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The 400-meter sprint is an intense track-and-field activity that requires a running strategy that carries you through several phases within the race. Getting in shape to run the 400 meter takes training that builds both your speed and your endurance. Different types of training runs are used to condition your body for the different phases of the sprint, resulting in stronger muscles that are ready for the stress that running the 400-meter sprint will place on them. A full sequence of training requires five days to complete, and you can increase the intensity of your training with each sequence as your fitness improves.
Warm up with a one-mile jog or run and perform dynamic stretches to prepare your muscles for your first training session. Begin your sprint training by running a 300-meter sprint at close to full running speed. Allow yourself to rest for eight minutes or longer, then run an additional 300-meter sprint. If possible, perform one or two additional sprints after eight-minute rest periods for a total of up to four 300-meter sprints. Cool down by walking until your heart rate and breathing return to normal and then perform additional stretches to prevent joint stiffness.
Repeat the sequence in Step 1 during your next training session, substituting seven or eight 100-meter sprints for the three or four 300-meter sprints. Allow yourself to rest and recover for eight minutes between each sprint. If you are unable to complete the full sequence of sprints, perform as many as you can before cooling down and stretching.
Jog for 20 to 40 minutes during your third training session, taking slow and easy strides during half of the time you are jogging. This not only gives you a break from sprinting but also helps you improve your endurance. Adjust your speed as necessary to keep jogging the entire time, though you may slow to a brisk walk if necessary to rest.
Warm up and stretch during your fourth training session, then run up to six 30-meter sprints with minimal rest between them; this helps you to increase your speed and simulates the acceleration phase at the beginning of the 400-meter sprint. Jog for four minutes to recover, then perform up to three 100-meter sprints with minimal rest between, followed by an additional three minutes of jogging. Cool down and stretch afterward.
Run three or four 350-meter sprints near full speed during your fifth training session, allowing yourself only three minutes of rest and recovery between sprints. If you are unable to complete all of the sprints, perform as many as you can. Don’t forget to warm up, stretch and cool down during the training session.
Repeat the full training sequence, starting over with the 300-meter training day. As your endurance increases, add additional sprint repetitions and jogging time to your training days to continue improving both your endurance and your muscular strength.
Run occasional practice sprints at 400 or 450 meters to get used to the feel of running the full distance. Begin your sprint with approximately 30 meters of intense acceleration, followed by 200 to 250 meters of relaxed running at a constant speed. Accelerate again as you get closer to the finish line, giving yourself a burst of speed within the final 30 to 50 meters.
- Baylor University: 400 Meter Training
- Brian Mac Sports Coach: How to Improve Your Sprinting Speed
- TexasTrack.com: Getting in Shape for a Grueling Race
- Include at least two rest days each week during your training period. Ideally, rest days should follow days of intense training to allow your muscles additional time to recover from the exercise.
- Try to avoid excessive muscle tension during your sprints, as this can actually slow you down. Instead, actively try to keep your muscles loose as you run instead of pushing yourself to try and make yourself go faster.
- Consult a certified track-and-field coach, personal trainer or other fitness professional before beginning sprint training if you are out of shape or have never participated in sprinting events before. He will teach you the proper way to run during a sprint to prevent injuries and will provide additional training advice that is suited to your current fitness level and running experience.
Born in West Virginia, Jack Gerard now lives in Kentucky. A writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience, he has written both articles and poetry for publication in magazines and online. A former nationally ranked sport fencer, Gerard also spent several years as a fencing coach and trainer.
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It is important to get in shape before track season starts if you are serious about being competitive. You will have a greater advantage as you train for events and races due to a smaller chance of becoming injured and a greater chance of becoming stronger and building a higher level of endurance. It is difficult to stay in optimal shape for track year-round, so the best track athletes take a few months before the season to get in good shape, stay there until the season is over, and then take a training break.
Create a plan to get in shape for track season and write it down. Begin training two to four months prior to the beginning of the season for best results. The amount of time that you dedicate to getting in shape depends on your drive, motivation and current level of fitness. Plan to increase your overall level and amount of training each week until you reach the beginning of the season. Combine certain activities into one day, such as cardio and strength training, so that you can fit everything into your schedule. Take at least one or two full days off per week to prevent overtraining, which can cause problems that include injuries and burnout.
Do a moderate-intensity cardio activity on three or four days per week. Begin by doing 20 to 30 minutes at a time, depending on your current level of fitness. You should be able to carry on a brief conversation while exercising; otherwise, you are working too hard and should slow down or stop. Add five minutes per session each week until you reach 90 minutes. Moderate-intensity activities include jogging, swimming, cycling and aerobics classes.
