Last year, I faced the challenge of running the “hardest 400 meters” in the world in a very short time and participated in the Red Bull 400 in Bischofshofen. As this event took place again this year I could not miss it. Read on, if you want to know how I felt during this years Red Bull 400 and what I experienced during this unqiue challenge.
If you have not read the article about my first Red Bull 400 and my preparation, you should definitely catch up: #RoadTo: Red Bull 400.
Contrary to last year, I had a lot more time to prepare for the event this year. Towards the end of May, right after my triathlon, I started preparing for the Red Bull 400. Last year, however, my preparation consisted of stair sprints during the few weeks leading up to the event – every second day.
Since it is not easy to find a mountain in Vienna (which can be reached in a timely manner) to simulate the conditions of the Red Bull 400, I resorted to several different alternatives. If you follow me on Instagram, you have already received insights into my training. Here is a summary of my training methods:
- Short intense sprints on the steepest “mountain” I could find nearby
- Longer (about 300-400m) slightly less intense sprints with a lower slope
- Occasionally a longer run in the basic endurance range
- Interval training on a skillmill with adjustable resistance
Before the event
Unfortunately, about a month before the event, I learned that I had to attend a university event via web meeting – on the day of the event from 10 to 12 am. Because I wanted to participate anyway, I postponed my start to the final heat (about one hour after the end of the event).
Expecting to find an accessible WLAN somewhere, I traveled to Bischofshofen early in the morning. I was able to attend the event and then hurried to the start line for my first run of the day!
As expected from Red Bull, the event was again well organized! Especially the starter shirt, the branded multifunctional headband and the Red Bull bag (which, compared to other events, is of much higher quality) stood out. Apart from that, the extensive supplies (food, drinks) provided to the athletes should also be mentioned!
Contrary to last year, where the event took place in the rain, the exact opposite happened this year. Bright sun and around 30°. Since I was running in the last heat, I could already gain a first impression of the athletes. It quickly became clear that the field of participants was stronger than last year. The times for entering the semi-finals were about 20 seconds faster than for my last Red Bull 400.
With a little uneasy feeling, I got ready for the challenge of the toughest 400 meters (after all, I knew what to expect). While I kept a good pace during my start, I challenged the hardest part of the track, the biggest climb, a bit too fast. I noticed that at the takeoff and had to fight very hard during the last 100 meters.
Finishing 15th of my heat I secured myself an entry into semifinals with a time of 05:06. Compared to last year, I was able to recover faster after the race and that was important. My semifinals run was only 2 hours later, whereas last year I had around 4 hours to recover. Nevertheless, the feeling after the sprint was by no means a good one.
I was greatly surprised during my first run though: Right before the 350 meter mark my parents were waiting to cheer for me, something I did not expect 😊.
Two hours later, I recovered pretty well and was ready for my semifinals- run. I was able to find a good pace during the steepest part this time and climbed the takeoff with a little more energy. Nevertheless, I noticed the fatigue of my legs quickly and had to fight hard again during the last 50 meters. With a time of 5:17, I finished my semifinals run satisfied but incredibly exhausted.
Unfortunately, that was not fast enough for the finals. Nevertheless, I am very satisfied with my performance and learned quite a lot!
First of all, it was again a great event. A unique challenge unlike anywhere else! Anyone who wants to go beyond his physical and mental limits should try this event for sure!
I learned quite about concerning my training for this event. Last year, my preparation was much shorter, but a lot more intense (sprints every second day). This year, however, my preparation extended over a longer period of time. The individual sessions were at least as intense as my sprints during the previous year, but were not so close together.
Also, I rarely trained my legs actively during the past year. Because of my triathlon training I put a rather strong focus on the corresponding endurance disciplines.
Because of that, I was able to recover faster after my heat, but was not able to perform quite as well as last year during the sprint. This was also reflected in my times, which turned out a slightly better last year.
If I attend this event again next year, I’ll be able to prepare better. And who knows, maybe next time it’ll be enough to qualify for finals?
If I really want to run a third time, is another question though 😉.