FIT for LIFE Knowledge Base Running

Track Workouts

Track workouts are uncompromising and beneficial. Despite GPS and other measuring techniques, kilometer times or average speeds outdoors are always a bit tricky because you also have to interpret the terrain. Training on the track is the remedy – it shows crystal clear how one’s own performance is doing.

Mercilessly honest

Do you want to break your personal records in road races? Then you should try specific track training. It is not just top athletes and Olympians that can benefit from track training. Even amateur runners who regularly do their most intense laps on the track always manage to improve their best times. It is possible even at an advanced age.

However, training on the track also brings with it special elements. Running on the track is not a bout steady running, but about more intense and faster training. This training is necessary to provide a specific stimulus to the cardiovascular system and the metabolism. Above all, interval training guarantees the achievement of your goals and is therefore a proven remedy for performance stagnation in training. In principle, interval training is nothing more than alternating between two intensities: Each load is followed by an active rest, the duration of which depends very much on the form and objectives of the interval training.

The track is honest . . .

Interval training can be optimally executed on the track. The simple reason is that the distances are always set to the meter. In contrast to training off the track, you control your training more by distance than by time. For example, 6 x 1000 m instead of 6 x 3 minutes. The speed can be perfectly controlled at all times on the flat track. In contrast to training in the woods, you can’t afford to slack off for a short time. In the woods you can make up for lost seconds when it is downhill which is not possible on the track.

On the track It is precisely this constant running that is the key to success. If you learn to run regularly at a (fast) speed and can gauge this speed yourself, you will be able to implement this in competition. In addition, track training is about staying focused and not letting up mentally. When you loose concentration, you gradually slow down. Running on the track indisputably promotes mental strength.

… but also demanding

track hard

If you want to try track training or even do your training sessions on the track on a regular basis, you should also be aware of the disadvantages. These include, the special muscular strain that results from running on the aggressive surface and the constant counterclockwise circling. Around the world, people are always running “to the left,” which places uneven demands on the entire body by running in curves – especially if you’re going fast. For this reason, particularly hobby runners should run some laps in the other direction every now and then, if the circumstances allow it, i.e. the other runners on the track. Generally, the following applies: In lane 1 you run hard, in the outer lanes or in the infield you rest. If you want to pass, do it on the right, if necessary via lane 2.

If you run frequently on the track, also keep in mind: If you do your intense training exclusively on the track, you lose a certain amount of running-specific strength in your legs due to the lack of elevation. For this reason it is worthwhile to complete other training sessions in the hilly terrain.

Does and Don’ts in track training

Lightweight shoes: If you regularly do your intense sessions on the track, you will find that running fast in heavy training shoes can feel a bit tedious. A lighter shoe not only promotes a more active running style, but also improves the feel of running on the special surface of the track.

No long efforts: For long runs, steady state runs, and efforts of 20 minutes or more, there are better venues than the track. Exception: a 5000m test run for all ability levels.

Avoid midday heat: On hot days, you are extremely exposed to the heat on the tartan track. It is worthwhile to go into the woods.

Nutrition: Hard exertion wears you out. After the last effort and before the run-out, you should ideally consume carbohydrates and proteins (drink, bar, gel, etc.) to start the regeneration immediately.

Barefoot running: For the cool down or strides after the interval training the grass field is perfectly suitable. This way you also strengthen your foot muscles!

Motivation: It is helpful to do track workouts in a group. Firstly, it is motivating, and secondly, training is much easier because you only have to concentrate on the person in front of you who is setting the pace.

2 sample workouts for the track

6 weeks before the competition

  • 15 min warm up in the surrounding area
  • 3 strides on the track
  • 15 x 400 meters at 5000 m speed 200 meters jog break
  • 15 min cool down, if possible barefoot on the grass field

Penultimate week before the competition

  • 15 min warm-up in the surrounding  area
  • 3 strides on the track
  • 4 x 2000 meters at the target race speed 400 meter jog break between each rep
  • 15 min cool down, if possible barefoot on the grass field

This Blog Article was made available to us by Fit for Life. Fit for Life is the Swiss magazine for fitness, running and endurance sports. Would you like to read such articles regularly? Then Click here.

fit for life logo

You might also be interested in why interval training is useful. Or if you want regular training built for you make a plan at 2PEAK

Leave a Reply