Chasing Greatness

Preseason training for 400m runners (Week 9)

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Each Monday, for the next 3 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.
For Week 7 workouts, click here.
For Week 8 workouts, click here.

M: 6 x 50m, 6 x standing triple jump. focus on first
3 steps. R= 5′

Active recovery –> keep moving, jogging. no standing

Lift Day 1. Start of set 2 of B1 (Bulgarian split squat)
should be 3 minutes after start of set 1 of B1.

Splitting the workouts like this should cut total
time in weight room roughly in half.

‘Bulgarian Split Squat (BSS) is also known as ‘back leg
on the bench single leg lunge’.

A1: Hang clean/high pull/DB snatch 4 x 5

B1: Bulgarian split squat (BSS) 4 x 6 e.l.
B2: DB Bench 4 x 6

C1: Step up 4 x 8 e.l.
C2: Chin up 4 x 6 (weighted)

T: 5 x 300m hills. R = jog back.

800m barefoot warm down.

LIFT Day 2

A1: Deadlift 5 x 5
A2: DB Incline 4 x 5

B1: Single leg dead lift 3 x 8 e.l.
B2: Inverted row 3 x 8 (if too easy, put feet up on
box or bench

W: 10 x 200m @ ~75%. R=2′ B = 33.0, G= 37.0

For this workout and time of season, athletes are
expected to hit their times, on the money.

For boys, only times within .2 seconds of the target
time (33.0) are considered ‘quality’ intervals. I
expect 80% of workout to be ‘quality’ or Coach
Thomas starts yelling at people.

Core – stabilization
Hurdle mobility
400m barefoot warmdown

TH: 3 x 300m. First 50m fast, cruise 150m, last 100m fast.
R = 7′. Target time: B = 43.0 – 44.5 seconds, G = 52.0 – 53.5

LIFT Day 3

A1: Hang clean/high pull/DB Snatch 4 x 5

B1: BSS 5 x 5
B2: one arm row 4 x 6

C1: Explosive step up 4 x 6 e.l.

F: 3 x 5 x 100 @ ~80%. R = 45″/2′. B = 14.5 – 15.0, G = 17.5 – 18.0

800m barefoot warmdown
Core – stabilization
10′ static stretch



  • A steven says:

    Do you do any testing in your programme, do you think this is need
    Also do you use measure devise to aid acceleration development for example tape marks
    A Steven

    >>> I haven’t done any testing with this fall program, but I probably should have. My goal here was to show the progressions, but testing at the 4 or 6 work mark and the 8 or 10 week mark could very easily be appropriate. I don’t generally do a lot of testing with my groups because I have too many kids and not enough staff. With a field or court sport I think it would be appropriate to find a way to do it, but with track, the meets are testing to me. So I use PRs on the track and field as our testing.

    I use tape marks to aid acceleration for my advanced sprinters who have the running skill to actually be able to do something with it. But I don’t do it with the ‘masses’ because their poor acceleration skill and patterns is due mostly due poor strength levels, coordination and skill acquisition. That can change so rapidly as they acquire basic running ability that I find those tape marks, etc. become more of a distraction than a benefit to my less experienced sprinters. But with my kids who are competing for titles, so to speak, I will do that go aid in patterning their drive phase for the first 10-20 meters.


  • james says:

    Question for you should my distance runners be doing the same Dynamic warm up as the sprinters??


    >>> Yes.


  • DJW says:

    How would you modify this 12 week program with middle schooler’s (7th & 8th) only training M, W, & Sa? Also, how do you help stride lenghth. I have a female sprinter who struggles with knee lift, which I think effects her stride length. She does have some flexiblity issues, Is that force application that’s the probelm? Or a combination of flexiblity, mobility, and force application? How would procced?

    >>> Reverse engineering this program to a 3x/wk for 13/14 year olds is a very long post. Generally, I don’t think kids that age need such a long prep period or season. That said, I’d look at a 2 week cycle:

    Week 1

    M: speed
    W: tempo runs (aerobic)
    SA: speed

    Week 2

    M: tempo runs
    W: speed
    F: lactic work

    That’s a very general outline.

    No knee lift for your female is likely caused by the exact issues you specify: #1 Poor overall physical strength (more specifically, poor force application to the ground) and #2, poor hip flexibility/mobility. The solution is to get stronger and improve functional flexibility/mobility in the hips, just as you suggested.

    Here is an article I wrote, that you may have already seen, on developing stride length and frequency:

    – LT

  • Rob Jackson says:

    Latif,When do your kids start their races.What month?Take care.Rob jackson.

    >>> December


  • Danielle Freeman says:

    When you talk about 300m hills, what grade are they? I live in Illinois and finding any hill is a challenge much less one that goes on for 300m! Are you talking long and gradual?

