3 Track Workouts to Improve Your Race Times

Photos by Marques Jackson/ Filles Garçons Photography .

Photos by Marques Jackson/Filles Garçons Photography.

Spring is here, and that means Runstreet Track Tuesdays, lots of coaching clients, and many races ahead! As we step into warm weather running, I wanted to share some of my top speed workouts to help you get faster and lower your race times. Whether you want to PR in the marathon or run your fastest mile, these workouts will boost your speed and running efficiency so you can slay your race goals. Bonus is improving your strength and drastically improving your overall fitness level.

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All you need is a track (or you can measure out a quarter of a mile on a trail or road you run on), and your running watch or GPS running app. I am a fan of the Strava app for tracking my runs.

Here are the track workouts below. If you have not been doing speed workouts, I recommend starting with Level 1 and working your way up to Level 3. If you are training for shorter races — such as the mile — I recommend repeating Level 1, and for middle distance — 5K, 5 miles, and 10K races — focus on Level 2. For marathon and half marathon training, concentrate on Level 3 as it includes the longest intervals to build your endurance and speed.

Level 1 Track Workout

  • Warm Up: Half mile - (2 laps) Run slowly at your regular, relaxed pace. This is an easy conversational pace. Stretch and do form drills/plyometrics.

  • 6 X 200 Meters (half of a lap on a standard track is 200 meters). Run at your goal Mile pace if you are training for the mile race, or if you are training for longer races, run at your 5K goal race pace. Between each interval, jog an equal length — 200 meters — at a very relaxed pace for active recovery.

  • Cool Down: Half mile - (2 laps) Run slowly at your regular, relaxed pace. This is an easy conversational pace. Stretch.

  • Total Workout Distance: 2.5 Miles

If you are training for longer races — such as a half marathon or marathon — you can add mileage to this workout by doing a longer warm up and cool down (at least a mile each).

Level 2 Track Workout

  • Warm Up: Half mile - (2 laps) Run slowly at your regular, relaxed pace. This is an easy conversational pace. Stretch and do form drills/plyometrics.

  • 4 X 400 Meters (one lap on a standard track is 400 meters). Run at your goal Mile pace if you are training for the mile race, or if you are training for longer races, run at your 5K goal race pace. Between each interval, jog an equal length — 400 meters — at a very relaxed pace for active recovery.

  • Cool Down: Half mile - (2 laps) Run slowly at your regular, relaxed pace. This is an easy conversational pace. Stretch.

  • Total Workout Distance: 3 Miles

If you are training for longer races — such as a half marathon or marathon — you can add mileage to this workout by doing a longer warm up and cool down (at least a mile each).

Level 3 Track Workout

  • Warm Up: Half mile - (2 laps) Run slowly at your regular, relaxed pace. This is an easy conversational pace. Stretch and do form drills/plyometrics.

  • 4 X 800 Meters (two laps on a standard track is 800 meters). Run at your goal 5K race pace. Between each interval, jog an equal length — 800 meters — at a very relaxed pace for active recovery.

  • Cool Down: Half mile - (2 laps) Run slowly at your regular, relaxed pace. This is an easy conversational pace. Stretch.

  • Total Workout Distance: 5 Miles

To get faster, incorporate your track workout into your running program once a week. (I recommend doing two speed workouts a week — one on the track and one tempo run). As you progress, your body will adjust to the speed workouts and you’ll be able to increase your speed and intensity. To make the workouts more challenging, add one more speed interval each week.

Let me know how your workout goes! What is your favorite track workout?

Marnie Kunz is a RRCA-certified running coach, creator of Runstreet Art Runs, and leader of Runstreet Track Tuesdays weekly training program in Brooklyn, NY. Follow her workouts and events on @Runstreet Instagram and Runstreet Facebook.

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