Track Party–16×400 and my Future Gold Medal

Preface #1 – Do you like these segregated track posts? Speed work is one of the most common inquiries I get from y’all, so I figured there must be at least a small market for them.

Preface #2 – I tried dictating a rough draft while out on my bike ride today. Pointless sod of time that was. What the eff does any of this mean? I did not get dropped and even though I [shudder] hear they’re coming back in style, there were no “orange county overalls” present.


or maybe that’s really how I talk and this is why people always look at me funny while I try to have simple, basic conversation with them?

Ok, on to the workout.

After her departure to LA almost a year ago, Margot and I FINALLY reunited on our beloved OC oval for Track Party Tuesday! Kristina is nursing a sore hip so the complete reunion will have to wait for another time, but it was SO good to have someone there after last week’s solo sesh. (Despite the pains of a 6:45am meet up when I had nowhere to be all day.) Getting to chat during warm up, suffer in company, and having someone keep my dumb ass in check so I wouldn’t gas myself early made a big difference.

After getting nice and warm, including my signature jog to the bathroom and back (a perfect .25mi, yes I count it) we got the legs turning over with 200m on/off x2 like last week.

S : “like, 5k pace maybe? I don’t know, I don’t have a goal for this part”

M : “ok, sounds good!”

[excited pony legs take off, sensible actually-has-concept-of-pace Margot hangs back]

M (100m in) : “that is NOT your 5k pace”

S (much more winded than anyone should ever be during a warmup) : “yeah… why don’t I stay next to you for the rest?”

One of the biggest perks of having a good track friend is mooching pace. Margot is like a metronome and somehow automatically sets into any desired pace, and can do all the split math in her head like she learned that instead of times tables in elementary school. I pretty much just show up and (try to) hang on the FasterBunny train.

The workout was 16×400 with :60s rest, and a 3:00 rest halfway through. First 8 at 10K pace, progression through last 8.

(tv timeout for a great write up from Mario Fraoili on short intervals for marathon training400s aren’t a typical marathon workout but I hate long intervals so I do them and this makes me feel better about it.)

The first eight Margot led and I just tucked myself right on her shoulder. Except like, my hip to her shoulder, because you know, this :

margot fasterbunny track reunion

last summer – been a while we’ve had a good Monster Sarah laugh

The pace felt obnoxiously slow. Probably because it was. My 800 splits last week were faster than this and we actually chatted through almost all of rep #5. I questioned whether we were wasting our time by plodding through like this but figured there must be a reason.

  • Epiphany – sound familiar? Like the first 10 miles of a marathon? “run so slow it hurts, when you want to pick it up, don’t.”

Clockwork each lap came through between 1:43 and 1:45, right on target.

After a glorious 3:00 break we lined back up and Margot handed me the reins. Ever a stickler of negative splitting workouts (but never seeming to give two fucks in a race) the goal was to drop a couple seconds each lap.

Only problem was, my watch finally bit the dust and I can’t really see the teeny lap numbers on Brian’s that I was wearing.


the superglue and rocktape life support finally gave way. RIP first ever running watch.

And instead of straining my eyes to see at 100m or 200m, I just kind of… winged it. Let the rested legs do whatever they wanted!

1:39, 1:34, 1:31, 1:30

Juuuuust a little ambitious.

With four reps left, a full-sized angry grizzly bear securely lodged on my back, and knowing the fastest I’d run a 400m in past workouts was 1:27, I was in bad shape to try and drop a few more seconds a few more times. I handed the reins back to Margot and told her to just keep us close to 1:30 for two more, then we could go ahead and try to kill ourselves negative splitting the last pair.

1:32, 1:29

That “yeeeeee I’m actually going to finish!” high set in and suddenly two more didn’t seem so bad. Until we started running again. Those :60s breaks are JUST long enough to forget the pain but hardly enough time to fully recover.

“get around the curve”

“if you can get to 200m with your breath still in check you might survive”

“look for the green dash… there it is! 150m to go try to kick!” (hahahahah)

“longest straightaway ever ever ever ever everrrr annnnd done!”

1:27, 1:26

It hurt like hell, but while we shuffled through a half-assed cool down mile agreed that it is GREAT to be back. Track pain is my favorite kind of pain, no doubt.

I just hope after another week or two I’ll be able to feed myself and remain upright for more than 30 minutes at a time after.

Another great takeaway from the workout was discovering what “my race” is. Forget distance races – I need a run-till-you-drop short intervals marathon. Pretty much exactly this workout, last person standing wins. Does that exist? I’m ready to commit.

Sarah OUaL

14 thoughts on “Track Party–16×400 and my Future Gold Medal

  1. Sounds like a great workout. I like the idea of doing the first half slower “like a marathon”. I have been looking for more ideas for track sessions, so this might be one to add to the calendar. Awesome job getting those super speedy last two reps!


  2. You are speedy! Thanks for posting about these workouts. As someone who is just starting to learn about track workouts and not just going out and running “at a pace where I don’t vomit,” this is really helpful!


  3. Nice job at the track! Track is my most dreaded work out but I show up every week and do it cause it makes me faster!! You will get back into quick enough!! Hopefully doing lots of negative splitting work outs like these will help u pace out your races!!!!


  4. Awesome workout! Even though the marathon is my fav race distance, track workouts are my favorite kind of workout, so I love seeing what other people do on the track. I need a track friend like that – I’m soo bad at pacing, it’s embarrassing!


  5. So glad to hear I’m not the only “marathoner” with a strange love affair with short distance track workouts. We did 400’s last week too and I kind of like it. Apparently my “mental toughness” only lasts as long as it takes me to run a 400 (~1:28 each for 12). Good news, I’m very consistent. Bad news, extend the distance and I’m a disaster. 1000’s this week- should be a train wreck. Congrats on the track party reunion–hope K is back soon too!



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