You paid money for that?

I started Tuesday with an easy 3-mile “shake out” run with the roomie – I find that running the morning before hard workouts leaves me feeling looser and surprisingly more energetic. Kind of an oxymoron that more running makes me feel less tired, huh? Anyway, as the work day came to a close, I discussed my evening plans with a non-running friend. I had a difficult time explaining that I was going to pay $15 to run around in 200m circles for an hour (my running club works out at an indoor track and day passes are $15). The more I tried to justify the activity – the crazier I sounded. “Well, I guess it’s fun. I mean, it feels really good when it’s over?”

My friend definitely thinks I’m nuts and I don’t entirely blame her. But there’s something amazingly addictive about hard track workouts. This was the first indoor workout that I’ve done since college and I had nearly forgotten the experience. The nervous anticipation (it’s going to hurt, no doubt about it), burning legs, the track hack (a.k.a. cough) from the dry air, the wave of exhaustion that encompasses the body by the time you’ve finished the cool-down. There are many ways that running can be enjoyable – a run on a sunny, Autumn morning or a balmy Summer evening can be rewarding and fun, but there’s nothing quite like pushing your limits to make you feel accomplished. And it feels so good when you’re finished – you keep coming back for more because that feeling is addictive. As I rode the subway home Tuesday evening, cheeks flushed, body exhausted I felt happier than I had been in a long time. Maybe it was the endorphin rush, maybe it was the hour I spent with my closest running buddies, or maybe us runners are all just crazy. Whatever it was, I’ll be back again.

The workout:

  • 1.5 mile warm-up
  • 3 × 800m, 600m, 400m w/ 200m recovery after the 800 and 600 and 400m recovery after the 400
  • 3:08, 2:18, 1:30
  • 3:06, 2:20, 1:30
  • 3:09, 2:17, 1:24
  • 1 mile cool-down
  • 7 miles total

I definitely held back a bit in terms of pace, but I wanted the workout to be a positive experience. All in all, the intervals ended up being run at about 5k pace (~19:45 or so, for me) The tight turns and crowding of the Armory surely takes some getting used to. I’m hoping to move up to a slightly faster group by the end of the winter.

*Confused by terms like splits, recovery, and intervals? Check out this running glossary that I wrote for True/Slant last March.

And if an indoor track workout isn’t enough excitement, I have plenty more running adventures coming up. I’m actually blogging from my hotel in San Francisco! I arrived this morning and despite lack of sleep (4:45am wake up call, omg), I’m excited to embark on an exploratory run. My running pal Jacqui and I are psyched to eat our way through the city (ghiradelli chocolate! sourdough bread! sushi!) and run a fun cross-country race on Sunday.

Updates soon! xoxo

Have you ever done an indoor track workout or race? Would you ever consider it?

  • i’ve never worked out on an indoor track before. i’ve thought about it and almost did it last year when i was in school and had access to one but just never did. i think that going around in 200m would make me crazy. that said i’m not going to rule it out completely. props to you for staying sane and getting it done!

  • I would love to find an indoor track near me, it sounds like so much fun! I’m resigned to the treadmill until all the snow melts from my local track 🙁

    Have a great time in San Fran…it’s my favorite city…I’ll be there next month!

  • I would love to try an indoor track workout. Since I’m training for a half marathon in February this is the first time I have run in the winter. An indoor track would definitely get rid of some of the boredom of the treadmill.

  • Have so much fun in SF! Super jealous. Never done an indoor track workout, and they sound scurry. Someday, I will bite the bullet.


    I trained for my first marathon partly on an indoor track…I was pretty wimpy about winter runs and once ran 24km on a 200m track. Pretty much every long run has felt mentally easy every since 🙂

  • Sounds like a great workout! I’ve never done an indoor track workout but I would definitely be up for it. I’m already sick of the treadmill.

    Have a great time in San Fran!! I’m fleeing the cold city this weekend too! Can’t wait for some warm weather!

  • Only in high school – I didn’t like how short the tracks were, but otherwise it was fun! I would love to do them again, if I had the resources. I can understanding paying money for it – it makes you happy, it’s motivating, and it’s entertainment!

  • You’re in San Francisco!!?? I live out here — I wish I had time to show you a good run or restaurant. If you end up with time to do some sort of bloggy meet-up thing, let us know!

  • Kristan

    Great workout on Tuesday! After running tonight’s workout and freezing in Central Park, I am so jealous of you ladies out in San Fran!

  • I did an indoor track workout today. Or this whole week. haha. Hi, I contacted you two months ago about my first marathon nerve questions. I successfully finished it thanks to you. Thanks for it! I love your blog and the chronicles of your running is an inspiration. Are you participating in the Manhattan half next weekend? Due to you, I recently started my own strand profile and blog! Come check it out: Hope to keep in touch!

  • Hey, I only live a couple hours away from SF. It’s a great city!!

  • Yikes, nice numbers on that workout!! I raced indoor track my last three years of high school. It was okay, but all in all I’d rank it as my least favorite athletic experience… it’d take a lot of coaxing to get me to ever race on an indoor track again (or any track!)

  • I’ve never done an indoor track workout before but I’d so be down for it! I guess i’m a little crazy too, I love tough track workouts.

    Hope you have a blast in SF!

  • Just recently found your blog and now you are in SF! (I am in the bay area) – welcome!! Hope you have a great time in Cali, the weather is supposed to be great this weekend 🙂

  • I love it! I love that you didn’t hate it! I think it’s a good idea that you didn’t push it too hard…nothing says, “Never come back!” like an injury after starting indoor. And I hope you come back!

  • jess

    just found your blog and i had to comment. you’re such a tremendous athlete and inspiration! doesn’t hurt that you make the most delicious looking baked goods, too 😉 i’m a fellow NYC-er and i love seeing the bakeries/restaurants you visit. looking forward to reading more! keep doing what you’re doin chica xo

  • @Jenn and @Jess – thank you for the sweet comments! I’m glad you like reading the blog 🙂

  • Pingback: San Francisco Running | The Runner's Kitchen()

  • Pingback: Track Workouts Hurt | The Runner's Kitchen()