I love to run, and I love to run fast.
There are several different types of runs that will help us get faster, but today I’m talking about track repeats. I don’t necessarily love the work that goes into getting faster through track workouts until I’m in my second or third repeat; but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
When I started training for my first marathon, Miles invited me to join him and his friends at a local high school track at lunchtime for an hour-long speed workout. I was too intimidated to join them at first, but after several phone calls, Miles convinced me to show up. I quickly realized that even though I was the only girl, I wasn’t the slowest runner. In fact, I consistently finished in the middle of the pack, and soon felt like “one of the guys.”
When I coached for Sport & Health, I met my runners at the track on Tuesday evenings for our weekly speed workout. I chose Tuesday so their legs could rest for a couple of days after their Saturday long run and still have a few days before their next Saturday long run. I coached for Sport & Health for about five years and once I left there, my husband and I continued doing track workouts regularly for a year or so. I usually see clients early in the morning and in the evening, so these days I rarely make it to the track when my husband and friends meet for intervals.
There are a few things to consider before adding speed work to your weekly running routine. I required my runners to have a solid running base of at least 20 miles per week for a minimum of six to twelve weeks before starting my program. When the temperature rises, be sure to stay well hydrated by bringing plenty of water or sports drink with you for before, during, and after your workout. During the hot months, it is best to plan your track workouts for early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cooler.
Always warm up with at least a mile run (four laps) when you get to the track. After your warm-up, you can stretch and loosen up a little more with easy strides, dynamic stretches, etc. Never stretch before you do an easy warm-up. The workouts below are examples of what I had my runners do, based on their goals and experience coming into my program. You may want to tweak this a little to fit it into your workout plan. The “B” before the repeat distance stands for beginner, and the “I” stands for intermediate. All distances are in meters.
After you have completed your repeats, cool down with an easy mile run. After your cool-down run, you can do some core work such as planks, side-planks, supine flutter kicks, supine scissors, bicycles, Russian twists, V-seats, etc. and then stretch. If you choose to skip the core workout, don’t forget to stretch before heading home.
- Do you currently incorporate speed into your workouts?
- Do you do core specific exercises?
- Did anyone race today or plan to race tomorrow?
It always takes me until the third repeat to enjoy, but I do feel amazing after a great track workout. I think I start out too fast, too…
Not racing tomorrow (good thing since I ran 14 this afternoon) but cheering on lots of folks at the NJ Marathon!
Good for you! My body doesn’t respond well to afternoon long runs.
No wonder you qualified for Boston in your first marathon 🙂 That was really nice of Miles to keep bugging you until you came out to run with them! I would totally be intimidated to go run with a group at the track, but at the same time I wish there was a group I could run with. I don’t know how I’m both…
Thank you so much for posting the track workouts! I’m still scared of 800s, so I think I will stick with 400s for the next month or so. I’m interested in trying that pyramid one, though. I swam growing up and pyramid sets during practice were always my favorite.
The only core I do is Jillian 30 day shred. I used to do the p90x abs workout. I think I should re-incorporate that into my routine.
Pyramids were always my favorite workout. I always dreaded the mile repeats, but would leave the track feeling totally wiped out; in other words, AMAZING! 🙂
Don’t get so fast doing the track workouts that you leave me in the dust during the Hokie Half! 🙂
Haha, no worries! I doubt that will happen!
Thanks for the plan… I’ll use it, I’m sure!
I’m glad you got back out there and had a track workout!
This is GREAT! I’m going to try it one day this week when daddy can watch the babe! Thanks Debbie!!
Let me know how you like it… Or love to hate it! 🙂
I try and incorporate speed work into my workouts, but I don’t think they’re as intense as this. I hope I can try this without being too intimidated!
Just listen to your body and do fewer repeats until you build up to what I suggest. You can do it! 🙂
Wow, the picture of our group with Debbie is from 1997-1998 and back then we were pretty fast, relatively speaking that is. Debbie used to be in the middle of the pack when we did 400, 800 or pyramids usually every Wed at South Lakes High School. in Reston, Va. However when we got about 150-200 yards from the finish line, Debbie would leave most of us in the dust sprinting to the end. I got used to watching her back pull away from me as she scrambled as fast as she could to get ahead of me and the rest of us who were close by. No matter who or how many were in front of her, she managed to usually beat the pack to the finish line with a big smile on her face. ….. those were the days! We always had a good time back then, even when the temperature approached 100 degrees(we ran at lunch time throughout the summer and fall)
Somehow I’d forgotten about how hot and miserable it was some days. AND I think you’re exaggerating a little about my speed! 🙂
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I am starting track workouts next week and anxious and excited!
You’ll have to let me know what you think. I don’t enjoy the process nearly as much as the feeling after a good track workout! 🙂
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