I’m only saying this because my butt is now there on a weekly basis. I don’t like to suffer alone, and really, who does? Misery loves company. Fast company. As torturous and daunting as the oval may be, it’s an excellent place to hone speed. After all, the only way to run faster is to literally run faster.
There’s no need to be afraid of speed or the overly complicated looking track workouts you find in running magazines. I know that when I first starting running, way back in 2001, I hadn’t a clue what was meant by “30 seconds slower then 10K pace,” or “3 x 1 mile repeats.” It was my worst nightmare that running at the track had so much to do with math. Ugh.
Eventually, I figured it all out with help from friends, coaches and just plain old trial and error. I also found out that, whatever your goals may be (even if they don’t involve racing – gasp!) track workouts are one of the best you can do for overall strength and fitness. It’s truly a total body workout. And, if you’re like my husband who hates to run (true story), you can sprint one lap and then do 1,000 push-ups and repeat. Cross training at it’s best.
For your viewing and running pleasure, I bring to you three different track workouts of varying distances, that anyone can do. I highly recommend having the right shoes, bringing plenty of water, a towel and some food (no it’s not an overnight camping trip but you will want it, trust me!) and, of course, not tackling more then you’re capable of. However, the beauty of running in general and the track specifically, is that you can just stop if it becomes too much.
First, the basics:
One lap = 400 meters
Four laps = 1 mile or 1600 meters
Always try to run on the inside lane, and walk on one of the outer lanes. This is basic track etiquette.
Half or Full Marathon Training: 3 x 1 mile repeats
This is the longest distance I’ll offer, and is generally reserved for half or full marathon training. The number “3” is how many you’re going to do (the repeats) and obviously 1 mile is the distance covered. This is what it should look like:
Warm-Up: 1 mile (4 laps)
1 mile at goal pace or as fast as you want to go
Walk one lap or jog two
Repeat for two more miles (with the walk or jog in-between)
Cool-down: 1 mile
* Take a sweaty selfie and brag about what an animal you are at the track #queenoftheoval #greaselightening
10K Training: Yasso 800s
Oh Bart Yasso. So unassuming, so knowledgeable in running and racing, and such a demon to have introduced the running world to your 800 torture sessions!
Bart claims, and so named, the Yasso 800’s can predict your marathon time. If you can do 10 x 800 in 3:30 (3 min/30 sec) then you can run a 3:30 (3 hour/30 min) marathon. I can do 2:45 800s and cannot run a 2:45 marathon…yet.
Since I’m using this as a half-marathon workout, we won’t worry too much about that. Yasso’s are just a great way to dominate the track without feeling completely zapped when you’re done.
Here’s what it looks like:
Warm-up: 1 mile (4 laps)
800: two laps as fast as you can
Walk or jog one lap in-bewteeen
Repeat as many times as you want. At least one more time so you get a 2 x 800 for God sake!
*Take proud selfie and tag Bart, thanking him for being such a running genius. #YassoIsGreato
5K or Non-Race Training: Fartleks (insert child-like giggle)
Yes, it’s called a fartlek. It’s Sweedish for “speed play” and basically means to go slow when you feel like and speed up when you feel like it, with no preconceived plan. Run by feel – what a concept!
Here’s what it may look like:
Warm-up: 1 mile walking, running or a combo
Run 400, walk 800, run 200, walk 200, etc.
Mix it up any way you chose with walking, running and/or sprints. Make it fun! If you want to set a time or lap goal, that’s a good idea so you don’t stop too soon. Of course, you can do this workout anywhere but the track is nice and flat, so you know what you’re in for.
*Take selfie using the word “Fartlek” a lot! Your non-running friends will be confused and that’s funny. #goodtimes
Now strap on those shoes, with your Momentum Jewelry Foot Notes for motivation, and get your butt to the track! And if your name is Jess M. (from Flying Feet and Faith) then you just WON SOME FOOT NOTES FROM MOMENTUM!
