Three Track Workouts for Runners

Three Track Workouts for Runners

It’s time to get down to the track! Getting ready for the race season ahead, John Honerkamp of TrackTown USA Summer Running Series 5K Road Race shares some of his favorite track workouts he uses with the runners he coaches at New York Road Runners.

WHY RUN TRACK WORKOUTS?

Adding track sessions to your running training is a way to add speed workouts in a controlled environment for an ultimately faster pace per mile. The benefits run (pun intended) beyond just speed. Track speed workouts can help develop stronger legs for less injuries, lung capacity increases (you’ll be grateful of that on your next tempo run) and almost the most important, add some variety into your weekly training regime.

Below find three workouts to get you back on the track. It may be some time since your last high school track workout; don’t be intimidated - or try to relive your teenage pace times! Just because you’re at a track does not require you to be Usain Bolt.

Put those 100m World Record aspirations aside and change your mindset when you walk onto the oval. Think of these sessions as structured running workouts. The reason these are best done at the track is that the distance is easily measurable and the track is flat.

TRACK SPEED WORKOUT GUIDELINES

Try to incorporate speed workouts into your run training diary once a week. For those just starting out, the distance around a track is a quick 400 meters for one loop and these workouts are based to challenge you using that metric. Winter time? Take these indoors onto the treadmill. Most treadmills can be adjusted to measure in meters over miles.

HOW TO MEASURE A TRACK WORKOUT EFFORT

Measure your track workout exertion by rated perceived effort (RPE) and/or heart rate. Think of RPE on a scale of 1-10 with 1 = walk and 10 = all out.

If you’re using heart rate to measure your effort keep in the 140-180 range. Starting at 140 and going up to 180 (or dependent on your heart rate zones). Of course, it goes without saying, always consult a medical professional before engaging in any strenuous activity!

TRACK WORKOUT #1: 400 METER REPEATS

Newbie

  • Warm up: 10-15 min chat pace, drills (high knees, butt kicks), strides
  • - 1 x 400 meters RPE level 5
  • - 1 x 400 meters RPE level 6
  • - 1 x 400 meters RPE level 7
  • - 1 x 400 meters RPE level 8
  • - Rest for 2 mins between each 400 meters
  • - Cool down: 10-15 min at chat pace
    More Experienced Runners
    Increase the 400 meter reps from 4 to 8-12 reps. Increase the RPE over the course of each of the 400 meters.
  • - Warm up: 10-15 min chat pace, drills (high knees, butt kicks), strides
  • - 8 to 12 x 400 meters
  • - Rest for 90 sec between each 400 meters
  • - Cool down: 10-15 min at chat pace

TRACK WORKOUT #2: 800 METER CHALLENGES

800 meter challenges

  • - Warm up: 10-15 min chat pace, drills (high knees, butt kicks), strides
  • - 6 x 800 meters
  • - Rest for 2 mins between each 800 meters
  • - Goal pace: 5k pace
  • - Cool down: 10-15 min at chat pace

TRACK WORKOUT #3: LADDER UP, LADDER DOWN

Ladder up, ladder down
Ideally the way down paces are faster than the way up. To achieve this, go out easier at the beginning and finishing slightly faster on the way back down.

  • - Warm up: 10-15 min chat pace, drills (high knees, butt kicks), strides
  • - 400m-800m-1600m-800m-400m
  • - Rest for 90 secs rest after each 400 meters
  • - Rest for 2 mins after each 800 meters
  • - Rest for 3 mins after 1600 meters
  • - Cool down: 10-15 min at chat pace

ABOUT COACH HONERKAMP AND THE TRACKTOWN USA SUMMER RUNNING SERIES

John Honerkamp has coached runners of all abilities for 15 years. He was an assistant coach at St. John’s University in New York working with mid- and long-distance runners. John was an eight-time All-Big East and six-time All-East athlete while running for the Red Storm.

John holds a marathon PR of 2:44:22 for half marathon of 1:12:24 and has also paced many runners in big races, including Olympians Apolo Ohno and Summer Sanders.

The Track Town Summer Series is a part of TrackTowns USA’s mission to support and encourage track athletes in the US. Learn more about how TrackTown USA Aims High With Track and Field. JackRabbit is collaborating with the New York championship event forTrackTown USA Summer Series 5k and we're here to get you back on the track!

About Author

Melanie Mitchell

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