Efficiency experts have long advised approaching big projects as a series of smaller tasks to make them more manageable. According to Bernard Abarquez, a run guide for Toronto’s Night Terrors Run Crew, that’s the same logic that makes running on a track a smarter strategy than setting off with a full five kilometre route planned. “It gives you smaller distances you can visualize,” he says. On a track, each lap is its own victory — and you can tackle a range of high-intensity and recovery intervals while easily monitoring progress. Not to mention that a rubber track delivers an ideal balance of soft and firm textures. “It eliminates having to account for potholes or inconsistencies, so you can just focus on your best possible technique,” explains Abarquez. Many high schools open their tracks up to the public throughout the summer, which means it’s the perfect time to lace up your shoes and hit your stride. We asked Abarquez to set us up with a beginner workout to kick things off.
2 laps at a level you can comfortably carry on conversation at
1 lap at 80 per cent of your max capability
3 minutes recovery
• Sprinting, with light jog back to your starting position after each one:
5 × 100 m
3 × 200 m
3 × 400 m
• Sprinting again:
3 × 200 m
5 × 100 m
* Time these. You should be able to complete your later laps faster than those on the earlier half of the ladder.
Start with dynamic stretches
Before your warm-up laps, dedicate a 10-metre portion of the track to performing lunges, high knees, and kick-back exercises that mimic the movements you’ll be doing while running.
Gauge your competition
“Even if another runner is not matching your pace, you can still measure your performance against them,” says Abarquez. “Say, ‘I’m going to lap them.’ It’s that extra motivation.”
Five running classics that Rocky put on repeat after he wore out “Eye of the Tiger.”
• “THE SEED (2.0)” — THE ROOTS
• “DANGER! HIGH VOLTAGE” — ELECTRIC SIX
• “STRONGER” — KANYE WEST
• “WOLF LIKE ME” — TV ON THE RADIO
• “ICKY THUMP” — THE WHITE STRIPES