What’s A Good 400m Time? Average 400 Meter Times By Age + Sex

In track and field, there is a long list of events and race distances ranging from sprints such as the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, middle distances such as the 800-meter, 5k, and 10k, and longer distances such as the half-marathon and marathon.

The 400-meter event is considered a long sprint event and demands a combination of power, speed, and endurance. This event occurs on a 400-meter track.

As runners, we like to compare our running times to those of our peers so we can get an idea of how we stack up regarding our fitness level in our age group and sex. 

This guide will look at the 400-meter distance, current 400-meter world records, and what an average 400 meter time is based on age, sex, and fitness level. 

  • How Long is 400 Meters?
  • What are the Current 400 Meter World Records?
  • What Factors Can Impact Your 400 Meter Time?  
  • Average 400 Meter Times By Age and Sex
  • What’s a Good 400M Time? 
  • Tips to Improve Your 400 Meter Time 


Let’s jump in! 

People running a 400 meter race.

How Long is 400 Meters?

Before we look into average 400 meter times, or what a good 400m time is for different age groups, let’s get an idea of exactly how long 400 meters is.

400 meters is .4 of a kilometer and approximately one-quarter of a mile. On a standard outdoor 400-meter track, 400 meters is one complete lap around the track. 

In the 400m event, athletes begin in race blocks on the track in a staggered position and stay in their designated lane for the entirety of the lap.

What are the Current 400 Meter World Records?

According to World Athletics, the current 400-meter world record was set by Wayde Van Niekerk from South Africa at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on August 14, 2016, with a time of 43.04 seconds.

The women’s 400-meter world record is still currently held by Germany’s Marita Koch, with a time of 47.60. It was set at Bruce Stadium in Canberra, Australia, on October 6, 1985. 

A sprinter off the blocks.

What Factors Can Impact Your 400 Meter Time?  

Deciding what’s a good 400m time will depend on a few different factors, such as your age, sex, ability, and current fitness level. 

Regarding sex, most male runners genetically have more muscle mass and fast twist muscle density, which makes them faster runners overall in most distances, as you can see in the world record times.

Age also affects our performance as research suggests that the prime running age category is between 25-35, and our performance begins to decline after the age of 35. 

However, don’t be discouraged! Performance declines gradually, so there’s still plenty of time for excellent running after 35 years old and beyond!

Our current fitness level will also affect our performance. However, our fitness level is one of the factors that we can actually control, unlike our age and sex. We can improve our 400m time with hard work and dedication to a specific training plan.

Runners sprinting off the blocks.

Average 400 meter Times By Age and Sex

Let’s break down the average 400m time by age group, the average 400m time by sex, and, in addition, by fitness level to see what a good 400m time is for each range.

Running Level breaks down average running times for an extensive range of distances by sex, age, and fitness level. This data is divided into five fitness levels: beginner, novice, intermediate, advanced, and elite.

Here are the definitions of each fitness level according to Running Level so you can find which column will be the most accurate average for you:

  • Beginner runners are defined as faster than 5% of other runners and have run for at least one month.
  • Novice runners are defined as faster than 20% of runners and have been running for at least six months.
  • Intermediate runners are defined as faster than 50% of other runners and have run regularly for two years.
  • Advanced runners are defined as faster than 80% of other runners and have more than five years of running experience.
  • Elite runners are defined as faster than 95% of other runners and have over five years of running experience.
Men sprinting.

Let’s take a look at the average 400m time by age and sex according to Running Level:

Average 400 Meter Times: Men 

Age Group: BeginnerNoviceIntermediateAdvancedEliteWR
A woman getting ready to sprint.

Average 400 Meter Times: Women

Age Group: BeginnerNoviceIntermediateAdvancedEliteWR
A person running on a track.

What’s a Good 400M Time?

Now that we have the average 400 meter times, what’s a good 400m time for your age and sex? 

If we look at the different running level descriptions, an intermediate runner runs faster than 50% of runners. 

Therefore, we can conclude that a good 400m time would be that of an intermediate runner for your age group. 

The advanced and elite times put you in even a higher category as you would run faster than 80% or 95% of other runners, respectively. 

Therefore, a good 400 meter time for men in the 35 age group would be 1:30, and a good 400 meter time for women would be 1:43. 

To find a good 400m time that would correspond to you personally, refer to the tables and choose your sex and age group, and the intermediate running level. 

Then, compare that data to your current 400m running time to see where you stand in comparison to your peers. 

If you are looking to improve your 400 meter time and running in general, take a look at the following tips:

People running on a track.

Tips To Improve Your 400 Meter Time 

#1: Train Your Top Speed 

Short-distance, high-intensity interval training will help improve your top speed, turnover, and running form

The 400 meter event is considered the “long sprint, ” so for top speed, let’s choose workouts that are even shorter distances than 400 meters and contain complete rest in between each rep.

Perform these short interval workouts on a track, if possible, or if you do not have access to a track, on a flat surface where you won’t need to stop for traffic or any other obstacles. 

You want to be on a route where you feel comfortable giving it your all without needing to worry about stopping for obstructions.

100-Meter Repetitions 

  1. Warm-up: 10-15 minutes at an easy, conversation pace with 5 x 10-second strides
  2. Run: 12 x 100 meters hard with a full recovery between each one. Take as much time as you need to be able to run the following reps at full speed, trying to stay as consistent as possible for all reps.
  3. Cooldown: 10-15 minutes

200-Meter Repetitions 

  • Warm-up: 10-15 minutes at an easy, conversation pace with 5 x 10-second strides
  • Run: 10 x 200 meters hard with 2 minutes of total rest in between each one, or more if necessary, to keep all the following reps consistent. 
  • Cooldown: 10-15 minutes 
Runners going uphill.

#2: Include Hillwork 

Including hill repeats in your training program is an excellent way to increase your speed, power, and overall running economy.

Try some short hill sprint workouts to get started: 

  1. Warm up for 10-15 minutes with an easy jog
  2. Sprint 5 seconds uphill at an effort of 9+ on the RPE scale. 
  3. Walk back down to your starting point. 
  4. Rest completely for 1-2 minutes at the starting point until you are ready to go again.
  5. Repeat 8-12 times, depending on your fitness level.
  6. Cool down for 10-15 minutes with an easy jog

As your fitness improves, increase the sprint time to 10 seconds.

For more hill repeats, check out my complete guide here.

A box jump.

#3: Strength Train 

Strength training isn’t usually high on most runners’ list of priorities as, well, you guessed it, we prefer to run! 

However, strength training will not only make you stronger and give you more power to run distances like the 400 meters but will also help reduce your risk of injury.

Include two strength training sessions per week in your training plan for great results. 

Focus on compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, hip thrusters, planks, and calf raises. 

You can also add plyometric exercises to your sessions to increase power, such as jump squats, jump lunges, box jumps, skaters, and long jumps.

Ready to get training to improve that 400-meter time? To start, click here for a complete strength training session for runners.

Runners on a track.

Photo of author
Katelyn is an experienced ultra-marathoner and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the trails. In the running community, she is known for her ear-to-ear smile, even under the toughest racing conditions. She is a UESCA-certified running coach and loves sharing her knowledge and experience to help people reach their goals and become the best runners they can be. Her biggest passion is to motivate others to hit the trails or road alongside her, have a blast, and run for fun!

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