Whether inside or outside, it doesn’t matter. The 400 meter race is one of the most difficult races for any runner to run, no matter how experienced, no matter how much you train. Mostly, this race will rely purely on athletic talent and ability: natural talent, that is. You certainly can train, and that will undoubtedly decrease your time, but to be a top end runner, perhaps college or professional material, you will always have to have natural athleticism.
Before the race:
Before running the 400 meter race, know exactly how fast you want to run it. Set a goal; that is by far the best way to start. After that, make sure that you have proper sprinting shoes. There is a certain difference between appropriate track spikes for a 400 meter race, and track spikes for a 800 meter race, for example. In a 400 meter race, you want spikes that are designed particularly for that event, and, in most cases, that includes shoes that force you to run on your toes. Why? It’s simple. The 400 meter race requires you to go at top speed for the entirety of the race. Yes, it sounds difficult… that’s because it is. The previous statement regarding the requirement for natural athleticism is quite accurate; you need not only the talent to be able to go at your top speed for a quarter of a mile (400m) but also the lungs, heart, and circulation to propel you off the starting blocks and through the finish line one lap (or two indoors) later.
Preparing for the race:
When running the race, you will almost always require blocks; experienced runners will always use blocks, and the better you are with them, the quicker your start will be. However, you must make sure that you know your pace, because if you start off too fast and cannot hold your pace, the more experienced runners are sure to blow right by you. So, once you have acquired blocks, you must make sure you’re comfortable with them. Practice with them, and find the right balance for the distance between your lead and supporting foot, as well as the right incline in the blocks themselves.
Running the race:
When informed to take your marks, you get down into the blocks. Once comfortable, you put your head down, and relax. Then, you’re informed to “get set;” when you hear this, you get into your complete starting position. Runners most often raise their waist into the air, as this is the position which enables them to get into their stride immediately and be able to start the race fast. Then, after being informed “GO,” you take off. Make sure you start out of the blocks not only successfully but fast. Since you’re almost always assigned a lane, you’ll be staggered; so, you’ll either be behind most people, or ahead of them, depending on which lane. Since you know your pace, you’ll know exactly how fast you should be running. Have someone stand at the 200 meter mark (halfway) and give you your split. You’ll be able to do a little “on the spot” math, and know where you are in terms of how fast you want to be running. Most often, if you’re right where you need to be, you’ll need to pick it up right around the spot with 100 meters remaining. This is known as the “kick,” and is quite important as most always you’ll need to make sure you’ve expended all of your energy and remaining speed. Also, for the less experienced runner, you almost always need to feel like you’re running faster to, in fact, run the same speed you started out with.
Good luck with your 400 meter race, and it wouldn’t hurt to check out training methods to make sure you’re on the right program to help lower your time!