Each week, I hope to provide a new “tip” about doing track/speed workouts. Some of these will be general tips and others may center around the actual workout for the upcoming week. This week, I wanted to touch on the very basics about the track itself and doing track workouts.
Last year, we had quite a few people who had never even run on track, so let’s start by understanding how the track is measured. Modern day tracks are 400m – or approximately (though not exactly) 1/4 mile – per lap. You can break the track down into 100m segments – each straight and each turn is 100m. So if your workout is a 400m and a 200m recovery, you would run a full lap, then recover for a half of a lap. The math is basic, but 1 lap is 400m, 2 laps is 800m and so on.
This brings us to basic etiquette on the track. Whenever you are warming up, cooling down or doing your recoveries, you should run in the outer most lanes (depending on the track, this is lane 6 or higher). When you are running your interval, run in lane 1. I don’t care if you are the slowest person out there, if you are in your “speed” work, lane 1 is the place for this part of your run. If someone is faster, they can go around you. If you do your workout in lane 2, you are actually running farther than the workout – and who wants to do that?!?!? But do NOT walk or recover here.
Speaking of recovery, make sure you use your recovery time to actually recover! All too often, runners go way too fast during their recovery distances. When you have finished your interval, move out of lane 1 and to the outer lanes. Back off to a very easy jog (unless otherwise noted in the workout). This is not the time, however, to go and find your water bottle or look at your phone.
Wait, am I suggesting you shouldn’t drink during a track workout? Of course not….but before you start, make sure you have your water by the start/finish line (in the infield, not on the track!). If you need to take off or put on layers, also have them nearby and ready so as to minimize any time in between sets.
We hope to see you out on the track! Always remember to bring plenty of fluids and layers/dry clothes for post workout.