Track Party – the Wallflower

After yesterday’s announcement about jumping face-first into the speedy short distance game this summer, I was extra excited to hit the track for the first GOOD speed session since before Eugene.

But then I remembered I’ve only run once since Ojai.  My legs aren’t there yet and I am really trying to do this “recovery” thing right for once.  But of course, just as soon as I talked myself into a low-intensity workout, this showed up in my Twitter feed…

Damnit!  “800s” and “balls to the wall” in one tweet? Margot playing my run-fast heart strings like a damn fiddle.

Oh sure, you too, Rebecca.  Everyone jumping on my favorite workout the week I’m destined for “slow & easy”.  RUDE!

But I resisted.  I didn’t let their temptress ways toy with my poor little sprinter heart or sway my beat-up legs into something they weren’t ready for…

I went to sleep chanting “smart recovery, smart recovery” and promising myself it’d be worth it come 5K time on Saturday.  I drifted off to dreamy thoughts of 6:xx paces and shiny PRs…

Typical AM – alarm, snooze, 6 minutes later, repeat.  I finally drag my ass out of bed, into my Kinvaras, and sleepwalk/drive to the track.  Margot, Rebecca, and Kristina are getting amped up for their 800s and I trot off to warm up for my not-so-awesome short ladder mess I made up in my head on the drive over.

“man, I wish I was running with them. this is going to be boring. why am I even here? I should just run later…”

It didn’t take long before the endorphins kicked in, though.  Bet you didn’t see that coming.  It was a perfectly crisp morning, and the soft track shot some extra energy into my heavy legs.  By the time I was done warming up I was happy to be there – “easy” workout or not – enjoying the time with my friends and getting started on RUNFAST Summer.

(for the record, “balls to the wall” and “puke” both turned out to be valid threats. everyone killed it while I stuck to my only-slightly-sweaty spectator duties and cheered them on)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Since a few of you have expressed interest in virtually joining the Track Party, here’s what I did.  Nothing has changed since last time – still not a coach, certified in anything, or brainy about anything running other than how to tie my shoes.  So join at your own risk.

For pace judging/setting, my 5k PR is 21:17, my 800s avg 3:05-:10, and I had 8 invisible sandbags on my back.

OUaL’s Made Up Interval/Sprint/Mountain Workout

(name suggestions welcome) 

  • 1 mi warm up (ran on outer lane in the opposite direction to keep from getting “lopsided”)
  • ___m “on”, ___m “off”  –  equal distance (so 100m/100m), “off” pace ~9min/mi, “on” as follows* :
  • 100m (5:45), 200m (6:00), 300m (6:10), 400m (6:15)
  •  – 2 min resting recovery –
  • 400m (6:10), 300m (6:00), 200m (5:45), 100m (5:30)
  • 1 mi cool down
    • 4.5 miles total

 (*paces averaged for simplicity)

While it wasn’t gut-busting 800s like I wanted, this was fun workout.  Each set is over before you have enough time to get bored and the shorter varying distances are a good break from other monotonous workouts.  As I get back into it I’ll definitely be using this as a base – adding reps, speed, and increasing the distances to make it more challenging.

    *  Anybody have a favorite track/speed workout you want to share?  Made up or real, I’m not picky.  Give me something to go all balls-wallsy on!

Sarah OUaL


21 thoughts on “Track Party – the Wallflower

  1. 6-8 x 800 or 6 x 1000. Thank me later.

    THE TRACK IS THE BEST. And, how do you know what pace you’re running? Are you wearing a Garmin? I always think my Garmin is lying to me, so I just wear a reg watch.


    • I think I would go bonkers if I wore my Garmin on the track. What’s nice about a regular digital watch is that you are forced to run by feel for at least part of the way, which is important for racing and silly stuff like that. If you’re super concerned, you can gauge your pace at every 100 meters (so for an 88-second lap, 22 seconds at the 100).


  2. Omg. You make me love track workouts. And consider joining the 5k rev. I want to break 21!

    I did a workout in h.s. of 400s. Can’t remember how many but my coach started 2 fast girls ahead of me (25m & 50m out) and I had to run them down. I don’t think they took off as hard as I did, but they were supposed to make me work, and then push me after I caught them. I actually had to be carried off the field. You guys could do that in rotation of who rabbits and who chases :)

    Also liked up the clock. Hard 400m then start with 100m and add 10m on each repeat until 200m (but all at the same pace. Don’t get slower with the increases pace wise). Wrap with a final balls out 400.


