A Review of 400m Training Methods

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    Gabe Sanders on #83178

    Question Mike:

    What is your stance on returning a 400m athlete to form coming off a hamstring injury when that athlete is already in a short to long system? Would you adjust the regim to fit a more tempo based program i.e. what led clyde hart to create his training system for Michael Johnson and for years to follow? Or would you trust and allow a proper physiotherapy program re-inserting the athlete back into the same short to long path but simply in an adjusted spot in the system based upon returning fitness?

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    coachformerlyknownas on #83184

    Sorry for the following but I held back as long as I could.

    CFKA’s 400 tid bits:

    Key to 400m, dont take any right turns.

    “Anything over 1 lap is redundant”

    And my fav… when I was a much younger CFKA, one of my HS kids came up to me while I was talking to the opposing coach (a guy in his late 60’s) So my kid starts telling me his master plan for running his open 400 to come that day – when to accelerate, how he was going to pace it, etc… 5 minutes later, my opposite looks at him and with the perfect stare tells him, “Son, last time I looked they still called it, the 400m…DASH” – dash being said in a half drawl / half growl.

    My kid walked away from us like the lunch room bully just stole his desert.

    Again, sorry to interupt.

    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #83192

    3 years ago the best 400m guy I had at Army (47.1x his jr year) hurt his hamstring really bad during the 1st meet of the indoor season in a freak accident involving a sharp cut-in at the brake. We weren’t able to do too much running at all and basically just did all tempo work (some running but mostly pool and bike) and some 10m hill accelerations. His lifting generally stayed the same but speed work was practically non-existent. He definitely ran his best when he had regular doses of speed and it really hurt his performance. By the time outdoor rolled around he was able to do speed work again but had lost a lot of his speed. That was also the year I tried to do an ends-to-middle training approach and of all my 400m experiments I actually liked it the least.

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    Jay Turner on #83205

    3 years ago the best 400m guy I had at Army (47.1x his jr year) hurt his hamstring really bad during the 1st meet of the indoor season in a freak accident involving a sharp cut-in at the brake. We weren’t able to do too much running at all and basically just did all tempo work (some running but mostly pool and bike) and some 10m hill accelerations. His lifting generally stayed the same but speed work was practically non-existent. He definitely ran his best when he had regular doses of speed and it really hurt his performance. By the time outdoor rolled around he was able to do speed work again but had lost a lot of his speed. That was also the year I tried to do an ends-to-middle training approach and of all my 400m experiments I actually liked it the least.

    Ok wait, I’m confused. So now you’re saying ends-to-the-middle is NOT the way to go in your opinion? I know that in the end, we all have to experiment to find what works best for us, but I thought in an earlier post you said you like an ends-to-the-middle best of all. Please clarify.

    Mike Young
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    Mike Young on #83207

    Not really….I think I might have been unclear.

    I’ve known some people to be quite successful with ends to the middle approaches but my experiment with it wasn’t as good as I had hoped. We still ran quite fast just not as well as I’d hoped.

    What I was trying to say before is that a more balanced approach is better for continued success. This could probably come in the form of long-to-short, short-to-long, or even ends-to-middle as long as all aspects of physical development were being addressed throughout the year in some fashion and not neglected completely as is the case in some programs.

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    star61 on #83208

    Not really….I think I might have been unclear.

    I’ve known some people to be quite successful with ends to the middle approaches but my experiment with it wasn’t as good as I had hoped. We still ran quite fast just not as well as I’d hoped.

    What I was trying to say before is that a more balanced approach is better for continued success. This could probably come in the form of long-to-short, short-to-long, or even ends-to-middle as long as all aspects of physical development were being addressed throughout the year in some fashion and not neglected completely as is the case in some programs.

