Back on Track (literally)

If you want to get faster,  you need to do speed work.  Pretty simple, right?  Funny how life works like that.

I don’t currently have any up-coming races booked, but I am scanning the local running radar.  Once I do pick a race, I want to be ready – so I had my first track workout of the season yesterday.

I didn't plan it, but the tech tee I packed matched the weather.

I didn’t plan it, but the tech tee I packed matched the weather.  Spring took it’s own spring break, and so it was cold and blustery.

I’m not the kind of person who can run a race for “fun”.  When I show up for a race, I have to go for it.  Yes, I know it’s going to hurt.  And yes, I have run races where I wasn’t in top shape, and let me tell you that it hurts even more.  And more yes, speed workouts hurt, but they pay off.  So I’m starting to put in the hurt work now, so that it will hurt less later.

To prepare for the track, the past few weeks I’ve been running hilly courses and doing some hill repeats.  Hills are a good prelude for the track.

Anyways, it was a fairly easy session – I only did some 200’s, but it felt good.  It’s fun to run fast after spending so much time doing long slow training runs.  And I must be in better shape than I thought, because they didn’t hurt too bad (and yes, I was pushing my pace), so that’s good.  Can’t wait for the next session!

How bout you?  Any good speed workouts?  Do you do the track? 


Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

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46 thoughts on “Back on Track (literally)

  1. Love this! Track workouts happen to be my fav. I’m more of an 800m to mile repeat person but overall track workouts improve my speed for sure. What is also equally nice is they are over fast! I always need a running partner for repeats though … it gets hard doing them by yourself. Way to get out there and burn rubber on the track…

    • Thank you!!! Yes, I plan on moving up the distance, but wanted to start safe. You’re right, they do go fast – I almost skipped it because of the weather, but then I remembered it would be over quick. I do have some friends who will run them with me, but I did this one solo. Was thinking of setting up a weekly track day for people to meet. Yes, we burn rubber!!!

  2. I like that shirt! Very appropriate. I love speedwork, but sadly haven’t attempted any yet. I’m giving my foot a bit more time to make sure it’s 100%. We don’t have a track up here so my speed
    work-outs are usually on a dirt trail beside the road, sometimes I go to the high school and run in the grass.

    • Thanks! It’s from a race here called Too Cold To Hold. They also gave me a winter cap, but I didn’t bring it this time.
      Yes, get too 100%!!!! Bummer about no track, but you don’t need one. Sometimes I’ll incorporate intervals into my road runs. Good luck!

  3. I haven’t done much speed work but that’s about to change. And I haven’t run on the track much, I stick to trails when I’m at work and sidewalks/my subdivision when running around home.
    I’m jealous you are in a shirt…no hat, gloves or jacket needed!

    • Yeah, luckily I have several tracks near by that I can either run to or take a short drive to. Ha, it was Texas cold – I really wish I had gloves and an extra layer on though!

  4. hey do you have a Garmin? I’d love some others to follow!

  5. Great post. I have a love-hate relationship with speed work. I hate it when I am doing it but love how I feel after. I am like you, I have to go for it and same with races. That means when I do speed work I run the heck out of it and feel awful during and for a bit after. It is good stuff though!

    • Haha, I agree, it’s tough when doing it, but I’m always glad I did afterwards! Yes, another racer! I have friends that sign up for race after race and get slower and slower. I don’t have that mentality. I think part of the race experience is to try and go fast, not just to be there. That said, newbies should just be focused on finishing first, then go for time goals once they have run the distance.

  6. Woooo keep workin hard!! Love/hate speed work!! I haven’t done too much recently because I need new shoes and haven’t found the right pair yet. I’ve been doing a few 800’s, steady state runs, and easy runs with 20 sec sprints after each mile. I really want to do some 400m repeats and hill work though. Sort of. Maybe. If I have to…

    • Sweeeeet! Sounds like you’ve been gettin your speed work in! 800’s are tough! I figured I’d start with 200’s and make sure my body understands that we’re going to run fast again, then I’ll work up to 400’s and beyond!
      And yes, so like, um, yeah, you have to…

  7. We’ve chatted about this — I need to get myself on the track but haven’t yet. Up until this point most of my speed work is on the ol’ mill.

  8. Track workouts… Went to the track yesterday and it was buried under at least a food of frozen crap (ice, snow, whatever). I’m jealous…

    • Ooops! Sorry! I should’ve put an asterisks when I said it was ‘cold’. It was cold compared to the weather we had the day before. I really wished I had gloves on!

  9. Can’t be too cold and blustery if you’re jacketless 🙂
    I haven’t been on a track since my track days 13 years ago! I always say the next marathon or half marathon I train for, I’d like to do it right with speed work, hill repeats, and all that fun stuff.

