The 300-meter sprint comprises a distance of about three-fourths of a lap around a track. The outdoor world record was trail-blazed in 2000, by Dallas-born Michael Johnson, with a time of 30.85. It is not considered a major track and field event, but like all sprints, the goal is to exert maximum speed for the whole race. What you'll need to excel in this sprint is endurance, power, speed and mental strength.
For sprints longer than 200 meters, race plans should involve a mental element, so visualizing how you will approach the race is key, says Samantha Clayton, 33, a former World-class sprinter and assistant sprints coach at Malibu, California-based Pepperdine University. Clayton coaches her athletes to use a strategy that involves first shooting out of the blocks and staying in that drive phase for 20 meters. Then, as you transition into a full upright sprinting position, stay fast, but focus on relaxing your arm drive down the first 100 meter straight. As you take the first turn, shorten your stride slightly, holding as close to the line as you can. In the last 120 meters, mentally take it up a notch. Drive off the final turn trying to hold maximum form to the finish line.
As with any sport, becoming successful at running a 300 meter sprint requires practice. While training, try breaking the race into 50-meter blocks and then do a rhythm running session in which you change your pace at each 50-meter cone, suggests Clayton. The idea is to sandwich the paces so you run fast-relaxed-fast, or at 100 percent effort, then 80 percent, then back to 200 percent.
Structure training sessions to focus on different aspects of the 300-meter sprint. In addition to the 50-meter blocks, another solid preparation session for the 300 meters is training over 150 meters, 200 meters and 250 meters with repeats, so you are changing up the distances. On a separate day, says Clayton, you can also try one whole training session working solely on revving up your initial speed and power. So, you could do a 30-meter fast, repeated 10 times. Then, repeat 50-meter sprints. Speed endurance runs over a greater distance once a week also offer a fantastic way to improve performance. Try running a pyramid consisting of 600 meters, 500 meters, 400 meters, 500 meters and 600 meters with three minutes of recovery between your runs.
Training Tip 3
To be a good sprinter, you need to work on power, strength, endurance and mental attitude. But another imperative element to a kick-ass 300-meter sprint is to run as fast as you can, while maintaining good sprinting form. For this, says Clayton, you want to have a good stride length, an arm drive that is relaxed but powerful, and a fast cadence. "As an athlete, my main focus and goal was to keep my composure and form in the final 50 meter of the race," says Clayton.
Julie D. Andrews is a writer and editor living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in print or on the websites of "Prevention," "Glamour," "Fitness," "Shape," "Cosmopolitan Latina," "Elle" and "New York Magazine."