T Nation

400 meter dash training+ lifting


I have a track meet in 4 and a half months for my ASU intramural program. My goal is to get a sub 50 time so that the track coaches will let me practice with the team. My previous best is 51.3. I want to keep getting stronger in my lifts as well. How can I set up a program, maybe like Westside, while training hardcore for the 400 meter dash. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get my speed down below 50 seconds, except usage of any supps that mess with your natural T levels. I am also thinking of getting on Hot Rox the last 6 weeks to shed any fat that is unnecessary weight for running speed. Your advice would be very beneficial. thanks, Chris

boy while i applaud your effort that is a little to broad of a question for the forum q&a…i would suggest you also throw this question christians way if you have not…i my self train athletes of all sports for speed and strength development…but track is a touchy touchy subject because usually trainers who work with track athletes have to keep a coaching eye on all things track related that most strength coaches are unfamiliar with…that is why charlie francis comes to mind as some one that understands the full spectrum of a track atlete…while i have helped many of baseball, football, and soccer players get stronger and faster i would not feel comfortable working with a track athlete quite yet i have alot of research to do…but here are some things i have used that have worked very well with my athletes in speed development…my favorite thing for speed development are…tire flips, sled dragging (do not run),snatch grip deads off boxes, ghr, reverse hypers, pull throughs, and speed squats with a box with a medium stance using the safety squat bar…these things seem to target overall speed development for my athletes…big martin

big martin,

How do you think I should split up my training: running and lifting? Like a split if you will. Should I lift every other day and run in between those days? Or should I run everyday and lift 3 days a week? Any advice would be appreciated because I need to make myself a strict training regimen, the meet is in 4.5 months.

Hey Biceps…
First, you understand your priority - which is running the 400 sub:50. All other training should take a back seat to that goal. I would recommend limiting your upper body work in terms of volume, while working primarily on explosive lifts (not only o-lifts) for the lower/total body. Always perform your running work when you are fresh - i.e. no weights beforehand and preferably after a good night’s sleep. Once you have your plyo’s and drills and special endurance training worked out, you may realize that you won’t need a lot of strength work to get the job done. As far as your actual weight training schedule, 3 days a week would be plenty. You may also find that your sprint work will carry over into speed-strength gains for your lower body. Let me know if you have any further questions…in the meantime, check out charlie francis’ forum - there’s lots of good info there. Good luck!

biceps the best thing i could tell you is to a do a internet search and a t-mag article search and look for info on charlie franscis (sp?), also you my want to also ask your question to Martin Rooney over at elite fitness the site is www.elitefitnesssystems.com as they will be able ot really help you…but on your question with athletes i train that i am developing for speed and power i train them with weight at least 3-times a week and 4 times if time isnt a issue… running should be track specific meaning (doen at practice) during the weight training sessions i use tons of gpp and strong man stuff specific to speed devlopment these are done as warm-up or asseccory work…my normal training split for a speed-power athlete over a 7 day period would look like this…
day 1 - dyanmic squat
day 2- gpp training and strong man
day 3- upper body training
day 4 - gpp training and strong man
day 5 - max effort lower body
day 6 - off
day 7- % bench pressing with gpp and strongman low volume…

now for a track athlete i would think that the gpp days would be spent on the track with the coach…see with a football player or baseball player i have all off season to bring up strength and conditioning…because the onfeild requirements are not real taxing on the cns in the off season…what i mean skill work is low at this time and in football we train the athlete purely for strength and speed in the offseason…but track needs are much more profound even in the offseason so it is a high skill sport where the skill is very taxing the cns so thats why all strength and conditioning must be incorperated into the TRACK COACHES PLAN…hope this helps you get a better understanding…and i feel once you get your TRACK PLAN set your strength and conditioning needs will be put into perspective and then you can see what volume and program will fit with the peices of your track plan…big martin

Go to http://www.charliefrancis.com, then to the forum section. Also, purchase “Training for Speed” (and “Speed Trap”, if you have the money).

