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Hit the Fast Lane: The 5K Track Workout

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Fly through your next 5K -- or beyond -- with this secret-weapon track workout. "Training on a track can teach you how to finish a race faster," says Mike McGuire, the women's cross-country coach for the University of Michigan. On your mark...

Push the Pace

Rev stronger. To prime your body to push it, tack five to seven pickups on to your usual warm-up jog, steadily increasing speed for 50 meters (one-eighth of a lap) and recovering for one minute in between.

Clock in every 200 meters. Tracks are typically 400 meters (in lane one); keeping tabs at the halfway point will help you stay on pace. Got a watch timer? McGuire suggests presetting it to beep on your pace (every 200 or 400 meters, for example) so you'll know if you're behind or ahead without checking your wrist.

Change lanes. Pick lane one for your speedier segments, and move to the outside lane, which is about 50 meters longer, for the easier stretches. "Switching helps you mentally prep for varying paces," McGuire says. The wider outside turns are also easier on your joints.

Next:  The Plan


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