Etiquette and Terminology

Knowing that many MRCers are unfamiliar with doing track workouts, and may have never step foot on a track. I’m going to cover some basics, of etiquette and terminology.

Track Etiquette:

Intervals are done in lanes 1 and 2, recovery running/jogging warm up warm down is done in lanes 4-6. As soon as you finish your interval move to the outside lanes and continue jogging. Don’t just stop and stand in Lane 1 at the end of your interval.

If others are passing you while you’re in the middle of an interval, don’t try to get out of their way by moving outside. Stay in lane 1 and let them move around. I’ve seen any number of well intentioned runners cause a pileup by moving out at an inopportune moment.

Track workouts are not a race. When we’ve established a training group, stick together. Passing only if the person ahead of you is fading. Work together, run as a pack. It is easier to endure when we’ve got company.

If there are walkers on the track I’ll politely ask them to yield lanes 1 and 2 to runners.


Pacing is based on your current fitness, not your goals. Don’t go faster than the prescribed paces, it is better to be a little slow than too fast, especially early in a workout. When you can race faster, you can train faster not before.

Most intervals will be done at 5k, 10k or Lactate Threshold (LT) pace. 5k and 10k are obviously your race paces for those distances. LT pace is your pace for a race of about 1 hour, 10 mile race pace is close enough for most people.

You can figure out your race pace by using one of a few calculators. Enter your most recent race, it is best not to use a Marathon as the entry, as there is too much variability in that race to use as a predictor.

The total volume of intervals should be about 10% of or average weekly mileage, for LT workouts. And 8-10% for workouts at or near 5k pace.



Lets take runner Mike Hartin, his last race was a 5k in Wakefield and he ran a PB 21:19

Looking in my calculator, these are Mikes training paces with a VDOT of 46
5k 21:19 (6:52 per mile) (1:43 per 400m)
10k 44:16 (7:07 per mile) (1:47 per 400m)
LT 7:17 per mile pace (1:52 per 400m)

A good rule of thumb is the following for the 400m splits, subtract 4 seconds per 400 to get to 10k and 5k pace from LT.

LT- 4 seconds = 10k pace
LT- 8 seconds = 5k pace
1:52 – 4 = 1:48
1:52 – 8 = 1:44 real close to the above.

Lets assume he averages 40 miles per week, his total volume intervals shouldn’t exceed 4 miles. If he’s doing 800m repeats, no more than 8.



I’ll send workouts beforehand. They will be written like the following.

4-6 1200@LT (60 sec recovery)

This means 4-6 intervals of 1200 meters, 3 laps of the track 3/4 mile at your lactate threshold pace . With a very slow 60 second recovery jog in between each one, about 100m.

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