How to Run The 400
One of the hardest races to run, it’s a love-hate thing.
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The 400M is no doubt the hardest race to run. You either love it, or hate it. I hated running the 400 before I found out how to run it. One of my top athletes was running records everywhere he went, but after presenting him with a race plan, he improved his personal record by almost 2 seconds! So I’m not going beat around the grass; let’s get straight to it.
Start off Fast
When you get out of those blocks, you want to sprint with 100m intensity for about the first 6-8 steps because you can go all out here and it won’t catch up to you at the end of the race. Why is that? For sake of understanding, I’m going to give a very simple explanation. When you start a race, any race, the first 4-6 seconds are what I like to call “free” seconds. This is mainly because your muscle cells are running on ATP and after that they’re going to switch energy systems and it’s more of a lactic acid problem. So if you start off quick, you won’t be any more tired than if you started off jogging. Your goal here is to just get a good start and hopefully try to catch up with the person ahead of you or don’t let anyone get clsoe to you if you’re in lane 8.
Remeber: Not alot of people know how to run the 400 so they will start off slow. Don’t midn them and stick to your race plan.
Set your Pace
Around the first 100 meter mark, you should set your pace. This is the pace you’re going to stick with for the rest of the race so don’t aim too high. Whatever you do, do NOT slow down here. When you pass the end of the first exchange zone for 4×100, you should be making up the stagger and nobody on the inside should be in front of you.
For the first straight, just maintain the pace you set at the beginning. Keep your strides long, keep the arms moving, and just float through. Nothing too fancy.
The Hard Part
This last curve is what separates good runners from excellent runners. Around here everyone will be tired and panting. The last thing they want to see is you overtaking them. And this is exactly what you will do. Here you either go “Okay, not today, I’m not dying today” or you use your Jedi Mind Tricks and just forget about everything and push it. Push through the pain because you WILL be in pain. Try to overtake as many runners as you can and when you pass the last exchange zone for the 4×100, you should be near the front of the pack or at the front of the pack. The position you are in now will most likely be the position you will be in at the finish line.
All the Way
People ask me how to run this last 100 m. The answer is, I can’t really tell you how. at this point, your body is in pain, you have that metallic taste in the back of your mouth. You just want to stop. At this point you’re just trying to get to the finish line. Really exaggerate arm movements and leg movements here because as you tighten up throughout the race, your movements get smaller. Here, it’s important to maintain proper form. So it may feel like you’re exaggerating, but you’re really not. Finish the race.
Run your Race
A good race plan will help you beat out most of the competition but remember you can’t rely on these things alone to be a truly amazing runner that sets records everywhere you run. To be a successful 400M runner, you must be strong mentally and physically. Not letting go and pushing yourself to places you’ve never been to before will win the race. By that I don’t mean passing out after the race. Know your limits. And then push those limits.
Best of luck.