  3. So, Does your husband want to kill you when you snooze your alarm? I get straight up “death glare/heavy angry sigh/get out of my bed and never sleep next to me again woman” from mine.


  4. I’ve never done a ladder, but I bet it’s fun. Once my legs don’t hate me I might well try it. Oh, one quick thing about track stuff … consider knowing what your times should be (I like to do 200s in 40, 400s sub-3:00, etc.) and run by what feels hard and look at your times when you click lap. Adjust your effort if you’re not hitting your times. Don’t get too wrapped up in eyeing your pace mid-interval because it can be a little wonky with the Garmin.


  5. My coach use to do workout with us he liked to call “the 9:20” (goal time for 4×800). The length of the workout was only 800 meters and we did random intervals with only 15 seconds rest (from 50 meters to 300 meters). It was the shortest but most intense workout (you go all out for every interval) and sometimes he would be really mean and make us do it twice. Have fun!


  6. My track workout today was 3 sets of 3 300s. So total of 9 300s. balls to the wall, with full rest after each (versus recovery jog). Rest for equal amount of time it took you to run the 300. I ran my 300s in 1:20-ish (slow slow slow…) and then rested for 1:20. Rough.


  7. I’ve had good luck with this workout – desending ladders x 2 with 400 meter recovery jogs in between. It is a pretty intense track day – but I’ve definitely noticed improvements in my times.


  8. Oh Brad Hudson has this workout that’s basically (if I remember correctly…I don’t have the book with me) 30s, 60s, 90s, 2min, 3min, 2min, 1min, 90s, 60s, 30s at 5k pace. It kicks my butt but it’s super effective. I’m impressed that you didn’t do the 800’s…I totally thought this post was going to end with you doing a ridiculous workout when you should be recovering ;)


  9. One of my favorites, though its killer, is mile repeats. 1.5 mile warmup (I do ~8min/mile pace). 4-6 miles at 5k pace (so like 7:10s/7:20s), with 600m rest (slow jog or walk between), 1.5 mile cool down (~8:30 pace). I also like 6-8x800s plus some 4-6x200s, just to throw a little extra speed in there at the end (same warmup/cooldown) — so by the end of the day you’re doing 6-10 miles for #trackparty


  10. woah hella speed. I’ve only ever done 800s, so now I want to try a ladder workout. I heart 800s so much. If I could do them every run I would. Instead they are my sweet run date reward.


  11. I used a training grid for Boston that utilized 7 different types of speedwork on Tuesdays…each week was a little different and some got used more than once – #7 was only on the week of the marathon. They all have their own moments of fresh hell. (I got these from somewhere…Runner’s World, maybe):

    Speed #1: 5 x 1000 meters at 5-K race pace with 2-minute recovery (walk/jog)

    Speed #2: 6 x 800 meters at 10-K race pace with 90-second recovery

    Speed #3: Three sets: 1 x 1200 meters at 10-K race pace (1-minute rec.), 1 x 400 at 5-K race pace (3-minute rec.).

    Speed #4: 4 x 1600 meters at 10-K race pace with 3-minute rec.

    Speed #5: 8 x 800 meters at 10-K race pace with 90-second rec.

    Speed #6: 400 meters at 5-K pace (30-second rec.), 800 at 10-K pace (90-second rec.), 1200 at 10-K pace (2-minute rec.), 1600 at 10-K pace (3-minute rec.), 1200 at 10-K pace (2-minute rec.), 800 at 10-K pace (90-second rec.), 400 at 5-K pace.

    Speed #7: 2 x 1600 meters at marathon goal pace with 3-minute rec.


  12. I love doing a Mona fartlek (named after Steve Monoghetti) – we do it with float recoveries, so 70% effort instead of an easy jog. We also do it on a dirt path, not on the track: 2×90 sec, 4×60 sec, 4×30 sec, 4×15 sec all with equal time recoveries. Our coach makes us do it without watches sometimes for better pacing awareness as well…

    It only takes 20 min but it’s tough!

    I also like long intervals (1.5-2km), because I’m bad at them so I figure that gutsing it out will make me a stronger runner!


  13. Your track workouts inspire me! I need to start doing them, I am still in the stages of “just run super fast until you are about to die” or “run super slow so you can get through this mileage”. HA. Someday I will be strategic like you. Someday…



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