    • Ok ok ok, you’re like the 3rd person to call me on this. haha! The day before it was in the 70’s and sunny. I didn’t look at the forecast and didn’t realize it’d be in the 40’s and rainy and windy. So I didn’t pack the proper gear, and it felt cold to me. Ha!
      Up until about 2 years ago, I hadn’t been on a track since high school – kind of like you. I actually enjoy it as it takes me back to my track days. You should work some sessions in. And I know you have plenty of ‘hills’ to run!

  10. WalkToRio

    Intervals always pay off. The closest track to my place is about 30 minutes bike ride (I don’t drive). It doesn’t open till 9am and closes at 8pm. Impossible to make unless a take the morning off work.

    • Agreed! Is it an outdoor track? Can you climb the fence after hours? Not that I promote trespassing, but it could be an option, just sayin. 😉

  11. Speed work is the foundation of my training. I don’t do long slow runs much. Just a lot of short fast runs.

    • Ahhh, cool! I had to do a lot of long runs to get ready for the Dopey Challenge. Now I want to get back to running shorter distances (faster).

  12. I’m rebellious. I never do speed workouts.

  13. I have come to really enjoy my speedwork. It turns out I quite like running fast. It’s nice to see the progress over a 12 or 16 week training cycle. It’s funny how many things out there are sold with the promise of making you run faster – anything from food to shoes and gear… but at the end of the day, the only thing that will make you improve you speed, is to actually run faster – duh! (Although I have found that simply adding on the miles also improves speed slightly). I do a whole lot of different speed workout sessions – usually starting with short, fast intervals, sprints and hills early on in a training cycle and progressing to longer stamina workouts (extended tempo runs) later on in the cycle. Getting to a running track can be a bit tricky for me, so I rarely use one. If I get a chance to run on track, I almost always run 800m reps (or Yasso 800s), as the time over the exact distance is interesting to me. For all other times, I have found a very quiet, flat and straight country road not far from my house that’s almost exactly 2km in length. I use that for almost all my speedwork. In many ways I think it’s better than running on the track, as the surface is similar to that of an actual race and I don’t have to worry about the bends putting a strain on my body. 😉

    • Wow, good stuff! I agree that it’s fun to see the progress. Last year I ran a 5k, then did track work for a month or so and ran another 5k – shaving 30 seconds off my time! I have yet to do Yasso 800’s, but I want to when I train for my next marathon. I’m lucky that I have several tracks near by that I can use, but I occasionally do intervals on my neighborhood runs too. That’s a good idea to do the speed work on the road as it probably does better represent race conditions!

  14. Cat Hiles

    I NEED to do speedwork. One of those things on my list. I plan on scheduling one day a week for speedwork post-marathon–I’m reluctant to start doing it now in case in injure myself!

    • Yes, don’t change anything until after your race! But then feel free to let it fly! Right now I plan on doing it once a week, but if I run with one of my groups on another, then that always seems to turn into a speed session too.

      • Cat Hiles

        Ha, good point! I always plan on running slower with the group but somehow end up going much faster than planned.

      • Haha, I do the same thing. Happened last night with my social run group! I’m a tiny bit sore today.

  15. Glad that your knee is doing better! It definitely is fun getting back on the track after winter… even if it does hurt.

    • Thank you! It’s still a little stiff, but not holding me back. It does hurt, but I’m always glad I did it afterwards!

  16. Who runs a race for fun? I’ve never heard of such a thing!

    • Haha! I know! I don’t understand my friends who seem to take certain races as more of a social event than a competition.

  17. I love the track! I haven’t managed to get there this year though, ugh. I miss it.

  18. I’ve never actually done workouts on a track before. I did do a one. Ike race on a horse harness track once, though. Does that count?

  19. I absolutely hate track workouts but they are a necessary evil so I do them once per week 🙂 my favorites are ladders because they keep me from going insane and my least favorite by far are 800 repeats. I suck at pacing those for some reason and always feel like puking/dying is imminent.

    • Good for you! I want to do them once a week too now that it’s springish. I don’t think I’ve done ladders for a while, but I should. Thanks for the suggestion! Oh yes, that puky feeling is very familiar to me! Agreed that 800’s are very painful!

  20. I’ve never gone to a track and done 200’s or whatever, but I have been using the times I’m stuck on a dreadmill lately to manage my speed better and do some speed work. It paid off at my last race-hopefully it helps me PR my upcoming half marathon!

    • Yes, it definitely helps. Last year I ran a 5k, then did a month of track work, then ran another one 30 seconds faster! Boom

  21. getgoing-getrunning

    Hurt now so you hurt less later. I like that. I’m personally a fan of 1km repeats when I’m marathon training. 5 reps and it’s only about 8k inclusive of warmup/cooldown but you are shattered.
    If doing shorter distance then Pyramid from 100m/200/400/800 and back down is also good for me. It’s the 400m on the way back down that I find hurts the most.

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