Track and field is a sport that combines various running and throwing activities, with each event requiring specific physical skills. The 400-meter sprint, for example, requires a combination of speed, strength, power and endurance to maximize your performance. A training program for the 400-meter sprint combines workouts including intervals, tempo and stamina runs with nutrition and strength training.
Perform technique drills before every running workout. Improved form increases running efficiency, making it easier to run faster times. Focus on staying relaxed with a stabilized torso while you run, with a quick leg turnover and powerful arm swings.
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Perform interval training workouts two to three days per week. Interval workouts are characterized by alternating periods of work and rest repeated for a specific number of rounds. The goal of interval workouts is to develop the cardiovascular system without decreasing strength, speed and power. A sample interval workout is running as far as possible in 20 seconds, resting 10 seconds, and repeating for eight rounds.
Run at a specific tempo to learn proper pacing during interval workouts. Your tempo is based on your anticipated 400-meter time. Use a stopwatch to time each interval. For example, if you want to run a 50-second 400-meter sprint, perform 200-meter interval workouts in 23 to 25 seconds.
Perform stamina workouts one day a week to improve overall endurance and ability to maintain top speed for the entire race. Stamina workouts are characterized by running 600 to 800 meters at a pace slightly slower than your 400-meter pace. For example, if your time for the 400-meter sprint is 60 seconds, perform the stamina workout by running 600 to 800 meters at a pace of about 70 seconds per 400 meters. Repeat for four to six rounds.
Strength train two to three days a week. Choose functional weight-lifting exercises such as deadlifts, cleans and squats along with bodyweight exercises such as lunges, pullups, pushups and situps. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions per exercise and choose three upper body and lower body exercises per workout.
Perform dynamic stretches before a workout and static stretches after a workout. Dynamic stretches are movement-based while static stretches involve holding the stretch. Sample dynamic stretches include leg swings and arm circles. Static stretches include the sit-and-reach hamstrings stretch and standing quadriceps stretch. Complete each stretch for 30 seconds.
Rest two days a week so your body and muscles can recover between workouts. Rest days are essential for reducing injuries.
Follow a specific personalized nutrition plan. Focus on 50 to 60 percent of your total calories from carbohydrates such as fresh fruits and vegetables along with 25 to 20 percent from lean protein sources such as chicken and fish and 25 to 20 percent from healthy fats such as nuts and seeds.
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Consult your track coach for personalized workouts.
Gradually incorporate these exercises slowly to reduce your risk of sprains and strains.
- TexasTrack.com: Effective Training for a Grueling Race; Drew Roberson
- The CrossFit Journal: What is Fitness?; Greg Glassman
- Sports Fitness Advisor: Interval Training; Phil Davies
- Brian Mac Sports Coach: How to Improve Your Sprinting Speed; Brian Mackenzie
- Brian Mac Sports Coach: The Performance Benefits of Flexibility Training; Brian Mackenzie
- USA Track and Field