Runner’s can fall into two categories -- short distance runners and long distance runners. The 400 and 800 meter runs are for those runners who are best at short distance running. If your nickname is “the Roadrunner,” you are probably a sprinter. With short distance runs you need to work to generate high lactate levels and speed to win your races. To increase both, you’ll need a variety of cardiovascular workouts to attain the fitness you need for these types of races.
Both the 400 and 800 meter runs are consider long sprints. There are some differences between the two when it comes to training. When focusing on 400 meter workouts you should concentrate on your anaerobic work, technique and power development. The 800 meter run is considered a long sprint to a middle-distance running event. While speed is necessary, you should focus your 800 meter workouts with a mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercises, steady runs and Vo2 max sessions to get your aerobic workouts and just straight-out sprints at your fastest speed.
Fartleks are a type of interval workout that sprinters use in order to increase their speeds in both 400 and 800 meter races. Fartleks are best performed on a track where you can measure your distances specifically. You can run either a 400 or an 800 meter sprint for fartlek workouts. Basically you run 400 or 800 meters at 80 percent of your fastest speed, with your fastest speed possible being 100 percent. For 400 meter sprinters, walk for 200 meters after your sprint, and for 800 meter sprinters, jog 400 meters after the sprint. Perform a total of three to five fartleks during your workout.
Breakdowns are a popular tool for both 400 and 800 meter runners. This is considered a true lactic acid, extensive tempo workout. The workout is designed to include several runs that gradually decrease in length, going from 600, 500, 400, 300 and 200 meters. Start with running 600 meters, then walking 400 meters. Follow this with running 500 meters, then walking 400. Next run 400 meters and walk 400 meters. Run 300 meters, and then walk 300 meters. Finally, run 200 meters and then walk 200 meters. For 800 meter runners, perform the runs, but instead of walking the distances afterward, jog them to keep your heart rate elevated.
Ladder drills are excellent running workouts. They are simple to do and easy to coordinate. They are great for those runners who are sprinting or who are distance runners. When sprinting ladder drills you want to go at 75 to 80 percent of your fastest speed. Basically, you run a ladder of distances that look like this: 100 meters, 200 meters, 300 meters, 400 meters, 500 meters, 400 meters, 300 meters, 200 meters and 100 meters. After each sprint take 30 to 60 seconds to recover before the next sprint. For 400 meter runners, walk during the recovery time and for 800 meter runners, slowly jog during the recovery time.
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.