[Tweet “Get Your Butt To The Track! 3 Workouts Anyone Can Do #fartlek #Yasso800s #milerepeats”]
What’s your favorite track workout?
What workouts do you love to hate?
I’ve just started to love the track this spring. It’s helped me realize that I do have a little bit of speed in my stems! I love ladders…what goes up, must come down!
Love those ladders!…especially on the way down… 🙂
Yay!!!! Thank you again! I really wanted a pair so I feel super lucky. And track workouts are the best for speed. I do a variety during training once a week. My fav is Yasso 800. Makes me feel like a sweaty rock star lol I do have to use a tm sometimes for speed work because we don’t have an idoor track and my depending on my kid’s schedule it’s difficult to get there. Speed sessions can be done on a treadmill although not near as much fun. Oh, and I put ice cubes in the sports bra for hot days too. 😉
So glad I’m not the only one shoving ice down my bra 🙂 And I’m really happy you won the foot notes. They will have you flying around that track or speeding through tm workouts. So great!!
I admit I hate running (gasp…i Know), but hearing you did previously and how much you love it has given me hope that maybe just maybe I can move past my negative feelings of running and try it again now. So, thanks for letting me know that you didn’t always love to run.
I STILL don’t always love it but…
It’s really more important for you to find something you love, and if you think you can learn to love running then do it for fun first, maybe involve the girls, etc.
I love the track and I think my fav workout is Yasso 800’s. They kick my ass and I love it 🙂 Mile repeats are my least favorite by far!! Also, basic track etiquette I was told that if you are warming up you should run counter clockwise on the track….have you heard of that?
I agree 100% with your “likes” and “dislikes” and no, I never heard of running counter clockwise for a warm-up?? Interesting. I’m lucky in that when I’m at the track, there’s usually almost no one else there!
Haha, I’m pretty certain if you don’t giggle at ‘Fartlek’, you have no sense of humor 😉 We did those all the time in college, and it never failed that I’d at a minimum chuckle under my breath.
You really just have to. 🙂
Thank you. I actually really appreciate the breakdown here of how easy this can be…I was doing really well with the gym earlier this summer and got off track (HA-no pun intended!), but this will help me get back in the game!-Ashley
Make Lisa go with you!! Heck you can even bring the kids and let them play in the middle. My husband and I have done this with the boys and luckily, they can’t catch me and I pretend I don’t hear them 🙂
I plan on tracking it this weekend. Bootcamp was rough this week so I need to get some extra running practice in!
Do it up!!! I hope it’s a good session 🙂
oh my GOD Allie. This is freaky. You see what happens when we become sissies? You start reading my mind.
So to make a really long story short I have been running outdoors for the past two weeks. Great right? Until my lobby security officer at work (eons away in MANHATTAN) told me he saw me running in my neighborhood. FREAKY. plus he is kinda gross and seems a bit stalkerish. SO i decided to change my route effective next week and run (about a mile) down to a local high school to get on the track and avoid crazy eyes.
So this can’t be anymore on time, seriously! I was just gonna run, I had no PLAN! Now I do. 🙂
We are CONNECTED!!! That is another benefit of the track – avoid the creepers. That is just freaky.
Can’t wait to hear about it!
Saved/Printed – to be completed :-))
Let me know when you go and maybe I’ll do some with you 🙂
🙂 !!! Ok, will do.
OMG – this is good stuff. I actually like track work. It works for me mentally. Shorter than a long run yet you feel totally invincible and no time for mental chatter. It’s just time to gitterdone. That being said, I have no idea what I am doing. I just show up with whatever the coach gave me.
Ha ha!! Yes, those are all the reasons I love the track too 🙂
This is awesome. I don’t do many track workouts mostly because, well, the last time that I did, that’s where my ACL gave out on me the second time around and I’m a little scared to go back :-/ But I used to love them!
