How to make the most of running sessions on the track
6 benefits of track practice
Training on the track certainly isn’t essential, particularly if you are only racing on the roads. However, there are several benefits to hitting the tartan. Louise Damen tells how to make the most of training on the track.
Join a group
You may find that your local running club train at the track on a weekly basis. If this is the case, then why not use the track to enjoy the benefit of group training? Training with others not only makes tough sessions more enjoyable, the positive peer pressure can push you to hit splits that would be difficult to do solo. You may also enjoy the added benefit of training under the watchful eye of a coach.
To really make the most of group track sessions then why not agree to ‘share the pace’ with runners of a similar speed? The best way to do this is to run in single file if possible, forming a ‘train’ and taking it in turns to lead each repetition or even lap. Working together in this way makes hard sessions a little easier to get through both physically and psychologically.
Be mindful of track etiquette
An awareness of basic track etiquette is a must if you are training on tartan, particularly during busy club nights. Always ensure that you run in an anti-clockwise direction, unless you have agreed with all other track users otherwise. Be mindful and vigilant of other athletes at all times and move out towards the outside lanes once you have finished each repetition.
Training on the track is the best way to objectively measure your progress. A measured distance and a good old stop watch never lie! If you’re using your track training times as a gauge of your fitness, then it’s worth remembering to be consistent. Some tracks don’t allow you to run in lane one for training purposes, so if this is the case try to stick to the same lane where possible so that you can monitor your progress more accurately.
Ditch your GPS
Many runners swear by their GPS, however it’s worth bearing in mind that these devices can be a little inaccurate and can send satellites into a spin, particularly if you’re essentially running around in circles! For this reason it’s a good idea to ditch your GPS for track workouts. After all you can measure your pace perfectly with a good old fashioned stopwatch!
Race pace rehearsal
As you approach your target race your training should become more specific. Essentially this means that you should gradually extend the amount of running that you do at race pace. Running on the track is a fantastic way to help you to control your speed and lock into race pace, so why not hit the tartan for some of your specific sessions?
Written by Louise Damen
Louise is a two-time England Cross Country Champion and a former European XC Trials winner. She has also represented GB at various international events and her marathon PB is 2:30:00.