Pacing on an indoor track

I’m sure this question will sound a bit silly to most, but I still haven’t been on a track enough to have any savvy for it.

When outside and running over a larger footprint, my watch is pretty decent about providing an accurate appraisal of my current pace. Inside Barton, my watch behaves similar to how I would expect it to inside a microwave.

I’m curious how everyone else is going about judging their paces inside. Do you just have a good feel for where you should be intuitively? Are you using some other tech that is providing accurate pacing data?

I also consider attempting the mental gymnastics of trying to keep track of time differentials between common points on the track, but that relies on using the inside lane and also can get overwhelming when you are trying to focus on running. Even so, if the intervals are in the 200m or 400m range, then by the time you make a correction in your pace the interval is already over before getting a chance to hone in.

Any advise or tips would be greatly appreciated.

Track pacing is purely about experience. Run enough reps and you’ll know what a 42-second 200 should feel like. A GPS watch pace will be weak on any track because of the turns.

Generally speaking, there’s no need to adjust your pace within a 200m lap, so only a few people would look at their 100m split. On an outdoor track, it’s more common to look at your 200m split to make sure you’re not too far off your desired pace.

So if your workout calls for you to run a 3:00 800m, for instance, you’d just look at your watch every 200m and see if you’re on a 45-second pace. If not, you’d speed or slow down a little and then check again on the next lap.

And yes, if you care about your lap pace, you always assume the inside lane. You can calculate lap splits for other lanes, but it requires significant math. Back when Barton was an 8-lane track, it was well known that you could run 7 laps in lane 7 for a mile, so people sometimes worked with that.

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Before each workout, if I have time to prepare, I write down on my hand the expected pace for each lap so that I can easily remember. I then use my Garmin to get an accurate lap time at the end of each lap (or a friend in my pace group does this and calls it out). After a few laps of micro-adjusting after each lap, you’ll start to get a feeling for it. You’ll also know your friends’ styles, if you consistently run with certain people. One of my friends, call her “C,” tends to run faster when she gets tired, to get it over with. :wink:

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@adamengst @tonya-engst Thank you for taking the time on the in depth explanations. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a feel for it after a while. I struggle with sensing pace any time I am running anything much faster than 7:30/min and anything 6:30 and under I am completely without calibration.

Like anything it takes practice. Often it takes me a few repeats to get in the groove. If I’m on my own I’ll often do a couple 200s before the actual workout to gage how the pace will feel that day. I’d also suggest finding someone to pace off. Can’t say enough about having a good training partner.
And it’s ok if every interval is not at your prescribed target pace!

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One thing I like to do is just focus what my speed (i.e. number of seconds) should be per lap. I split my watch every lap so all I need to worry about is making sure that I’m on pace for the lap and not trying to remember what I should be running for a 200 vs 400 at r pace or a 800 vs 1000 vs 1200 at i pace or whatever. I do actually peek at the 100 relatively often - especially when switching gears from one pace to another.

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The Apple iWatch has an app that turns it into a haptic metronome to keep you on pace. There are also a variety of less expensive watches available on Amazon that do the same thing. Not sure how any of them will fit in if you want to kick it in during the last quarter!

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