Unless you’ve invested a bit of time on the track you have the right to finding the to it is in a very intimidating place. And confusing. An extremely confusing.

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I typical do friend honestly know all those point out everywhere? Seemingly put in random fashion. As if they space a international language.

Let’s begin With A Quiz

So let’s see just how well versed you space on the language that the track.

Question 1: If friend run 4 laps the a 400M track is the equal come a mile?Answer: NoQuestion 2: If you run four laps in lane 2 the a 400M track is the equal come a mile?Answer: NoQuestion 3: Is a “metric mile” 1600M?Answer: No

So how’d friend fair? Think possibly you should keep reading? Great. Let’s carry out some education.

Bonus Content

Author of this post, coach and lover that the monitor Tony Pallotta shares more in this distinct video.

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How To measure Distance

On a track it’s simple to be unsure of how far you ran. Particularly for those united state runners. I median do you measure in non-metric units like feet, miles, inches, etc? Or metric units prefer centimeters, meters or kilometers? put me in the former.

So concern 1 above, the price is no since a mile is in reality 1609M. 4 laps the the monitor is 9 meter shorts. No a large number. But if you’re doing a tempo run on the track climate it does include up.

To measure distance on a track you should start backwards. Everything works from the complete line. Find the finish, then go “back” to discover the start.

In the instance of the mile, you an initial find the finish, then understanding you space running 9M “longer” than 4 laps you have to go behind the finish line and you’ll check out a line throughout all lanes, indicating the start of the mile.

It’s from over there you run 9M to the “finish” climate 4 more laps and voila. You simply ran an honest mile.

What about question 3? A metric mile is 1500M (though difficult core track athletes might argue otherwise). Therefore in that case you require to move “ahead” the the finish line by just how much? Yes, 100 meters. So you are running “100 meters short” that 4 laps or 1600M.

Not all Lanes room Equal

For those non-science people there’s an additional phenomenon. Running outside of roadway one method running further. It’s why in a race you may see twenty plus people all trying come cram into lane one.

No, they room not trying to bond. Nor unaware there are 6 or seven much more perfectly an excellent lanes wide open. Quite they are trying to operation the race distance. No longer.

So exactly how much longer is every lap? Here’s a graphic come show.


Ever wonder why you room so much slower ~ above the track than the roads? ns bet it’s due to the fact that you’re running external of roadway 1. In various other words you are likely running the very same pace, maybe even faster. You’re simply running further however assuming less.


Which brings us to our next vitally necessary topic. Etiquette. Correctly there space rules on a track. Unwritten and also often the source of confrontation. Usually just words exchanged.

So we know the importance of lane one. Everyone should in roadway one. Yet only at the respect the others.

Walking in lane one is good if nobody else is top top the track. Or if others space on the track just while nobody is near you. Or if you room a slow runner, climate you should either stay out of lane one when busy or be conscious of others if no busy.

Why? since it’s simple to obtain hurt top top the track. Easy to run right into a slower runner. Despite it might sound inflated, trust me it’s not. I’ve run into world before. And also been run into.

The bottom heat is you should respect lane one. If who is comes up top top you, to run faster, then move to a lane external of whereby they are. So if you space in roadway 1, and also a jogger is coming up on you, relocate to roadway 3 or 4. Give them the possibility to safely pass (on your left side) and also then you deserve to move ago in.

What are All Those Marks

Those marks are not random. There’s a method to their madness.

So a track is 400M roughly for one lap. A 200M race then would start exactly fifty percent way around. A 600M gyeongju would begin in the same ar right? Yes. You’d run 200M come the “finish” then an additional 400M, one lap, and the gyeongju is over.

An 800M race, half a mile (minus the 4.5 M if you have been playing along at home) starts in ~ the “finish” and also runs two laps to completion.

Those are rather easy. But what about the turns? What shows up to have been a group of kids experimenting with spray repaint on a Friday night is something but. Over there too, a strategy is in ~ hand.

Those markings space for relays. Psychic the 4 by 100M relay in the Olympics or other televised track meets? every member the the relay functions in a “zone.” within this zone the baton have the right to be touched by two civilization simultaneously.

The human passing the baton come the human receiving it. External of the zone just one have the right to be touching. Failure to happen within the region properly way you are disqualified.

So uneven you racing the “4 by 1” it’s for sure to say, the vast bulk of us can forget around those marks.

What execute I Wear


Aside native “running clothes” clearly stated, let’s talk footwear. Have the right to you wear roadway shoes top top the track? because that sure. And many do.

Other alternatives are either flats (lightweight road shoes essentially) or “spikes.” Flats room typically finest worn only for the workout. So execute your “warm up and also cool down” in your road shoes. Convert to your flats only for the workout.

The exact same is true v spikes. I m sorry are basically as minimalist as friend can get with steel spikes screwed in. But here’s the necessary note. Because tracks are not cheap come install. Definition the athletic director, coach, and so on wants come make sure it’s effectively used.

You need to wear the right size spike. For example if the track only allows 1/8th inch spikes and you wear 1/4 customs then girlfriend are likely damaging the track. And also it’s no a matter of “getting caught.”

It’s an ext being respectful. And making sure the track is there because that you and everyone else for years to come.

For an ext on footwear, you re welcome read how To decision If gyeongju Flats are For You.

How about A Race

So as well as doing workouts, don’t shy away from a monitor race. Sure it’s intimidating. But only till you hear the total fire. After that it’s yes, really awesome.

And you’ll realize monitor athletes are as inviting as roadway runners. Granted a little an ext attitude purely because of the strongness of the race. However the same, good, under to earth human being on the road. After all they as well run the roads.

Many neighborhoods have open up track meets. Growing up in Boston it to be awesome to operation the Twilight series at Northeastern. In ~ 30 I remained in racing college and non-college runners. All based upon my “seed” time.

An honor device if you will. Where you estimate your end up time and also “heats” or races space selected based on similar times. So don’t lie.

I’d run my race or two. Then after the elites would certainly come in. Regularly those make the efforts to operation trial qualifiers in various distances. A who’s who of elites. It to be cool.

There’s also races because that seniors. In truth you’ll often discover a the majority of seniors racing the track.

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So reap a race. Take it in. And also though it’s intimidating get through those early nerves. And feel the joy of gyeongju the track.