LAST - Speed endurance assessment for 400m athletes
Les Archer explains how he assesses the speed endurance of his 400m athletes using LAST.
There are two types of 400 metre runners: Those with good 200m speed and those with good 800m endurance. It would seem that the top 400m runner will need both these attributes, although speed should always prevail. I firmly believe that for the top 400 metre runner to succeed the answers lies in speed maintenance or speed endurance. The ability to sustain top running speed without too much effort will lead to a good result.
The question always arises: When is the endurance on par with the shorter speed or vice versa?
The LAST (Lactic vs. Speed Test)
Prior to undertaking the test the athlete should first complete a reasonable amount of 'long' endurance training.
The test comprise of a two elements:
Add together the times for each of the speed endurance test runs.
As an example lets us say that the time for the endurance test was 61 seconds and the total time for speed endurance tests was 68 seconds. The difference between the two times is 7 seconds. To me this would indicate the athlete has more speed than endurance.
In my experience the difference should not exceed 5 seconds. Any difference more than 5 seconds indicates a lack of endurance and of course less than 5 seconds, would indicate a lack of speed.
This is just a test that I have been using with my athletes for the past 8 years with some great success. Three men have run the 400 metres below 45 seconds and one woman has run sub 51 seconds on this formula. This is not an exact science, but merely a tool to help you as a coach, as factors such as weather, strength levels, age etc. were not considered.
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About the Author
Les Archer is track and field coach in South Africa with experience from schools to the Olympics specialising in sprints and long jump. He is also the current strength and conditioning coach for the Golden Lions rugby union in South Africa.
The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: