Friday, December 23, 2011

Mastering the Track Repeat

Yesterday, I completed my third ever speedy track workout. And I realized that I have a whole lot to learn. I am figuring out how to navigate the whole Run Less Run Faster training plan workouts this week and next so that, when I officially begin my half marathon training in January, I'll be an expert. But the track work is hard.

The book says that the point of the track run, what they call "Key Workout #1" is to improve maximal oxygen consumption, running economy and speed. It is not designed for you to run as fast as you can but to run the entire workout at the target time with little or no deviation in time for each repeat. According to their speed chart, RLRF instructed me to run each 400m lap in 1:53 seconds.

I did a 10 minute warm-up, 12 400 meter laps (aiming for 1:53) with 90 second rest interval jogs in between each, and a 9 minute cool-down. If I was to do this right, there should only be a 2-3 second difference in my time for each lap. That is where I really struggled. You can see that my times (circled) are all over the place.

Running in circles can get monotonous and my mind wanders. I did a lot of slowing down and speeding up because I wasn't 100% focused on the movement of my legs. I learned how that is the most important thing- to be really in touch with my body- with how fast my legs can move and how consistently they are moving. Every stride needs to be identical to the one before it. I need to do each one of those identical strides repeatedly for 400 meters and then I need to do eleven more identical 400 meter laps with those same identical strides. And then the next week, the distances and the number of repeats will change. But, as long as I can learn to control my body enough to make every singly stride identical, every single time, then I will be good to go.

It's no small feat. But it's an exciting one. Running, itself, is so wonderful but running that requires you to know every move and every capability of your body so intimately is even better. I am athletic, I am aggressive, and I am a hard worker. But I am not precise and I am not graceful. I may be a hot mess in my next few attempts at these track workouts but I look forward to mastering it!


  1. I don't have access to a track at school but I am really going to take advantage of the one located two miles from my parents house while I'm home for break

  2. Those are great times! Speed-work is tough, but I think it's really helpful and it will definitely pay off for your half!