I grew up a swimmer and hated to run. As I got older, I discovered that running was a cheap, easy way to stay in shape. That still didn’t make me love it.
About 10 years ago, a friend of mine who ran marathons was getting burnt out. She asked me if I would run with her at the track at our kids’ school as we lived far from each other. We invited some other runners and now, ten years later, we are still doing weekly track workouts, come rain or shine.
If you picture track workouts with a coach standing at the side with a watch and calling out splits as a living nightmare, then these workouts are for you. We have people in our group of all speeds so that made it challenging at first. The fact that many don’t even wear a watch is another issue. They are there to run, but in a way that challenges them in a different way from their usual long run or tempo run. If you want to do your Yasso 800’s or mile repeats, then go ahead. We sometimes do that but not without grumbling!
First step is a one mile easy warm-up on the track. This is at a conversational pace. Then we do 4 x 50 yard pickups with plyometric and mobility drills as we head back to the start line each time. (Examples of drills are butt kicks, monster walk, side to side shuffle, lunge with twist or skips.) Then we do the interval workout, ending with a one mile cooldown for a total of 5-6 miles.
Here are some of our workouts:
- Pyramid- start at 1:00 hard and work up to 5:00, then back down. The rest interval is ½ of the run time so for the 1:00 repeat, the rest is :30 seconds. You can have the faster people run in the outside lanes.
- Forward/Backward- for this drill you run at a race pace for 5:00, then stop and rest for 1 minute standing in place, then turn around and run reverse direction for 5 minutes. If you have paced it correctly, you will end up at the start line when the 5 minutes is up, having caught the people in front of you. This is a fun one but really tests your ability to self pace. We go from 5 minutes down to 1 minute but you can vary that.
- Cone Run- For this drill you need about 5-7 little orange cones. I stole mine from my daughter who used them for soccer drills. You place an odd number of cones around the track at different spots. They should not be really close together, but randomly spread out. Then you run for 2 x 10 minutes or 20 minutes straight, or any variation. Start out easy, when you come to a cone, you speed up until the next one, then you go easy until the next one and so on. I like to switch direction as it changes the whole drill. Again, you can have faster runners in the outside lanes for this exercise.
So go ahead and try some of these drills with friends or by yourself. They are a good way to out of your regular runs and increase your speed!
Written by: Kris Kester, 2020 all3sports race team member.