Want to know how to run the perfect one lap? Olympic champion Richards-Ross reveals how she does it
For Sanya Richards-Ross, running 400m is all about the ‘P’.
“Coach Hart and I talk about it in terms of the “4 P’s” – what we try and execute during the race,” she says.
The first “P” is “push”, so when I’m in the blocks I’m thinking of pushing out as hard as I can and getting as close as I can to 100% of my top speed in the first 50m.
From 50m on to the 200m mark, that 150m stretch “P” is “pace”. So that’s where I’m trying to get a good rhythm going and get on pace for how fast I’m looking to go.
For example, to run sub-49 seconds, you really need to get it right at this point to have a chance. So this is where I’m looking to get on that six- second pace for each 50m or 12 seconds for the 100m.
When I get to the top of the curve after 200m, I think about the next positioning. That’s where Coach Hart wants his runners to kind of see where we are and make a judgement. This is where we start competing for the first time.
For the first 200m he always says, “don’t compete” because that’s where you can really mess up if you do. So we start to position around the curve.
The last “P” is when we’re coming out of the curve with 110m to go and it’s really “poise”. However, most of us say “prayer”!
This is where I’m thinking about trying to maintain my form, holding my rhythm for as long as I can and willing that finish line to come because, of course, at this stage you’re feeling so much fatigue in your legs with all the lactic acid.
So there you are, that’s an Olympic champion’s guide to the 400m – give it a go and see if you can improve your present racing strategy!