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Many runners prefer the open road to the track and it is completely understandable. I mean, running in circles can get old, fast. But moving things to the track are important specifically when it comes to speed workout, where the track provides the perfect setting for the most accurate measurements of distance.
For runners new to speed work or those who want to push the pace, coach Megan Lund-Lizotte (a 2x USA Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier and 8x USA Mountain Running Team member) has a workout to help you get your love for the oval back on track.
“Since the intervals of hard running are fairly short, this workout allows for a taste of uncomfortablility without appearing daunting,” she explains. “Cut-down workouts are great for teaching the body to become efficient at surging and recovering, thus refining the process of lactic acid usage and recycling.”
Give her cut-down workout a try next time you’re at the track for a speed—and confidence—boost.
The 3-2-1 “Blast-Off” Drill
Perform 15-20 minutes of warm-up
Complete the following circuit 2-4 times (depending on fitness):
1200m (3 laps) at 10K pace, 400m recovery jog
800m (2 laps) at 5K pace, 400m recovery jog
400m (1 lap) at 5K pace, 200m recovery jog
200m (half lap) at 3K pace, 100m recovery jog
Perform 15-20 minutes of cool-down
Runners beware, coach Lund-Lizotte notes that the hardest part of the workout is the transition from the 100m of recovery right back into the 1200m at 10K pace. “It’s not much rest and you just ran a 200m at 3K pace,” she exclaims. “If you’re not sure what your 3K pace is, just push slightly faster than you would for 5K pace. The main purpose is to run a progressively faster yet sustainable and consistent pace.”