Wednesday Track Workouts

Welcome to the DCRRC Wednesday Night Track Workouts. In conjunction with our year-round distance-specific training programs, and our regular Saturday Long Runs, these workouts aim to give runners of all abilities the fitness to reach their goals. For the novice or casual runner, these workouts will challenge you to a higher level of running fitness. For the competitive runner, track workouts are an essential means to reaching personal bests and to succeed at whatever level you are competing.

Where & When

Unless otherwise noted, workouts are held on the track at Washington-Liberty (formerly Washington-Lee) High School in Arlington. We meet near the concession stand (northwest corner) at 7:10pm and start the workout at 7:15pm. Warmups, drills, etc. are on your own.


Our workouts focus on two of the three forms of speed work used by distance runners from the 5K to the Marathon: Stamina Training (10K race pace or slower) and Interval Training (around 5K race pace). We also do a limited amount of Speed Training (faster than 5K race pace) especially during the summer.

Do not worry if this is new to you, and especially if you feel that track workouts are for "fast" runners. Our posted workouts are suggested "maximums," and can be individually tailored to your current level of fitness and specific running goals. Our coach, Ed Grant, has been leading these workouts for 20 years, and is happy to customize a workout plan to meet your needs.


To get a sense of how fast you should run during these workouts, we encourage you use the McMillan Running Calculator. You can plug in a recent race time and a goal race time, and the Calculator will churn out Training Paces (click on that term) for everything from long runs to speed paces. We recommend applying Mark Hadley's temperature + dew point adjustments in warm and humid weather. Temperature and dew point forecasts are available from the National Weather Service.

Winter 2008-2009 Workouts


We will have use of the track on Wednesday April 8 and April 29. May looks good all weeks, so this is a temporary interruption. On April 1, 15, and 22, we will do trail workouts. Details are posted on the main page of the Website, and are listed below for April 1, 8 and 15.

We will start sending people out around 7:05 or 7:10, so please get to the track by 7:00 if you can.



Welcome to Winter Running!

This winter, our Wednesday Night program is expanding, due to the influx of participants in the Reebok Official Training Program for the SunTrust National Marathon and Half-Marathon. In most weeks, the workouts for the training group and the regular Wednesday night group will be the same. I will make adjustments as the season progresses, and obviously if the weather dictates. If it is so cold that a simple 20-minute tempo run and then a dash to the car is all we can handle, that it what we will do.

Workouts for the training program will start at 7:00. Those in the full or half-marathon training programs should be warmed up, stretched, and ready to go at 7:00.

Workouts for the "regular" Wednesday night group will start at 7:15. This should reduce congestion on the track between the two groups. But, if congestion problems remain, we will move back the training group start time to 6:45.

Please remember the Lane One Rule at all times -- run your "fast" repeats in Lane One, hugging as close to the inside line as possible. Do not run side-by-side. Leave Lane Two clear for passing at all times. Jog your recoveries in the outer lanes, or inside the track on rhe grass/turf.

The following workouts are designed for both the marathon and half-marathon. Most of the work during December and January will be done at three paces: Tempo Run Pace (TRP), Tempo Interval Pace (TIP), and Cruise Interval Pace (CIP). (These terms can be found on the McMillan Running Calculator©, accessible from this page.)

For Wednesday night regulars, TRP and TIP are 10-Mile race pace -- but as you can see from the McMillan calculator, TIP (used on shorter tempo intervals) is a bit faster than TRP (used on steady interval runs of 15 minutes or more). Cruise Interval pace approximates your pace for a 10K. For the regular Wednesday night group, weather permitting, we will throw in a couple of Interval or 5K pace workouts -- in February and March.

Many ask whether they should base their speed on their past times, or the times they are shooting for. As long as your goal pace is realistic, it’s fine to train at that pace. But be careful about over-doing things, and it is a good idea to start at the slower end of the pace ranges found in the McMillan Calculator©.