    Danielle Freeman

    >>> I used to live in Illinois so I understand your plight. What grade? I don’t know. Steep. Painful. And, in truth, the section they run is estimated since there are some unsafe parts of this hill (grass, rocks, dirt, leaves, etc.). It takes them roughly 70 seconds to run each interval. My preference is fairly steep and brutal, that’s why it’s taken them almost 2 months to get to 5 total reps. Not a perfect answer, I know. But don’t make it more complicated than it is. Think about whether or not the run is long and/or steep enough to develop the qualities you’re looking for.


  • Seth says:

    Hey Latif, What kind of gains have you seen with this program in your athletes? Some pretty big ones? and what are some of your athletes PR’s?


    >>>Hard to be specific about ‘gains’ with this specific fall program since there are no meets. And I’ve only coached this current team for two years so I haven’t had anyone come up through my system like with my last school. Between year one and year two many of my 400m runners dropped roughly 2.5-3.5 seconds off of their times. My best returning 400 guy ran 54.7 as a sophomore. Last year as a junior he ran 51.0 first dual meet in spring, with mono. So he didn’t improve during the season (since he ran with mono), but led off our 4×4 in 50.4 at the NE Championships where we placed 4th. My #2 guy had a similar improvement, though he didn’t start training until February since a soccer injury kept him out. 54s a sophomore, ran 56.4x in the 400h, split 51.2 in 4×4. Loaded the girls 4×4 once (4×1 was the focus as they ran 47.92) and they ran a school record 4:04.34. Lead leg ran 60.5, her previous PR was 63 change. Anchor leg split 60.4, previous PR was also 63 low. #3 leg went 61.6 open 400, previous year PR was 63.5ish. #4 leg split 61.9, previous year open PR was 64.5. Hope that gives you an idea.


  • Bob says:

    Hey, love your work! What do you think would be good 200 workouts? I have a PR of 22.66. What would be some good workouts for the 200? Other info. Im 5’6, 140lbs have prs of 11.27 and 52.41 in 100 and 400. Also what do you think i should concentrate on 100/200 or 2/4? People tell me that i should be 49 with my 200?

    Also what is the workout that your athletes do or need to do to say hit a huge PR for a 400?

    >>> Again, what constitutes a ‘good 200’ workout entirely depends on time of year. My favorite main competition 200 workout is 2 x 40m out of blocks on the turn. 1 x 80 out of blocks, taking splits at 40m and then 80m. 1×110 out of blocks taking (and comparing) splits at 40, 80, 110. Then, if athlete feels good, 1 x 150 out of blocks taking splits at 40, 80, 110, 150. This way we can look for drop off and inconsistencies to address in our workouts and race planning.

    Your times indicate more of a 100/200 type as your 200PR would imply you should be able to go sub50 in the open 400. This is likely due to lack of general endurance in the prep periods and lack of specific endurance developed late special prep and during early competition phases.

    There is no specific workout you can do to run a huge PR. It’s 100% about the *overall* plan put in place and the effectiveness of developing appropriate qualities throughout the course of the season. If there was a magic workout, there wouldn’t be so many shitty programs out there.

    I know it’s not the answer you’re looking for, but it’s not an extremely simple task to maximize the potential of athletes you design training for which is why most people aren’t good at it.


  • mostafa says:

    is it good for a master 100/200m sprinter’s gpp(16weeks)?
    day 1 : morning: acceleration/maximum velocity .evening: extensive tempo
    day 2: morning: intensive tempo.evening:rest
    day 3: morning: rest.evening:acceleration/maximum velocity
    day 4: morning:hill sprints.evening: ploys(upper body)
    day 5: extensive tempo.evening:acceleration/maximum velocity
    day 6: morning:speed endurance.evening:olypmic lifts/start training
    with a bodybuilding program at nights

    >>> You have to understand that GPP is General Physical Preparation. This is extremely specific. The main issue is that you’re doing WAY too much quality work. As in, you’re doing it every day which is not possible. So if you follow this plan, you will either get injured or be so overtrained that you lose all desire to workout.


  • A Steven says:

    Thanks for the previous replay
    Have you got any tips on how to measure tape marks to aid acceleration for example for times over first 20m or learning how to spot the fault in the start compare to the acceleration template
    A Steven

    >>>I have no specific formula. It depends on the individual athlete. I want a big first step out of the blocks and we focus on the first 3 steps at the outset. I generally don’t use marks beyond 10 meters. I’ll generally mark where I want the first step, see where they land for the next few reps and mark where I would like them to land. It’s not an exact science the way I do it, but I work with high school and middle school kids and they don’t require it. Main point is that each stride should get longer.


  • Isaiah Vasquez says:

    Hi Latif, do you think that Endurance workout is at all any important for a sprinter? If all you focus on is speed workout then when you race won’t you feel to tired?

