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200 & 400 Meters (Further Development)

Pacing, Endurance, Race Plan

Warm-Up Controlled fartlek, building arm and leg strength, dynamic stretching
Skill Development Speed, endurance, resistance
Wrap-Up Game Time trials
Printable PDF of this session


Controlled Fartlek

You will need cones and a stopwatch. Talk to your team about pacing and have them come up with descriptions of different paces. For example, a sprint could be called "running for the bus." Include at least four speeds (walking, jogging, running, and sprinting).

To begin the warm-up, have your students start jogging. Yell out the different pace descriptions they came up with, calling out each one several times. Have runners maintain each pace until you call out the next one. Sprints can last for 10 to 20 seconds, running and jogging for up to 3 minutes, and walking for up to 1 minute. Spend most of the time having your students run and jog and allow adequate recovery time for sprints.

Building Arm and Leg Strength (5-10 minutes)

Have students form a circle around you, and lead them in arm and leg strength exercises.

See the Supplementary Topic on Muscular Strength and Endurance for appropriate activities.

Circle Dynamic Stretch (5-10 minutes)

Have students form a circle around you and lead them in dynamic stretches.

See the Supplementary Topic on Muscular Strength and Endurance for appropriate activities.


The Centipede

You will need cones and batons for this activity. Create teams of 5 to 12 runners with roughly equal abilities. Give each group a baton. Have kids run single file together in a line, pretending to be a centipede. The first kid should have the baton, which they will pass back while they run. When it gets to the end of the line, that runner will sprint to the front of the line and begin passing the baton back.

For a more playful version, pick a category like colors or animals and have each runner call out something that fits before they sprint to the front of the line. While the baton helps keep the group together, coaches can run with the group to help pace and maintain the line.


During an interval workout, athletes run fast intervals (70 to 80 % effort) for short distances, ranging from 50 to 400 meters, with full recovery periods (about 5 minutes) between them . A speed workout might consist of six 200-meter runs, with each interval followed by a five-minute recovery period.


Distance Run

Athletes go for a long easy run or a combination run/walk at a comfortable pace while keeping a relaxed form. For example, athletes can run for 15 minutes and then try to run the same distance in less time.


Uphill Challenge

Athletes hold their arms behind their back and charge full speed up a hill. Repeat this a 3 to 5 times Then they run up the hill normally using your best arm action as referred to in Session 1. Repeat this three to five times. The athletes should note the differences in comfort, power, speed in armless running versus normal running. For a more playful version of the activity, restrain the arm swing by carrying two small cups, each filled halfway with water. Or try balancing tennis balls on big spoons in each hand. The key is to keep running at full speed without walking.

Wrap-up Game

Time Trials

You will need cones, a stopwatch, and a whistle. This pacing exercise establishes a baseline for each runner's fitness level and pacing skills. Time each runner at a set distance. For novice runners, a half mile or mile is a good starting point. Use a measured course and keep the distance the same across trials. Remind runners to focus on running their own personal best. For advanced runners, call out split times to guide their pacing. You can ask runners to guess their times over a short distance.

Discuss results with each runner, helping them set a goal for the season. Emphasize pacing as a way to work toward that goal. Repeat time trials regularly to monitor progress throughout the season. Have runners record their times and keep them for reference throughout the season.

Cool Down

Light Jog (2-5 minutes)

Lead the group on a light jog.

Static Stretching (3-5 minutes)

Have students form a circle around you and lead them in static stretches.

Please see the Supplementary Session on Stretching for additional stretches.

Youth and Schools

New York Road Runners Mission