J.T.’s “Tour de Track”
This workout, invented by Jeff Thomas back in 1983, consists of 10 x 400 meter intervals with each runner completing one 400 in each lane (thereby receiving a “tour” of the entire track). As is the usual custom, the Aspens begin the workout by lining up toward the outside, the Birches in the middle lanes, and the Cedars on the inside. These are true 400 meter repeats that are run in the traditional counter-clockwise direction. That means starting at the stagger lines (the ones with the big white numbers), staying in that lane for the duration of the interval, and stopping at the finish line. If a runner starts in lane 6, for example, he or she will complete that 400, then move in to lane 5, then lane 4, then lane 3, 2, 1, followed by lanes 10, 9, 8, and 7.
The Aspens start each interval 2:30 minutes following the start of the previous interval. The Birches start on the 3:00 interval, and the Cedars will start on the 3:30 (for example, a Cedar who runs 400 meters in 2 minutes will have a 1:30 rest). An extra one-minute rest is often taken after the 5th interval, to allow for hydration, etc.
Cedars may choose to do 8 intervals instead of 10, pending Jane’s approval. As an example, someone might run in lane 2, then lane 1, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5.
As always, the idea is to run as fast as can be sustained (more or less) for the workout. Some runners will even manage “negative splits” (accelerating as the workout progresses). If a runner’s pace falls off modestly, it’s not a big deal. But if it crashes dramatically, he or she will probably want to go out a little slower the next time! Some runners have noticed a good correlation between their 10 x 400 meter workout pace and their mile race pace.
Full Workout Distance: 4000 m (about 2.5 miles), Cedar distance: 3200 m (~2 miles)
Rest: See above
History: This workout was run on the following dates — 9/21/04, 7/12/05, 10/11/05, 5/02/06, 5/01/07, 5/06/08, 5/12/09, 9/29/09, 5/11/10, 5/10/11, 4/24/12, 4/30/13, 4/29/14
Record: Available on Request.