If you didn’t get a place on the 400m running class:
you missed out.
Crossfitter Alex Walters gives you a flavour of the event.
There aren’t many professional sports I can think that don’t involve shifting your own bodyweight across a set distance as quickly as you can, whether it’s 5 metres, 20 or 400 and it plays a pretty big role in the fitness goals of most members of the general public too. A number of us however, have probably never been taught how to run and as many will testify, there is little in the way of quality coaching for the keen, amateur athlete* so it was great to see the option of a 400m coaching session on Saturday afternoon.
It was wicked to meet a qualified coach like Grace, hear about some key technical movements to think about and as Manne and I pointed out afterwards, actually see someone doing it well. It’s pretty easy to underestimate how gracefully top level athletes move when you are watching them on screen and to seeing Grace show us how it should be done was pretty humbling.
Here’s what we did:
Warm up and 1 x 500m
We walked across to the basketball courts opposite the box and started off with a few simple stretches before lining up and doing shuttle runs across the tarmac: working up from 50% pace all the way to about 90%. Even at this short distance (no more than 20 metres or so) you can really feel that you are working hard. After that, we all did a timed lap of the park (roughly 500m) to give us a base level to start from.
This was probably the hardest part of the whole class actually because we really had to think about what each limb was doing and often that can be more difficult than just doing something instinctively. We started off with the arms before moving through some more technical leg movements that help push you forward rather than just upwards. I felt like everyone in the class made progress during these exercises and I will definitely think about doing them again when I can.
4 x 200m & 1 x 500m
4 laps of a shorter circuit were enough to leave most of us lying on the floor gasping for air but also give Grace enough ‘data’ to give us some tailored feedback – Masovaida needs to remember to lift her knees, Stuart needs to relax his shoulders, I need to be lighter on my feet etc.
Key things to remember (and presumably practice)
– Pump your arms (your legs will follow)
– Relax your upper body (particularly blokes)
– Control your breathing (easier said than done!)
The whole session was much harder work that I thought it was going to be actually and I think there is talk of doing another one in a couple of months. Whether you came to this first session or not, I would recommend it to anyone who has to do any running ever (that means all of you!).
No write up of a 400 training session would be complete without watching the superlative Michael Johnson winning double gold in front of a home crowed in Atlanta in 1996: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ9cBQANjiw