THE FINALIZED 2016 TEN-WEEK TURKEY TROT WITH TRACK DAY 5K Beginner Training Plan will be posted this Sunday September 11. It is a plan adapted from one developed by Mario Fraioli for Competitor.com. Why was the fact it had a track day scheduled each week one of the reasons it was selected by EarnedRuns for beginners?
Many beginning would-be racers will not have run, trained, or walked on a standard track. They may not know where the nearest or most accessible high school, college, or community facility is located. It may seem to be a training site that is off-bounds to them, more appropriately used by ‘serious’ athletes, who are faster runners and in great shape.
In my experience as a non-professional recreational runner, there are three characteristics that make a standard track a piece of essential EQUIPMENT and a place all runners should learn to consider a training ‘home’. A track is MEASURED, SAFE, and ATHLETIC.
Distance assignments in a plan can be difficult to mentally measure for those accustomed to ‘just running’ rather than training, especially shorter rather than longer stretches. You can get in a car and map out miles on a road, but it’s not always easy to be precise with lesser distances or trails. Use of a phone app generally requires covering the route to be measured on foot or on a bicycle before it can be used to train. Marking precise distances by these methods is problematic too, as rarely are there memorable physical features at exact points to help runners visually recall the start and end of a distance. If a training plan calls for varying distances the measurement difficulties are compounded.
A standard track lap or fraction of a lap is obviously a limited distance that stays the same every time you run or walk it. The straight lengths are easily distinguished form the curved ends. The time it takes to cover specific distances is relatively easy to measure with a clock function on a watch or app. Using a track regularly for training helps your body to develop a ‘memory’ for different distances.
Safety is a quality that has several dimensions. A running SURFACE can be safe to run on from an injury prevention perspective, especially at higher speeds or in adverse weather conditions. It is even, consistent, textured, slightly cushioned, and appropriately drained. A standard track designed specifically for competition is more likely than other surfaces to be safe for running faster-paced, precise intervals.
A running course can be more or less safe to run when weather conditions will vary over the duration of the workout or the runner is uncertain about his or her abilities to perform a given workout in it’d entirety. Fluids, food, dry or warm clothes, and shelter from the elements is more readily available at a track when there is a nearby parked car or open facility in which to seek such support items. There is less likelihood of incurring bodily harm from accidents due to running in high traffic or lowlight conditions on a track than on a city street. However, any running area should be considered questionably SAFE from criminal incidents if it’s an isolated location at the time of the workout.
Performing a workout on a track is one way for beginners to feel and act like the athletes they aspire to become. Acquiring this mental attitude will help a runner persevere in the tougher training regimens and possibly to adopt healthier eating and sleeping habits.
The track is a great place to perform pre- or post- running dynamic stretching and mobility routines and to get in some location-friendly, body-weight strength exercises (step-ups and step-downs, dips and push-ups, etc) on benches and stairs. Holding oneself to the rule that you cannot start the running portion of the workout or depart from the premises before completing them increases the chances that at least a portion of the recommended routines will be done that week.
In some races the finish line is located on a track and the very last portion of the race includes a partial lap. Performing some workouts on a track can help beginners to visualize a successful goal race finish.
IF TRACK WORK IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT IN A PLAN, the Track Day Schedule identifies the approximate distances that will be run in that session. You can tinker with the plan and find a way to accomplish those runs without utilizing a track.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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