The workouts in the Pre-Season should be primarily base building workouts that will give the athlete the strength, stamina and confidence to complete the more intense and skill specific work that will be the primary focus during the racing season. Longer, slower intervals are appropriate at this phase. Longer and slower than the peak speed work which will follow in the next phase, for a 100 meter runner perhaps this include sets of 200 meter repeats at 60-70% speed. A 400 meter runner might do 300 meter repeats at 60-70% and a few sets of 600 meter repeats at 50-60%. The volume and speed of these workouts will vary from event to individual. The aim at this phase is strength, conditioning and physical preparation to build upon. Track & Field is a tough sport. The athletes suffer muscle strains, aches and overuse injuries, all largely due to volumes and intensity that the body is unable to handle.
Strength training should be a part of a year round training program but in the pre-season the greatest strength gains can be made. This is because much of the racing season's focus should be on the specific track workouts and necessary skills (ie: starts, form etc). The athlete gets stronger in the pre-season and focuses on maintaining strength during the season. Circuit training is widely used due to the efficiency of time it offers. This also offers the distinct advantage of keeping the Heart Rate elevated while strength training, this offers a double bonus of building strength and possibly improving the athletes Cardiovascular system.