6 Track Sessions to Improve Your Running Speed

Improve your running speed and endurance with these track sessions, including pyramid and interval workouts.

Since last September, I’ve been attending a track running session with Dagenham 88 Runners. Thursday evenings at the track have quickly become my favourite session of the week and I’m beginning to notice improvements in my speed.

The track is a perfect place to practice speedwork on a smooth, flat, well-lit surface away from traffic. Our sessions are structured and challenging, but they vary each week keeping things interesting. Intervals are a chance to push your limits and test your speed- I love the feeling at the end of the session knowing I’ve given it my all.

However, track workouts seem to divide runners- you either love it or hate it. The sessions are not supposed to be easy and the intervals can be very intense. The track can be intimidating to beginners, so I’d highly recommend finding a friendly running club open to all abilities.

If you are thinking about trying a track session, here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • The track is 400m around the inside lane. Two laps are 800m, three laps are 1200m and four laps are 1600m (approximately 1 mile).
  • We always run anti-clockwise, except when warming up and cooling down.
  • We do our hard efforts in Lane 1, then move out the outer lanes to recover.
  • We overtake in Lane 2 or 3, then move back into Lane 1 when safe to do so.
  • We always start with a few easy laps to warm-up then go through some mobility drills before starting the main session. It’s essential to warm-up properly for tough sessions like this.
  • Track sessions are suitable for all abilities. We are usually split into three groups based on our 5k time and the session is slightly modified for each group.
  • Know what your 5k time is before arriving at the session, to help decide which group you should join.

If you are going it alone at the track, you’ll need to be prepared with some session plans to avoid running mindlessly. For some inspiration, here are some of my favourite sessions:

Track Session 1

8 x 800m
2 min recovery jog between each interval

Track Session 2

600m at 5k pace
300m recovery jog
300m at 3k pace
1 min 45 second walking recovery
Repeat 4 times

Track Session 3

400m, 800m, 1200, 1200m, 800m, 400m
1 minute recovery jog between each interval

Track Session 4

4 x 1500m
100m walking recovery between each interval

Track Session 5

800m at 5k pace
400m recovery jog
10 x 300m at 90% effort
100m walking recovery between each interval

Track Session 6

6 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 3 minutes, 6 minutes, 4 minutes, 2 minutes, 2 minutes at 5k pace
2 minutes walking recovery between each interval

Do you run at the track? What’s your favourite session?

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10 Comments

  1. May 17, 2017 / 9:47 am

    I have been seriously trying to up my running speed and distance for field hockey.
    Gonna give this a shot on on the weekend!

    • May 17, 2017 / 4:11 pm

      Great, do you have a track near you which you can use?

  2. March 12, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    I have been to a few track sessions with my club- the one I remember was something to do with 3,2,1, so you did 300m fast, then recover, then 200m fast, then recover, then 100m flat out, then recover, and then repeat. But the track are not that great at letting us book it so they have not been regular- it is something I think we will hopefully do more of.

    • March 19, 2017 / 8:13 pm

      Sounds like a good session. Yeah the track local to me is not good at letting us book, which is why I go to another club a bit further away.

  3. March 11, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    I do fartleks sometimes along our old canal as its straight and level. Makes for a great workout

    • March 19, 2017 / 8:13 pm

      Sounds good, the canal is perfect for speed work

  4. March 10, 2017 / 11:03 am

    Would love to try some track sessions. I enjoy doing speedwork, but do all mine on the roads at the moment. Pyramids always make me laugh because you start off feeling great and then I always reach a point where my legs just suddenly go!

    • March 19, 2017 / 8:14 pm

      I know right, I get jelly legs at a certain point too!

  5. March 6, 2017 / 8:27 am

    I am a fan of pyramids and 15×400. (By fan, I mean tolerate, it is not like it is overly enjoyable…!)I HATE HATE HATE anything overly long like 2k reps or 6x1mile. Mainly because I keep forgetting how many times round I have run. Luckily, running with a club means that often you can get someone else to do the counting!!

    • March 19, 2017 / 8:18 pm

      Agree, I prefer shorter reps too. Not a fan of longer intervals!

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