Try These Track Workouts For Speed

A man running by himself on a track

You have an untapped potential to run faster.

Studies show incorporating high-intensity training can improve running performance. Implementing quick-paced track workouts can help muscles adapt to the increased demands of faster running.

Developing speed is dependent upon two things: length of stride and frequency of stride. Improving your strength and power helps lengthen each stride while implementing neuromuscular exercises can enhance stride frequency.

While your height and muscle fiber type may be physiological limits, interval workouts, plyometric exercises and high-paced track runs can improve strength, power and the development of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which will all lead to a new personal best.

How Do You Run Faster?

A Karhu runner sits on a track while legendary Finnish running coach Kari Sinkkonen talks

You can’t do a speed workout without knowing how far and how hard (effort percentage) you should run. Calculating your effort percentage may seem intimidating, but there are a couple of easy ways to find your pace.

RPE: Rate of Perceived Exertion is a self-monitoring method that allows you to determine your level of intensity based on physiological feedback (heart rate, muscle fatigue, breathing rate, sweating). Instead of focusing on time, pace yourself according to how the speed feels. This is an excellent method if you’re new to running or regaining fitness after an injury.

Paced Speed: Focusing on a pace goal—say you want to run a 5K in 25 minutes—you can use a simple equation to calculate the exact time you must complete each distance on a track in order to reach your goal.

While you may complete short bursts of speedwork at an all-out effort, longer intervals aimed at increasing endurance should be a bit slower. Depending on the workout, this can be anywhere from around 70- to 90-percent of your goal race pace.

Sound complicated? It can be. That’s why they are online race pace calculators designed to do it for you. Simply input your goal race time, and the calculator will spit out paces for everything from easy runs to all-out sprints. You can then use these numbers to easily calculate interval paces.

Sample Track Workouts for Speed

A runner starting a track work out for speed out of starting blocks

Measured in meters and determined by effort, track workouts provide a distinct advantage when training for speed. The measured and marked surface helps you pace each distance properly so you can focus on your cadence and stride.

As you prepare for the 2020 race reason, hit the oval course and give these rack workouts a try.

Track Ladder Workout

This ladder workout on the track sends you through various distances at a hard effort. With just five minutes rest between reps, this workout will test your stamina.

Distance

Effort %

Rest

800 meters

80-90%

5 minutes

400 meters

80-90%

5 minutes

200 meters

80-90%

5 minutes

400 meters

80-90%

5 minutes

800 meters

80-90%

5 minutes

Track Burst Workout

Alternating between a walk and an all-out sprint, this burst workout will raise your heart rate before giving you a short break to recover—over and over again. Repeat the 100-meter bursts for four laps and sprint the final 200 meters.

Distance

Effort %

Rest

100 meters

100%

0

100 meters

WALK

0

4 x 2 x 4 Track Workout

Run, rest, repeat. That's the name of the game in this 4 x 2 x 4 workout. Learn to shift gears during the 600-meter runs, then test your straight-line speed by finishing with 40-meter sprints.

Distance

Effort %

Rest

Repeat

600 meters

70% for the first 400 m

80% for the last 200 m

2 minutes

4 times

400 meters

80%

2 minutes

2 times

40 meters

90%

2 minutes

4 times


Put your new-found speed to the test at The Big Run. Learn more and sign up for the nationwide 5K event.


By Amanda Boyd. Amanda has a fierce love for the outdoors and passion for staying active. Although running is her first love, she spends much of her time hiking, biking, and perfecting her pickleball skills. As a certified personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and endurance specialist, Amanda spends most of her time talking fitness and coaching clients.

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