Introduction: How to Run the 400 Meter Dash

The 400 meter dash is known to be the hardest race in track and field. This race is a full sprint. It is rare that a person can sprint a full 400 meters, so there are tips and race plans that can help a runner achieve get a better time and succeed in the 400 meter dash. Below, there are steps broken down on how to run the 400 meter dash.

Step 1: Starting Blocks

The first step to running the 400 meter dash is having a strong start out of the starting blocks. The starting blocks are used so that the runner can push out of them with a strong force. That will give them that quick start that is needed. A runner's start will determine how they finish.

Once the race is about to begin, the runner must set up in his starting blocks and get set. When the gun is fired, the runner will push out and go into his drive phase.

Step 2: Drive Phase

The runner should come out of the starting blocks driving full speed for the first 50 meters. During the drive phase, the runner should be running with his head down and with force. They should be in almost a bent over position while running. The drive phase is what allows the runner to reach his top speed. The longer the drive, the better off a runner is to keeping his top speed longer.

Step 3: Transition Phase

After the drive phase, there is the transition phase. This phase is for another 50 meters. So runners should transition from running full speed and go into a nice pace, but still running at a fast pace with the same running stride. This phase is important because a runner should never suddenly change paces, but transition into a different pace. This is also a critical phase in the race because it allows runners to go into a period of recovery.

Step 4: Coasting Phase

Once the runner has transitioned from the drive phase, he should be in the coasting phase for the next 100 meters. Runners should use less arm motion and let his legs do most of the work. This is what allows the runner to "recover". This is a also an important part of the race that keeps runners from burning out so fast. Toward the end of the coasting phase, a runner might begin to feel fatigue, so it is helpful to over-stride and stretch out as much as possible.

Step 5: Acceleration Phase

After the coasting phase, the acceleration phase is where the race becomes more mental. By this time, the runner has ran 200 meters, the last 200 meters is when the pace picks up. The last 200 meters start in the curve, so the runner must speed up and drive the curve. While accelerating through the curve, the arms will start to become more engaged in the running than they were in the last 100 meters. The runner should gradually continue to accelerate faster and faster.

Step 6: Final Phase: All Out

The last 100 meters of this race depends on if you want it or not. This is the hardest part of the race. A runner may feel fatigue and have a build up of lactic acid that makes it seem impossible to finish the race. This is why the last part of the race is mental. It is easy to slow down as the finish line gets closer, but that will hurt a runners time. Runners should continue to accelerate down the last 100 meters and through the finish line.

Step 7: Conclusion

If these steps are put together and followed correctly, it is a guarantee that it will improve your 400 meter dash time. Coaches and trainers cannot send their athletes on the track and just tell them to sprint or run 400 meters and get a good time. There has to be a race plan set in place so that the runner can know how to run it and have a mental picture of the plan. Also, this plan can be tweaked here or there based on the athletes strengths and weaknesses.