Track tips

With track set to start this week, I wanted to share the tips below for those who may be new or haven’t joined us for a while. This will explain how we run our workouts, how to choose a pace group, and some track etiquette.

-Timm Huffman

We’re excited for you to join the GMRC track workouts for the season. Below are instructions for choosing a pace group and a few other tips and tricks to get you started. Happy running!

Selecting a pace group

GMRC track workouts are set up in six basic groups and are based upon speed work training for the 5k. The difference between the groups is the duration of the recovery period between intervals.  

Generally speaking, the groups are listed with the fastest group first.  It’s a good idea to have a designated person to count repetitions and someone who looks at the time sheet to remind everyone when they need to start their next lap.  Which group should you go in?  Below are some suggestions.  

Time ranges for the groups are based on a target goal of 45-90 seconds of rest between repetitions (depending on the distance).

Banilla – is suggested for runners targeting under 6:15 5k pace, or sub 19:30

Green – is suggested for runners targeting 6:15 to 7:00 5k pace, or 19:30 – 21:45

Blue – is suggested for runners targeting 7:00 to 7:45 5k pace, or 21:45 – 24:00

White – is suggested for runners targeting 7:45 to 8:30 5k pace, or 24:00 – 26:30

Yellow – is suggested for runners targeting 8:30 to 9:15 5k pace, or 26:30 – 29:00

Red – is suggested for runners targeting 9:15+ 5k pace, or 29:00+

How to read the Time Chart  

Everyone starts the first repetition (rep) at 0:00, when the clock  gets turned on. The time chart then lists the repetition start time for each subsequent rep, vertically below the color of your group. After finishing each rep, walk over to the chart to see when the next time you are supposed to start. This is also a good opportunity to grab a drink of water and see how many reps you have left in the workout.

Basic track etiquette

Lanes 1 and 2 (inside lanes) are reserved for those running a rep. It is best for runners to try to stay in lane 1, or as close to it as possible. The inside lane is 400m and is the shortest way around the track (the difference between running in lane 1 compared to lane 2 is about 4 meters per lap).   

Runners starting a rep should be mindful of runners finishing a rep.  Start your rep in lanes 3 and 4, and only slide into lanes 1 and 2 if no runners are incoming.

FOR SAFETY purposes, when faster runners encounter a different group on the track, it is the faster group that should go around the slower group.  No runner in the middle of a rep should feel pressure to “get out of the way” of anyone. It is in fact more dangerous.  The faster runner is behind and has the best lines of sight to avoid other runners.   

When finishing a repetition, exit to the inside of the track to allow outgoing runners a path to the curve.  If no runners are outgoing, always check over your right shoulder before cutting to the outside of the track.

Tips to get the most out of the workout

Try to have an idea of what time you want for each rep and try to hit that time for every rep (give or take 1-3 seconds – there is a pace chart under the workout to see what time a 400 should be run in, from a 5:00 min/mile -12:00 min/mile).   

The first repetition is often the slowest, as you are warming up.  If you want to go faster, save it for the last 400m/800m, as practice for your kick in a race.   

Warming up is key. 10-20 minutes of running, with a few (2-6) strides (think rep pace running), will help get the legs ready to perform.  

Most important tip: HAVE FUN!

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