For some guys, running can be torturous. But, if you’re a cardio naysayer, then we dare you to try these track workouts and see if you still feel the same way. Designed by Bobby McGee, a 30-year endurance coach with expertise in middle distance, cross country, road, marathon, and triathlon coaching, these workouts will contribute to your overall fitness and athleticism. And if you are already a runner, they’ll help you improve your speed and endurance on longer runs and maybe even hit a PR this fall marathon season.
Arrange these five routines throughout a seven- or 10-day training regimen so you can sufficiently recover and ward off injury. Follow the warmup below before each track routine. Some workouts will have additional drills.
Walk, then skip lightly or run for five to 10 minutes. Then, complete a few dynamic mobility drills: Heel walks, knee hugs, quad tugs, lunges, butt kicks, etc.
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*Speed Development Workout
Additional Warmup: Complete 4-6 alactic strides (massive bursts of energy in very short increments of time). Keep these under 9 seconds. Take a full recovery between each. Then, complete a set of 5 progressively faster 50-meter strides; the last 3 should be at your maximum controllable effort. With each successive one try to hit max speed a little sooner. Take 3 minutes to walk and perform mobility drills between each. Rest 5 minutes, then begin.
Distance: 90-meters (to work speed), 120-meters, or 150-meters (to work endurance) divided into three equal distances marked with cones.
Reps: 3 to 5
Pace: Your run is divided in to three. Run the first third all out, then ‘float’ (come slightly off the gas to maintain speed) the next third, and then accelerate to max effort for the final bit. For example, If you’ve chosen the 120-meter run, run 40 meters flat out, then ‘float’ 40 meters (come slightly off the gas to maintain speed), before accelerating to max effort again over the last 40 meters.
Recovery: Take a full recovery between each. After you’ve completed all reps, cool down for 5 to 10 minutes. End the session with foam rolling, focusing on your calves, quads, and hip flexors.
Distance: 200 meter or 30-second efforts
Reps: 8 to 12
Pace: 95 percent of a single max effort. (If your 200-meter max effort is 35 seconds, then the slowest you should drop to is 37 seconds.)
Recovery: Full recovery between reps (3-4.5 minutes). Walk or jog lightly.
*MAv (Maximum Aerobic Velocity) Shuttles
Set up cones to mark 20 meters on either end of a 100-meter stretch on the track to use as your recovery zone.
Recovery: 50 meters in double the time it took you to run 100 meters (If you run 100 meters in 20 seconds, recover with 50 meters in 20 seconds)
Reps: 3 sets of 5 minute intervals [Keep repeating 100-meter sprints followed by 50-meter recoveries for five full minutes.]
Pace: Your mile pace
*VO2 Max Workout
Distance: 300-, 400-, or 500-meters (Choose the distance that takes you no longer than 75 seconds to complete).
Reps: 6 to 10
Pace: Slightly faster than your workout #3 pace, or your one-mile PR pace.
Recovery: Half the speed distance in the same time frame (so, if you run 300 meters in one minute, jog 150 meters in one minute to recover).
Additional Warmup: In your warmup for this workout, be sure to run a little longer than the minimum five minutes; and, at the end of the warmup, pick up the pace for 3-4 minutes. This is called priming and will ensure you get the max value from your workout.
Distance: 800- to 1600-meters (about 3:30 to 6:00 minutes worth of work per rep, but not over 30 minutes overall).
Reps: 5 to 7
Pace: Slightly faster than your 5K race pace
Recovery: About 60 to 75 percent of the rep time (a 5-minute effort requires about 3-3:45 minutes of recovery).