    Mike, just so everyone knows what we’re talking about, could you explain, in general terms, your preferred approach? I have one female athlete (18y.o. college freshman) who I worked with in the past that is just now wanting to get back into the 400m. In general, these are the progressions I had planned, roughly GPP, SPP1 and SPP2…

    Day 1 – Accel
    Day 2 – Easy Ext. Tempo
    Day 3 – Easy Ext. Tempo
    Day 4 – Long Accel
    Day 5 – Easy Ext. Tempo
    Day 6 – Accel
    Day 7- OFF

    Day 1 – Long Accel/ Max V
    Day 2 – Harder Ext. Tempo
    Day 3 – Easy Ext. Tempo
    Day 4 – Long Accel/Max V
    Day 5 – Easy Ext. Tempo
    Day 6- Accel/Max V
    Day 7 – OFF

    Day 1 – Max V
    Day 2 – Split Runs/Spec. End I
    Day 3 – Easy Ext. Tempo
    Day 4 – Max V/Speed Endurance
    Day 5 – Split Runs/Spec End 2
    Day 6 – Easy Ext. Tempo
    Day 7 – OFF

    The progressions are not exact and certain progresssions change at different times…not everything at once. I consider this an ends to the middle, because we are working accel/speed from day 1, and also hitting the other end, aerobic and lactic, very early as well.

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    davan on #83209

    Star–

    I’d be interested in seeing how you are progressing the individual elements a bit as one can say “accel” “long accel” “ext. tempo” and the like and mean very different things from a volume/density/progression standpoint.

    In your SPP1 base template, I’m a bit curious about the set-up because if you put the weeks together rather than just look at one week, you see that you have Max V days in 3 out of 5 consecutive days, which seems a bit excessive IMO for a 400m runner. Quite excessive for anyone actually, but especially a 400m sprinter.

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    star61 on #83215

    Star–

    I’d be interested in seeing how you are progressing the individual elements a bit as one can say “accel” “long accel” “ext. tempo” and the like and mean very different things from a volume/density/progression standpoint.

    In your SPP1 base template, I’m a bit curious about the set-up because if you put the weeks together rather than just look at one week, you see that you have Max V days in 3 out of 5 consecutive days, which seems a bit excessive IMO for a 400m runner. Quite excessive for anyone actually, but especially a 400m sprinter.

    The third group is a sample SPP, and there are only two accel/speed days. The second group is a late GPP/early SPP, and there are three speed days, but the volume on any given day would be less than if we were doing only two speed days. When we’re doing three speed days, the accels are short, the max v work is limited to one of the days, and the other day is a speed/speed endurance day. Depending on the volume, we may not do any accel work on the speed/speed endurance day.

    By the time we start doing any split runs, intensive tempo, or special endurance, there are only two speed days, with one being more a max v focus and the other being a speed/speed endurance focus.

    My point in posting was just to illustrate how one ‘concurrent’ or ‘ends-to-the-middle’ set up might work. If someone is doing strictly S-L, I would think they probably need to already have a strong endurance background such as soccer, cross country, or previous 800m experience. I don’t really like the L-S setup, due to to influences of CF and kitkat, who both stress the need to train speed from day one. And from my experience working with an athlete who did not play soccer, run cross country, and has never raced anything 800m or longer, we need the whole year to work on aerobic capacity and special endurance. So my post was to stimulate discussion with Mike, who stated above that he didn’t like ends-to-the-middle. I wanted to see how he would address speed throughout training, as well as how he would address aerobic capacity and special endurance.

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    Jay Turner on #83240

    What I was trying to say before is that a more balanced approach is better for continued success. This could probably come in the form of long-to-short, short-to-long, or even ends-to-middle as long as all aspects of physical development were being addressed throughout the year in some fashion and not neglected completely as is the case in some programs.

    Wouldn’t a balanced approach in fact be ends-to-middle? More specifically, wouldn’t all aspects of your development be addressed throughout using an ends-to-middle?

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    star61 on #85749

    This was a good thread that began in response to a great blog. So I’m hoping we can get back to it. For those who coach non-endurance athletes (no soccer, no cross country, no longer distance experience) I feel the ends to the middle is necessary, because building aerobic capacity and lactic tolerance can’t be done quickly. However, I also appreciate the issue of mixing speed work with endurance work during the same microcycle…both will probably suffer. What about using a block approach wherein speed was the focus for the first two weeks, and endurance the focus for the next two weeks, and so on and so forth. That way, both qualities are being trained from early in the training season, but since only one quality is emphasized in a 2-week microcycle, the two training modalities don’t work against each other.

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