Perform strength-training exercises, such as lifting weights or Pilates, two to three times per week. Increase the amount of weight or the intensity of the exercises each week that you are training. This will help you build power and endurance for track season.
Train for the specific event that you plan to focus on during the track season on two or three days of each week. This does not need to take a long time, but will help keep you sharp and ensure that you are ready to go once the season begins. For example, if you are a sprinter, do three to five sprints on these days. If you plan to focus on the long jump, do the long jump three to five times.
Perform plyometric exercises three to five times per week to help increase your speed, power and performance. Do one minute of standing jumps, one minute of side-to-side ankle hops, and one minute of standing long jumps during your first week of training. Increase each exercise by 30 seconds every week.
Eat a diet that consists mainly of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and healthy fats. This will help your body run smoothly and efficiently, because you will be getting all of the vital nutrients that you need. Your daily diet should range between 1,800 and 3,000 calories depending on your weight and the amount of training that you are doing. Talk to your physician or a nutritionist to ensure that you are eating right based upon your specific body type and goals.
By: Frederick S. Blackmon
Published: 16 November, 2018
Track and Field athletes must prepare for their competitions way before they reach the starting line. Though competition season typically runs from April to July, athletes must try to stay in shape during the winter months. Pre-season training must focus on programming, conditioning, strength building and proper nutrition.
If you want to get in shape for track season, then you should start with a well-orchestrated training plan. Consult your track and field coach to help you build a training program that spans the entire year. There are two different levels of your sports specific plan: strength training and cardiovascular endurance. Your training should begin at least eight weeks ahead of track season’s normal training schedule. Your strength building plan should feature exercises that build overall strength as well as muscular endurance. Your cardiovascular training should build gradually. Aim to improve your training mileage by at least 10 percent every week.
Strength Training in Pre-Season
During track season, you’re going to need muscular endurance to get through relentless training drills and practice races. The pre-season is the perfect time to fine tune your training and put in some extra work in the weight room. Also, if you’re worried about a nagging injury such as tendinitis, then strength training is one of the best ways you can prevent aggravating the injury during track season. Start a routine about eight weeks beforehand and you can get your muscles toned and in shape with just two to three sessions a week. Do exercises such as squats and calf raises for the lower body and the bench press and upright row for the upper body and core.
On the Track
You can still hit the track during the off season. Try getting up to speed for the season with the 10-20-30 method. Warm up with a low-intensity run. Then, move on to a set of interval drills. Maintain a light pace for 30 seconds. Build up to a 20-second run at moderate pace and then finish up with a 10-second burst at full speed and power. Repeat this interval drill three to five times over a five-minute period with intermittent rest periods in between sets.
Thinking About Your Diet
One key way to get in shape for track season is to be more conscious of what you eat. The off season also coincides with several holidays, which might compel you to eat way more than what you would during the regular season. Eat smart and avoid the sweets. Eat plenty of lean protein and fish as well as plenty of vegetables and fruits. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after your training sessions.
Now’s your chance to use track workouts to burn not only big calories but rubber too
If you haven’t set foot on a track since high school gym class, you’re missing out. “There are so many possibilities when you’re training on a track,” says Joe Holder, a USA Track & Field certified coach in New York City. You can get in your HIIT without a timer-let the straightaways (approximately 100 meters) be the stretches for your sprintervals, instead of a set number of seconds-as well as think outside the oval for its extras: namely, bleacher stairs to bound up and an infield for body-weight exercises. And those speed drills are just what you need to get running faster and stronger. Runners who did interval workouts twice a week, alternating 10-meter all-out sprints with 25 seconds of rest, improved their top speed by 5 percent within one month, according to findings in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. (Don’t forget to check out the best running tips of all time before you lace up.)
Unlike steady runs, which are aerobic exercise, sprinting on a track is anaerobic exercise-that is, the short, intense bursts tap your body’s ability to break down carbs in the absence of oxygen. Improving your anaerobic capacity will boost your muscles’ threshold for fatigue, giving your legs more staying power during races. Plus, the hug-the-curves nature of running on a track (typically a quarter mile, or 400 meters) increases the activation of certain muscle groups like the abdominals. “You can literally sprint your way to better abs,” Holder says.
