Running in Circles
Track workouts! When I say these words, some people cringe with negative emotions and others are happy with excitement. I will admit I am one of those who actually enjoy and really look forward to going to track practice. Why, you ask? Track practice is one of my favorite aspects of triathlon training and it is because of the results I achieve from it. Many times I have raced and ran personal bests in either a solo running race or even the run portion of a triathlon and I attribute my results from my track workouts. I call these workouts “feeling comfortable running uncomfortably.” Track workouts push your body in a positive way to change your comfort zone and boost your confidence so you realize you can go a longer distance at a faster pace. How does this happen? Here are a few reasons why track helps with your performance:
Exact Measurements – Whether you are running 6×400’s or mile repeats, the distance does not move! The track provides an exact measurement so that you may focus on your timing, pacing, running form and mental stamina. Recording each interval is easy with your own watch or a coach who is timing you and since the distance is always the same, you may focus on your pacing for the next interval, adjust your speed and review your time splits. You receive instant time results to check and compare with the previous results so you know how to proceed with the next interval. Do you need to pick up the pace or back it off? Track practice is a great way to identify the status of your current endurance base and pacing so that with consistent training you may run longer and faster.
Feeling Comfortable Running Uncomfortably – As mentioned previously, a track workout forces your body out of its comfort zone. Track workouts are not at a steady and even tempo pace. Instead they consist of interval work where typically the speed and pace gradually become faster with each additional interval. It forces your body to hold a faster pace for longer periods of time, which ultimately makes you a stronger and faster runner with increased stamina and endurance. Keep in mind that this takes work and practice. Only with consistent training on a track (just once a week works!) will your body begin to adapt to running comfortably at a faster speed.
Positive Teamwork – Anyone who has participated in ET’s track program will attest to the large support system that exists. It consists of high fives and cries of “Good job!” to all who participate. The camaraderie among athletes during track is priceless. The other athletes provide that additional push and friendly challenge you need to get to a faster pace. It is an extremely fun and positive environment that makes you want to keep coming back for more… that’s why I do it every season!
If you want to be a faster and stronger runner, then include track workouts in your training program. Experience Triathlon offers a track workout session on Tuesday nights and is led by a USAT certified coach who provides varied workouts each week. The camaraderie and support from others is tremendous and it does not matter your running ability. You may be a 12 minute/mile pace or a 6 minute/mile pace and everyone benefits because of the individual nature of the workouts and because of the support from others. The workouts help all who attend so get out there and start running in circles! 🙂
Cathy Obordo is a USAT certified Triathlon Coach with Experience Triathlon. As leaders in the endurance services industry, Coach Cathy and the Experience Triathlon staff help athletes of all ages and abilities achieve success in training, racing and life. Learn more about Coach Cathy and Experience Triathlon at www.experiencetriathlon.com.