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How to improve your 400 meter sprint - Sprint Training Program included

Updated: Oct 14


You may not focus on 400-meter sprints or even sprinting in general, but you should. The ability to sprint is an expression of ability and the better you can do at it, the fitter you are. The ability to sprint is valuable to the average person, but also the athlete.


Benefits for the average person


Not everyone likes cardio. For those who do, most prefer distance running, often as a form of relaxation or for recreational competitions, of which 5K is usually the shortest distance. Regardless of whether you dislike cardio, like to distance run for relaxation, or like to distance run for recreational competition, working in sprinting will have direct benefit.


In everyday life, a person rarely has to run 3.1 miles (a 5K), but a person may need to quickly run across the street, chase after a child during play, or for some other reason, such as to catch something blowing away in the wind. The ability to sprint helps all these areas. The better your sprint, the quicker you can run after a ball during play with the kids or for any other reason.


Benefits for the athlete - sprint training program


For the athlete, recreational or professional, the ability to move quick is essential, even in non-running sports. Think about hockey for a moment. Though on skates, a person has to be able to move quickly to chase the puck, drive, shoot, and score. Sprinting on the track will help speed skating on the ice. For a distance runner, being able to sprint will potentially allow a runner to overtake a competitor at the finish line. For a baseball player, improved sprinting ability allows that athlete to quickly round bases or catch balls in the outfield. The list could go on.


My goals is not to go over the ins and outs of how sprinting is beneficial but instead to get you thinking about how it can benefit you in personal and fitness life.


The 400-meter training program


As you work through this program, keep the following notes in mind:


  • Begin each workout with a warm-up that includes a general warm-up as well as a running specific warm-up. A cool down should be included as needed.

  • During the warm-up, aim for a minimum of one mile distance at easy-moderate effort.

  • For each sprint, go "as fast as possible for the day," meaning base the speed on how you feel. That said, good form should be maintained, even if this calls for utilizing lower speeds.

  • For interval training and mile runs, pay close attention to the recommend rate of perceived exertion (easy, moderate, hard). Hard will be near max effort. Moderate would allow you to have a light conversation. Easy would allow you to have an ongoing conversation.

  • During interval training, aim for a minimum of one mile distance.

  • During the cool down, aim for a minimum of half-mile distance.

  • At the end of any week, you should have a bare minimum of 10 miles completed

  • This six-week training should be completed twice, equaling 12 weeks of training

Week 1

Day 1

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed, complete two times

Interval Training—10 minutes of walk one minute, jog or run one minute, base effort on how you feel

Day 2

Run 100 meters, rest as needed, complete three times

Run 200 meters, rest as needed, complete three times

Interval Training—10 minutes of walk one minute, jog or run one minute, base effort on how you feel

Day 3

1-mile moderate difficulty run

Week 2

Day 1

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Run 800 meters, walk or jog 800 meters

Interval Training—10 minutes of walk one minute, jog or run one minute, base effort on how you feel

Day 2

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed, complete three times

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Interval Training—10 minutes of walk one minute, jog or run one minute, base effort on how you feel

Day 3

1-mile max-effort run

Week 3

Day 1

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Run 800 meters, rest as needed, complete twice

Interval Training—10 minutes of walk one minute, jog or run one minute, base effort on how you feel

Day 2

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed, complete two times

Interval Training—10 minutes of walk one minute, jog or run one minute, base effort on how you feel

Day 3

2-mile easy run

Week 4

Day 1

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed, complete two times

Interval Training—10 minutes of walk one minute, jog or run one minute, base effort on how you feel

Day 2

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed, complete three times

Run 400 meters, rest as needed, complete two times

Interval Training—10 minutes of walk one minute, jog or run one minute, base effort on how you feel

Day 3

1.5-mile moderate difficulty run

Week 5

Day 1

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed, complete two times

Interval Training—10 minutes of walk one minute, jog or run one minute, base effort on how you feel

Day 2

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed, complete four times

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Interval Training—10 minutes of walk one minute, jog or run one minute, base effort on how you feel

Day 3

1-mile max-effort run

Week 6

Day 1

Try to set a 400-meter PR, then rest 3-10 minutes (as needed)

Try to set a 800-meter PR, then rest 3-10 minutes (as needed)

Interval Training—10 minutes of walk one minute, jog or run one minute, base effort on how you feel

Day 2

Free run - complete run of your choice

Day 3

Free run - complete run of your choice



Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, and the International Sports Sciences Association. Nathan has 17 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.

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