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It has been noted that the top international athletes, compared with lower-level athletes, are faster in the last 200m. of the race of 400m. and there is less coverage time difference of the two halves of the race. Also, it has been found that world-class athletes have a more "aggressive" strategy of crossing the 200m., presenting therefore greater fatigue in the end, compared with athletes of a national or local level.

The research team of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki led by Assistant Professor on Track & Field Coaching and Federation partner, Dr. Ploutarchos Saraslanidis, was acknowledged for the article that he wrote and published, entitled: "The effect of the first 200m pacing tactics upon performance in the 400m race".

The aim of this specific study has been to better understand the effect of tactics in the 400m race., with the view of optimizing training and thus improving athletes’ performance.

Study aiming to contribute to classic Athletics coach training


The main research finding was that the best pacing tactics of the first half of the 400m race, is the coverage of the first 200 metres with an average speed which equals with the 93% of the best timely personal performance in the 200m road, since the results indicate that the best performance in the 400 metres is achieved when the difference of time coverage between the 1st and 2nd half of the road of 400 metres is the smallest, i.e. by using the tactics of crossing the first 200 metres with an intensity of 93%. The use of this strategy has statistically led to a significantly greater pacing speed in the second half of the road compared to the tactics of crossing an with intensity of 98% and 95%. In conclusion:

» The intensity of the effort to cover the first half of the 400m race should contribute to a delay in the appearance of a high rate concentration in the lactic acid for as long as possible in the race.
» The speed drop in the last metres is more related to the reduction of the stride length rather than to the reduction of the frequency of the stride.
» Repeated vertical jumps should be applied in training, in order to enhance muscle firmness in the legs so as to maintain the length of the stride at high levels despite the fatigue.


Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

The article entitled "The effect of the first 200m pacing tactics upon performance in the 400m race" participated in an innovative scientific article writing competition that was launched in 2010 by the European Federation of Athletics (European Athletics Innovation Award 2010) on the subject of coaching in classic athletics and received an "Honorable mention".

The article was also published in the ‘European Journal of Applied Physiology’ 111 (8): 1579-1590, 2011 (DOI 10.1007 / s00421-010-1772-4).


Ploutarchos Saraslanidis (Assistant Professor on Track & Field Coaching), Vassilios Panoutsakopoulos, George Tsalis, Efthymios Kyprianou, Iraklis Kollias (Director of Laboratory of Biomechanics TEFAA), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.