- Running the turn well will contribute to success in the 200 meters.track lanes image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com
The 200-meter dash is one of the most difficult races for sprinters in a track and field competition. While the 100-yard dash is an all-out straight sprint and the 400-meter is a test of endurance mixed with speed, the 200 falls in between and brings on strategic decisions about how hard to go out and how to manage a tough lane assignment when running the turn. Pacing is harder to gauge in the 200. Since the 200-meter is usually run in multiple rounds, conditioning is another key ingredient and season-long preparation is critical. Many of the most successful 200 sprinters train with the 400-meter runners. Of all of the sprints, the 200 may be the most strategic event and the execution of a good plan makes all the difference.
- The first 30 to 40 meters of the race should be run full out, with the runner getting up to full speed as quickly as possible. The race will not be decided in the first few seconds, but it can be lost if a runner comes out of the blocks too slowly. Once the sprinter get out to full speed, he will be able to pace the remainder of the race from a position of strength instead of spending it chasing the leaders.
The Middle of the Race
- One of the most difficult parts of the 200 meters comes when runners are over-exerting themselves through the turn. It is not possible to run at 100 percent maximum speed for the full 200, so the key is to figure out how to pace. The successful athlete has the ability to glide through the middle section of the race, letting a relaxed running style carry the speed while other runners are leaving their best energy in the turn. It might be difficult to see runners seem to be passing by without trying to chase them down, but being first to 150 meters does not win the race. Patience and control are critical in the middle section of the event.
- Two things are in play as the 200 heads into the home stretch. The runners' faces tell a big story as the first signs of tension will show in the face. The most successful runners have the ability to keep their muscles relaxed while still accelerating back to full speed and then carrying it through the finish line. The natural tendency is to try too hard, and the result of that is a strain that actually slows the runner's pace. The ability to run fast without overexerting is the key to winning at 200 meters.