The 100m, 200m and 400m Sprints are track events that require pure speed and power. Powerful leg muscles provide fast acceleration and top speed. Runners may use blocks at the start of a race to reduce air resistance, therefore maximising speed and acceleration. Special running shoes with spikes on the bottom of the sole provide runners with extra grip making them run faster.
The 100m race is the shortest outdoor sprint race distance in athletics. During the 100m, sprinters usually reach top speed somewhere between 50-60m into the race and then slow progressively towards the finish line. The primary focus of training for the 100m, is maintaining the top speed for as long as possible. The 100m is usually run on the home straight on an outdoor 400m running track. The start is set on an extension to make it a straight line race.
The 200m places more emphasis on speed endurance rather than shorter sprint distances as athletes rely on different energy systems during the longer sprint. The race begins on the curve and ends on the home straight, so a combination of techniques are required to successfully run the race.
The 400m is considered the most difficult event because of the qualities necessary to excel in it. Maximum sprint speed capability is a significant contributing factor to success but the 400 metre athlete also requires substantial speed endurance to sustain a fast speed over a whole lap. On a standard outdoor running track, the 400m is exactly one lap around the track. Runners start in staggered positions and race in separate lanes for the entire course.