Some hints, particularly for those in the training programs: Workouts can be customized, but preferably, such “customization” should take place by varying paces. This should be done in consultation with one of the coaches. For examples, some might wish to do some faster speed (“Interval Pace”) work later in the program. This can be accommodated.

The schedule here is not set in stone, either for individuals, or for the group. Individual coaching means just that. These will be the basic workouts for the group; we will adjust as the needs of the group and weather conditions warrant. In addition, you should consult with your coaches regarding questions on the number of repeats or intensity that you should be dong.

Finally, for those who cannot make the workouts: These workouts can be done on a treadmill, or on a measured trail (preferably flat). If that is not available to you, a good all-purpose workout is Hill Repeats. Try a half-dozen repeats up a moderately steep hill of 150M to 200M in length. Run the hills up comfortably hard – not all-out. Jog down the hill for your recovery.

Everyone should begin the workouts with a warm-up jog of at least 1 mile, preferably 2 miles. Warm down should be at least 1 mile of jogging, plus some stretching.

Now, the workouts:


Tempo Run Race = TRP = 10-Mile to Half-Marathon race pace.

Tempo Interval Pace = TIP = 10-Mile race pace or slighty faster.

Cruise Interval Pace = CIP = 10K race pace.

Distance & Suggested
# of Repeats
Pace --McMillan Running Calculator
Will Help Choose Your Pace
Rest Interval
3 x 1600M TIP400M jog
10-Dec10 x 400MCIP100M jog
Christmas Relays: 2 person teamsAlternating 400M - 10 x 400M for each team memberYour teammate's turn!
24-Dec.On your own. 20-Minute run TRPWarm up and warm down 15-minutes each.
Hill Repeats or DCRRC New Years' Day 5K Race (1/1/09)Choose hill about 150M to 200M in length. 6 repeats. Downhill jog to recover.
7 Jan
4 x 1600MTIP400M jog
14 Jan.
14 x 400MCIP100M jog
21 Jan.
5 x 1000M TIP200M jog
28 Jan.
4 x 1600MTIP200M jog.
4 Feb.
2 x 15:00 TRP2:00 jog.
11 Feb.
16 x 400M CIP100M jog.
18 Feb.
5 x 1000M CIP400M jog
25 Feb.
1 x 20:00; 1 x 15:00TRP2:00 jog
4 Mar.
8-10 X 800MCIP400M jog
11 Mar.
3-4 x 1600M CIP 400M jog
18 Mar

Training Program: Race Prep


5 x 1000M

Interval Pace (5K)600M jog
25 Mar
18-20 x 400M CIP100M
1 April Trail: Milr Repeats CIP -10K As measured.
8 April 5 x 1000M Interval Pace SLOW 400M
15 April Trail -- Fartlek

See you at the track!

Coach Ed


Speed Training FAQs

Q: How much do I have to be running to join these workouts?

A: Generally, 25 miles per week or the equivalent in running and cross-training is a good prerequisite. In addition, you should be doing a long run of at least 1-hour on the weekends. If you do not yet meet these criteria, please join us anyway. You can jog on the track, and talk to the coach about ideas to begin working speed into your training program.

Q: What is the first, best, and most natural form of speedwork?

A: The answer is easy: Hills. It is not difficult to include hills in your regular training runs. Just running them at the same pace as you run on the flats is a type of speed workout. You can also do ?hill repeats? ? running fast up, then jog slow down, a hill of decent slope and about 150m to 200M in length.

Q: How fast should I be running these workouts?

A: For most people, perhaps surprisingly, the answer is ?slower than you are now!? Over-training is a far more common inhibitor of peak performance than under-training. Fortunately, the internet offers various tools to help you find, and stick to, the right pace. My favorite is at Click on the ?McMillan Running Calculator,? plug in a couple of your recent and best times and, voila, you will be provided a range of recommended paces for everything from your slow recovery runs to your fastest speed work. The calculator does not show the amount of reps or the prescribed rest period ? that, you learn at the workouts themselves. (The McMillan webpage does offer a detailed description of various types of workouts and the physiological theories behind them).

