My experience training on the trackLast summer I passed the athletics exam of my sport degree. The disciplines that I prepared for were hurdles, medicine ball toss, 200m, 400m, shot put, 1000m, high jump and long jump. This meant lots of training on the “track”. Early on, and fully justifiably, me and my classmates received advice from our lecturers to familiarise ourselves with using spikes in training. This was to prevent against the symptoms of overuse (a frequently occurring problem in the periostitis in the tibia). Track athletes call our shoes spikes, because the sole is equipped with small nails in the forefoot area. The type of surface determines the length of the spikes; 6mm for tartan and around 12mm for clay, so we can get a better grip on the ground. Spikes are very similar to football studs but we only use metal instead of plastic ;-) Obviously, you don’t have to use spikes when training on tartan tracks. However, the track is an unusual terrain for many free time runners who are mainly used to soft forest tracks. The track is a useful supplement for athletes and makes the pursuit of new ambitions possible, through interval training for example. Spikes were primarily not designed to improve your health, but rather optimise performance. Amongst nearly all the running and sprint disciplines, track athletics fundamentally has the most the active foot strike. It enables a continuously forward motion and catapults the athlete down the track. Enormous ground impact forces are in effect here (anyone who wants to delve deeper into the figures can get in touch). This can subject the athlete’s body to stress through heavy loading (knees, tendons, ligaments, muscles, joints etc.) – depending on body weight, fitness, training experience and the related adjustments to training.
Advantage of training on the trackThe main advantage of tartan tracks is the effective imprint with jogging, running and sprinting, based on running events and training. Additionally, interval training can be optimally undertaken on the track, as it’s possible to run exact distances on the track. The athletics stadium or even just a 400m track are good places for athletes to take part in collective training units, or even to get to know new athletes and friends. Interval training can be really diverse and varying on the track. For example, with a partner you can take turns running in both an inside or outside lane, or you can try and chase down the runner in front of you. The track is brilliant for improving your running economy and efficiency. For example, you can perfect your straight line running by focusing on the lane lines. The ABC-run can be optimally implemented on the track and can fundamentally improve your running style. It shouldalso be a regular part of your training. This includes ankle work, skipping, high knees, high heel flicks to your behind, as well as impact running, jogging and other specific athletics forms. In general, coordination running should be around 15 to 25 minutes long and shouldn’t be stopped abruptly, but rather have a 10 to 15 minute cool down. ABC-runs stabilise your feet arches and ankles, if it is completed barefoot on grass. This exercise also trains accuracy and linearity if it is done on a line. It improves the four phases of sprinting, in terms of legs they are:
- The back support phase (high knees, skipping)
- The back momentum phase (high heel flicks to your behind)
- The front momentum phase (skipping, high knees) and
- The front support phase (jogging)