Our second week of repeats and this one is an absolute all-time classic designed to get you faster, stronger and smoother.
8x400m @ your mile race pace
Recovery: 400m jogs
Terrain: A track (or measurable path).
A bit of speed, a bit of intensity, a lot of great technique—that’s what we’re after with this workout. Mile pace is fast enough that it gets us into that zone of developing our higher end speed ranges and the accumulation of the reps will add the intensity. And throughout you’ll need to focus on running smooth, efficient and relaxed.
Mile pace is a really fascinating threshold between energy systems where it’s demanding enough to give a stimulus for speed and technique development, but not so intense that you’re left massively fatigued after each rep.
Therefore, regardless of what event you’re training for, whether ultras or mile races, these types of workouts will develop your speed ceiling and improve your economy of movement.
We want to know exact paces for these workouts, so ideally you’ll do this session on an athletics track. However, if you’re new to the track and or new to these workouts, it’s important that you don’t put yourself at injury risk by doing the whole session on the track. Perhaps just do the first four 400s on the track (in alternating directions) and do the final four on a nearby pathway.
Take slightly longer than the 400m jog if you feel you need it in order to nail each repeat.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK:
HELP! WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR USING AN ATHLETICS TRACK?
For the uninitiated, an athletics track can be a daunting place. But, as runners, they provide a wonderful training (and racing) ground—especially for getting faster and dialling in your pacing skills. So, what are the rules for using a 400-metre running track.
1. Run Anti-Clockwise: The default direction for all running tracks in the world is anti-clockwise, so opt for this more often than not. However, if you can, you should always try to alternate directions when training (i.e. do two repeats anti-clockwise and then the next two clockwise, and so on).
2. Lanes & Markings: The distance for one full lap in lane one is 400m. However, most tracks encourage users to avoid wearing out lanes one and two, so they will often require you to do a session like this in another lane. This is totally fine. Simply, locate the 400m start stagger lines in any of the other lanes and use these as your start mark and the universal finish line as your finish (or vice versa if running clockwise).
3. “Track!” If you are running in lane one and you hear this from behind, be sure to quickly check behind and move into lane two or three to allow the faster runners pass on the inside. An even better approach, is to be aware of these faster runners using the track and simply avoid them by running in one of the outside lanes. Also, be aware of other track users, like sprinters and hurdlers on the straights, throwers (and their projectiles!) and high jumpers and javelin throwers who may cross the track regularly.
4. Warm Ups & Warm Downs: To reduce injury risk and wear to the track, try to minimise the actual time spent running on the track. So, do your warm up and down jogs on nearby trails or, if there are no throwers, use the grass in-field.
5. Ease Yourself In To It: With the many turns left, the consistently unforgiving surface and the increase in faster running, track running can be a major injury risk. Reduce this risk by just easing yourself into. For example, if you’re new to track training, just do a third to half of your workout on the track and the rest on a nearby park or pathway.
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