4 Fun Track Workouts for Beginners

Although many believe a running track is reserved for track stars, it's actually the perfect place to learn to run, increase your speed, and get away from the repetition of running on the roads.

It's a little like stepping into a yoga studio, as you don't have to contend with honking cars, curious dogs or traffic lights. Tracks are flat and predictable; this makes it easy to hone your pacing skills. The synthetic surface provides a soft, forgiving landing, reducing the impact forces on your muscles and joints.

More: How Fast Should Beginners Run?

Before you start running in circles, here are a few things you need to know.

Distance
A standard track includes 4 to 8 lanes, and measures 400 meters around in the innermost lane.

Direction
The direction of running is usually counterclockwise, but it's best to check the track rules, as some tracks rotate the direction of running daily.

Etiquette
Like driving on an expressway, the inner lane is used for runners who are performing speed workouts. The outer lanes are for slower traffic (walkers and easy running)

Now that you're up to speed, try to tackle these fun track workouts.

Classic Quarters

There's no better way to get to know a track than to run this workout. It ebbs and flows between hard and easy, and boosts your speed and fitness.

Warm-up: Jog four laps (1 mile)

Repeat 4 times:
  • HARD: Run one lap at a hard, but controlled effort. The goal is to push hard, but not so hard that you can't finish the workout.
  • EASY: Take one lap to recover by walking until you catch your breath. Jog easy the rest of the way.

Cooldown: Run easy for one lap and walk one lap

More: 3 Essential Speed Workouts for Beginners

100s

A short, powerful workout to improve your running form.

Warm-up: Jog four laps
  • Break the track into two parts, the straight-a-ways and the corners.
  • Sprint the straight-a-ways (100 meters), and walk the corners to recover. Repeat this for 1 mile.

Cooldown: Walk one lap

More: 4 Speed Workouts for Beginners

Banana Relays

This is a fun, social workout that builds community, speed and stamina. All you need is a banana (aka baton) and a teammate.

Warm-up: Jog four laps
  • Run two laps (800 meters or about a half-mile) at a comfortably hard effort (not hard, not easy) and, upon finishing, pass the banana to your buddy.
  • While he or she is running two laps, walk to the start to recover.
  • Repeat this four times for a total of 2 miles.

Cooldown: Jog two laps at an easy effort with your buddy

More: 5 Running Workouts to Do With a Partner

1, 2, 3s

A longer, more challenging track workout that teaches you how to pace yourself.

Warm-up: Jog four laps
  • 1: Run one lap at a hard, but controlled effort. Walk while you catch your breath, then jog until you reach one lap.
  • 2: Run two laps at a hard, but controlled effort. Walk while you catch your breath, then jog until you reach one lap.
  • 3: Run three laps at a hard, but controlled effort. Walk while you catch your breath, then jog until you reach one lap.
  • 2: Run two laps at a hard, but controlled effort. Walk while you catch your breath, then jog until you reach one lap.
  • 1: Run one lap at a hard, but controlled effort. Walk while you catch your breath, then jog until you reach one lap.

Cooldown: Walk one lap

More: How to Fix 3 Common Beginner Runner Mistakes

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