Pick Up the Pace With a Track Workout

Ladder

This exercise helps you to nail down your race pace. You'll be challenged to keep a consistent pace as the distance increases and decreases. Run intervals of 100, 200, 400, 200 and 100 meters all at your 5K race pace.

Recover by walking or jogging the same distance as the interval you just performed. For example, run 100 meters at 5K pace, walk 100 meters, then immediately run 200 meters also at 5K pace.

If you don't know your goal race time, concentrate on running each interval at a hard, consistent pace.

Timed Mile

Running a mile as fast as you can is an excellent challenge if you're used to longer distances. Perform a time trial with yourself, running one mile at your top speed. Use this workout as a benchmark. Repeat every four to six weeks during the course of your training and watch your time go down.

Intermediate Trackies

Try these workouts if you're familiar with intervals, but want to improve your race performance.

400's

This workout will help to produce a fast 5K. Perform four to six 400-meter repeats at your goal 5k pace, jogging 400 meters between efforts. Gradually work up to eight to 10 repeats.

Mile Repeats

This workout is a toughie, but perform it once a week and you're sure to be in fighting shape. Start with two to three repeats of a one-mile interval run at your 10K or half- marathon pace, recovering with a half-mile jog in between sets.

If your goal is shorter races, stick with three repeats, and try to improve your speed week to week. If you're training for a half or full marathon, concentrate on maintaining your speed, and work up to four to six reps.

Kick Its

Use this workout to improve your kick at the end of a race. Run four 800-meter repeats at 10K pace, jogging 400 meters in between each interval. Then run four 200-meter repeats at 5K pace, jogging 200 meters between each interval. Challenge yourself by running the final 200 as fast as you can.

Mind Your Manners

  • Before you step onto the oval, review these guidelines for proper etiquette.
  • Run your intervals in a counter-clockwise direction, unless your track posts instructions to run clockwise on certain days of the week.
  • Warm up and cool down using only the outside lanes (six to eight).
  • Lane one, the innermost lane, is reserved for the fastest folks on the track. If you see someone leaving smoke in their wake, move to lane two for your intervals.
  • When you hear "Track!" shouted behind you, it means, "Get outta my way!" You should slide into the next outside lane, so that the faster runner can pass you on the inside.
  • If you pass a slower runner and are not comfortable shouting, simply pass by going around him or her in an outside lane.
  • Unless the track is empty, leave your headphones at home. It's important to be conscious of your surroundings.

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Christine Hinton is a Road Runners Club of America certified coach and fitness expert. A competitive runner herself, she has been coaching beginners through elites for over 10 years.

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