A picture of 2:14 Marathon runner, Carlos Trujilio doing a track workout with John Coyle, who is the General Manager of Teton Running CompanyFeatured Workout

400 Meter Repeats


Speed Kills: How to Use 400 Meter Repeats to Increase Performance at Any Distance

Everyone has heard the old adage, "speed kills . . . those who don't have it." Many people become distance runners to escape this harsh reality. The bad news is that even in distance running, speed kills. The good news is the speed that is needed can be developed. 
Aside from giving you a big finishing kick raw speed, or turnover, is an extremely useful tool no matter what distance you are racing. While we rarely run at top speed during any race longer than 400 meters, in distance running, speed equals efficiency. The faster you can run the more comfortably you can run at a slower pace. 
For example, if you have a goal half-marathon pace of 7:00/mile and the fastest you ever run is 6:30/mile. You will have to be able to run at a barely sub-maximal level for 13.1 miles to acheive your goal. However, if you have done some workouts at 5:30/mile pace, 7:00/mile pace suddenly feels much more relaxed. Developing your turnover will help you to feel more relaxed when you race, specially in the early portions of the race when it is important to be relaxed.
Consider USA team member Carlos Trujilio. Carlos represented the United States at the 2013 World Track and Field Championships in the Marathon, he has a Personal Best of 2:14
Teton Running Company's Manager, John Coyle leading professional Marathon runner, Carlos Trujilio during a track workout
 (about 5:07/mile pace.) Last week, I hit the track with Carlos for 20X400 in around 63 seconds (4:12/mile pace.) Carlos will never run that fast in his primary distance of 26.2 miles. The purpose of the workout was to build speed and efficiency so that his goal pace of 5:00/mile would feel more relaxed. 
 meter repeats is a great way for a runner to build speed without secrificing a workout that will build fitness. here are a few variations of Carlos' 20x400 workout for any runner racing any distance.


Variation: 10-12X400 at 5-10% faster than goal 5K pace with 1 to 1.5 rest
Example: for someone who's 5k pace is 6:00/mile (18:45) these repeats would be done anywhere between 1:12 and 1:21 seconds per lap with 1.5X times the amount of time it took to run the interval for rest. this variation is geared more toward the 5k runner.


Variation: 12-14X400 at 5k pace with 1 to 1 rest. 
Example: The 18:45 5k runner would run these 400 repeats at 1:30 seconds per lap with about 1:30 seconds rest. This variation is geared more toward the 10k runner.


Variation: 14-16X400 at 10K pace with 1 to 1 rest, cut the rest down 5%-10% for the last 4 interval
Example: For someone who's 10k pace is 6:40/mile (41:40 10K.) 14-16 X 400 in 1:40 with 1:40 rest, cutting the rest down 5-10 seconds for the last 4 intervals.


Variation: 16-20X400 at Half-Marathon pace with rest at 80% of the amount of time it takes to run the interval. Cut the last 4 intervals 
Elite Marathon runner, Carlos Trujilio leads Teton Running's Manager, John Coyle during an interval workout
down to 10K pace. 
Example: For someone who's Half-Marathon pace is 7:20 (1:35:20 for Half-Marathon) and 10K pace is 6:40/mile (41:40 10K.) 16-20X400 at 1:50 with 1:25-1:30 rest, run the last 4 intervals in 1:40.

These are just a few variations on a 400 meter repeat workout for different distances. These variations will allow the runner to build strength and fitness, which is their primary goal for these race distances, while getting their legs used to moving faster than race pace. 

400 Meter repeats should not necessarily be a staple workout for someone who's primary race distance is 5K or longer. However, any runner can benefit from a variation of 400meter
repeats once every 2-4 weeks depending on their training schedule.
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