I used to dread track workouts. I couldn’t stand running in circles. Or obsessively checking my watch. Or feeling like I was out in the open, being watched by anyone and everyone who might be passing by or running on the track.
But not anymore! No, friends, by some miracle, your girl has grown to love the track! It’s only taken me 8 years to come around, but come around I have (no pun intended).
Here are my tips for making track workouts more enjoyable:
- Let the speed flow through you. In other words, loosen up, drop your shoulders, and breathe. Often, when we want to run fast, we tense up. This is counterproductive! By allowing speed to flow through you, running fast will become more effortless.
- Check your watch less frequently. Sometimes, I simply set the stopwatch on my phone and leave it on the start line so that I am not tempted to check my watch every few seconds. This takes a lot of the pressure off, and allows you to focus more on how you feel rather than your time.
- Make it FUN. Any habit that has ever stuck in my life is one that I have a positive outlook on! Fun plays a huge role in this. I’m not going to consistently do an activity that I don’t enjoy, no matter how beneficial it might be. Track workouts are as fun as you make them. So grab a running friend, blast some tunes, and turn your track workout into a party (you could even turn it into a beer mile workout, if you were so inclined, hehe).
All that being said, no matter how many track workouts I do to prepare for a race, I don’t think a photographer will ever capture me with a smile on my face.
So without further ado, here are my three favourite track workouts for long distance runners. These workouts help to build speed, strength, running economy, and stamina.
Feel the Burn 400s with 2 Minute Start Rule
Warm up for 1 mile. Then do 10x400m as fast as possible, starting each 400 metre repeat at 2 minute intervals. For instance, if you run 400 metres (once around the track) in 1 minute and 35 seconds, you’ll have 25 seconds to rest before the next 400 metre repeat. Cool down for 1 mile.
Perhaps one of the most famous marathon training track workouts of all time, this is one of my favourites, and is believed to predict marathon time. What the what? Allow me to explain. Warm up for 1 mile. Then run 10×800 metres, trying to maintain approximately the same 800 metre pace for the entirety of the workout. My 800 metre pace for the 10 repeats ranges between 3 minutes and 15 seconds and 3 minutes and 25 seconds, and I ran a marathon last fall in 3:25, so by my estimation, this workout is quite accurate at predicting marathon pace (of course, 800 metre time in minutes translates into marathon time in hours). After completing the final 800 metre repeat, cool down for 1 mile at a very easy pace.
Power Hour Mash-Up
This one is inspired by some road trip Cross Fit workouts I came across on the web! Warm up for one mile. Then do the following:
4x400m sprint with 2 minutes rest in between
3x800m sprint with 3 minutes rest in between
“Susan” Sprint: 200m with 10 squats and 10 push-ups, 5 rounds
Run 1 mile, lunging 30 steps every minute
2 minutes plank hold
Cool down for 1 mile
This is how you will feel after completing one of these workouts:
Kick back, relax, and enjoy all that hard work you just put in!
What’s a workout (running or otherwise) that you’ve been enjoying lately? Tell me in the comments!
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