My PB:

100:12.2

200: 24.2

400:51.14

Pbs, was set in the same season.

Goals: wants to run under 50 sec. Its a long term goal for me.

OK, first I would assess your times to see if you can determine a relative weakness. By relative weakness, I mean based on your current PB ratios, what area is limiting you the most, acceleration, speed endurance, special endurance? It goes without saying if you improve your speed you’ll get faster, but let’s take a look anyway, just for fun.

First let’s calculate your 200m/100m ratios and 400m/200m ratios…

24.2/12.2 = 1.984 200m/100m ratio

51.14/24.2 = 2.113 400m/200m ratio

Using the ratios compiled by Bret Otte and Dave Hunt, let’s see what your ratios tell us.

Distance Taake HS Men/Elite HS Men

200/100 1.984 2.01/2.02

400/200 2.113 2.21/2.19

First, your 200m/100m ratio is low (your 200m is faster than one would estimate from your 100m time) compared to the mean HS runner, which possibly suggests your acceleration, and possibly max speed, lags behind your speed endurance.

Second, your 400m/200m ratio is also lower (your 400m time is faster than your 200m time might predict) than the mean HS runner. This is not suprising to me, since you come from an 800m background. If you use the Otte and Hunt ratios to predict your 400m time from you 100m time, things become more obvious.

12.2 x 2.015 = 24.58 x 2.2 = 54.08

So you are running almost 3 full seconds faster in the 400m than your 100m time would suggest. So just as we thought, accleration, and definitely max speed, should be a primary focus of your training in order to improve your 400m time.

Also, let’s look at the model 400m pace for running your current 400mPB of 51.14. While there is some discussion, I think one common race model is to run the first 200m split about 1sec over your 200mPB, and the second 200m split within 2secs of the first split. So for a model 51.14 pace you get…

24.57 + 26.57 = 51.14.

This is a little suprising to me because 24.57 is only .37secs slower than your 200mPB, and then you have to back that up with a 26.57 split (only 2.37secs slower than your 200mPB) to get your 51.14! More likely you ran something like a 25 + 26.14, or even something with a more even split. As an 800m runner, you may have been more used to running even splits, but you don’t want to do that in the 400m.

Now for your goals. Lets start with 50.5…that’s a little bit more than halfway there. So what splits do you have to run to reach 50.5? The model suggests…

24.25 + 26.25 = 50.5

Without a doubt, you need to get your 200mPB down to around 23.25 or so.

Training focus? Everyone knows that if you improve your max speed, you improve your 400m time. But I believe someone with your ratios could be allowed even a more focused approach to speed, at least until your ratios are more in line. Considering your ratios, my suggestion would be to train GPP like a 100m specialist, alternating high intensity acceleration and max speed days with low intensity extensive tempo days. I read something a coach once wrote that would apply to you perfectly…”First, train to be the best 60m sprinter you can be, then train to be the best 100m sprinter you can be”. That should apply to you during GPP and early SPP1. In other words, don’t worry as much about speed endurance in GPP. I would also reconsider my original suggestion that you do the ‘harder’ extensive tempos, which as you suggested earlier, might interfere with your speed work. Just do the slower pace recovery extensive tempos and focus on your acceleration and max speed. Perhaps once or twice out of every four week mesocycle during GPP you can run a hard extensive tempo just to see where you are.

Also, make sure your strength work is in place. For someone coming from a 100m/200m background whose ratios are higher than the average HS runner, a more focused approach on harder extensive tempo and special endurance might be appropriate, with less concern about gym strength and acceleration. But for you, with ratios lower than average, posterior chain strength, plyos, acceleration, and pure speed work are the ticket to short term improvement. After your ratios are more in line, you can take a more balanced approach.

After a few mesocycles of GPP, retest your 100m, 200m and 400m times and let’s look at the ratios again.

Do you keep a training journal on this forum?