This overview covers a piece out of Greece from November’s Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that gives an evaluation of different training methods used by 400m runners and their coaches. It compares the physiological effects of longer runs of 300m-500m and shorter intermittent runs of between 80m-200m.
The participant group consisted of 12 males aged 18.9 ± 0.7 yrs, each was physically active involved in recreational fitness activity or team sports. In preparation for the tests, each participant took part in 2 sessions per week for the 4 preceding weeks. These served to familiarise participants with pacing strategies, improve conditioning and to record times for 100m and 200m.
Testing took place over 4 sessions and consisted of a 40 minute warm up including a slow run, stretching, coordination drills and some 80m accelerations followed by the test. The 4 test sessions were a) 300m, b) 3x100m with 1min rests, c) 400m and d) 2x200m with 1 min rest. Blood was drawn pre and post exercise and analysed for measurements of glucose, lactate, creatinine and creatine kinase (CK) and velocity was measured every 100m and was averaged for each of the 4 tests.
The main finding was that the intermittent runs resulted in greater stimulation of the lactate system indicated by the higher levels of blood lactate post exercise. Further, average velocity during the intermittent runs was higher than that achieved during the continuous runs. They conclude that both the longer and shorter runs taxed the lactate system but the longer runs had more aerobic system contribution and that both have a role to play in periodised plan for 400m athletes. The final point was that CK concentrations were similar for each test and so no advantage in terms of reduced muscle damage exists for any of the methodologies.
Saraslanidis, P.J., Manetzis, C.G., Tsalis, G.A. & Zafeiridis, A.S. (2009). Biochemical evaluation of running workouts used in training for the 400m sprint. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(8) pp. 2266-2271