Chasing Greatness

Preseason training for 400m runners (Week 7 of 12)

1.5K 5

Each Monday, for the next 5 weeks (and a total
of 12 weeks), I’ll be posting a preseason
training program for developmental 400m

I get so many questions about this event I’ve
decided to share what I’m doing. This way
you can copy it, pick it apart (respectfully),
or flat out steal it. Use it and see just
how much your athletes improve.

Of course, feel free post your comments and
questions below. I can’t guarantee I’ll
answer all of them, but I’ll do my best.


For Week 1 workouts, click here.
For Week 2 workouts, click here.
For Week 3 workouts, click here.
For Week 4 workouts, click here.
For Week 5 workouts, click here.
For Week 6 workouts, click here.

M: 7 x 40m from crouch, 3 or 4 point stance or
rollover start

7 x Standing triple jump

Lift Day 1:

2 x 12 – circuit format – rest
between sets exercises is 60-90”

DB bench press
Lat pull
Split squat
One arm row
Leg extension

T: 4 x 300m hills R= walk back recovery

Mile warmdown at slightly faster than
conversation pace. Last 400m – barefoot

Hurdle mobility

Core – stabilization

10′ static stretch

W: 3 x 8 x 100m  R= 45″reps/3′ sets
B = 15.5 – 16.5
G = 18.5 – 19.5

10′ warmdown run barefoot on grass
@ conversational pace

Core – athlete’s choice

TH: 3 x 500m R = 5′
B = 1:25 – 1:29, G = 1:40 – 1:45

Lift Day 2:

2 x 8 – circuit format– rest
between exercises is 60-90”
between sets is 3′

Back squat
DB incline
Chin ups
Bulgarian split squat (back leg up on bench single leg lunge)
Clap pushups
Seated Row
Hamstring curls

F: 10-12 x 200, R = 2′

B: 34 – 35
G: 38 – 39

800m barefoot warmdown (walk) on grass

Core – stabilization

Lift Day 1:

2 x 10 – circuit format – rest
between sets exercises is 60-90”

DB bench press
Lat pull
Split squat
One arm row
Leg extension

15′ static stretch


Remember: You can steal these workouts and use
them with your athletes. And you’ll be surprised
when they’re running lifetime bests before
the season even starts.

But if you don’t understand why the progressions
are what they are or how they fit into the
bigger picture, results will tail off before
they reach their major meets.

And you won’t know how to continue their
training once the 12 weeks is up.


  • Mike says:

    Coach L

    I’ve got an athlete who is probably 20-30 pounds over his ideal 400 m weight. He is willing to run longer runs in base training. Am I making a mistake having him run for 45 min – hour twice a week? So far, weight is coming down, but slowly.

    Caoch M

    >> My answer depends on *why* you’re having him do those 2 long runs. If it mostly fits into the demands/needs of the overall training, then it may be OK. I don’t want my 400 types spending 2 of their 5 workout days going on 4-5 mile runs. Long slow distance is not a good way to drop weight. He would lose more weight and a faster pace by doing interval workouts then by plodding along slowly. Also, his diet is going to be the fundamental factor in losing weight. So I would focus more on interval work and diet to get his weight down, not grinding out mileage.


  • Terrance says:

    We have Spring Break 2 weeks before state track qualifications… What type of workouts do you give your kids to do during the break periods such as Spring Break, Winter Break so that they don’t lose everything?

    >>> I give them the same exact workouts we would do if we weren’t on spring break because not working out is unacceptable. If you’re saying that they can’t get on a track, I give them workouts to do that accomplish the equivalent result of a track workout. Either way, I tell them this:

    ” Look guys, we have state qualifications right after spring break. So you have one of two choices. YOu can either do the workouts and be successful or not do the workouts and lose. It’s up to you. I’m not going to beg and plead or give you a guilt trip. You’re responsible for your performances and you know whether or not you did what you needed to do. The choice is yours. But believe me, I’ll know the first workout back to practice if you worked out. And so will your teammates.”

    That’s it. And to be honest, the culture in my program is so competitive, none of the serious athletes would dare take the two weeks off. Sure they might miss a workout or two, I’m no fool. But they wouldn’t shame themselves by coming back out of shape because they know their teammates would be pissed and they know they would lose the individual attention that is their reward for consistent effort, regardless of their level of talent.


  • meysam says:

    hi dear coach:)
    I compete in 100m, 200m & 4*100 relay
    I want to start GPP period & i have poor 400m
    Can i use this program? is it help me on 100 & 200 or useless ?

    >>> Is it ideal? No. Will it help you in your 100/200? Absolutely. Last year I trained my short sprinters using a similar (though not as much volume) program and those that did it set significant PRs. For example, training like a quasi 400 runner in the fall, my best 100hurdler went from 15.90 the previous year to 14.99 last year and from 13.0 in the 100 to 12.3. My best short sprinter earned a D-1 scholarship based on her 55 time, *and* lowered her 400 time from 63.x to 60.x. So yes, you’ll get better at everything. But it surely will help if your coach knows what they’re doing once the season starts.


  • Werner (South Africa) says:

    Hi Latif,
    I’m a great believer in your statements of training the energy systems as supposed to just thumb sucking workouts.
    I’ve done a breakdown of week 7 of the 400m program:
    M – Anaerobic alactic – speed, explosive power, strength.
    T – anaerobic lactic – muscle endurance
    W – aerobic – extended tempos
    T – aerobic , strength – ?
    F – aerobic , strength – extended tempos

    Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    >>>> HAHAHA thumb sucking workouts. You are correct across the board. The only gray area workout for me, from an energy system standpoint, is, as you guessed, the Thursday workout. It’s a bit of an experiment. It should be an aerobic power workout, but it’s going to have aerobic/anaerobic qualities I’m guessing (similar to intensive tempo). It will depend on what kind of shape they are in. At the end of each rest interval I will take their heart rate. If it is in the 120-150 range, it’s probably more aerobic. If it’s in the 150-190 range, it’s lactic.


  • paul says:

    my squad have access to the weights room which is 30 minutes away from the track. how long rest should be given between the hills on a wednesday and circuit weights on a wednesday. we leave it 30-60 minutes before start pumping?

    >>>> That’s a pretty tough workout so after the workout I generally say, ‘Alright guys, take your time, gather yourselves and recover from your hill work. Then head to the weight room. But don’t goof off, practice isn’t over.’ Point being, there is no hard and fast amount of time. Generally speaking they take (and I give) about 20 minutes to make their way to the weight room before I start telling them to hurry up.

    Also, one athlete couldnt make practice this week due to family commitments which lead to him missing wedneday hills. would it be acceptable to suggest swapping the aerobic session on a thursday to the hills on a wednesday as a1 off?

    >>>I have no problem with that as long as they get their hill work in because the hill workout is the most important workout of the week, in my opinion, during GPP.

    Finally latif, what type of races would you suggest targeting at the end of the GPP? there are south of england/london games in december/january and a 200/400/800 are all on the same day with heats/semi/finals.

    >>> If structured properly there wouldn’t be any races at the end of GPP. But we don’t all get the luxury of a collegiate schedule. Early in the season I like to have my athletes run distances higher than their primary event. But it depends. A primary event 400 runner would run a 600 (if you run it), but if they’re more a sprint type, I would not put them in the 800. I would go 400/4×4, ideally. But it is individual athlete dependent. — LT

    thanx once again latif i owe u guys so much lol – paul graham (belgrave harriers)

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