If you ever want to test yourself in a time trial or run some repeats on your local track, these are some things that are good to know.
How long is your track?
First of all you need to know how long the track is. Almost all somewhat new outdoor tracks are 400m. Some tracks are just a few meters longer, a quarter mile, and some might be shorter due to lack of space when building the track.
This article is mainly about 400m tracks. An easy way to confirm that your track is 400m is to make sure that the start line marked 400m on lane 1 is at the finish line.
You can also search for your track on our search page
and see if a non standard length is set.
In races up to 400m each runner get a separate lane to stay in for the entire race. In some races, like the 800m and 4x400m relay you also get divided into lanes at the start. The difference being that you can cut in to lane 1 after 1 and 3 curves respectively. In longer races, like the 5k and 10k the field can get divided onto two bent starting lines. One starting at lane 1 and the other on lane 3 or 4. The outer runners can cut in after passing a green line after the first curve.
The fact that runners starting in outer lanes in an 800m has to cover some extra distance to get to lane one is compensated by the start lines being moved forward. That would make a 200m repeat starting from one of those lines and finishing parallel to the 200m start on lane 1 a little too short.
How many laps for each distance?
There should be markings on the track for all often run distances. They normally have the distance written beside them.
200m is 1/2 a lap
300m is 3/4 laps
1000m is 2 and 1/2 laps
1500m is 3 and 3/4 laps
3000m is 7 and 1/2 laps
5000m is 12 and 1/2 laps
10000m is 25 laps
The mile is 4 laps and about 9 meters. Depending on the steeple water pit position, markers for 2000m steeple can be close to this line.
Try our track calculator
if you need help with calculating splits.
If you want to run short intervals you might be able to get some help from the small green markings that show where the hurdles for the 400m hurdles should be placed. The first hurdle is placed 45m after the start and later hurdles are placed 35m after the previous one. That makes the hurdle markings start lines for 355m, 320m, 285m, 250m, 215m, 180m, 145m, 110m, 75m and 40m.
The blue and yellow lines with little hooks on them declare where exchange zones for the relays begin and end.
On the finishing straight there are lots of small yellow and blue markings for the 100m and 110m hurdles.