The basic overall CFTS template is this:

Day 1 - Speed, Weights
Day 2 - Tempo
Day 3 - Speed, Weights
Day 4 - Tempo
Day 5 - Speed, Weights
Day 6 - Tempo

For the specifics, follow the advice in my first paragraph. Good luck, and train hard.

I am glad someone posted the Charlie Francis format and you should speak up if theres a part you dont understand about it. Like said earlier in this thread, run first, lift after, on off days you can perform 2-3 plyo’s and tempo work, and i think sat tempo would be optional. Also the format would be the first four weeks to work on Acc. Dec. with the 4th week being and unloading week(this is the format for the training phases), then the next 4 covering top speed training, next four Special/Speed Endurance and then maintainance or start over. Lifts should be multi joint ones that develope hip extension. Rep ranges should be kept pretty low with focus on moving the weight with speed and weight phases go with the running ones(Accumulation, Strength, Power, Maintainanceor repeat the cycle). I can lay out a more specific idea of a workout if youd like. But your best bet is as mentioned in the above post to get you hands on Charlie’s books(including the forum review), his new DVd, and get over to charliefrancis.com and read the forum posts.

Thanks for your responses.

I think I am going to build a regimen like this:

4 four week training blocks

  1. 60-80 meter training
  2. 80-120 meter training
  3. 120-300 meter training
  4. 300-400 meter training

Monday- Speed
Tuesday- Snatches/Deadlifts
Wednsday-Tempo Runs/Form Running
Thursday- Bench Press, auxiliaries
Friday- Speed Work
Saturday- Squats or Good mornings, auxiliaries (focus on hamstrings)
Sunday- REST

At the end of 4 weeks I am going to decrease the volume of my heavy sprinting days (mon. and fri.) and substitute in a timed run of 49 seconds to see how much ground I cover. This is because I want to run the 400 Meter dash sub 50 in 4.5 months.

As for supplements I think I’m gonna use some creatine for the second and 4th blocks. I will probably buy power drive for the second and 4th blocks. Reason being I dont want to be dependant on either one, but I do want both of those in my system when I have to run the race and to get the training benefits of them during the second block. I need to buy some meal replacements too. I’m gonna get some hot rox the last 6 weeks to cut fat.

My best time in the 400 is 51.3 in may. I am in college now and I want to decrease it to below 50 by the intramural track meet because then I may be able to practice with the team. And hey, if I don’t get to, at least I’ll be in great shape and ready for OCS this summer! I also want to keep my lifting strength up while I am training, as of now my stats are:

Bench: 295 x 2
Deadlift: 415
Clean: 225 x 6
Deep Squat: 350
Weight- 202
Height- 6’1

Whats the volume of your lifting? Your off week sounds good, im glad you took CT’s advice, and also what are your set rep schemes for sprints? I ask this because depending on that you could be looking at something like 5 CNS intensive days a week which is insanely high. Thats why it is suggested weights and sprints are done on the same day and on mon wed fri or tues thurs sat or sun tues thurs in order to ensure that overtraining doesnt occur. It is ok to do tempo running on off days as it aids in recovery and also with three sprint days it allows you to be more dynamic with your carryover of skills built in the previous block, just the emphasis is put on a different part. IE during the acc. dev. stage you focus all three days on acc dev, then in top speed dev one day top speed, two acc dev, and in Speed/Special endurance dev one of each because temp can be counted as endurance work kind of. so really your idea is good, and it could look like this
Acc Dev.-Block One
Mon, Wed, Fri
Sprints between 50 and 80m
Top Speed Dev.-Block Two
Mon-Acc. Dev.
Sprints between 50 and 80m
Wed and Fri-Top Speed
Sprints between 50-60m from either standing or flying start.
Speed/Special End Dev.-Block Three
Mon-Acc. Dev.
Sprints between 50and 80m
Wed-Top Speed Deb
Sprints between 50-60m from either standing or flying start
Fri-Special Endurance
400-450m sprints
For tempo days stick to 200-300m@60% focusing on form
Then either start the whole process over or go into a maintainance phase.
Weights also follows a periodization and i suppose you could use the same exercises throughout
Block 1-Max Strength(goes hand in hand with Acc., emphasis is on exercises and a set/rep scheme geared towards Max strenght)
10x1 w/ 30sec between sets, build up to a 3 rep max or 5x3 with 15 sec between reps are three set/rep schemes i like
Block 2-Power(RFD is important in top speed and acc.)
5x3, build up to 5 rep max, build up to 3 rep max, 8x2 are a couple of set/rep schemes i like.
Block 3-Accumulation(hypertrophy)
1-6 method, 5x5,3x10 are three i like again.
now you can start over or enter a maintainance phase.

