I have used ratios quite a bit over my coaching career.
For example, the classic “doubled your 200m time plus 4 seconds equal 400m potential”
Some say that should be 3.5 seconds.
Or, “your best 100m time doubled +/- 0.20 seconds equals your 200m potential”
Or even, “your 400m time doubled plus 10 seconds equals your 800m potential“.
The chart below shows the 2015 IAAF “A” standards, for both Open and Youth.
What does this tell us about the 400 meters?
First, note how the men’s 400m standard is doubled best 200m time plus 4.5 seconds. For women, the 400m standard is doubled best 200m time plus 5.6 seconds. That’s one mighty deceleration!
While you are at it, look at the other differentials.
My 100/200 double holds true for Open Men, but you might as well throw it out the window for women and Youth!
In general, you rarely see a female 400m runner who can run even splits. That is, finding a women who is very strong and “not as fast over the first 200m”. That strength quality doesn’t exist compared to men.
You may immediately think of Butch Reynolds, but he wasn’t a slow 200m sprinter.
But for women, they have to rely on speed reserve, which mean they all must have awesome 200m open times.
That being said, for the maturity of 400m development in females, you will find fast & young sprinters. Fast, strong & young is rare.
Perhaps coaches are hesitant in prescribing the butt-locking lactate training sessions for speed endurance and special endurance to teenage girls?
This is the main reason why I prescribe short to long training for young and developing sprinters. I rather focus on technique first, and add strength and power over the years. See the article on How to Run Faster… at any Age.
Predicting 800m time from 400m
And it gets crazier for the 400/800 combo. We have seen sooooo many calculators:
4 seconds per lap rule
5 seconds per lap rule
double plus 10 second conversion (Canada’s Gary Reed)
double plus 12 second conversion
double plus 15 second conversion for Open Men, but 17 seconds for Women, using IAAF “A” standards (see chart above)
So to conclude, I declare the Death of 100m 200m 400m 800m Ratios!