Speed and Endurance Get on Track for a New PR

Running around in circles might not sound like fun but the benefits you can gain from a solid track workout will far outweigh the lack of scenery. Whether you are training for a marathon or a 10k there are huge benefits to incorporating high intensity speed workouts into your weekly routine. Want to PR in your next race? Get on track.

Photography by Frank Nguyen

Photography by Frank Nguyen

The muscle fibers in our bodies are broken down into two different types; slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscles. Some people tend to have more slow-twitch muscles which makes them better at running long distances at moderate paces, and others have more fast-twitch muscles that make them better at short bursts of fast sprinting. If you are lucky you have a nice distribution of both and can run long distances at insane speeds. For example, 361 sponsored runner Rachel Perkins…who runs a half marathon in 1:14:46 (5:42 minute miles)!!! However, no matter what type of muscle fibers you have been blessed with you can improve your speed by incorporating short interval sprint training into your routine. Here’s why the track is the perfect place to do this.

·       Push yourself to new limits

One of the beautiful things about running on the track is you can push yourself to the max and not have to worry about saving enough energy to run home (unless you ran to the track J). This freedom to test yourself is how you will learn what you are capable of, and where your limits lie for longer distances.

·       Learn how to pace yourself

Once you have determined your ability you can start working towards maintaining your goal speed for longer durations without blowing up towards the end. Ideally you want to get a little bit faster with each set instead of progressively slower; this will tell you if you are starting off too fast. But, you also don’t want to finish with too much left in the tank since that means you aren’t pushing yourself enough. It is a fine balance and takes practice to find your sweet spot.

·       Track your progress

The track is a perfectly controlled environment that allows you to accurately track your progress without having to worry about stop signs and traffic. By keeping a log of your practices and paces, you can repeat the same practice a few weeks later and see how you are progressing. Include lots of detail in your log like how you felt before, during and after your run so you can go back and compare.

Photography by Frank Nguyen

Photography by Frank Nguyen

Here are a few of our favorite track workouts that will help you build power and efficiency so you can maintain your long-distance race paces more easily:

1.     Rachel Perkins simple go-to speed workout

Start with a short 800 meters warm up then alternate between 10 hard laps and 10 easy laps until you have completed 22 laps total.

The hard laps should be just under a sprint and the easy laps should be very slow active recovery with no stopping.

Total mileage = 5.5 miles

Track Workouts_Rachel Perkins_BioSpeed.jpg

2.      Ladder up ladder down

·       800 meters warm up
·       2x 400 meters with 200-meter recovery after each round
·       2x 800 meters with 200-meter recovery after each round
·       1x 1,200 meters with 400-meter recovery after
·       2x 800 meters with 200-meter recovery after each round
·       2x 400 meters with 200-meter recovery after each round
·       400 meters cool down

Be prepared to hurt! This is a tough workout :) Total mileage = 6 miles

Grab some friends to make these workouts more fun and don’t forget to do plenty of stretching before and after this type of high intensity workout.

Photography by Frank Nguyen

Photography by Frank Nguyen

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