Fast Lane 101 – Jeff Galloway Blogger

JG

Neighborhood tracks are the most convenient place to run for most.  Whether you’re taking your first steps or wanting to improve your time, it’s easy to check your pace by timing each lap. Because I’ve spoken to many runners who mistakenly feel that they are not fast enough to run at the local oval, here are a few simple guidelines:

  • What is the distance of a lap?  Standard distance is 400 meters (@ .25 mile).
  • In which direction should I run?   In most cases, run counterclockwise.  A few tracks alternate direction from day to day,  so follow the direction of the other runners.
  • What lane should I use when running slow or walking?  The inside 3 lanes are reserved for faster runners and those doing speed workouts.  Most runners should use the 2 outside lanes.
  • How do I pass slower runners? Assuming a normal, counterclockwise pattern, move to the right to pass, with a smile.
  • Is it OK for kids to ride bikes and skate on the track? This is not a good idea.  Try to find another place near the track for these activities.
  • Do I have to pay to use a track?  Most tracks are free, but the hours of use may be restricted by the school.
  • Can I run on the track with an iPod? This is up to you but be aware of your surroundings and possible threats or faster runners coming up behind you.  Keep one ear uncovered.
  • Do I need special shoes?  No—you can use the same shoe for road, track or fitness trail—unless you are a competitor doing very fast speedwork.
  • Are there any times that I should not use the track?  If there is a track meet or organized track practice by the local team, find another running area.  Some track teams allow recreational runners to use the outside lane during their workouts.

Say What?
Repeats—These are the fast segments during a speed workout.  Each repeat (usually about 3-5% of the distance of the goal event) is run slightly faster than goal race pace, followed by a rest interval of  walking or slow jogging.  Through a series of workouts, the number of repetitions gradually increases.

The Fix
I always lose count of how many times I’ve run around the track! How can I keep track of it better?  Office supply stores sell “counters” that keep track of the number of laps as you click each time you finish a lap.  Another method: time yourself for the first 2 laps, for two laps in the middle and 2 laps at the end.  Compute an average of the lap times.  You can compute the number of laps by dividing the total time run by the average time per lap.

The Excuse
There are lots of fast-looking people at my track; I’m scared I’ll get in their way. 
 The inside lanes are for faster runners.  If you run in the outside lane, you will not get in their way.

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Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

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“One and done!” I remember my sister uttered those exact words when she finished her first marathon in January. Pretty much how I felt by the time I finished the Glass Slipper Challenge on Sunday. For those who may not know, the Glass Slipper Challenge consists of a 10K on Saturday, followed by a half marathon on Sunday. I must say I fought signing up for the Glass Slipper Challenge for several years, happily instead, running a 5K on Friday and the half on Sunday, but for some reason I was feeling Iron Woman-ish and decided that this was the year…this was MY year!

A couple of things I have learned in just two short weeks:

1.       (Yes, there will be more than one). If I spend the entire week before the challenge walking an extraordinary amount, my legs WILL actually be tired after the 10K and be too tired for a half marathon the following day. In other words, roaming the  parks probably wasn’t the best idea.

2.       Don’t stop hydrating after the 10K, replacing those fluids lost during a hot 6.2 miles is doubly important. Remember the challenge isn’t over until after the half.

3.       Go easy on the 10K and save some “leg juice” for the half. I was so concerned because I was starting in the last corral of the 10K and not being swept after the balloon ladies, I exerted myself more than I probably should have. I should have saved some of that leg juice energy for the half.

4.       Bring the necessary amount of electrolyte replacements. I was good this time and made sure that I drank something at each water stop, but I ran out of salt tablets, gummy bears and pickle juice by mile ten. I made it all the way, but when I tried to put on a burst of energy to triumphantly race cross the finish line, the dreaded leg cramps set in. So my finish was more of a limp than the Iron Woman moment I envisioned.

5.       Most importantly, have fun. 19.3 miles in two days truly IS an accomplishment and something to be proud of. I finished!

6.       Never say never! My “one and done” mantra, lasted about seven days and I’ve already texted my sisters that I am ready for next year’s challenge. Sore muscles and pain are only temporary, bling is forever.

This year my plan is to not take a three month running hiatus! Training starts today.

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