Tonight I headed back to the track for the Rush Hour Speed Workout. Here are a couple quick tips for running with your local track workout group.
1) Arrive early to warm up. Warming up is essential and everyone needs different amounts of warm up. I prefer around a 1-2 mile warm up but know some who do 2-3 mile warm ups.
2) Follow the flow - watch the flow of your track just like you would when driving your car. At our track, we warm up running in the outside lanes in a clockwise fashion. Workouts are done in the inside lanes running counter clockwise.
3) Pay attention - think of the running track like a street. Just like you need to pay attention to the other cars on the road, you need to be aware of the other runners around you and be courteous. We have people that start the workout early and so you need to watch for them and try to give them the opportunity for an unimpeded workout.
4) Don't overstay your rest break. This is one that I sometimes struggle with but the rest interval is set up to deliver specific benefits for each workout. I wish every workout could have 1:30 - 2:00 min rest between each interval but some days 30 sec is all you get.
5) Know when to shut it down. You will learn your body and learn what signals for you on when to shut down the workout. No one wants to be a quitter but the workout will not benefit you if you aren't able to actually hit the goals. For me, I will cut a workout short if I feel the sign of an injury. Another thing that I pay attention to is my pacing. If I start to struggle and can't hit the paces (and am getting slower) then I might adapt the workout to a shorter interval or drop it to a cool down shuffle.
6) Have fun! Find someone running your pace and form a pace group. Cheer for others running...a good job from a fellow runner can be just the extra something that helps a runner hit their goal pace. It's okay if you want to start an imaginary race with another runner...let that competition fuel you and thank them for helping you!
Tonight our workout was a classic ladder down with each interval getting slightly faster as the distances got shorter.
600m at 10K pace (600m is 1 1/2 laps on a 400m track)
30 sec rest
400m at 5K pace
30 sec rest
300m at faster than 5K pace
30 sec rest
200m at mile pace
The goal was to do 3 sets of this ladder down. Since I'm building back my mileage and fitness I did a modification of the workout with one ladder down and then ended with a 300m and 2x200m to finish. My warm up was 1.6 miles and my workout was around 1.4 miles of speedwork. During the rest break, I stood still to the side of the track. I did a shuffle jog to cool down. Next week I'll aim for a little more speed workout within the total mileage for the night.