The track can be an excellent tool to add some speed workouts into your training and to change up your usual road running routine, but for new runners, it can be intimidating. If you’re new to running or have simply never done a track session before, try these simple workouts to inject some speed — and some fun — into your training.
Straights and corners
This is a great workout for introducing some speed into your training without overdoing it on volume, and is a simple as it sounds: run the straights at a faster pace (typically 5K pace or faster) and jog the corners. On a typical 400m track, this means you’ll be doing 100m of fast running, followed by 100m of recovery. You can repeat this as many times as you like, but a good starting point is to aim for six to eight 100m repeats. This session also works well as strides to shake out your legs after an easy run.
1:1 simply means that your work interval and your rest interval equal out to be the same. To perform this workout, choose the distance you’re going to run (200s, 300s and 400s work really well in this format) and then jog the same distance as your recovery interval. For example, if you choose 200s (that’s one corner and one straight of a 400m track), you’ll run hard for 200m, then jog for 200m, then repeat. You can also use the first portion of your rest to walk until you’ve caught your breath. Ideally, you’ll repeat this process six to eight times to complete the workout.
A ladder is a fun way to keep your interval workout from getting too monotonous. The idea here is that you start with your shortest interval, then progressively make each interval longer (climbing the ladder), before climbing back down to end with the shortest interval again. For example, you start with a 100m interval, then run 200m, 300m, 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m. The rest between each interval should be equal to the distance you ran in the previous interval, so the 100m interval should be followed by a 100m jog recovery, the 200 should be followed by a 200m jog recovery, and so on.
This is a fun workout to complete with a friend or two (once it’s safe to do so). To complete this workout, find something that can function as a baton (an actual baton is great, but a small stick or even a banana works too) and take turns running intervals. For example, you start by running 400m (one lap of the track), then hand the baton off to your workout buddy, who then goes and runs 400m. Your rest is as long as it takes for them to bring the baton back to you. You can choose any distance to do this, but it is easier to pick distances that will bring you back to your starting point, like 400s and 800s. This is a great way to turn your track workout into a social experience and motivate your friends to get out there with you.