Reverse psychology at the indoor track

Chris running Intervals 2I joined a training partner yesterday for an indoor track workout. He was doing 4 X 1M and I had time to get in a couple intervals with him and we had fun, doing both at 7:00 pace.

But it was “clockwise” day at the Vaughn Center, so instead of making left-hand turns during the eight laps per mile, we swung right.

That used to feel so weird to me. Running backward on the track felt unholy, like breaking some ancient law put in place by the Elders. But indoor track facilities often encourage people to alternate directions every other day. Perhaps this is to prevent overuse injuries? Or just to mix it up.

We cruised along at our prescribed pace. My training partner had murdered his legs the day before with a bike trainer workout. But he led us through every lap. I used skills long earned through indoor racing, tucking onto his left shoulder and let the running happen from the hips.

I tried not to breathe so loud that it was a distraction to him. But we found our rhythm and it was fun running at a better clip that I typically accomplish day to day. In fact, I was surprised how good it felt to dial it up.

So good, in fact, that I almost regretted having to leave for a morning appointment before I could run one more interval. Later that day, I realized the dose of speed was just enough. My legs were a little tight from the speed and perhaps from the reverse direction of the turns. All those years of running on tracks while turning left have had effects on my body, I’m sure of it.

Which isn’t necessarily a good thing. My left hip is the one that gets tight on long runs. Overuse? And when the massage therapist works on my legs, she cranks on the left IT band and hamstrings. Yet she also notes that my right leg is no bargain when it comes to flexibility either. Perhaps she’s using reverse psychology on me? Trying to get me to loosen up any way she can…

It was a strange and pleasant sensation to run those couple miles backward yesterday. It gave me an appetite to do more trackwork. Rather glad that I didn’t overdo it this time as well. My previous indoor work was repeat 400s at 1:36-145. So the pace was similar and it was a good sign that my body could lace the top end of those intervals together into a well-paced mile. My goal is to race at sub-7:00 pace in my tris this year. I’ll do a 5K or 10K as a tuneup. That’s part of stitching it all together.

Doing interval training is thus a form of reverse psychology. In order to run a pace on race day it is vital to do intervals at a faster pace to make your goal pace seem slower by comparison. The formula is simple. If you’re planning to race 6:00 miles, do your intervals at a pace 30 seconds faster for your intervals.

And it works almost every time. Even when you’re running in the wrong direction on the track.

About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @genesisfix07 and blogs at, and Online portfolio:
This entry was posted in 400 meter intervals, 400 workouts, race pace, racing peak, track and field, training, triathlete, triathlon, triathlons and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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