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Would Cross Country Help a 400m Sprinter

i did the 400 this year and i sucked. it was my first year in track and the event i wanted to do was the 400m. my best time was 74s. my main goal is to get it to atleast a 56 by next track season. if i do cross country next fall would it benefit my 400m time. i heard it won’t help my 100m, or 200m but what about my 400m.

also would running cross country affect my strength gains if i lift weights after school. the events i want to do in track is the 400m and high jump.i really need to increase my power and explosiveness because i really want to do varsity high jump next year. i want to increase my squat,deadlift,bench,and power clean maxes.

cross country practices are before school so i think i would have plenty of time to rest during classes so i can lift after schoool.

If you’re at a 74 now, cross country will help you. Growing up will help you.

However, if you were going to exert and hour’s worth of effort a day into something, a couple dozen other things would be twice as effective and half as boring.

You need to identify whether you lack speed or the conditioning to maintain it.

Cross country would help your 400 time.

What is your 200 time.

If Cross is part of your off season training and you give yourself enough time to transfer the aerobic gains you make in Cross to benefit the anaerobic demands of the 400m you’ll be fine. You can also think about adding a few sprints after Cross practice to stimulate more anaerobic, fast twitch pathways.
If you keep your nutrition and lifting program sound there shouldn’t be much limiting.


Firstly, congratulations on picking a great event; 400m is an amazing test of all-round athleticism and running ability, probably more so than any other distance.

At 74s, you’re at a point where anything you do will help, the question is what will serve you best in the longer term, and that is almost certainly focusing on getting faster. Just for a comparison, the world record for the marathon is 2hours 3minutes or so, which corresponds to about 70s per 400m. If you’re not keeping up with marathoners then you need to get faster, rather than focusing on endurance. Running is a skill more so than it is any particular physiological characteristic; to learn how to run fast, you have to practice running fast. Running slowly for a long time doesn’t work so well.

Cross country is a fine option for a 400m runner looking to work on endurance but I’d guess that working on speed and technique is what would help you the most right now, and that means running lots of short intervals, aiming to push up the top speed you can reach while maintaining a smooth stride.

74 seconds is so bad IMO you don’t have a speed problem you have a total lack of conditioning problem so yeah CC will help you improve as much as any other program like some have already said. A hard core CC program will cut into your strength but if you’re not trying to win any races you can moderate the workout intensity to lessen the impact on the weights.

You need to learn how to run and the repetition of the cross country will definitely help you with this. The cross country won’t help your lifting and will probably make your lifts worse depending on your current conditioning, but then we don’t know what your cross country training will entail as there is a huge difference between running 10-20 km per week and runnning 160km +
Either way you will develop a decent aerobic base to work from leaving you just the speed to work on. So just ensure when you are doing your own cross country training you throw in a few sprints (fartlek) to ensure your maintain leg speed.

Oh and the 400m is one bitch of an event to run haha.

At 74 seconds for 400m, general aerobic fitness will help you, but I wouldn’t train it by running cross country. You would be much better off doing “tempo” runs of 250-400m at 70% effort and short rest intervals.
A typical workout could be:

10x250m / 2 mins rest
8x300m / 3 mins rest
5x400m / 4-5 mins rest

Do not neglect your speed training, these are only the slow tempo runs to build up your general fitness.
Make sure you’re still doing maximum speed sprints of 40-60m with full recoveries regularly.