The 400 meter dash is a track event that combines speed, muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance. As a result, a specific training program must be used to meet the metabolic and physical demands of the event.
To meet these demands, 400-meter sprint workouts focus on top speed, tempo training and stamina with an overall goal of developing technique, speed, strength and endurance. Brian Mac Sports Coach insists that 400-meter training should be adjusted according to a person's age, gender, fitness level and objectives to name a few. It's not a one-size-fits-all sport.
Speed Endurance Workout
Training can be customized to meet the specific demands of the 400-meter dash. Using distances ranging from 100 to 450 meters, you run a series of sprints near top speed with a specific rest interval between each sprint.
An example speed endurance workout starts with a total-body warmup lasting five to 10 minutes followed by ten 100 meter sprints followed by a five- to 10-minute rest period. Then you perform six 150-meter sprints with a five- to 10-minute recovery.
The workout follows up the line of 200, 300, 350 and ending with two 450-meter sprints followed by 10 minutes of rest. The goal of the workout is to maintain a high intensity level for every interval.
Read more: 12 Essential Tips for New Runners
Flying Start Workout
Flying starts sprint workouts allow you to accelerate so you can focus on top-speed running mechanics. Start 10 meters behind the starting line for an acceleration zone so you cross the starting line at top speed. Continue for a distance of 50 to 100 meters at your 400-meter-race pace. Rest for three minutes and repeat the flying starts for 10 rounds.
Tempo and Rhythm Workout
While the 400-meter dash is a sprint, you must have a specific tempo and rhythm to reach your best time according to CoachR.org. For a rhythm workout, begin at the starting line and run 100 meters at your race pace, followed by a 50-meter jog for recovery.
For example, if your race time is 52 seconds, aim to finish the 100 meter interval in 13 seconds. Immediately continue with another 100 meter interval at race pace, followed by another 50 meter jog recovery. Do seven repetitions of this cycle of 100 meters on and 50 meters off.
Read more: 12 Running Mistakes You Could Be Making
Tabata Speed Intervals
Tabata intervals focus on speed, stamina and endurance. This workout was developed by a Japanese sports scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata, who coached the national speed skating team for his country. While he developed the protocol training the speed skaters on stationary bikes, Tabata can be used for training in any sport.
According to Penn State, sprint as far as possible for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of eight rounds . The goal is to cover as much distance as possible during each sprint interval without reducing the distance in the later rounds. Use the last two rounds to work on your stamina and endurance to simulate the home stretch of a 400-meter race.