The track has always intimidated me a little bit; it was the place for “serious” athletes to practice, not for newbie runners like myself. Aside from running the timed mile in high school I have never ran on a track. So, when I looked at my training plan and saw track repeats on the schedule I knew it was time to do some research about track work, face my fears and get my bum out there to do some laps.
Since the bulk of my marathon training runs are done at a base run (conversational) pace to gain endurance, my marathon training plan regularly mixes in tempo runs and track workouts to help me gain speed- or at least I hope I’m going to get faster! Either way, I am starting to look forward to my mornings on the track as they are a completely different running experience than my other weekly runs.
Think of speedwork as short term high intensity drills with periods of recovery mixed in. Bottom line- track work hurts, but not for too long!
Basic track drills I have done:
12×400: Run a 1-2 mile warm up jog. Run around the track 1x at about 30 seconds faster than 5K pace then take recovery jog for 1.5 minutes (about 200 meters). Repeat 11 times! 1-2 mile cool down jog. (Workout: between 6-8 miles, depending on warm up/cool down jogs)
6×400 and 4×800: 1-2 mile warm-up jog. Run around the track 1x (400 meters) at ideally 30 seconds faster than 5k pace. Recovery jog 1.5 minutes. Run around track 2x (800 meters) at 15 seconds faster than 5k pace. Recovery jog 2 minutes. Repeat 3 more times. Do an extra 2 400s for good luck! 1-2 mile cool down jog. (Workout: between 7-9 miles)
Tips for Trackwork
1. Manage your pace! Of course you can run one lap around the track at a ridiculously faster pace than your 5k pace, but with track workouts you are going to do more than one lap! Try to manage your pace so that you can maintain the same pace across all lap repeats, if not get even faster!
2. You may be wondering, “What pace should I be shooting for?”
Check out www.mcmillanrunning.com to find out what paces you should aim for when doing track repeats! This website is one of my favorite tools for training. All you need is (1) a recent time from a race and (2) a goal time for an upcoming race.
Below are my suggested training paces:
3. Always bring water or a sports drink to your track sessions! Consider placing your fuel-belt bottles on separate sides of the track so that you can always have quick access to fluids.
4. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and have fun with it!!
Questions: Do you incorporate track work into your training/weekly runs? What types of drills do you do? Do you run to music on the track or not?