4 Practical Tips for Running a Faster 400m Race

If you're a track athlete looking to improve your times in the 400m, we've got some great tips from Brian Blake, a track coach at Shaper: E. Movement from North Carolina.

But if you're a distance runner, I also encourage you to stick around for Coach Blake's tips.

Many distance runners turn up their noses at track workouts, preferring instead to keep pounding the roads for endless hours. But if you haven't yet added track work to your training, it's time to start, and the 400m is the perfect place to build speed.

The 400m is fast, but it requires near-maximum effort sustained over a relatively long period of time, which makes it an ideal workout for building speed and stamina for those of us running long distances.

Improve your performance in the 400m, and you'll be a faster runner overall. Coach Blake's tips will help.

Moderate Start

Coach Blake recommends about 80 to 85% effort in the first 100 meters, which will allow you to finish strong.

True, the 400 is a about speed, but don't let nerves get the best of you. Get a take-off that won't leave you out of position to win, but also remember that you can't win the 400m in the first 50 meters.​ 

Pace Yourself

Coach Blake tells us about the importance of pacing into the second quarter of the race.

Once you hit the second 200 meters, stay tall and maintain good running form. Maintaining good form not only maximizes efficiency, but it also can help you avoid injury, especially when your body is operating at such a high level of effort. Whether it's the 400m or a marathon, pacing is a crucial element of any running distance.

Taking the Turn

Despite the fatigue you're feeling coming out of the second turn, this is the time to increase focus and hold that form. As Coach Blake says, keep pumping those knees, move the arms, and accelerate coming out of the turn.

Arm movement is a key factor in running that is often overlooked. Arm motion is a trigger that helps your body keep a good rhythm, which increases efficiency. It also helps you engage your core, a crucial element of good form.​

Sprint to the End

Coach doesn't mince words here.

This portion of the race is all about gutting out the inevitable pain and maintaining focus to keep your form. It involves the mental aspect of the race, and harnessing your will to drive maximum physical performance.

Getting ready for a race on the track, or just churning out quarter repeats, these tips will make you a better, faster runner.​