5 Track Workouts to Improve Your Speed

 A track is the perfect setting for some speed workouts. Adding track workouts to your training routine can not only boost your speed, it can also liven up your regimen. Add some of these fun workouts and you're sure to see improvements in your race times. If you've never done any kind of speed training, make sure you first read these rules for speed training.

Push the Straightaways


How to do it:  This is a great intro workout for those who are new to track workouts. It's simple: After a couple of laps at an easy pace to warm up, start to push the pace on the straight sections of the track (known as the straightaways) and then recover (at an easy pace) on the turns. If you're training for a specific race, such as a 5K, you can do your race pace on the straightaways. Start with four laps and add another lap each week until you work your way up to 10 laps.

Ladder Workout

Runner on track
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How to do a ladder workout:  This track workout will help build your speed, confidence, and endurance, no matter what race distance you're training for.  If you're not sure what your 5K (3.1 miles) race pace is, use a race pace estimate calculator to estimate it. Beginners should start with one sequence, while more advanced runners can repeat the sequence once they've worked through it.

Warm up: 5 minutes - walk/slow jog

Work Interval: 400 m (1 lap) at 5K race pace

Rest Interval: Recover (easy pace) 400m

Work Interval: 800 m (2 laps) at 5K race pace

Rest Interval: Recover (easy pace) 400m

Work Interval: 1200 m (3 laps) at 5K race pace

Rest Interval: Recover (easy pace) 400m

Work Interval: 1600 m (4 laps) at 5K race pace

Rest Interval: Recover (easy pace) 400m

Cool down: 5 minutes easy pace

Mile Test

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How to do a mile test: Doing a timed mile on a track is a great way to assess your fitness and give yourself a goal to work toward. Run a mile (4 laps) at your top speed and make sure you make a note of it. Use that time as a benchmark to test yourself against every month.

Also see:  Tips for Running a Faster Mile

Kick Its

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How to do kick its: Start with four 400-meter intervals at your 10K pace, with 400-meter recovery (at easy pace) in between. Once you've finished that, do eight 200-meter repeats at 5K pace, with 200-meter recovery (easy pace) in between. Try to really push yourself during the hard intervals, as if you're in your final kick to the finish line.

Also see:  How to Have a Stronger Race Finish

Mile Repeats

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How to do mile repeats:  Mile repeats are one of the best speed workouts you can do to improve your race times and build your running confidence. Here's a workout you can do once a week:

1. Start with 2 mile repeats (1 mile = 4 laps) in the first session. Run each mile at your 10K or half marathon pace.

2. Recover (at an easy pace) for a half-mile (2 laps of the track) in between repeats. Make sure your breathing and heart rate have recovered before you start your next repeat.

3. Add another mile repeat the following week. Try to maintain that same pace (10-15 seconds faster than your realistic goal marathon pace) for each one.

4. If you're an advanced runner, try to work up your way up to 6 repeats. Intermediate runners may want to stop at 4 or 5 repeats.

Also see:  Effective 30-Minute Running Workouts