T Nation

400-Meter Sprints = PUKE

Today I attempted to do 400-meter sprints on a treadmill as described in Christian Thibaudeau’s Running Man article. I ended up doing about six 400m sprints…a few of them I didn’t make it all the way because I was going too fast. I only rested about 60 seconds between each one.

Talking about a tough workout…I though I was going to puke. I can run 4 miles in 40minutes without any problems, but this was tough. I’ve decided to drop the long distance running and stick to this.

Great article Christian!!!

  • Larry

The 400 meter run is possibly one of the most physically taxing feats a person can do. Its not quite possible to go 100% for 400 meters but you damn sure can go 95-98 percent if you’re in top shape. 95% for 50-60 seconds will really change your view of how in shape you are. I am not saying how fast you run them, but being able to produce that out put for that amount of time is just painful. The only thing I have ever done that was near the intensity level as a hard 400 meters was when I tried some 20 rep breathing squats, also puke inducing.

As far as getting yourself into great athletic condition, I don’t think there is a more effective way than mid range sprints, 200-600 meters. Have fun!

If he ran 6-400m sprints with only 60 sec between them–he is already in world-class health

Not world class if he’s running ten-minute miles, in fairness.
What pace were you doing the 400metres, Larry. Keep this up and you’ll have your 4-mile run down to 30 minutes in no time.

No…I’m not world class by any means. Although I am in great shape. I would say way better than average. I could run 4 miles at about 8.5-9min if I pushed myself. I’ve done HIIT running too, but these 400m sprints are a lot tougher. Keep in mind that I did say that I didn’t make the full 400m on a few. I should have rested 30sec longer and not ran so hard starting out. I did a total of 7 sets, but the first was not sprinting. It was a brisk walk to warm up my legs. They were a bit sore from squats the day before. At first I was running full speed…110%. I had to drop it down to finish the last few sets. The last set I was only going about 8.5 miles per hour. Probably can’t even count that one.

I’m hoping that over the next few weeks I can bang out 6 sets with 60 sec rests at 12 plus miles per hour. I love this because it’s not boring. Running 4-5 miles on a treadmill is VERY boring!!! Plus, this won’t work against me trying to put on lean mass.

Interval sprints are great, but the 400 is easily the most balls-out. I normally do the sprint the straight-aways, walk the curves that CT outlined in something.

i can not see it possible to run at 95% intensity and rest only 60 seconds and repeat the same performance. I know i’m out of shape when it comes to those longer distances (400meters) when it comes to repeat performance, but that would be a close 1:1 of force output time to rest, and you are talking about heavy glycogen depletion. I tried the one minute intervals using my 40lb weight vest and 15 degree incline on the treadmill running at 10 minute mile pace and it would take me over 3minutes to bring my heart rate back down. I’ve done sprint intervals where my heart rate has easily gone over 195. laters pk

Agreed! My point exactly. To run 6, back to back, 400m sprints would put you in world class status. Even that kind of a workout attempt would exhaust you in no time in your training schedule. Cut your sprint time to 20 maybe 30 seconds tops and get at least1:1.5 or even 1:2 run/rest ratio. Still a hell of a workout, and you don’t deplete yourself completely and you can maintain even gain muscle mass

[quote]LarryJr wrote:
Today I attempted to do 400-meter sprints on a treadmill as described in Christian Thibaudeau’s Running Man article. I ended up doing about six 400m sprints…a few of them I didn’t make it all the way because I was going too fast. I only rested about 60 seconds between each one.

Talking about a tough workout…I though I was going to puke. [/quote]

What am I missing here? Most treadmills only go to 10mph, a few maybe to 12mph. That’s not fast! That’s not even half speed! 10MPH is a 6 minute-mile. Not every one can do that but you should be able to run at a 6 min mile pace for only a 1/4 of a mile (400m). I don’t get it. I must be missing something here…

[quote]greatgro wrote:
LarryJr wrote:
Today I attempted to do 400-meter sprints on a treadmill as described in Christian Thibaudeau’s Running Man article. I ended up doing about six 400m sprints…a few of them I didn’t make it all the way because I was going too fast. I only rested about 60 seconds between each one.

Talking about a tough workout…I though I was going to puke.

What am I missing here? Most treadmills only go to 10mph, a few maybe to 12mph. That’s not fast! That’s not even half speed! 10MPH is a 6 minute-mile. Not every one can do that but you should be able to run at a 6 min mile pace for only a 1/4 of a mile (400m). I don’t get it. I must be missing something here…
[/quote]

Half-speed? Wow, a 45 second 400m, impressive to say the least. Were you the one who broke the indoor WR a week ago? j/k

[quote]greatgro wrote:
What am I missing here? Most treadmills only go to 10mph, a few maybe to 12mph. That’s not fast! That’s not even half speed! 10MPH is a 6 minute-mile. Not every one can do that but you should be able to run at a 6 min mile pace for only a 1/4 of a mile (400m). I don’t get it. I must be missing something here…
[/quote]

I’ll have to check what the max speed is, but the treadmills at my gym do go over 12MPH. You don’t think running 12MPH for 400m is fast? I guess I’d like to see you run! I guess it may not be fast, but I still think it’s good.

