400 Meter Tips – How to race it successfully
Looking for 400 Meter Tips? Look no further. Racing a successful 400 meter dash isn’t complicated. You are going to have to leave it all out on the track for this race that is basically a quarter mile sprint. There are some things that you will have to do though to give yourself the best shot at a fast time. I will break up the race into four parts based one each of the 100 meters you have to run.
You better come into the season prepared though. If you are in middle or high school, play a sport. Perhaps this isn’t an option. Then you better lift, or run in the winter to make sure you are quick and have some endurance.
The 400 is pretty much an all out sprint from start to finish. Here is the breakdown of the mentality you should have during each section of the race.
Start to 100 – Run just below your top sprinting speed.
100 to 200 – Try to pass people on the backstretch.
200 to 300 – Push it and make sure to pass people in the outside lanes.
300 to 400 – Hold form and stay fluid. Run through the line
Check out the video footage of a high school track meet as we look at each section of the race. Also, there are in depth tips for each section of the 400 after the video.
- The first 100– Start almost as fast as you possibly can go, without straining yourself. If there is someone on the inside of you, try to key off of them and hold their pace. They are running less than you because they are on the inside. If you stay with them, you are actually running faster. Also, chase the runners down that are on the outside.
- The backstretch 100-200– You still have to stay in control here. Stay fast, but don’t try to run too hard. When you push too hard your body will tighten up and actually slow you down. Keep yourself in what I like to call a controlled sprint. You shouldn’t strain your face or upper body at all. Your 200 split should be faster than the second 200 split. I think of the first half as a sprint, and the second half all about guts.
- The final curve 200-300– When you reach the 200 meter mark you now have to shift gears. Your natural tendency will be to slow down after 200 meters, so you have to feel like you’ve picked up the pace. Bear down and chase after people. If there are runners in front of you on the outside, they still might not technically be ahead of you. They will have to run a farther distance than you do, so make sure to catch them if you can on the curve. Until you are on the homestretch, it’s hard to exactly tell who is winning in a close race.
- The homestretch 300-400– At the end of the turn, I visualize that I’m coming off the curve downhill. You really have to be mentally tough here. You might feel like your legs or on fire, or that they aren’t even there. Keep your form together and go after anyone in front of you. Hold off anyone that is trying to pass. The most important thing is still to stay fluid. Don’t strain your body. Stay fast and run through the finish line, not just to the finish line.
I hope some of these 400 meter tips will help you to put down an outrageous time. If there is one thing that you can remember in a 400 is don’t worry about the pain. It will be over before you know it. The hardest part really is staying positive and trying not to strain when there isn’t anything left in the tank. Remember this though, the faster you run, the faster you’ll be done.
– Written by David Tiefenthaler