Adding Track Workouts

Adding Track Workouts:

I’ve been doing a lot of track workouts lately.  While track workouts is something fairly new to me, and it is taking my body time to adjust too.  Doing speed and track workouts is something I’ve neglected for a while, so I am excited to reap the benefits.

My History: Three years ago, my weekly training cycle consisted of a tempo run and race.   It worked well for me, and I was in the best shape of my life.  In fact, I Pred in everything!  With a lot of goal and life changes, I neglected speed and ran easy.  After a few injuries and regression in my running, I realized my current training plan was not working out.   

So in July, I decided to try something new but also terrifying: The Track and Track Workouts!

Adding Track Workouts

I work at a running store, and I always hear about the benefits of track workouts but yet could not force them into my training.

Why didn’t I add track workouts?  I’m not sure.  

Did I fear injury?  Did I fear failure?  Well, to be honest, my previous training plan was failing me anyway…

Before July, I had only been to the track a handful of times.  I had done a few mile repeats but never anything significant on the track.  After a few weeks of going to the track once a week, something magical happened…I began to like going!  Speed and track workouts have quickly become my favorite workout of the week. Who doesn’t want to boost your speed?

While I haven’t seen the improvement I would like yet with track workouts, I have slowly started to see improvement.  Now on my worst race days (which have been more frequent due to life), I’m now running faster than my best days earlier in the year. So I see progress with track workouts but know it will take a lot of consistency to see more progress, though.

A few things about track workouts:

  • You don’t need to run every workout at max effort or high intensity. Most interval workouts for distance events are slightly faster than 5k race pace.  You just want to get your body to pick up the pace.
  • Between reps you can do slow jogging, easy pace, walking or even stop.
  • Interval training can be anything from 100 meters, to 200 meters, to 400 meters, to 800 meters.

Here are some great articles with more speed and track workouts.
3 Speed Workouts for Beginners
4 Fun Speed Workouts

Here are some track workouts I’ve done over the last three months: 

  • 12x400s with 1:30 rest, similarly 16x400s with 1 min rest
  • 3x1mile repeats, 4×1 mile repeats
  • 2×800, 2×600, 2×400, 2×200,2×400
  • 2×2 miles with two mins rest

Plus with New York City Marathon looming, I want to get into the best shape to run fast.

What’s my favorite track workout? 

I like to keep it simple.  I must admit my favorite track workouts are 400s.  They are simple, easy and straight to the point. I can easily reflect and see progression or even regression.

The other factor that has been helping my speed work is my Garmin 220.  I can program all my track workouts because I can set the distance I want and the rest period.  The watch will beep and keep everything together for me. There is no hiding or “extra rest”…I do believe it was the best purchase I’ve made for my personal running in a while.

I plan to keep doing speed and track workouts plus racing through the fall. I enjoy my current method, and I’m in the best spot mentally I’ve been in a few years. Like I said on Sunday, my only problem now is finding a high school track to use during the school year.

Question for you: What is your favorite speed or track workout?


  1. I like doing 6×200 meters.
    And I like to do
    With 2min rest.
    About 80% running hard.

  2. It’s encouraging to see progress and really cool that you know exactly where it came from. Nice job!

  3. I’m glad you’re loving the track! I haven’t been super consistent but I always love it afterwards. I’m also a big fan of 400s, they’re over so fast! Or ladders, to keep it interesting.

  4. I think the workouts have been a great addition to your training, and it’s cool to see you trying new things!

  5. I don’t love track workouts because I did so many of them in school. BUT you do feel so accomplished afterwards! I’m glad you’re enjoying track workouts and that you’re slowly seeing progress 🙂

  6. I agree, the track is terrifying! I avoid it unless I am with friends. My favorite track workout though is probably 16 by 400. I figure I can survive anything if its only one lap per interval, ha!

  7. I think the last time I was on a track was back when I was in high school. Eep. It’s definitely a little intimidating to think about running on one, but I’m glad that you bit the bullet and are seeing progress as a result! That’s always encouraging 😀

  8. ohhh i love going to the track! i am not a fast runner by any means, but i FEEL fast after a track workout, and it does help me overall. i should get back into it, but my track night is on the same night as my soccer games!

  9. track work and i have a love hate relationship i love they help me get better but i hate doing them because they are hard!! I like the 400’s or 800’s. they are challenging and you can see the progress, anything less i dont feel like it does anything, anything more and its almost too challenging.

  10. So glad you are loving the track. It’s intimidating, and I always get nervous for speed work days but I usually leave feeling fantastic!!

  11. It looks like the track workouts have been working for you and there’s no doubt that you’ll hit faster paces in races soon. It’s been hot lately and you’ve raced a lot on tired legs, as well as having life stresses. But you are doing great and you’ll get it- you’re getting faster over time and that’s what counts :). One of my friends has that watch and loves how she can program our workout into it and do it without extra rest and know the splits for the intervals, etc!

    I love the track too. A bunch of us started doing speedwork at the beginning of the summer and we do a different workout each week. Usually, our total of “hard running” is 3 miles with a 1 mile warmup and 1 mile cooldown. Most of us were just training for 5Ks, since it was so hot, so this was enough.

    My favorite speed workouts for the summer were 12 x 400 and 24 x 200. We took standing rest between each so we could towel off and get a sip of water. Now that it’s cooling down, and because most of us are planning for longer races, we are doing jog recoveries. Having someone there to run it with me and keep me accountable has been great too.

  12. 400s! Which I have always hated until this summer. Now I want more.

    I have yet to be brave enough to actually run them on a track. Why is that so scary? But my garmin keeps me going on the boardwalk.

  13. I did a lot of 400s and 600s during the tri season. I don’t mind 400s because they’re short and over relatively quickly. Those 600s, though … that extra 200m is brutal when holding your 400m pace!

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