It’s happening, I’m finally getting back on track as in really back to the track. After a year of being injured, getting married and various trips away, I stepped foot on Parliament Hill track last Thursday for my first session back with Mornington Chasers Running Club.
Not only did it feel good physically to be pushed to run harder, I also know mentally, track sessions are one way to rebuild strength and run faster.
Here’s why I’m keen to add a track session with my running club to my weekly training.
The training is structured
When I describe what I do (or I used to do) in terms of running, I always say I’m a long distance runner. But as with anything in life, you don’t improve if you do the same thing day in day out. You plateau. To become a faster and stronger runner, you have to incorporate speed work by adding interval work to your training plan. Track training is, in my mind anyway, essentially structured interval training. You know that each lap is 400m, so you can plan your schedule around that and the distance you’re working towards that. Or better still, join a club and let them do the hard work for you.
Yet changes weekly
The trick to really benefiting from track training is to mix up your intervals. Choose between shorter sprint-style intervals, middle distance intervals or longer distance intervals. Here’s a brief summary of how this could translate on the track for someone like me, who is getting back on track after being a pretty strong runner:
Short sprint interval
8 x 400m run at a fast pace with a resting period time that’s at least three times the length it takes to do one 400m lap
Middle distance interval
3 x 1200m run at a 5K pace with a 400m recovery run between each interval
4 x 2400m run at a 10K with a longer resting time (at least 5 minutes)
There’s no point in listing out all the track sessions you can do in this blog post as you’ll be here all day. This post gives you a variety of training sessions depending on your level hwww.active.com/running/articles/how-to-use-track-workouts-in-endurance-training
Or head to a track session with a local running club as they will automatically mix it up without you even having to think.
It’s friendly competition
Not only does training on the track with a running club give you a structured plan when it comes to interval training, it also pushes you to run harder. Running clubs are not just for the superfast runners – people of all abilities turn up to train. But you always find someone to run with OR AGAINST. This motivates you to move more and again become a stronger runner.
You’ll learn to love it
The track may not be your natural habitat but as you build confidence (and speed), you’ll learn the importance of running in circles. And the exhilaration you feel after running a hard, tough session can make you fall in love (well almost) with this important piece in the runner’s training jigsaw.
Do you train on the track? What’s your favourite running workout? Let me know below.