meters on the fly. This means training an intensity of 85%… something short-to-long coaches shiver at. S-L coaches believe in either 75% or lower, or 95% or higher intensities.
After the first 100m, the sprinter JOGS OR WALK BACK 50m (marked by the cone on the track) and run the next 100m in 12.25 sec. The sprinter can start 10 meters back and get a running start.
Rinse and repeat until you have finished 7 x 100m, or when you reach the 400 meter finish line.
Variations include starting out with fewer reps (i.e. starting out with 4 or 5), varying the recovery, or even doing longer distances such as 150m.
This type of short recovery works the aerobic component… something that would make Clyde Hart very happy!
Of course, stop the workout when times or mechanics degrades.
If you’ve done this type of workout, please comment below.
John Smith: Sprints, Starts and Relays DVD video
In my training group we do something similar which is a variation of the tabata protocol. Running for 20 secs all out and 10 secs rest. The goal is reach a full 200m on the first and at least 150m there after.
In my training group we do something similar which is a variation of the tabata protocol. Running for 20 secs all out and 10 secs rest. The goal is reach a full 200m on the first and at least 150m there after. This workout is deadly to say the least.
Anyone owns that DVD?Its from 1991, so alot of 400infos in it..I suppose..is that suggested or not a good complete dvd?
I have done this workout a number of times. The sprinters would usually do one set while the quarter milers would do two. We ran from a 3 point stance and ran 11-11.5 pace. The 6th and 7 get pretty tough. I found that this workout really helped me work on different phases of the 100m while feeling tired (even though one is starting at different positions regarding the curve) Keeping relaxed and not going too fast on the first few reps are key.
The athletes that excelled at this workout were patient in the drive phase and were relaxed through-out the run. I would only recommend this type of running for 100/200 meter runners, while the 10 meter running start mentioned in the article for the 400m runners.
Jimson Lee says
@Jarid – just to put in it perspective, your 100m SB is in the 10.30’s, right?
Yes thats right.. I also have an easier time with workouts like these due to my longer 400m type stride, where as some other faster sprinters sometimes have a really tough time finishing the last few reps.
W.E. Price says
I was fortunate some “many years ago” to have witnessed this workout with Everett, Thomas, Washington et al during pre & comp phases. At that time he was maintaining sharpness with moderate CNS resourcing as I recall.
I still recruit this session although timing for its’ placement is critical. We also do a similar workout subsequent to GPP and during pre-comp – 5x200m in which the intent of the subject workout might follow.
We’ve found that this session preps athletes coming from repeat grass 600s in a L-S training protocol. The runs are 200 (600m race pace) with a 50m jog back for 2 laps on a 400m track. Recovery between sets (2-3) begins full and generally becomes more incomplete.
This session seems to work especially well with our female athletes and has served to bridge well to the faster split run sessions and higher crafted AT runs without major shock.
Nicola Lux says
Hi, this is a very interesting workout, as my U20 400 hurdler is not able to maintain his competition pace… without hurdles! When can you suggest to use this workout? I understand it is right in the pre-competitive fase, but can I use it in the competitive too? How can you classified this workout? (eorobic-lattacid?).
Jimson Lee says
@Nicola – at 85% intensity, this would be an intensive tempo workout.
Many years ago I did a standard workout of 4 laps of sprint 100 + jog 100. The sprint was about 12.5 and the jog was a slow jog but faster than a walk.
Was a great way to get that 25s opening 200 of the 800 ingrained.
The difference w/ the first the tabata workout is that 200m is not ideal for either CP depleation its long gone and lactic acid tollerance is usually in the 40 sec or 300m range. the 7 x100 m will also teach 400m runners a sence of pace for the event. I coach high school girls w/ a state qualifing time of 59 so we aim for 14 seconds w/ a jog back and do 1 set followed by a 20min break and repeat. It is very effective and teaches race modeling.