You either love running on a track or hate it.
Visiting the track just once a week, or even once every other week, will do the trick; if you don’t like the track workouts now, hopefully you’ll grow to like them. If you can’t learn to like them, you can certainly toughen up once every week or every two weeks and get through it!
What does track running give you that you can’t get from road running? Track running will help you correlate perceived effort with pace. You will benefit from running at a faster pace than you’re used to, suffering along the way – in the name of gain – and surviving. Track running allows you to run fast, uninterrupted sessions and offers you a flat, smooth surface to do so.
As a general rule, each track workout should include a warm up, some drills, the main set and then a cool down.
A standard track session might look like this:
- Warm up: 10-15 minutes easy
High knees, butt kicks, cariocas, high skips, windsprints
- Main Set:
number of repetitions of a certain distance with a set rest
- Cool down:
10-15 minutes easy
Track Running: Getting Started
If you are just getting started, break yourself in gently.
- Aerobic Speed –
This aerobic session is teaching the heart to pump and the muscles to use oxygen to burn fuel. It is best to start with short repetitions and build the length of time you are running at this pace. Here are some examples of how to progress your main sets:
2x (10x200m) with 20 seconds between reps and four minutes between sets
3x (5x300m) with 45 seconds between reps and four minutes between sets
Session three: 2x (6x400m) with one minute between reps and three minutes between sets
Session four: 1x (2x400m) with one minute rests
- Aerobic Endurance –
There is a definite advantage in running for over three minutes in each repetition as you will have your heart rate higher for longer periods of time. Examples of fast aerobic endurance sessions include:
Session one: 8x800m with two minutes rest
Session two: 6x(800m/400m) alternating two minutes rest and 1minute rest
8x1km with two minutes rest
6×1.2km with two minutes rest
- Anaerobic workouts –
Train at these paces and you will be developing your ability to apply quick force to the track, increasing your stride length and efficiency. If you do a big fast aerobic session once a week, and have developed a good endurance base over time, you will find that it doesn’t take many of these anaerobic sessions to produce a rapid performance improvement. Just six to 10 sessions will move you on significantly. The key is to be fresh and fueled when you do them.
10x200m with 90 seconds rest between reps
7x300m with two minutes rest between reps
6x400m with two and a half minutes between reps
Think of the track as your test for pushing your run performances further to achieve faster times. Keep it interesting and challenging by changing the sessions and combining different elements at different paces.