Switching up distance, intensity, and recovery times will also keep your workouts exciting and allow you to adjust for different goals. (There is a scary downside to sprint training, though. If you’re a beginner, you might seriously damage your body.) If you want to get better at 5Ks and 10Ks, aim for shorter recovery times and you’ll increase your ability to resist fatigue, Holder says. To get stronger, increase your speed, which engages more muscles. And if you’re gearing up to run farther distances, slowly start adding length to your speed intervals. We’ve got you covered: Holder has created a targeted track workout for every pump-up-your-run mission. Whichever you pick, Holder recommends starting with a one-mile jog to warm up, followed by dynamic stretches, including knee hugs, leg swings, and lunges, which mimic motions you’ll do during your run. Finish with running drills like high knees. Post workout, cool down with some ab moves such as planks or boat pose to promote core endurance, and finish with another light one-mile jog if you’ve got it in you. (Try these plank exercises for a crazy strong core for those cool-down moves.)
Ready to run? Choose a goal below-Get Faster, Build Endurance, or Increase Stength-and work one or two sessions a week into your routine on non-consecutive days. On your mark!
If your goal is to PR your next race, speed workouts are essential. The challenge is to avoid tensing up your muscles during each sprint. “When you’re relaxed, it ensures that the prime muscles you need for sprinting are firing correctly,” coach Joe Holder explains. Go hard-you can do anything for 10 to 20 seconds, the typical work period. Plus, you’ll have plenty of time to rest between intervals. (FYI it’s key to properly rest your muscles both before and after running.)
1. Do four 100-meter sprints (a quarter of 1 lap) at 90 percent of max effort, walking 2 minutes between sprints. Recover for 5 minutes.
2. Do four 60-meter sprints (just more than half of the straightaway) at 95 percent of max effort, walking 2 minutes between sets. Recover for 5 minutes between sets. Perform 2 to 3 sets.
3. Do four 30-meter sprints (about a third of the straightaway) at 100 percent of max effort, walking 2 minutes between reps. Recover for 5 minutes between sets. Do 2 to 3 sets.
“Speed endurance workouts-ones that have you push at your race pace for long intervals-help you to muster that extra kick when you think you have no more to give,” Holder says. To build up that stamina, you’ll crank your speed for longer distances and have less time to rest than during regular speed workouts, but you’ll work at 80 percent of your maximum intensity rather than 90 percent. You still won’t be able to hold a conversation, but you also won’t be panting.
1. Do three 800-meter intervals (2 laps) at 80 percent of max effort, walking for 90 seconds between sprints.
2. Do three 600-meter intervals (11/2 laps) at 80 percent of max effort, walking for 90 seconds between sets.
3. Do three 400-meter intervals (1 lap) at 80 percent of max effort, walking for 90 seconds between sets.
4. Do sixteen 200-meter intervals (1/2 lap) at 80 percent of max effort, walking for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
Head to the bleachers and find a stretch of stairs that will take you no more than 15 seconds to ascend. This type of stair workout recruits more muscle fibers than running on level ground, Holder says, and working on an incline will force you to lift your knees higher and push through your feet with more force in order to propel yourself forward. You’ll build strength in your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves, plus training like this will make tackling hills feel easier.
1. Sprint up the stairs 6 to 10 times, walking down and resting 2 minutes between sprints.
2. Run up the stairs 6 to 10 times, skipping every other step. Walk down between sets and rest for 2 minutes.
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Sometimes life can pull you in a million different directions, all of which make you avoid exercise. And you know what, that’s A-OK! We all need the occasional hiatus. But getting back in shape doesn’t have to be dread-worthy, either. In fact, easing into a regular fitness routine—just one small step at a time—will help move you along the road to fit and healthy. To help you get to a place where you can finally put that first foot forward, we spoke to fitness pros who offer the best ways to get back in shape and reignite your active lifestyle. Follow their advice, and don’t forget to celebrate all the small successes along the way. And for more ways to stay in shape, here are 21 Ways to Sneak In a Workout While You’re Waiting For Your Food Delivery.
Be SMART with goal setting.
SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. “As you re-start exercise after your workout hiatus, remember to be kind to yourself and set reasonable goals,” says Rachelle Reed, PhD, CPT, Pure Barre’s manager of training development and barre kinesiologist. “Rather than jumping in head-first, start slowly.” Write down those goals so you can check back on them in a month or two, too.
To be in shape for games, basketball players must condition themselves for long-lasting endurance. (See Three Ways to Get in Basketball Shape.) This requires more than running lots of long, straight-line sprints. It means the ability to change direction and to transition between sprinting and defensive sliding.
Since both skills are so important for success on the court, training them should be part of your basketball conditioning drills. To improve your short distance sprinting and your defensive sliding speed, incorporate the following basketball conditioning drills into your workouts two to three times per week. (See also Improve Your Basketball Conditioning Program.)