    >>> Well first you would need to define ‘endurance’. Aerobic endurance? Speed endurance? Special Endurance? What event does this ‘sprinter’ run? An appropriate answer to that question requires more information than you have given me.


  • Michael says:

    I noticed that you are no longer doing hamstring curls. Many of my athletes struggled with the hamstring curls and complained of knee pain. Should hamstring curls be eliminated? Any ideas on the reason for the pain?

    >>> I only did hamstring curls because we were doing general exercises for general strengthening. Hamstring curls are a useless exercise for developing speed or specific strength. In fact, all machine exercises are. If your athletes are experiencing knee pain it is most likely due to poor ankle mobility and/or poor hip mobility. Address those areas and the knee pain will go away. However, I think it is unlikely that the pain was due to hamstring curls.


  • Dennis Adamson says:

    Latif, I am almost ready to buy your program for payback for all of the free stuff you have given out, however I have a question. Our season in Iowa is about 13 weeks long. Because of the weather and multi-sport athletes, I only have them for that period of time. Is your preseason 400 workout program followed by your in-season 400 workout program that would take me from day one of the season to the state meet? Do you just have two mesocycles? I do have a few athletes who are track only and could start the off season workouts the first week of December and then go right into the in-season workouts. I have a state champion 400 hurdler who is itching to get started.

    Dennis A

    >>> Good question Dennis. This 12 week fall training program will take you to the start of season. But as part of the Complete Program Design for Sprinters (CPD) resource, I give you a full 12 week 400m training program that is more detailed than the one I am posting here. For my regular season program I have 3 mesocycles, in essence. IF you have kids who will train for the 12 weeks before the regular season, I’d start with this program and roll into the one I give in CPD. If you only have them for the 13 weeks, use the one in CPD, NOT this one that I’m posting here. This 12 week program WILL NOT develop your kids and have them ready for maximal performance at the end. This is just GPP and some early special prep stuff.

    I will let you in on a secret. I am going to be running an online seminar during the first week of November that will address all the new stuff I’m doing this year and cover what I think people should focus on when setting up their programs, plus I’ll take and and all questions you can come up with. I’m going to announce it next week. It won’t cover as much as CPD does, obviously, but it will cover all new information. However, CPD will walk you through the science and the application of what you need to do to create a seasonal program specific to your kids.

    HOpe that helps. If not, ask another question and I will answer it.


  • rich says:

    Your having athletes perform lower body strength exercises on consecutive days. I understand that you’ve separated them into knee dominant and hip dominant, but do you ever worry this might be a bit much? Knowing what you now know from FSC III, would you still do this?

    >>> Hey Rich. Great observation and question. The answer is yes, I do worry about that. So I just monitor it. I ask kids how they’re feeling, etc. You could switch Tuesday and Wednesday’s track workouts and then Thursday and Friday. But then you’re treading on too much lactic work in a row without a recovery/tempo day. So with a 5 day schedule you have to pick your poison. Obviously they have to lift on Monday. But Tuesday is a quality day (for this time of year anyway) and I don’t want them to lift on the Wednesday recovery day. So it’s a judgment call and if you wanted to argue changing the workouts around to go M,W,F lift, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that.

    However, at least in Week 1 of their Max Strength phase, they really aren’t doing that much total work. So I don’t think they’re
    going to be adversely affected. Of course, this is why we write down our lifts and weights and why I spot check kids’ lifting notebooks – to make sure they’re not detraining.

    But, for example, once the indoor season starts, all of our meets are on Saturday. I’m not going to have them lift heavy the day before the meet and I need them to lift 3x per week. So somewhere in that mix, they’re going to have to lift back to back days. So I’ll just monitor the volume to ensure it is not adversely affecting the rest of our training.

    Hope that makes sense.


  • Danny Dixon says:

    If a person just discovered these postings and had NOT been participating in the 400 meter training to this point (and was basically out of “track-shape,” could he/she begin with the program at this point, or should one begin at the beginning?

    >>> You should start at the beginning because you wouldn’t be able to finish these workouts. If you could finish these workouts then I should be fired immediately from my current job and any job I might potentially get in the future.


  • seth says:

    hey, who are these times for? like would these times you have benefit a guy trying to jump from 52 to a 49?

    >>> This program would be ideal for someone trying to jump from 52 to 49. But it’s designed for athletes who have a 24 week season, meaning their biggest meet is 24 weeks from when they start training, so keep that in mind.


  • David Fiech says:

    Latif, so what’s up with eliminating the bilateral knee/quad dominant movements – back squat, front squat, box squat, etc.

