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How fast do CrossFitters run the 400m sprint?


June 11, 2014

“What’s a good 400 meter sprint time?” is not just a question exclusive to CrossFitters but athletes in general. If you’re not a 400m specialist, but you run or stay in shape otherwise, you’re probably curious how your 400m sprint time stacks up to both average and elite runners.

By looking at 400m sprint times of CrossFit athletes, we can see what the distribution of 400m times looks like for a fairly large group of athletes. And since CrossFitters don’t train to sprint/run, we can probably extrapolate that CrossFit 400m sprint times somewhat reflect sprint times of casual runners, too.

I collected data on 5,376 CrossFit Open participants, 387 of which self-reported their 400m times (299 men, 88 women).

Mens-400m-chartFor men, you can see the mean, median, 75th percentile, 25th percentile sprint times here on the right.

If we look at the distribution of men’s 400m times, we get a fairly normal looking distribution of 400m sprint times:

histogram-400m-mens

womens-400m chartFor women, you can see the mean, median, 75th percentile, 25th percentile sprint times here on the right. Women’s times at these marks are about 19-25% slower than men’s.

If we look at the distribution of women’s 400m times, like with men, we get a fairly normal looking distribution of 400m sprint times:

histogram-womens-400m

How good are both CrossFit women’s and men’s 400m times compared to specialists? Probably not very good.

Scrounging around the internet, for men, a 55 second time is high school JV level, a 51 second time is about varsity level, and around 47 seconds you’re an elite 400m high school runner. Being a top 5 percentile CrossFit 400m sprinter (54 seconds) is good enough for a position on a high school JV track team, and that’s it.

This reaffirms that running is not emphasized all that much in CrossFit.

 

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Comments

  • Notorious_bob

    so like a beer drinking 41 year old triathlon age grouper who just ate like a pound of roast pork and some steamed vegetables and went to the track for 400m intervals runs his 5th interval following a nice 3 minute rest after his 4th in say,….. 54 seconds… would that be somewhat noteworthy?

    • Brant Cebulla

      Yes that is fast for a human who doesn’t train for the 400m.

      • Notorious_bob

        30 years ago, when i ran track in catholic school, the 400 was my event but now i just do 5k’s and triathlons. this was supposed to be a speed workout using the interval feature on my garmin. now im kind of excited.

    • Tyson Gleeson

      Wow, I’m assuming that you’re not going 100% intensity after taking into account your short rest interval. That is an impressive time! You must have a fair amount of time you could cut off that 54 second time if you were just doing a one off flat out in spike shoes, without having roast pork straight before running. You should consider competing in the Masters Athletics World Championships because your rep times suggests you could medal in the 40-45 year old age group. How about that!? You’re possibly the best in the world for the 400m for your age group. You meet the most talented people on the internet!

      • Notorious_bob

        Well thank you for telling me that. I did ITU World’s for Duathlon in June this year. I should consider that. It’d probably be a blast.

  • Endea Ross

    I run cross country and track. I run a 1:09 in the 400m . Where do I rank at on those charts? I am 17 senior in hs

  • Peter Londres

    What were the average ages of the men and women though? Age is quite an important factor in discussing fastest times.

    • Brant Cebulla

      Yeah, definitely a correlation between age and 400m sprint times. Average age in above analysis is 32 years for males. Without controlling for height, weight, other benchmarks, every additional year in age adds an extra 0.57 seconds to 400m sprint time. i.e., someone 10 years younger should be able to run the 400m 6 seconds faster. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60a647c4a9238ac8079455c6b419429df465a7766f344a85c6c337fdaee01077.png

      • Peter Londres

        Thanks very much for your reply! I am a 46-year old male (not a CrossFitter) and my best 400m time is 1:07.8 (I’ve done that only once, but I can do 1:08-something quite regularly). I just started running 8 months ago and I am by NO means an athlete. What I want to tell anyone reading this is: If I can do it, I am SURE you can do it, if you want to. Stay healthy, enjoy it, don’t over-exert yourself and I’m sure your times will come down. Happy running and I wish you all the best!!

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