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3 track workouts to make you fast

Switch up your road intervals with track workouts to improve your top-end speed

World-renowned coach Eric Orton says “I always tell my athletes, don’t confuse difficulty with failure.”

There’s no way around it; speed workouts can be a challenge for both the legs and the mind. Experts tell us that doing hard things is good for us, and if those “hard things” occur on the track, we will increase our racing speed and build mental resilience.

While most training runs are done at a recovery pace, it’s important to keep those fast-twitch muscles firing regularly. Here are three track workouts you can try out for speedwork. Depending on the distance you are training for, and the mileage you’re running, add or subtract intervals from your session.

The ladder workout

A ladder workout is a classic interval session that can be run on the track or the road. During the workout the intervals move up a ladder, increasing in distance or time with each one. After you’ve mastered the workout below, you can add a 1,600m interval at the top of your ladder, or slightly increase your speed for each rep (start at 5-10 seconds faster than 5K race pace).

Warm-up: 15 minutes easy, drills

Workout: At a 5K race pace, run  1 x 400 metres, 800m, 1,200m, 800m, 400m. Take 2-3 minutes rest between each interval, either jogging or walking slowly

Cool-down: 10 minutes easy

Mixed intervals

Warm-up: 15 minutes easy, drills

Workout: three reps of 400m at 10 to 15 seconds faster than 5K race pace, with two minutes rest between, one rep of 1,000m at 10 seconds faster than 5K race pace, with two minutes rest between, then four reps of 200m sprints with two minutes rest between each one

Cool-down: 10 minutes easy

Short and fast

Warm-up: 15 minutes easy, drills

Workout: 10 reps of 300m sprints, with 30 seconds rest between.

Cool-down: 10 minutes easy

Remember to follow your tough track session with an easy or recovery day, familiarize yourself with the rules of the track, and enjoy that post-hard-run glow.