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About Tri Team Track Workouts

For a triathlete, the basic goal of a track workout is to train the body to move faster for longer distances, by training up its ability to run faster at shorter distances.

Tri team track workouts will always include a warm-up, a main set, and a cool down.

The warm-up will be 10-15 minutes and usually includes:

  • Loosening movements to lubricate joints and awaken your senses
  • Slow and controlled movements to activate muscles
  • Gradually increasing intensity to elevate heart rate

The main set may be one of the following (described in more detail, below):

  • High Intensity Intervals - For experienced runners who are fit, well rested, uninjured, and not in a recovery or taper week
  • Lower Intensity Intervals - For all others

The cool down will be 15-20 minutes and includes:

  • Walking, or very slow running or jogging to lower the heart rate
  • Stretching, and if available foam rolling, stick, or trigger point work
  • Mobility or stability exercises to address functional movement issues

About High Intensity Intervals

High intensity intervals can improve your ability to process lactate, raising your lactate threshold, which you can think of as your maximum steady-state exercise level. Raising your lactate threshold allows you to work harder and longer at all speeds - not just when running fast. You will benefit most from high intensity interval training when you carefully follow the specifications for both the workload and rest. This type of main set is not for beginning runners. A rule of thumb is that you should have been running for a year before performing high intensity intervals. If you are newer to running, somewhat out of shape, in a recovery (or "easy") week, tapering for a race, recovering from an injury, or not yet rested following a high intensity cycling or swimming workout, do not perform high intensity running intervals. The coach will always provide a less intense, more technique focused alternative to the high intensity main set.

About Less Intense Intervals

These are intervals where you focus on various aspects of running form. These can be the most basic elements of "good" endurance running form, or more general drills intended to build overall running strength or endurance. Many of the the focus points and drills will be from well known methods such as Chi Running or Pose Method.

General Points for High Intensity Track Workouts

    Warm up for at least 10 minutes, ending with moderate intensity running or strides.

    If you need additional rest between repeats, take it, but keep in mind that the rest is structured for a reason; if you cannot start the next interval on time, adjust your pace for the following interval accordingly.

    If you are unable to maintain the speed required for an interval, eliminate one or more repeats rather than slowing down for all of the repeats. Generally speaking, you should sacrifice speed for movememt quality. If you feel your running form getting out of control, back off a bit.

    You should "feel the burn" near the end of longer sets or repeats, and you should be tired at the end of a high intensity track workout. (If not, you probably did not work hard enough!)

    Cool down by walking - or super slow jogging - at least 400m. You will be making heavy use of your anaerobic engine, so lactate will accumulate in your muscles. During the cool down, keep your muscles moving at very low intensity to process the lactate.

    After walking, include at least at least 10 minutes of stretching in your cool down.

    Do not do more than one high intensity track workout per week. Remember, it's during the recovery period that adaptations occur. If there is no recovery, there will be no adaptation: you will hurt and get tired, but you will not get stronger or faster.

    If you have a bike or swim workout scheduled for the same day as a high intensity track workout, the other workouts should be low intensity efforts. Also, it never makes sense to perform a strength workout on the same day as a high intensity track workout.

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