Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Track (and a workout)

I feel like every time I read an article about sprint workouts, there are always people lamenting over how terrible the track is, how they dread going there, etc etc.  I never really understood why people hated the track - maybe it's because I didn't run track in high school, so before last week the last time I had run around a full size track was when we had to run the mile for gym class (which I dreaded every year).  I had some sprint workouts planned for the next few weeks, and even though I could have done them in my neighborhood I decided to go back to my high school and do the sprints on the track.  Maybe it was because I wanted to accurately measure how far I was sprinting.  Maybe it was because the track is the only place I could run in circles and not look odd (my neighbors would probably get weirded out if they saw me run around the block over and over and over).

Well, when I reached the track I realized how track illiterate I was.  There were so many lines and different starting and finishing points that I had no idea where to start and end.  During my first sprint workout, I ended up sprinting 25 and 50 m instead of 100 and 200 m sets.  The workout I did the other day was much easier to understand: jog the curves (running intervals) and sprint the straights (repeats).  3 sets of 4 laps each.  The one thing that I did remember from running the track in high school was that 4 laps around the track equals 1 mile.  Another reason why I wanted to do this workout on the track rather than in my neighborhood is I knew that each set equaled a mile.  It's a huge motivation and a confidence booster when you finish that mile, especially when you have two more sets to go.

I would definitely recommend this workout to anyone who would like to be faster, whether it's in running or in a sport.  Start off with just 1 mile (4 laps) of running intervals and repeats.  When sprinting, make sure to really pump your arms - your hand should come behind you when you swing your arms backwards and keep your elbow at 90 degrees.  Also, make sure to bring up your knees.  Make sure that when you sprint your speed is consistent with the goal of finishing strong.  And when you're done - stretch!  Stretch your quads, hamstrings, and calves, and most importantly stretch out your shins.  Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, and have a friend push down on the top of your feet for 10 - 15 seconds.  I love stretching and feel it's vital for recovery and rebuilding muscles.  Feel free to ask about any stretches I mentioned above and I'll do my best to give you some pointers.

If you complete this mile worth of sprints and aren't terribly sore or fatigued the following day, feel free to tack on another set or two.  Sprints are great after a stressful or frustrating day because you can use all of that energy to really push yourself to run hard down those straights.  It's incredibly cathartic and a great workout and completing a mile or more is a huge accomplishment.  I'll be visiting the track much more often in the coming weeks...


  1. Next you need to add an incline to your sprints :)

    And after that, you need to borrow my drag sled.

  2. I saw the video you posted a couple of weeks ago! Is there any way you can pull it without it bouncing around like that? I feel like it would put extra strain on your shoulders (although maybe that's what bodybuilders go for...?)

  3. LOL No, it doesn't really put extra strain on your shoulders at all - you can't feel it. It bounced around a lot because the ground wasn't level. So, it was noisy, but didn't interfere with my workout.


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