Track workouts for triathletes

Track Workouts for Triathletes

Track workouts are essential training for runners and triathletes of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner aiming to complete your first 5K or an experienced triathlete chasing a personal best, incorporating track sessions into your training routine can bring numerous benefits. Track workouts can help improve speed, endurance, form, and overall performance.

Speed Development

One of the primary benefits of track workouts is their ability to enhance speed. Track sessions allow runners to focus on running at faster paces than they typically maintain during long-distance runs. By incorporating intervals, tempo runs, and sprints into their training, runners can develop a quicker leg turnover and increase their top-end speed. 

Endurance and Stamina

While track workouts are often associated with speed, they also improve endurance and stamina. Longer intervals and tempo runs performed on the track help runners develop the ability to sustain a faster pace over extended periods. These workouts challenge the cardiovascular system and the muscles, gradually increasing the body’s capacity to deliver oxygen and remove waste products efficiently.

Form and Running Mechanics

Track workouts provide an ideal environment to work on form and running mechanics. The flat and predictable surface of the track allows for focused attention on proper posture, stride length, foot strike, and arm movement. This concentrated form of work is more challenging on uneven or unpredictable surfaces.

Mental Toughness and Discipline

Track workouts are physically demanding and require mental toughness and discipline to complete. The repetitive nature of track training, combined with the mental challenge of pushing oneself to the limit, helps build mental resilience and grit.

Three Great Track Workouts

The following workouts and adjust the pace and number of intervals based on your goal race and current fitness level. Personalizing these workouts will ensure they are challenging yet achievable for your needs.

Mixed Intervals

Warm-up: 15 min

  • 3x400m at 15 seconds faster than 5K pace with 2 min rest
  • 1,000m at 10 seconds faster than 5K pace with 2 min rest
  • 4x200m sprints with 1 min rest

Cool-down: 10 min

Build on this: Once you have mastered this workout after 2-3 weeks, you can increase the distance based on your goal race. For half-Ironman or Ironman preparation, add one to two 1,000-meter intervals at the same pace. For shorter distance training, add two to four 200-meter sprints at the end of the workout.

Yasso 800s

Warm-up: 15 min

  • Take your marathon goal time and convert the hours and minutes to minutes and seconds. For instance, if your goal is 3:45, your 800m pace is 3 min and 45 sec.
  • Begin with four 800m intervals with equal jogging rest in between each.

Cool-down: 10 min

Build on this: Each week, add 1-2 additional 800-meter intervals at the same pace until you reach 10 repetitions. If you want to increase your weekly mileage, extend your warm-up and cool-down to 20-25 minutes.


Warm-up: 15 min

  • At 5K race pace, run 400m, 800m, 1,200m, 800m, 400m. Give yourself 2–3 min rest in between each interval.

Cool-down: 10 min

Build on this: After 2-3 weeks of this session, you can add more distance and/or intensity. For longer race preparation, top out at a 1,600-meter interval, meaning you will run 400-800-1,200-1,600-1,200-800-400. If you are focused on speed, consider increasing your base pace. Reduce your 5K race pace by 10-15 seconds and adjust each interval accordingly.

See You on the Track!

Track workouts play a vital role in the training of runners and triathletes. By focusing on running efficiency, speed, anaerobic capacity, mental strength, and simulating race conditions, triathletes can enhance their overall performance. These workouts offer the opportunity for precise measurement, improvement of running mechanics, and the development of mental toughness—all of which contribute to a successful triathlon race.

Integrating regular track sessions into a triathlon training program can lead to faster running times, improved endurance, and a competitive edge on race day.

Remember to consult with a coach or experienced runner to develop a training plan that suits your goals and abilities. Embrace the benefits of track workouts and enjoy the rewards they bring to your running journey.

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