No offence meant Larry, but a 1:12 400 metre (which is what you’re talking about) for somebody who has been running all their life is a long way from a sprint.
There’s people here joking about 400metre world records but the world record for the marathon is 2hours and 4minutes. That works out almost exactly at 1:12 400 metre pace 104 times in a row without a stop.
The 10,000 metre world record pace is 1:06 400 metre pace.
Keep up the good work nonetheless.
A good system might be sprint for 72 seconds, take 72 seconds rest.

[quote]kefu wrote:
No offence meant Larry, but a 1:12 400 metre (which is what you’re talking about) for somebody who has been running all their life is a long way from a sprint.
There’s people here joking about 400metre world records but the world record for the marathon is 2hours and 4minutes. That works out almost exactly at 1:12 400 metre pace 104 times in a row without a stop.
[/quote]

This is funny…One, I never said I was real fast. Two, I never said I have been running for my whole life. I’ve been running at least 4 miles two to three times a week for a few months. Sometimes I do HIIT instead. For not ever doing sprints like this, my 215lb body was going pretty fast. I look forward to getting faster with more endurance.

My whole point with this thread was to say how awesome 400m sprints are and how hard they are…not to say how fast I finished each lap. When I do them again on Sunday, I’m going to do them with 90 second rests instead of 60sec. I’m also going to keep track of my time for each lap. Instead of using a treadmill, I’m going to try and find a 1/4 mile track to run.

I’ve been looking for a way to keep my blood pressure under control and long distance running 2-3 times a week is the only way I’ve found that works. Now I’m hoping this will work. I’ve been losing too much weight to keep running long distance. I wear a HRM when running and my max heart rate is about 187. I was hitting at least 180 that I saw when doing these SLOW sprints.

LarryJr

Please don’t take offense. Sometimes when responding to others comments it sounds more negative than intended. Of course, sprinting is an awesome workout–keep up the good work. I know opinions differ, but I believe 1/4 mile sprints are just to taxing to the body unless your pure objective is to improve your 1/4 mile time. Short explosive bursts with as much–even double–recovery time would be just as effective. Whatever works for you man.

I’m curious, I’m trying to get stronger and in good shape for hockey tryouts this summer for my college. Currently I do squats monday, bench wednesday, and deadlift on friday. I’d like to throw in these sprints pretty soon, should I do them before squat day or the day after?

Larry, I wasn’t referring to you - I was referring to this smart-aleck.

“Half-speed? Wow, a 45 second 400m, impressive to say the least. Were you the one who broke the indoor WR a week ago? j/k”

I think what you’re doing is terrific and I know how tiring this kind of training can be. I disagree with some of the previous posters about dropping the distance.
The 6x400s are very good in their own way but if you find yourself getting really keen on the running try some 8x300s or 10x200s, all similarly useful.

Great that the subject has been addressed. Tried the 400m sprints before and am starting again next week (had to inetrrupt due to a strained hamstring). I found out that for me, starting with 3x400 works best (like recommended in CT’s article). That way, you can concentrate on intensity. Worked very well, the sprinting also improved my pace on longer distances (e.g. 8000m, which I run once a week).

Freshman year when I ran track we would do 400 repeats and man those were a bitch. I ran the 400 race with a best time or 56.3 seconds and the best kid on our team was like 52’s which is ridiculously fast. haha

Anyway, I usually use 400’s as my form of HIIT. 400x8 with 75 seconds rest.

It’s all relative anyway. I think what some people are forgetting is that your working HR is the important factor. If you are up near your HR max by your 3rd or 4th quarter (220bpm - age), then you are working hard.

I was a distance runner in college. I was a 4:15ish miler, and could complete 8x400m in 56-58 seconds each, with a 3-mile warmup and 3-mile cooldown. In a typical week, I’d hit 70-80 miles. I was also 135lbs @ 5’8". =o(

If I attempted a sub-60 second quarter now (30lbs heavier), I’d be spent after a single rep. For me, 70 second quarters for 4-5 reps, would be challenging, and I’d hit my max HR pretty quickly.

For those aren’t familiar with their fitness level, or are like me and have a hard time regulating exertion, a HR monitor (or stopwatch and your pulse) is a great way to measure effort. Keep your HR at or above 80% of your HR max, and your sure to get quick results.

Regards

I think maybe the mix up may be in treadmill running vs. “real” running- say a track. I did 400m “sprints” if that’s what you want to call it (I was dying the last 1/4- looked more like a spastic/special olympian-no offense please-except to myself- I made them look good! :wink: Anyway it was a far cry from any “sprinting” on a treadmill I’ve ever done! (I’m not that conditioned mind you). On a treadmill you only “lift” your feet, -whereas on the ground/track you actually have to “propell” yourself . Just my .02