Silly Team Games

There comes an odd point in the endurance running season, at least in Manchester anyway, where the track season and most of the serious road running series are finished yet it feels a long time before cross-country season starts (don’t worry its not that long!) So before we get in to cross-country training there is an opportunity to do some workouts which aren’t too serious and are just fun (albeit arguably type 2 fun).

Team Pursuit Relay

This is a group race inspired by cycling team pursuits, however, with minimal draft effect when running we’re going to do it a little differently…

Split into two teams (team one and team two) then either:

200m variant: Split each team into two (group A and group B) and put half of each team at the end of each straight so that at the end of one straight is team one group A and team two group B – with everyone else at the end of the other straight. Race starts with an A from team one and an A from team two starting, i.e., opposite sides of the track. When the first person (from group A) reaches group B then someone from group B carries on, i.e., a relay.

Starting positions for 200m variant. Image of running track with A1 and B2 at the start line and A2 and B2 at the 200m finish.

800m variant: One team starts at the end of one straight and the other team starts at the end of the other straight. Race starts with one person from each team setting off to do two laps and then the next person from each team continuing for the next lap when the first person has got back to their own team, i.e. a relay.

Starting positions for800m variant. Line art of a running track. A1 and A2 at the Start line B1 and B2 at the 200m finish line.

In both variants the aim is to try and win by catching up with the person from the opposing team. The race could be shortened by counting a victory as having caught up far enough to be on the same straight or curve as the runner in front.

Two images of a running track. Top one "B1 has won by being on the same straight as A1", with  A1 ahead of B1 but both on the far straight. Second image "B1 has won for team B by being on the same curve as A1", with A1 ahead of B1 on the final curve of the track.

Team sizes and training impact:

200m variant with 2 people in each team (i.e. groups of 1) will give a ‘tabata’ style workout. Suitable for four people.

200m variant with 4 people in each team (i.e. groups of 2) will give a neuromuscular/anaerobic workout. Suitable for eight people.

With five to seven people you can have 3 in one or more of the teams and that team will get something between the two types of workout.

800m variant with 2 people in each team will give a VO2 Max workout. Suitable for four people.

The 800m variant could be done with three teams – the winning team would be the one that caught another runner to join them on the same straight or curve, 3rd place would be being caught and second place would be the remaining team. Suitable for six people.

If sharing a track with other coaches then this can only sensibly be done with exclusive use of lane 1.

Team board game

This can be done with any board game of your choice, however, I suggest the game needs to be weatherproof and simple to play. Chess, whilst weatherproof, may be a step too far in terms of complexity and ‘snap’ whilst simple may become problematic if your cards get blown away or dissolve in the rain. I suggest ‘Connect 4’ is probably a solid choice.

This can be done around any fixed course with any team size – but when setting this up you will need to bear in mind that your work:rest interval will be determined by the number of people in each team i.e. teams of 2 will be 1:1 work:rest teams of 3 will be 1:2 work:rest etc. and the size of course you choose will determine the work period.

The concept is simple; split your group into two teams for each game you have available, set off the first runner of each team around the course,

BRUTAL VARIANT: when the first runner from each team completes the course the second runner from their team leaves, but the first runner back from each competing pair gets to make a move on the game. This means once one team takes the lead it is possible that that team will then get to keep taking turns and win without the other team getting a turn!

Fairer but longer variant: when the first runner from either team completes the course they are allowed to take a turn in the game, but neither teams’ next runner is allowed to leave until the turn in the game has been played by the winner of the first race.

The winning team is the one that wins the game.


Set up some stations by the start finish with signs on what activity to do at each station e.g.

Lunges, Jump Lunges, Ball Slams, Burpees, Press-Ups, Plank, A-March/Skip, B-March/Skip etc.

Start the group on a lap; each runner to get back chooses an empty station, if all the stations are full then the next return runner chooses a station with only one person on it (ideally you want enough stations that there should only ever be two people on each station)

Once the last runner finishes the ‘race’ starts again (the last runner gets two laps back to back but then has a head start on the next lap and, if they are clever, has taken the last part of the ‘race’ easy in order to leave everyone else doing plyometric exercises while they have an easy jog)…

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