Unless you’ve spent a little of time ~ above the track you can finding it to be a very intimidating place. And confusing. Really confusing.

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I mean do friend honestly recognize all those clues everywhere? Seemingly inserted in random fashion. Together if they room a international language.

Let’s start With A Quiz

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

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

So how’d you fair? Think probably you have to keep reading? Great. Let’s perform some education.

Bonus Content

Author that this post, coach and also lover of the track Tony Pallotta share more in this unique video.

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How To measure up Distance

On a track it’s straightforward to be unsure the how much you ran. Specifically for those united state runners. I median do you measure in non-metric units prefer feet, miles, inches, etc? Or metric units favor centimeters, meters or kilometers? placed me in the former.

So concern 1 above, the prize is no since a mile is actually 1609M. 4 laps the the monitor is 9 meter shorts. No a substantial number. However if you’re doing a tempo operation on the track then it does include up.

To measure distance on a track you need to start backwards. Whatever works from the complete line. Uncover the finish, then walk “back” to uncover the start.

In the situation of the mile, you very first find the finish, then learning you space running 9M “longer” than 4 laps you have to go behind the finish line and you’ll view a line throughout all lanes, describe the start of the mile.

It’s from over there you operation 9M come the “finish” then 4 an ext laps and voila. You simply ran an moral mile.

What about question 3? A metric mile is 1500M (though difficult core track athletes might argue otherwise). Therefore in that instance you need to move “ahead” of the complete line by exactly how much? Yes, 100 meters. Therefore you space running “100 meters short” that 4 laps or 1600M.

Not all Lanes room Equal

For those non-science people there’s one more phenomenon. Running exterior of lane one means running further. It’s why in a gyeongju you may see twenty plus civilization all trying to cram right into lane one.

No, they are not trying come bond. Nor unaware there are 6 or seven an ext perfectly great lanes wide open. Quite they space trying to run the gyeongju distance. No longer.

So exactly how much longer is each lap? Here’s a graphic to show.


Ever wonder why you space so much slower on the track 보다 the roads? ns bet it’s due to the fact that you’re running outside of roadway 1. In other words friend are likely running the same pace, maybe even faster. You’re simply running further but assuming less.


Which brings united state to our following vitally crucial topic. Etiquette. Correctly there room rules on a track. Unwritten and often the source of confrontation. Usually just words exchanged.

So we know the importance of roadway one. Everyone need to in lane one. Yet only in ~ the respect that others.

Walking in roadway one is well if nobody else is top top the track. Or if others room on the track only while nobody is near you. Or if you space a slower runner, then you have to either continue to be out of lane one when busy or be conscious of others if no busy.

Why? because it’s simple to obtain hurt on the track. Basic to run right into a slower runner. Despite it might sound inflated, to trust me it’s not. I’ve run into human being before. And also been run into.

The bottom line is you have to respect lane one. If who is coming up on you, running faster, then relocate to a lane external of where they are. For this reason if you are in lane 1, and also a runner is coming up on you, relocate to lane 3 or 4. Give them the opportunity to safely happen (on your left side) and then you deserve to move back in.

What room All Those Marks

Those marks room not random. There’s a technique to your madness.

So a monitor is 400M approximately for one lap. A 200M gyeongju then would begin exactly half way around. A 600M gyeongju would begin in the same place right? Yes. You’d operation 200M come the “finish” then an additional 400M, one lap, and the gyeongju is over.

An 800M race, fifty percent a mile (minus the 4.5 M if you have been playing follow me at home) starts in ~ the “finish” and also runs 2 laps come completion.

Those are somewhat easy. However what around the turns? What shows up to have actually been a group of youngsters experimenting v spray repaint on a Friday evening is anything but. There too, a strategy is in ~ hand.

Those markings space for relays. Psychic the 4 by 100M relay in the Olympics or various other televised monitor meets? every member the the relay works in a “zone.” within this ar the baton can be touched by two world simultaneously.

The human being passing the baton come the human receiving it. Exterior of the zone only one can be touching. Failure to pass within the ar properly means you space disqualified.

So unless you racing the “4 by 1” it’s for sure to say, the vast majority of us have the right to forget around those marks.

What carry out I Wear


Aside indigenous “running clothes” clearly stated, let’s speak footwear. Deserve to you wear road shoes ~ above the track? for sure. And also many do.

Other options are one of two people flats (lightweight roadway shoes essentially) or “spikes.” Flats are typically best worn only for the workout. So perform your “warm up and also cool down” in your roadway shoes. Convert to her flats just for the workout.

The very same is true through spikes. I m sorry are basically as minimalist as girlfriend can obtain with steel spikes screwed in. Yet here’s the important note. Because tracks space not cheap come install. An interpretation the athletic director, coach, and so on wants come make sure it’s effectively used.

You need to wear the best size spike. For instance if the monitor only allows 1/8th customs spikes and also you stay 1/4 customs then girlfriend are most likely damaging the track. And also it’s no a issue of “getting caught.”

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

For more on footwear, please read exactly how To decision If racing Flats room For You.

How about A Race

So as well as doing workouts, don’t shy far from a track race. Sure it’s intimidating. However only until you listen the gun fire. After that it’s yes, really awesome.

And you’ll realize track athletes space as inviting as road runners. Granted a little more attitude purely since of the intensity of the race. Yet the same, good, down to earth civilization on the road. After all they also run the roads.

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

An honor mechanism if girlfriend will. Wherein you calculation your finish time and also “heats” or races space selected based on similar times. So don’t lie.

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

There’s also races because that seniors. In truth you’ll often find a many seniors gyeongju the track.

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