    >>> Good catch David. This video explains why better than I can here:


  • mostafa says:

    is it good for a master 100/200m sprinter’s gpp(16weeks)?
    day 1 : morning: acceleration/maximum velocity .evening: extensive tempo
    day 2: morning: intensive tempo.evening:rest
    day 3: morning: rest.evening:acceleration/maximum velocity
    day 4: morning:hill sprints.evening: ploys(upper body)
    day 5: extensive tempo.evening:acceleration/maximum velocity
    day 6: morning:speed endurance.evening:olypmic lifts/start training
    with a bodybuilding program at nights

    >>> You have to understand that GPP is General Physical Preparation. This is extremely specific. The main issue is that you’re doing WAY too much quality work. As in, you’re doing it every day which is not possible. So if you follow this plan, you will either get injured or be so overtrained that you lose all desire to workout.

    >>>tanx latif
    plz break down the problems of this program and help me to understand what shoud i do.again i’m 100&200m sprinter.

  • Michael says:

    Thanks Latif! I definitely need to address ankle and hip mobility in my athletes. But I should have done a better job explaining that the pain is in the back of the knee (Inside) and lower hamstring area.

    >>> The cause for that is likely due to footstrike taking place in front of the center of mass and slapping a plantarflexed foot into the ground, placing great stress on the foot, soleus, back of the knee, lower hamstring and upper hamstring. Or if athletes are landing heel to toe, they’re likely pawing back at the ground with all of the force going right to the first joint/break inthe chain, which would be the back of the knee and lower hamstring. Solution is teaching proper mechanics (drills), glute activation, force application, resistance work, improve strength levels, video analysis, etc.


  • paul says:

    hi latif!
    for the inverted row and explosive step ups should we be using weights for this or just a bodyweight plyo?. Also, many of my athletes are finding the 12 x 200ms on a thurday very comfortable. should i extend it out to 14-16, increase intensity to 75%, or reduce rest, or combo of all 3? the same is begining to occur for the 24 x 100ms?

    Finally, do you copy mike boyles core workouts – dynaic supermans, hip raises, dynamic side plank, off bench side plank, knee abductions e.t.c

    im waiting for pay day then will buy both yours and mikes materials and cant wait 🙂

    >>>> We’re in a max strength phase now so use as heavy weights as the athletes can handle while maintaining appropriate technique. For the track workouts, we are now at a point of the season where I want intensity to go up and volume to plateau and start to drop. So make the runs faster, but keep the same rest. This, of course, will result in fewer total reps as the athletes will fatigue faster.

    Mike’s new philosophy on core work is to eliminate all flexion and extension work and do progressions of roll outs and plank work. As you can see from the program I’m posting, nearly all ab work is stabilization work. Roll outs (on the ball or with the wheel) aren’t really reasonable for large groups, but the plank work is and that is where I focus my efforts.


  • Wade says:


    Just to clarify. BSS are done with db only or can also be done with barbell? Secondly, db bench is bench press using dumb bells? Thirdly, db incline is incline bench with dumbells? Finally, single leg dead lift is also typically done with dumb bells? Thanks for the great info and for the dedication to always searching for the better mouse trap!

    <<< BSS with DB or barbell. I prefer barbell. The answer is yes to all your other questions. LT

  • Isaiah Vasquez says:

    Hi Latif, what I meant by endurance I mean more of a distance runner. For example an 800m runner, should he focus on just sprints and intervals or include some endurance training such as a tempo run or long run or even hills. what do you suggest, also if this runner is a 400m, and 800m runner

    >>> The specific answer to this question is: It depends on the strengths and weaknesses of the specific athletes you are talking about. The general answer is – yes I would probably do some tempo runs and definitely long hill runs during the prep periods. An 800 does require some of the qualities those tempo runs develop. But I wouldn’t want to do so much slow, plodding tempo runs that it takes away from the sprint technique they need for the 4. (This is a philosophy of mine that has changed even during the course of this 12 week program). My preference would be to develop aerobic capacity and power using shorter intervals with less rest vs. doing a lot of long slow runs. I still believe the 800 is treated too much like a pure distance event and things like speed reserve, strength and power are ignored. But how you’d divide those workouts up, my friend, is the art of coaching.


  • mostafa says:

    can this program improve 100/200 sprinters?

    >>> Yes.


  • Wade says:

    Hey Latif

    Could you please elaborate a little on Mr. Boyle and your latest philosophy of concentrating (entirely?) on stabilization?

    >>> I’m going to cover this in more detail in an online seminar I’m going to be putting on in the next week or two. So keep an eye out for my emails on that. The short answer is that you don’t do crunches or flexion/extension actions while running, so doing them in training doesn’t develop the specific strength that carries over to the track. What do sprinters do while run? They have to stabilize the torso (flat stomach and lower back, chin up and chest up, etc.) so that is the type of training we should be doing with our sprinters. Again, I’d say about 85% of the core work I’ve been doing the last few years has been stabilization work, with our flexion/extension/rotation mostly taking place during GS circuits and bodyweight training where timed stabilization holds are not convenient.


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