Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ty's Tuesday Track Tips

Today was a lovely sunny day.  A little chilly, but nothing that would usually keep me from running outside. But, I headed to the gym to run on the track anyway.  I had a couple reasons:

  1. I wanted to run intervals today (per my marathon training plan!), and running intervals on icy sidewalks with multiple red lights and intersections isn't all that effective. 
  2. I moved on Sunday and haven't actually run in my new "neighborhood" yet.  I say "neighborhood" because it's mostly a bunch of strip malls and plazas, and there are usually some interesting characters out and about.  I'm sure I will do it eventually but I need to sit down and map out some decent routes first.  
  3. Most of my strength training stuff is still at my old place (free weights, resistance bands/tubing, stability ball).  I do strength training on run days so I'd have to go to the gym for that after my run anyway.  
  4. I got spooked away from cold-weather running on Saturday.  Saturday I had planned on doing a fairly fast 6 miler with the 501 club. I ended up running with a girl that can't run alone (she needs a buddy because she is autistic and can't follow directions or traffic laws independently).  Normally we are about the same pace (she is faster than me at races), but for some reason that day she slowed waaay down.  I went from doing 9 minute miles at the start to doing 11 minute miles the last 5 miles.  Also, she had 8 miles planned, so instead of doing a fast 6, I ended up doing a slow 8.  All this would have been perfectly fine, except for one thing:  I had dressed for a fast 6. I only had a headband on my ears (no hat), my light running gloves (vs. mittens), nothing on my face (no Buff) and a lighter top than I would have if I had known I would be going so slow and it would be that cold.  It wasn't *that* cold Saturday (I think like 7 degrees?), but I have never been so cold in my life.  My fingers were numb, my face was numb, it was horrible.  I now understand why some runners don't run outside in the wintertime.  I have never felt like that while running before in my life.  If I felt like that every time I tried to run outside in the cold I wouldn't do it either!  For me, dressing appropriately is a big help, but honestly, as long as I'm working hard enough I don't get cold.  That day I wasn't working though.  It was basically walking effort, and I was FROZEN.  I was still freezing after 10 minutes in the sauna at the gym.  Ugh.  So yeah, I decided to take it indoors today.  :)
The 1/8 mile track at my gym.  It is an oval on the 2nd level, looking down onto the fitness floor in the center, and out the windows on the outside.  
My run went really well.  That is the second time in the past month or so that I have run on that track and both of them were great.  Certainly better than the treadmill!  And my form doesn't get screwed up like it does when I run on the 'mill.  I did a 10 minute warmup, then 5 x (2 minutes fast, 2 minute recovery jog), then a 10 minute cooldown.  I didn't look up a pace goal for these intervals, and didn't look at my pace on my watch and all during the workout, but I ended up being pretty darn consistent! 

The first "fast" interval was at an 8:00 pace, and the other 4 were all 7:42 pace.  (Really there was probably a bit more fluctuation than that since my Garmin only logs distance to 0.01 mile accuracy and the intervals were pretty short, but I'll take it).  I was pretty happy with those paces  until I got home and looked at what my goals pace should be and apparently it's 7:25-7:30 for 400 meter intervals.  Boo.  Oh well.  On the other hand my recovery jogs were pretty quickly paced (nothing over 10:00 min/mile), so I bet I could have met the interval pace goals if I had recovered at a slower pace in between. 

My ONLY complaint about today's run was dealing with other runners.  Not in general; I know it's a gym and I don't own the track and there are going to be other people on it.  It was only the idiots that bothered me.  It was pretty crowded today and 90% of us were doing a great job of following the "rules" and making everyone's run more enjoyable....but there's always a few bad apples.  

