How do I optimally prep for a 400m sprint event?

Hi folks!

On September 26, our club organizes a 400m race track sprint competition.

I’m currently about to start week 7 of the century specialty phase, after having done the planned 12w base and 8w build. I was planning on just going back to doing 8w base and then following the build and specialty for climbing road.

I’m wondering how I can best prepare for this.
I guess going 400m all out is probably like a 40-50s effort. My current 40s best is around 540W, which is just from road trips, not going all out. Last week I got a 2s peak of around 2200W during another road trip.

I guess I will need to start adding some sprint/anaerobic work to my training. How close to the event should I start adding this in? How often? Any specific workouts I can do? Can I just add those while doing base?

Thanks for the input!

Anaerobic capacity work. 40-50s all out intervals with ~10min recovery between each.

Work on that during a build block leading to your event. 30/15 intervals also work great for improving anaerobic capacity.

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Short power build?

2200 W for 2 seconds yet only 540 watts for 40 seconds doesn’t seem to match up. What’s your 5 second best? If it isn’t also north of 2k watts, I’d be questioning my power meter.


I hit 1600+ on Zwift when I spun my crank backwards hard to wake up the power meter. That counts right?

Agreed, something is off with those power numbers. Are you sure your power meter is working correctly?

Sounds like a stupid spike for the 2sec. I’ve used fitfilerepairtool to normalize stupid spikes like that :+1:

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Lol. I’ll ignore that spike and consider it an error.

Also, I think 400m is probably more like a max 20-30s effort vs 40-50s.

I’ll have a look at short power build. Thanks for the suggestion!

is it a standing or rolling start sprint?

Thats just under two laps of an indoor track you need instant max power for 30 seconds.

If its standing start youll need reletively easy gear for a quick start so youll need high cadence from the gun.

I use workout creator to make my own minute and 30 second all out workouts (I race 500m) Ill do those twice a week, do roller max cadence workout once a week and a sweet spot at the weekend.

Hi Steve - it is a rolling start.

How many intervals do you do per training session? How much recovery time in between the intervals? I assume you would want to be as recovered as possible before hitting the next interval to get the most benefit?

How do you progress them week over week? Or perhaps the power avg of going all-out increases week-by-week giving the progression needed?

Could I add those to my regular base or build plans? Or should I swap out certain sessions? Or perhaps add them into my endurance or sweet spot work?

How many weeks in advance should I start adding those in?


Looks like you have 9 weeks, I would drop any other plan, they are meant for events much longer and this race is 100% anaerobic.

A: 4x30sec, 5 minutes rest. Effort like 80, 90, 95, 100. Better done outside.
B: 6x20sec, 3 minutes rest. Go for even power across all reps. Can be done on trainer. Add one rep each week.

Warmup with easy spinning, cadence drills then 3-5 all-out 6 second sprint with 5 minutes between.

Do each workout once each week, say Tuesday and Saturday. Get as much rest as you can. Off days you can do some easy spinning but nothing that is hard or long because it will fatigue you for the next session, ie no intervals, no sweet spot. Rest is where you makes gains, and your aerobic engine will dip only slightly. If you feel flat during any warmup then do half of what you had planned for that session and the next session.

You’re pretty much guaranteed to make gains every week. The short sprints will plateau earlier than the rest. I looked at your data, you did 1039W for 5 seconds recently. You could definitely bump that up in 9 weeks.

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2200 W for 2 seconds, but only 1039 for 5 seconds? The first value is looking even more suspect!

It’s obviously a spike… I get them when I forget to replace the PM battery. Wish they were real! :grin:

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I’ve seen 2200 w on a power file before, just not mine… There, spike solved. Either way, I think you’ll benefit from a lot of race pace efforts, both in cadence (track specific concern) and in duration…

I’ve never raced track on the bike but I think Timothyh proposed a pretty decent workout regimen. Your recovery rate and ability to repeat the effort will determine if you’re underpacing or overpowering…

I’d consider a decent warmup experiment if you have 9 weeks - treat the first “effort” of each workout as a warmup, and figure out which of your efforts is the best, then plan your race-day warmup to slide that race pace to the effort…

400 meters?!


honestly, flying 300m efforts and rolling 400m efforts.

300s: pick a gear, distance doesnt start untill you get up to full speed, once youre at full speed go for 300m. lay down in the grass and try not to die for 15-20minutes and go do it again. 4 total. youll likely get a 150-200m windup putting you right at that 400m distance in total and theyre gonna hurt.

rolling 400s pick a big gear and from 20mph seated accelerate as hard as you can for 150m, stand for the next 100m, back in the saddle for the final 150m. again 15-20min in the grass recovering is a good call.

youre trying to get good quality work here, not repeatability out of these. theyre a good mix of max power and speed endurance work. done correctly they should all push you to absolute implosion and by the last one/two of each you should be questioning your sanity.

have fun


also, if youre doing these on a track, you should ride the track if you can. dropping down from the banking while sprinting is a skill and every track has nuances on where and how to best utilize the track for “free speed”

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What youre describing here is virtually a kieren race.

if i had a race coming up Id be getting my short term power up to scratch as Im not a natural sprinter, so id be doing lots of short minute on minute off intervals, at least two sessions hour sessions a week, around 120% ftp.

In the three or four weeks prior tothe even id start using my own workouts first week is 15 seconds at 120% then 15 seconds ramping to about 175%, so a 30 second interval - three minutes rest and ten ofthem.
Week two samething 22/23 seconds 5 minutes rest 8 of, week three 30/30 6 minutes 6 of rest and then two weeks before 60/60 10 minute rest 5 of

Id also be fitting in roller spin ups to keep cadence drills

I may do one longer endurance/sweet spot ride on sunday but only if i wasnt tired.

I totally replace whatever other workouts i have if im racing, the sweet spot stuff ill save for track league

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Thanks folks for all the great suggestions and advice!
I’ll have a more detailed look and will try to build a plan.