Thunder Sports Institute 17s
A common basketball conditioning drill, 17s require you to run from sideline to sideline 17 times in just over a minute. Although your goal is to complete 17, set a minimum of goal of 12. This variation makes it easy to track your progress and gives competitive players an extra push, preventing them from coasting through a standardized drill.
- Run sideline to sideline for one minute
- Keep track of how many times you cross the court
- Rest for one minute
- In the first set you complete 17 times across you’re done. If you fail to complete 17, you must run a second set.
- You must step over each sideline; if you don’t, the set doesn’t count and must be run again after one minute
- If a set is invalidated, it must be completed normally or it won’t count
- If you complete fewer than the 12 minimum crosses in the second set, rest one minute and run a third set
- If you consistently complete 17 trips, increase your goal
These basketball conditioning drills have four parts, and when starting out, it’s best to run each part separately. Once you know what you’re doing, run them altogether without stopping. Depending on your level of conditioning, you can run one to three sets straight through. When defensive sliding, stay low and never let your feet come down inside your hips. The diagram shows how to do all four parts. For the sake of clarity, the diagram shows each part performed at a different location down the length of the court. However, you will actually begin each part at the same point on the sideline.
- Part 1: Starting on one sideline, sprint to the opposite side of the key, back across the key, then to the opposite sideline. Continue sprinting the same pattern back to where you started.
- Part 2: Sprint to the opposite side of the key, defensive slide back across the key, then sprint to the opposite sideline. Continue the pattern, sprinting between the sidelines and far sides of the key and sliding the short backtrack across the key.
- Part 3: This is a reverse of Part 2. Start by defensive sliding from the sideline to the far side of the key, sprint back across the key, then slide to the opposite sideline. Continue the same pattern, sprinting only the short distance back across the key.
- Part 4: Just like Part 1, only everything is a defensive slide. Make sure to face the same direction on all slides so you get an equal number of reps in each direction.
Football is characterized by impressive feats of speed, strength, power and agility. But if you don’t have endurance, such feats are impossible to maintain through four quarters. (Check out The Ultimate Conditioning Test for Football.)
You may not like it, but conditioning after a workout is essential to get in shape for football season. This will allow you to play your best when you are running a hurry-up offense or trying to prevent the other team from scoring late in a game.
Most coaches incorporate conditioning into practices, starting with two-a-days. I encourage you to be proactive and take your conditioning into your own hands. You will be ready for every sprint while others are gasping for air.
The two best football conditioning drills are Gassers and 150-Yard Shuttle Runs. Do each of these drills once a week on different days, preferably at the end of your speed workout. Start with one set and progress to three sets as your endurance improves. Make sure to rest for two to three minutes between sets.
- Assume starting position at one sideline facing the opposite sideline
- Sprint to the opposite sideline
- Slow down, drop your hips, turn your shoulders and touch the line with your left hand
- Sprint to the opposite sideline where you started
- Slow down, drop your hips, turn your shoulders and touch the line with your right hand
- Repeat for a total of four sprints
Time yourself and try to improve each week.
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Blast Calories Without Moving!
Can’t get outside or to a treadmill? This circuit is your perfect solution; it alternates running-inspired cardio moves (low- and high-intensity) with resistance exercises to deliver even better results than you’d get from pounding pavement (or burning rubber) for an hour.
How it works: Each 5-minute set is broken down into three parts: a 3-minute, moderate-intensity jog, followed by a 1-minute, higher-intensity interval, and then a 1-minute strength move as an active recovery. Do each interval set twice. Try this workout up to 4 non-consecutive days per week, alternating it with your favorite strength plan (like this great resistance routine for runners) and/or flexibility training sessions.
If you’re short on time, just do each interval once for an effective 25-minute cardio session.
You’ll need: Nothing, but we recommend a timer to help keep track of the intervals.
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Interval Set 1
Jog in place: 3 minutes
For the first round, jog at an easy pace to warm up. Once you are warm, focus on picking up the pace and using your upper body (drive bent arms back and forth). Make your jogging intervals more intense by moving your feet faster and lifting your knees higher.
Sprint: 1 minute
“Run” in place as fast as you possibly can while pumping your arms back and forth for 60 seconds [as shown]. You should be moving so fast that your heels hardly touch the ground.
Runner’s lunges: 1 minute
This thigh- and glute-toning move serves as your active recovery after your sprint. Stand tall with your feet together, arms by your sides. Step back with one leg and lower into a lunge, hinging forward from the hips and reaching fingertips to the floor on either side of front foot [as shown]. Press through your front heel to stand back up and immediately repeat on the other side. Do as many reps as you can, alternating legs each time, for 60 seconds.
Repeat the full set one more time (2x total).