I don’t blame you!! OMG, that’s awful.
One of the hardest track workouts I’ve ever done was 40 x 200m – Basically it was 40 laps (10 miles – I know you know!!!) because it was a 200 at max pace with a 200 jog x 40 – it was brutal every time!!!
OH MY GOD!!! 40?? That is insane. I can’t imagine doing that workout and I’m so glad I won’t ever actually have to. WOW! Good for you Kim, that is brutal.
Fartlek! At first I was a little afraid of the math stuff, but you totally broke it down for me pretty fast.
I like track! That was something I actually liked in high school. I felt like I could fly.
Yes!!! You can totally FLY. That’s exactly how I feel when I’m really in a groove 🙂
THANK YOU for this. I have my first “repeats” workout this week, and I’ve never done one, so I was totally nervous about it. I don’t have a track nearby though, so I’ll need to just measure out a quarter mile somewhere and run it back and forth!
Oh I’m so glad! let me know how it goes!!!
You seriously are making me feel guilty for those frosted brownies earlier. What a GREAT breakdown. But 1,000 pushups? You are joking right?! lol!
I love this….and would love to try this. I am going to start my routine again tomorrow thanks to you.
Yes, I’m totally joking about the push-ups. He does like 30-50 and then sprints off again! It’s ridiculous.
So glad you’re getting back in the groove after vacation. You’re legs should feel nice and rested!
I’ve not tried the track yet but I will say this is the first time I’ve had these things broken down where I can understand. Since this is my first half should I worry about this or just worry about building the endurance to actually finish?
Don’t worry about speed right now – just distance! Your number one goal should be just to cross that finish line baby!!
Ha! When I first heard the word Fartlek I thought it was a joke! That workout is no joke for sure! I contribute a lot of my running advances to track workouts. Mile repeats are flipping hard but are so effective. Thanks for sharing this!
I know, right?? Yes, horribly hard but extremely effective. At least it’s over with fairly quickly and you always feel GREAT afterward.
Fartlek – snort. I loved that word when I first discovered it.
OK, I’ll bookmark this post for er, later. 🙂
I’ll remind you – ha ha!
I want to want to do track workouts but alas, I don’t. I guess it’s good to know what you like and what you don’t, right?
I had the most miserable hot 4 miler this past weekend BUT I did it. I bought myself a new pair of shoes to celebrate and I’m moving on. I see some more running in my future (even if it isn’t on a track).
I may need some strength training advice soon….
PS – Cubes in the bra. Cute.
Training advice is available to you 24/7. What kind of kicks did you buy? And, yes, everyone has been having those hot/horrible runs lately, myself included. Keep your head up!!
You may find this hard to believe considering my general lack of interest in running but I used to run track in high school. I actually even lettered as a freshman! Ha! I ran distance, which meant 800-1 mile. Running around the track never bothered me. I actually like it because I always knew how far and how much longer!
I used to run Fartleks for field hockey practice, those were my favorite!
Really??? I’m actually not THAT surprised because you’re so athletic. The track is excellent for concrete, visual workouts! I HATED track in high school and would only do sprints. Can you believe that??
Personally I like tempo runs and fartleks best…no walking though. Sometimes I do speed workouts. I’m going to have to get somewhat serious about my training though because I am signing up for that Disney half marathon tomorrow. Or rather, my husband is signing me up, because I am taking my son on a few college visits. 🙂
What?? That is GREAT Michelle!! How fun! As for serious, you probably picked the least serious race you can in Disney, which is GOOD. The motto there is “run and have fun.” They really do insist you have a magical day – half or no half 🙂
3 x 1-mile repeats are probably my favorite speed workout. That and 400 repeats assuming there aren’t more than 10 🙂 Track work makes you faster. I do mine on the treadmill a lot too when it is really hot outside.
YES! I like doing them on the treadmill so I can control my speed BUT I often find that I can actually go faster then I think I can. I know you can relate 🙂