Last night I hit up the East River track for quite possibly one of my favorite speed workouts. I’ve been running 12 x 400m since high school and it always gives me a confidence boost – probably because it’s rhythmic, controlled, and plays to my strengths. The key to executing the intervals properly is 1) keeping the pace under control – we were instructed to run 5k pace – no faster! and 2) making sure the rest stayed short, about 200m jog, no more than 90 seconds. It was tempting to run the intervals faster than 5k pace, but luckily I had a good workout buddy to keep the numbers steady (Thanks J!). We ended up running 93-96 seconds per 400m, which is right around target 5k pace or ~6:12-6:24 per mile.
- 1.5 mile warm-up
- form drills and strides
- 12 x 400m @ 5k pace with 200m jog recovery
- 1 mile cool-down
- 7 miles total for the night
True story – I carried a pen with me and wrote my splits on my forearm. I have a lap function on my watch, but I always end up forgetting to save the splits, so the old-fashioned pen method is a little easier for me.
Now that the weather is a little nicer and spring/summer racing season is upon us, more runners are heading to the track for workouts. If you’re new to the track, there’s a few things to keep in mind:
Track Etiquette 101
- 1) Most outdoor tracks are 400m, so if you run in lane 1, 4 laps = (approximately) 1 mile. I say approximately because a true mile is 1609 meters and 4 laps is 1600 meters, but the difference is almost negligible.
- 2) When running speed workouts, try to stay in lane 1. Running in the outer lanes will cause you to run longer – not a good idea if you’re trying to hit specific splits. For example, if you run in lane 4 instead of lane 1 – you’ll end up running more than 20 extra meters!
- 3) If someone yells “TRACK!”, it’s runner lingo for “Hey, I’m running fast, get out of my way.” If I’m running in lane 1 when I hear this, I usually hop into the infield and let them pass me on the right.
- 4) General etiquette rules – always always pass on the right. Never try to pass a runner on their left, it’s awkward and can cause a fall if they’re not prepared. To avoid getting run over, faster intervals should be done in lane 1, while cool-downs and recovery jogs are best run in the outer lanes.
After the workout, I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up a bottle of fresh-pressed juice by the folks at BluePrintCleanse. I don’t think I would ever want to do a juice cleanse (trying to run 45 miles a week without eating solid food sounds like a TERRIBLE idea), but I did want to see what it tasted like. Also, the body can absorb nutrients in liquid form easier and quicker after a tough workout. My juice contained beets, carrots, apples, lemon, and ginger and it did a good job holding me over until I was able to get home and eat dinner.
On nights when I’m looking for a quick dinner, I usually heat up a veggie burger and eat it with a big salad, but this week I got a little more creative. I boiled 1/2 box of whole wheat linguine and added 1/2 bag of frozen veggies and a bag of mung bean sprouts during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. While the pasta and veggies were cooking, I whipped up an easy spicy peanut sauce: 2 heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter and generous splashes of rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sriracha. After I drained the pasta, I combined everything together in a bowl, and topped with a little more sriracha. This “recipe” makes enough for about two Megan-sized dinners. If I had tofu or shrimp, I probably would have added some, but I figured the whole wheat pasta, peanut butter, and bean sprouts provided a fair amount of protein on their own.
Plus ice cream for dessert!!!
What’s your go-to dinner on nights when you only want to spend 10 minutes in the kitchen?
Do you have any “track rules” to add to the list?