Q: What is my most important workout of the week?

A: Most weeks, it will be your long run. Nothing can replace the long run as the developer of the capacities necessary to succeed in long-distance racing, which includes everything from 5K on up. A close second ? assuming you have done your long run ? is the day or days you either rest entirely, or run or cross-train at a true recovery pace. The long run does and should take a lot of you. Respect that, and come rested to Wednesday nights in order to get the maximum benefit, and not over-train.

Q: Describe the various forms of ?speed? workouts, please?

A: Briefly:

Steady-State or Marathon Pace Runs: Continuous runs, starting at 25 minutes and building out to over an hour, that are an essential part of any marathon training program. These give you training at your specific race pace, and allow sustained hard effort under controlled circumstances. Can be run on any kind of course.

Tempo Runs: A continuous run of 20-25 minutes, run at or near your race pace for 10-Miles on a flat, fast course. Should be done under more controlled conditions, flat or gradual sloping surface and precisely measured. Can be extended to 40 minutes, but at over 25 minutes, should include at least one short break of 90 seconds jogging.

Tempo or Cruise Intervals: Technically, two different types of workouts, but with same objective. Tempo Intervals involve longer repetitions, at least 2000M, and done at Tempo Pace or slightly faster. Cruise Intervals involve repetitions between 400M and 2000M, done at about 10K. Both involve short rest periods, just to give you a bit of a breather before starting again. Sessions involve at least 5K of fast running, and as much as 10K to 12K for the truly fit and experienced.

Interval Training: Once you have developed your ?stamina? through long runs, tempo runs, and tempo/cruise intervals, ?interval training? is where you sharpen your speed and start really beginning to learn how to run faster. These are done at 3K to 5K pace. A session should not involve more than 4K to 5K of fast running.

Q: Wow, that's complicated. What do I really need to do to as a start?

A: Hills and Tempo Runs/Intervals. If you were not able to come to the track at all, but included in your weekly workouts a long run of 90 minutes or more, one session of hard hills, and one 20-minute tempo run, you would see significant improvement in your fitness and performance. CAUTION: Build up to this gradually. Lengthen your long run in stages, then add in hills, and then add in the tempo run. This process should take 3-4 months if you are a casual runner who has decided to ?get serious.?

Q: Can you give me the bottom line here?

A: First, gradually build up a stamina base , using your weekly long run as a foundation, adding no more than 10 percent each week (measured by miles or by time). Second, schedule rest and recovery each week, and also each month ? take an easier week. Third, when you start the hard workouts, figure out what seems ?comfortably hard,? and then dia l your speed back a notch . Be disciplined and stay at that pace. Fourth, join us for our SLR and Wednesday Track Workouts ? you will develop a ?feel? for all this with the help of other friendly runners.


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Directions to Track

Track workouts are held on the track at Washington-Liberty (formerly Washington-Lee) High School.

From Washington DC: take I-66 east to the Glebe Road exit, turn right on Glebe, right on 15th Street for about 0.4 miles, to Stafford Street, turn right and cross over I-66 and the school is on your left.
From Vienna and points west in Virginia: take I-66 east to the Fairfax Drive exit, follow Fairfax Drive for about 0.8 mile to Stafford Street, turn left for about 0.3 miles and the school is on your right.
From Alexandria: take Glebe Road going north until turning right on 15th Street, and proceed as from DC.
Metro: Washington-Liberty is a short walk from both the Virginia Square and Ballston Metro stations (Orange/Silver lines).

 DCRRlogotypeRRCA member

The DC Road Runners Club is a member of the Road Runners Club of America and is also affiliated with USA Track & Field. We provide a year-round schedule of running events that offer everyone a chance to participate regardless of age, gender, or athletic ability.