“How do you do a track workout?”

Today I’m going to talk about track workouts. This is for a reddit article I’m working on so I thought I’d make a video to go along with it!

For many of you this is probably a little under your knowledge level because most runners probably know how to do a track workout already and if you do know how to do a track workout maybe you’ll get a good reminder in this video. If you don’t know how to do a track workout I hope you’ll be inspired to go and do one.

So the first point is “what is a track workout?” and typically thery are repetitions around a track to develop your aerobic power, that goal pace / specific endurance / high end typically hard effort running. An example would be eight times 800 meters hard with 400 meter jog recovery.

So a track around is roughly a quarter mile / 400 meters, so eight times 800 would be two laps hard and then 400 meter recovery jog, eight times.

How to do these is I like to run to the track, ideally you run to the track for a warm-up of 1 to 2 miles. I typically walk a lap then I’ll do some strides (30-second accelerations) during the warm-up to the track or I’ll do them at the track and a walk a quarter mile and then I’ll go into the actual workout.

With our 800 meter repeat workout example, how you would optimally run this workout would be to do the first four of the eight reps at a moderate (not hard) effort and then you would do the next two. So you do number five and six at a slightly harder effort and then the last two would be a nearly best effort.

Optimally your perceived exertion goes up as the workout progresses but your pace remains pretty constant, maybe it speeds up a little bit. How I typically do this is to run the first one or two reps without looking at any time recording device. I’ll run them by feel at a moderate (not quite hard) effort because at that point you’re still really fresh and you’re going to run pretty quickly at a low effort. Then what I typically do is take the average or whatever split I ran for the first one or two reps and I try to hit that or slightly beat it for the remaining reps. Let’s say you hit four minutes for the first 800 meter rep, ideally you hit four minutes for all the reps but your effort will increase throughout the workout and having a 400 meter or a four minute average for the 800s with a slightly increasing perceived exertion is pretty good and you can do the walk jog recoveries between them. I’ll sometimes have people do a minute standing recovery after a mile rep or maybe a 200 meter jog after a 400 meter repeat.

A nice rule of thumb would be a recovery segment equal to about half of however long it took you to to do the hard segment Another tip is to not use a GPS for track workouts since gps’s are not super accurate around the turns, they kind of cut the turns. You are taking the signal from a satellite in space! I’ll use a stopwatch for track workouts or most gps’s have a stopwatch function on them as well.

I have enjoyed doing longer runs on the track, like tempo runs, and the reason for this is that tracks are nice controllable repeatable scenarios. The track is flat, it’s consistent, you can put a water bottle on the side of the track so you always have access to nutrition or hydration… maybe a bathroom And you don’t have to go anywhere, you just run circles. Yes it can be tedious and monotonous but sometimes that’s nice. Sometimes consistency and just running around in circles without having to worry about traffic or really the wind or terrain is nice and that kind of takes a stress off of you when you have to focus on running at half marathon pace for a few miles.

Here's some great advice on how to perform a #trackworkout →

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Kyle

Kyle is a running coach who works with people all over the world to help them run more consistently & be resilient to injury.

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