If you’re a female high school athlete looking to improve your 400m time, you’re not alone. Many girls strive to clock faster times in this grueling sprint event. But what exactly constitutes a ‘good’ 400m time for a high school girl?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down average and exceptional 400m times for female high school runners based on age and experience level. We’ll also provide training tips to help you achieve new personal records.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: for female high school runners, a good 400m time falls between 65 and 75 seconds. Elite runners can complete the one-lap race in under 60 seconds.

Average 400m Times for High School Girls

When it comes to track and field, the 400m dash is a challenging event that requires speed, endurance, and mental toughness. High school girls who participate in this event often wonder what constitutes a good time.

While individual performance can vary depending on various factors such as training, genetics, and experience, here are the average 400m times for high school girls according to their grade level:

Freshmen: 70-85 seconds

For freshmen girls, a good 400m time typically falls within the range of 70 to 85 seconds. It’s important to remember that this is just an average, and there will always be athletes who perform above or below this range.

Some freshmen girls may have natural talent and be able to achieve faster times, while others may need more time and training to reach their full potential.


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Sophomores: 68-80 seconds

As sophomores gain more experience and strength, their average 400m times tend to improve. A good 400m time for sophomore girls usually falls within the range of 68 to 80 seconds. This improvement can be attributed to the dedication and hard work that comes with another year of training and competing.

Juniors: 65-75 seconds

By the time girls reach their junior year of high school, they have typically honed their skills and built a solid foundation of speed and endurance. Junior girls who excel in the 400m dash often achieve times in the range of 65 to 75 seconds.

These athletes have put in the time and effort to improve their technique and physical abilities.

Seniors: 62-72 seconds

As seniors, high school girls are at the pinnacle of their athletic careers. They have refined their running technique, increased their strength, and gained valuable experience. A good 400m time for senior girls usually falls within the range of 62 to 72 seconds.

These athletes are often the leaders on their team and are looked up to by younger runners.

It’s important to note that these average times are just a guideline and should not discourage or limit any athlete. Each individual is unique, and with the right training, mindset, and determination, anyone can surpass these expectations.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that these times can also vary depending on the level of competition and the region.

Elite 400m Times for High School Girls

Sub-60 seconds: Elite

Running the 400m in under 60 seconds is an exceptional accomplishment for a high school girl. This time puts her in the elite category and showcases her exceptional speed, endurance, and overall athletic ability.

Not many athletes can achieve this feat, and those who do often go on to compete at the collegiate level or even professionally. It requires a combination of natural talent, dedicated training, and a strong work ethic to achieve such impressive times.

60-65 seconds: Exceptional

Finishing the 400m in the range of 60 to 65 seconds is considered exceptional for a high school girl. This time demonstrates a high level of athleticism and places her among the top performers in her age group.

Athletes who achieve this time are often standouts in their track and field programs and may receive recognition and opportunities to compete at higher levels. It is a testament to their hard work, determination, and dedication to their sport.

65-68 seconds: Strong

A time of 65 to 68 seconds in the 400m is considered strong for a high school girl. It shows that she has developed good speed, endurance, and technique, allowing her to compete at a competitive level.

Athletes who achieve this time are often valuable members of their track and field teams, contributing to their team’s success in relays and individual events. With continued training and improvement, these athletes have the potential to reach even faster times and further excel in their track and field careers.


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Tips for Improving Your 400m Time

Increase endurance with tempo runs

One effective way to improve your 400m time is to increase your endurance through tempo runs. Tempo runs are runs performed at a comfortably hard pace, usually at about 80-85% of your maximum effort. These runs help to build your cardiovascular fitness and improve your ability to sustain a faster pace for longer periods of time.

Incorporate tempo runs into your training routine by running at a steady pace for a set distance or time, with short recovery periods in between.

Build leg speed with speed workouts

To enhance your leg speed and power, incorporate speed workouts into your training routine. This can include interval training, where you alternate between fast sprints and slower recovery periods, or hill sprints, which help to strengthen your leg muscles.

By regularly challenging your legs with speed workouts, you can improve your overall running speed and performance in the 400m event.

Get stronger in the weight room

Strength training in the weight room can greatly benefit your 400m performance. Focus on exercises that target your leg muscles, such as squats, lunges, and calf raises. Strengthening these muscles will help you generate more power and speed during your sprints.

Additionally, incorporate exercises that target your core and upper body to improve overall body strength and stability.

Perfect your race strategy and pacing

Having a well-thought-out race strategy and understanding proper pacing is crucial for a successful 400m race. Start by analyzing your previous race performances and identify areas where you can improve.

Experiment with different strategies, such as starting strong and maintaining your speed throughout or conserving energy for a strong finish. Practice different pacing techniques during your training sessions to find what works best for you.

Eat a runner-friendly diet

A healthy, balanced diet is essential for optimal performance in any sport, including track and field. Make sure to fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods that provide the energy and nutrients needed for training and recovery.

Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in your diet. Avoid processed foods and sugary snacks, as they can negatively impact your performance and recovery.

Stay hydrated and get enough rest

Proper hydration and rest are often overlooked but play a significant role in your performance as a high school girl competing in the 400m event. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially before, during, and after your workouts.

Aim for at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to allow your body to recover and repair itself. A well-rested and hydrated body will perform better and help you achieve your desired 400m time.

Set Realistic Goals

When it comes to determining what is a good 400m time for a high school girl, it’s important to set realistic goals. Setting achievable targets will not only help you stay motivated, but also allow you to track your progress effectively.

Here are some tips to help you set realistic goals for your 400m time:

Assess your current fitness level

Before setting a goal time for the 400m, it’s important to assess your current fitness level. This can be done by timing yourself in a practice run or consulting with your coach. Understanding where you currently stand will help you set a goal that is challenging yet attainable.

Make small, incremental improvements

Improving your 400m time takes time and consistent effort. It’s important to make small, incremental improvements rather than expecting drastic changes overnight. Setting smaller goals, such as improving your time by a few seconds, can help you stay motivated and focused on your long-term progress.


Focus on beating your PR, not others’

While it’s natural to compare yourself to others, it’s important to focus on beating your personal record (PR) rather than comparing yourself to elite runners or other high school girls. Your journey is unique, and progress should be measured against your own accomplishments.

Celebrate each improvement, no matter how small, and use it as motivation to keep pushing yourself.

Don’t compare yourself to elite runners

It’s important to remember that elite runners have dedicated years to their training and have access to resources that may not be available to high school athletes. Comparing yourself to them can lead to unnecessary pressure and demotivation.

Instead, focus on your own progress and celebrate the milestones you achieve along the way.

Patience and consistency are key

Improving your 400m time takes time and consistency. It’s important to have patience with yourself and trust the process. Stick to your training plan, work on your strength and endurance, and give yourself time to improve. Remember, every small step forward is a step in the right direction.


Achieving a fast 400m time requires tremendous speed, endurance, and mental toughness. While sub-60 second times demand freakish genetics, any dedicated high school girl can steadily lower her PR with smart training and racing tactics.

Rather than fixating on what makes a ‘good’ time, set goals that are realistic yet challenging for your current ability. With consistent practice and incremental gains over each season, you’ll be amazed by how much faster you can get.

Just remember that improvement happens in small steps, not giant leaps. Stick with it, trust the process, and your 400m time will continue dropping over your high school career.

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