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Why are 400m/800m runners rare?

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  • #31
    Re: Why are 400m/800m runners rare?

    Originally posted by no one
    one of my favorites, nationally prominent, just shy of world levels (maybe not)

    Steve Hass: 9.4, 20.7, 46.9 and 1:47.6: amazing range ... early 60s

    seems like somebody mentioned another athlete, on this board, some time back, with similar PRs. But can't remember name, if it was really posted

    Lonewolf had (I believe) similar versatility
    Similar versatility ..early 50s ..but decidedly inferior performances.

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    • #32
      Re: Why are 400m/800m runners rare?

      Originally posted by lonewolf
      Similar versatility ..early 50s ..but decidedly inferior performances.
      What exactly were your PRs, lonewolf, and which events did you compete in??

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      • #33
        Re: Why are 400m/800m runners rare?

        TN1965 mentions the IH / 800 combination and a few examples have been given - Brandon Johnson, Dave Patrick and Harald Schmid. Not mentioned yet was Ron Whitney. And here is the biggest surprise (to me) that I just found out looking at some historical stuff from T&Fn about the nationals, Arnie Sowell was 5th in the intermediates at the 1954 AAU!

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        • #34
          Re: Why are 400m/800m runners rare?

          Originally posted by bambam
          Originally posted by lonewolf
          Similar versatility ..early 50s ..but decidedly inferior performances.
          What exactly were your PRs, lonewolf, and which events did you compete in??
          As previously posted, I was just a "useful" 5'9", 155# track athlete in the early 50s, a notch below national level with HT, dirt/cinder PBs of:
          9.7y, 21.6y, 46.8y, 1:51y, 4:13 mile, 14:20 three mile, 6'5" straddle HJ, 25' 6" LJ, 49'0" TJ.

          I usually ran a couple of sprints (100,220,440), one or both relays, LJ and sometimes HJ for points.
          I could run 24-23 or 23-24 or 23.5-23.5 in the 440..I just could not seem to run 23-23.
          We only did TJ in 1952..practiced a couple of weeks for our one competition.
          My one 880 in competition was experimental. Split 50-61, the final 100 was the worst experience of my life. In retrospect, might have potentially been my best event with more sensible splits but I could score more points in multiple events...and one 880 satisfied my curiosity.
          Same for the one time mile and three mile. I was told to just stay with the leaders as long as I could. I did not care to repeat the experiment.

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          • #35
            Re: Why are 400m/800m runners rare?

            Originally posted by lonewolf
            As previously posted, I was just a "useful" 5'9", 155# track athlete in the early 50s, a notch below national level with HT, dirt/cinder PBs of:
            9.7y, 21.6y, 46.8y, 1:51y, 4:13 mile, 14:20 three mile, 6'5" straddle HJ, 25' 6" LJ, 49'0" TJ.
            A notch below national level? I think you are selling yourself a bit short. 46.8y and 25'6 were close to world class in the early 50's. Don't think more than a very few Americans could run 1.51y in those days.

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            • #36
              Re: Why are 400m/800m runners rare?

              Originally posted by 4:24-miler
              I was wondering why 400m/800m runners are historically rare? Alberto Juantorena, Jarmila Kratochvílová, and Mal Whitfield come to mind.
              The research is in. The answer is physiological. the 400m dash is predominantly anaerobic, with a shockingly paltry aerobic component in performance (30% at the HIGH end, among the population). The 400m is a straight up sprint. The 800m dash is a hybrid -- a tweener, if you will -- which is approximately 40% aerobic (or more), thus requiring an entirely different energy system and an entirely different training strategy than the 400m performance requires. 400m performance is heavily limited by central nervous system coordination, while the 800m performance is limited by physiological demands that are more or less equally dependent on CNS demands AND aerobic demands. The events pose very different demands.
              No way around it.

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              • #37
                Re: Why are 400m/800m runners rare?

                My impression is that the increasing specialization we've seen in some other areas of track may also be part of it (at least at elite levels). When I was a kid, most top runners in the 100 also ran the 200/220, and top 800/880 guys often ran the 4x4 relay (even if just for speedwork).

                The increasingly-collaborative relationship between athletes and coaches might also play a role; I remember quite well "I don't care if you don't want to run the 4x4, you're running it, period".

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                • #38
                  Re: Why are 400m/800m runners rare?

                  houstonian:

                  Not sure which research you are talking about. The percentages from various researchers have been all over the place for the aerobic/anaerobic contribution to the 400m. Check out the various tables in this article:

                  http://www.scribd.com/doc/205638264/Iss ... 400-Metres

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by lonewolf View Post
                    As previously posted, I was just a "useful" 5'9", 155# track athlete in the early 50s, a notch below national level with HT, dirt/cinder PBs of:
                    9.7y, 21.6y, 46.8y, 1:51y, 4:13 mile, 14:20 three mile, 6'5" straddle HJ, 25' 6" LJ, 49'0" TJ.
                    How many athletes even today could duplicate those numbers ? ... I can start with Eaton, but the list gets pretty thin pretty quick... definitely not more than a handful.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by KDFINE View Post
                      Didn't Harald Schmid also run the half?

                      Yep - he ran a 1:44.8 to come 3rd in the Weltklasse in '79 (beat James Robinson). In the same year he was the fastest flat 400 runner (44.92) and ran a 47.88 400H.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by user4 View Post
                        How many athletes even today could duplicate those numbers ? ... I can start with Eaton, but the list gets pretty thin pretty quick... definitely not more than a handful.
                        I was wondering why there was no decathlon score here.

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