So you want to join track? Already planning for next spring? If so, today I’m writing for you.
As you probably know, I joined a middle school track team this past spring and had a great experience. I’m not a track or running expert by a long shot, but today I want to give you some advice and information from someone who’s “been there, done that”. I’m also going to let you know how to train and tell you some things about running that my coaches have told me. Let’s get started!
Track Info That is Good to Know
- Sprinting vs. Distance
On my track team, there were two groups for running practice: sprinting and distance running. The two groups practiced separately . Sprinting was 100m (meters) to 400m, and distance was 800m to 1600m. Some teams have a 2 mile race included in distance, and sometimes distance runners run the 400m race. Sprinters generally practice with shorter lengths run at a fast pace. Distance runners practice with longer lengths run at a moderate pace. Sprinters are more muscular while distance runners are generally thin. Sprinters need the muscle to start up quickly, and distance runners need endurance. Personally, I like distance because the long distances build endurance- physical and mental.
2. The Variety of Events
Hurdles are included in sprinting most of the time. It’s always a fun event to run. I have a friend who ran hurdles because she said it would be a combination of speed and technique.
Relays are also a lot of fun.
- 4×4 means that 4 people run 400 meters each.
- 4×2 means that 4 people run 200 meters each
- 4×1 means that 4 people run 100 meters each
There is also a distance medley and sprinting medley. In those, each person runs a different distance.
The running workouts break you down, but stretching really finishes it off and helps your body recover. Believe me! This is super important and will help you to not be as sore. Shin splints are NOT fun!!! 😬Just Google a stretch routine… there are lots out there. (Make sure you warm up and cool down too!)
In the winter, it is extremely easy to sit inside, and super difficult to get yourself to go to the gym or run on a treadmill in the basement. But the more you run, the more conditioned you’ll be when track season comes. Track season only lasted two months for me, so it is really helpful to already be in shape when you start. To train, just start simple and run! It doesn’t need to be fancy; just grab a friend and run a mile. If that is too easy, run more! Slowly build up the mileage and challenge yourself with something new. You can attempt to run X amount of miles without stopping or get a certain time on your mile. Just get out and run!
- Pick up your knees when running.
- Look in front of you (not up or down).
- When you are training with hills, sprint up the hill and look towards the top.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Don’t clench your fists. Instead, pretend that you are holding a fragile potato chip with your fingers.
- Move your arms (it helps you breathe!).
- Don’t let your arms cross in front of your body. Keep them pumping at your sides.
- Breathe IN through your nose and OUT through your mouth.
- Pace your breathing and running.
- Set small goals and trick your mind. Tell yourself, “I’m going to stop when I get to that bush.” Then, after getting to the bush, “I’m going to rest when I reach that curb.” …and so on.
I hope this was helpful in providing some basic information to get you started with your training for track! Are you joining a track team? Do you have any other questions? Please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing from you!😁
Want to read more about track and running? Check out these posts!