My Olympics: day nine, 400m (track)

In this blog series, I take inspiration from one of the day’s Olympic events. Today: the women’s 400m final.

Christine Ohuruogu and I have a lot in common. Loads. We’re both women. We both wear sportsbras and trainers a lot. And we both ran 400m today.

I was spoiled for choice with inspiration for today’s blog post. A game of tennis? I’d love to, but I don’t have a racquet (or a tennis partner). The entire men’s omnium? That could be fun. Also very time-consuming. The marathon! Maybe not (I have run marathons though, if that counts at all. PB of 4 hours 04 mins – watch your back, Tiki Gelana!)

But I was pushed for time and needed my blog-post sporting effort to be tacked on to the end of my own training session. So, 400m it was (on the treadmill).

I would in no way call myself a track runner, but I have done quite a lot of track running in the past: firstly as weekly training when I ran for a running club (Dulwich Runners AC reprazent!) and more recently a couple of Summers ago when I decided to get my 5km race time down (it seemed a noble cause at the time). I ran many 400m reps during my 5km-Summer (and still never got my 5km time under 20mins!) so knew today’s challenge was doable. The question was: what would my time be?

With just a few minutes until the gym closed, I hopped onto a treadmill and started running slowly. I hadn’t really thought this through. I didn’t have a stop-watch on, and had no idea how to set up the treadmill so it would do a 400m “effort” and record the time. So, I ran a bit quicker until the screen said 600m, then cranked up the speed with one hand whilst starting the stopwatch on my phone with the other hand. Then I ran like hell.

I realised immediately that running a 400m effort on the treadmill is not the best test of speed, because you can’t just go a bit faster as soon as your brain decides to: you have to adjust the speed manually and think about it. It was very different to running it on the track! However, I had no choice and by now I was about 179m through so I just kept going.

400m is a horrible distance, really. Is it a sprint? Or is it endurance? It calls on both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, which is why it hurts so much (even if you’re slow like me). Sure enough, about 2/3 of the way through, my legs appeared to stop communicating with my brain and started flailing about in a disconcerting manner. Mildly alarmed, I turned the speed down a touch.

Ouch, help me! By the power of Christine, make it stop!

The nice thing about 400m is that, horrible as it is, it’s over pretty soon.

1:28:9. Well, it’s a season’s best! 😉

If I’d been running with Christine & co tonight, this is what the results would look like.


Rank: 9
Lane: treadmill
Bib: t-shirt
Athlete: JOYCE Nicola
Reaction time: slow (fiddling with iPhone)
Time: 01:28:9 (SB)

Awesome! ;D

How have the London 2012 Olympic Games inspired you today?

My Olympics: day nine, 400m (track) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

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