One in particular was really grating on my nerves.  It was a girl who was running at a slow, steady jog, but staying in the fast lane.  I lapped her multiple times, each time having to pass her on the inside (which is the slower lane on this particular track), sometimes having to squeeze in the middle between her and another runner or walker as I passed.  Or pass a runner on the outside, then pass her on the inside, then pass another one on the outside, making me weave in and out like a crazy person.  If it was just once, or even just me, I could maybe forgive her.  But I watched multiple other runners have the same problem with her.  She had her headphones in and was oblivious to anything going on around her, it seemed.  She didn't move from her pace or her spot on the track no matter what.  AAARGH. 

This has motivated me to provide you with....

Ty's Track Etiquette Tips
(These rules only apply to small indoor tracks, not "real" tracks with multiple lanes to work with.  Those are their own beast with their own laws, to which I am not privy, as a lowly recreational runner. )
  1. Pay attention.  I'm a big fan of headphone freedom, but leave one ear out or keep the volume low enough that you can hear footsteps or voices around you.  
  2. Keep the fast lane clear!!  This could be the inside lane or the outside lane, depending on the track you're on.  This means there should be room for someone to pass you at all times, on the "fast side" (outside, in the case of my track).  If it's not crowded, I hang out on the inside edge of the fast lane, so there is still plenty of room for a faster runner to go around me on the right/outside.  When it's crowded, as it was today, I move further to the left/inside and only move right/out when I'm actively passing.  That way, when I'm not passing, there is room for multiple runners to pass me at the same time (not that I get passed THAT much!).  Similarly, when I do pass, I pass close, so there is still room for someone else to pass me and my passee at the same time.  
  3. Check your mirrors.  Throw a quick glance over your shoulder before you change lanes to pass, or slow your pace abruptly.  There might already be someone there trying to pass you, or running close behind you.  We want to avoid a scene like the one to the right, right? 
  4. Love your buddy.  I get that the track is boring and you want to chat with your friend at your side while you walk.  I'm cool with that, but you two better snuggle up and stay tight so I can get the f**k around you! 
  5. Be a crowd follower.  If you're the odd man out getting passed from the inside while everyone else is getting passed from the outside, causing the passers to weave in and out and squeeze between people.... take a hint.  Please.  I'm talking to you, tall chick with the gray headband!! 
We need a sign like this!  (Although at my track it would be the opposite).  
That is all.  Thanks and enjoy your time on the track.  

Oh, and this was today's run's MVS (Most Valuable Song): 

Awolnation - "Guilty Filthy Soul".  
I love this band so hard.  Except "Sail", which I hate, and which is their "hit single".  Ugh.  Other than that, the entire "Megalithic Symphony" album is pretty phenomenal.  


  1. you mean you didn't throw an elbow? come on.
    And you mean you didn't go to the SE MI runner meet up (or whatever it is called?)

  2. I can definitely relate to your indoor track annoyances. The gym I go to now doesn't have one, but my old one did and people drove me CRAZY. That track even had 4 lanes and it still wasn't enough to deal with the people who just didn't get it. People would walk in the fastest lane, go several wide, even go the wrong direction. They posted signs in multiple places about which direction people should go each day and which lanes were for walking and running, and I was shocked by how many people at a university gym who apparently couldn't read. It's so frustrating but it can be really nice to have that alternative to the treadmill.

  3. #1. That is a fancy gym.
    #2. I have been running a lot at the 1/8 mile indoor track by my house, but in the middle are three basketball courts (this is Indiana afterall!), so it is probably slightly less boring than watching people on workout machines.
    #3. The only plausible reason I could think of that a person could run slowly on the fast lane is that she was going for a certain distance. I run on the middle lane and it is a shorter distance than the outside lane (or I am running my fastest times nearly every time! ha.). 8 laps = a mile...on the outside aka "fast" lane? I haven't figured that one out yet, but I have my suspicions.
    #4. I usually think that my track is so great because kids under 11 are not allowed and they have to be 13 to run without a parent. But then last night there were at least 6 different kids ranging from ages 3-10 on there. That was annoying! (the 3 year old was w/a parent...and the 6 year olds MAY have blown right by me, but whatevs...).


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