Although it has been quite the winter here in our Area I know a lot of us have races on the calendar and other personal goals for our running. The winter won’t last forever and it may be time to add some different workouts to your running routine. We have a track workout every Wednesday morning at six A.M. at the Reno Highschool that might be just the right thing. Consider the following three reasons:
- Track Workouts Enhance Your High Rate of Force Development
Rate of force development training, more commonly known as “speed work,” demands a different economy of movement and motor unit recruitment than your typical Zone 2 and tempo runs. The goal of speed work is to exert peak force to move a light load at maximum velocity by heavily engaging the type-II (fast-twitch) muscle fibers that are responsible high-power output and maximal force production. If continued long enough, these fibers will be bathed in acid from H+ ions produced via fermentation, eventually driving them to fatigue. This is where the magic happens. Integrating speed and interval work into your training regime will enhance your body’s ability to clear lactate from the blood and utilize it as a fuel during high intensity activity. Improving this lactate clearance and tolerance will allow you to longer at faster paces.
2. The Track Optimizes Your Stride and Energy Return
The material characteristic to modern outdoor and indoor tracks is what is known as a “compliant surface.” While the fascinating physics of such compliant surfaces are beyond the scope of this blog post, Greene and Medved concluded that runners’ top end speed was enhanced by 2 to 3 percent regardless of individual parameters. These runners also experienced a 11.3 percent reduction in foot force, which is an injury-mitigation risk reducer shared equally by all1.
3. Track Workouts Foster Teamwork and Comradery
Finding and pushing your limits both mentally and physically is one of the core attributes of running that makes it so unique – as well as daunting. While every runner is familiar with the pleasant solitude and introspectiveness of an easy long run, there is also value to training in an environment where the course keeps everyone in the same vicinity, such as the track. This keeps people connected regardless of skill and experience level and can provide a critical boost of energy during tough workouts. It is surprising how effectively this communal encouragement can carry you through the pain and discomfort of the session, and it just might get you to that PR during your next mile time trial.
We would love to have you at our next Track workout on Wednesday. All ability levels are welcome. Coffee at the Hub right down the street afterwards adds to the fun community aspect. You will be glad you came.
- Greene, Peter & Medved, Vladimir. (2019). Compliant Surface Dynamics, the Harvard Tuned Track. Biology, Engineering and Medicine. 4. 10.15761/BEM.1000172.