My first track workout was on May 8th of 2011. I had just finished reading the book, Run Less, Run Faster and was eager to start training for a faster half marathon at Disneyland in August. My track workouts were scheduled once per week and I rotated between 400's 800's, 1200's and 1600 repeats. Each had a specific time for me to meet and this did in fact make me much faster. My time in my second half marathon was a PR by more than 20 minutes finishing in just over 2:07. I knew then that speedwork and tempo runs were the key to getting faster! What an Epiphany!
Fast forward to October of 2013 when I finally had the courage to join a local coached running group. My first meeting was at the track on a cool and misty Thursday morning. Looking back, the workout was the start of something totally new for me. They vary the distances from the standard track measurements of 400, 800 etc. Instead, we have workouts where your brain has to engage in a pace, but usually for a certain amount of time. On that very first practice, we ran 8 minute sets at 8:30 pace followed by a 200 meter run at a quicker pace. It is amazing that I ever returned after that killer workout. Hold on though that was just the first of many. Here are some other workouts that are equally tough!
* One mile warm up followed by 4 times 6 minutes at 5k pace, 90 seconds rest, 200 meter pickup, cool down and stretching
* One mile warm up followed by 4 times 1200's at 10k pace and one last 1200 at slightly quicker pace, cool down
* One mile warm up followed by 1 mile at minute slower than half marathon pace, one mile at half marathon pace, 200's at 5k pace times 2, 1 mile at 1 minute per mile faster than half marathon pace 1 time 200 at slightly slower than 5k pace, cool down, stretching
* One mile warm up followed by 20 minutes at half marathon pace, return to track for 200's at hard effort pace, then 5 minutes at 30 seconds faster than half marathon pace, then 2 minutes at 15 seconds faster than half marathon pace cool down, stretching.
Many workouts that we do have an effort as the pace rather than a number. Running on feel is sometimes worthwhile, especially when you are going through a dip in your training. I don't think I have ever run without my Garmin, but at my group practice, I rarely am the one keeping track of our pace. I am too busy running like he** to keep up with everyone!
Do you have track or speed work on your training plan?