Also you lifting sounds fine but it should occur on the same day as your running with tempo and plyo on days between as active recovery


I see what you mean in the CNS overload, but my wednsday running session is light, rest on sunday, and only “money” lifts on my workout days. I’m gonna stick to snatches, squats, deadlifts, bench, pullups, goodmornings, GHR. I am not sure if I like the lift and run on the same day. My lifts will probably suffer if I do that, and I want to keep gaining in strength.

maybe it is a good idea, I dont know.


If I were you I would focus more on actually running the 400 meter. And less on weight training.

If you are after a sub :50 then you really need to focus on the specific event!

I would run 800M intervals, along with 400M intervals at :8 to :10 under max speed. I would do this maybe three times per week.

I would rest one or two days per week and lift no more than two days per week.

Go to the charliefrancis.com forum if you are serious about doing this. And read everything you can. Then you will understand what to do.

I do not understand you huge emphasis on gaining strength in you lifts. What good is it if it doesnt help you run faster? Money lifts as you call them are very CNS stressing as they use a large amount of muscle groups. Also all of your running is done with complete recovery so weight training on the same day should be fine and really having three speed days a week is best if you are looking for that type of improvement. Really it is up to you what you ultimately choose to do, but what im sharing you is what i have picked up from a website full of very knowledgeable coaches who all have based their methods off of charlie francis who by the way trained the fastest sprinter ever. you cannot stress out your CNS two days in a row(ie sprinting one then weightlifting the next), you will overtrain and actually regress, it is best to lift and run on the same day and focus on getting faster, not your lift numbers. The basis of weight training for a sprinting is mostly on improved neural efficiency and excitement and to strengthen the muscles involved in sprinting. The strength is the weight room will come, but do not sacrifice speed for strength, you must be patient it takes time to improve and build to impressive numbers.

Numba did you ever run track? If so, what were your times and how did you train?

Yes a little bit freshman year, I was slowed down by added mass(i play football, indoor track 55m low 6.9’s, ive gotten a lot faster since then, but my main focus is football and i dont like the track coach much, he made the 55m runners do 400’s, dont understand that still…and I didnt really train then, I really didnt start to get into weights and working out until January of this year.

Who do you play football for man? What is your strength stats and speed in the 40, VJ?

im in highschool buddy, in VA, strength stats are pretty good best, my best squat is a 405 box squat on a 10inch box, so im sure i could add some more weight cuz i wouldnt hav to go down that low, bench is kinda weak 250, deadlift i never really practiced but i pulled 385. I dont kno my vert, but its decent, im 5’11" and have dunked one handed before, now i can just grab the rim, 40 time wasnt bad, i think its bs though(4.45, i think its more likea 4.69) but im a DL and a pretty good pass rusher, i look forward to a successful season next year because of my agility, power and first step quickness but i need to add size(217, i plan on being 230-40 with as little fat gain as possible, but i kno there will b power and speed gains with the strength and power). I think performance is more importanct than those kind of stats tho, like i can chase down every person on the team an hav done so in practice(we hav the lowest 40 time baks in our district) so i think im fine.

Thats good man. You don’t have to get all defensive, I was just asking buddy.