Late last year, Zach Bitter broke the US 100 mile record in 11:28:03. On a 400m track. That’s 402 laps of a 400m track in a little under 11 1/2 hours!. (For those who want to know, that’s four 3:03 marathons back to back!). I can’t think of anything more mind-numbing!
Beginners often stay clear of athletics tracks – they think they are not good enough, fast enough or not welcome. That’s not at all true! Most times, everyone is welcome (unless the club are doing event meets). Follow a few basic rules, and you’ll find a the track a safe and convenient place to train. I highly recommend that you get onto the track once a week or once every fortnight in your training. My trackwork is done weekdays around 6-8am – but I’ve also taken J there after school, and there have been open lanes. I’ve shared the track with walkers, joggers, sprinters and a few AFL umpires (seriously!).
Etiquitte: There are a few rules that apply at most places
- Run anti-clockwise.
- The inside lanes are for faster runners, so unless you are alone or are fast, I suggest lanes 4-6 … It’s still 400m, and the surface is softer!
- If someone is in your lane, pass on the right.
- Acknowledge others on the track (don’t be a grump!)
- Have fun
Training: The same rules apply to track running, that apply at any other training session.
- Warm up well – both active and static warm up. Drills* are a great bridge between the warm up and hard running. Warming up is also a good opportunity to observe what else is happening on the track. Most people warm up on the outside lane.
- Try to keep your pace even. Example: If you run 6x400m, try to run so the last one is the same speed as the first one. This means holding back on the first couple (when you feel great), so you have energy to run well on the last few.
- Use your recovery time to recover! Walk or lightly jog between your 10x200m reps.
- Cool down properly! I always suggest a light 2km jog at the end of a track session – on the track or on the paths around the park (if its safe). DON’T get straight into the car to drive home – you’ll probably cramp up!
* Watch out for the coming tip on Drills
Training Tip #4: Use the track!