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My non-workout blog and random thoughts

Track Workouts

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A few years ago, when I was runnning (for triathlons and the Bataan Death March), I got involved with a group of people who did track workouts.

It was fun, but I no matter how hard I tried, I could never run very fast. I still don't know how anyone can run 400 meters in under a minute. I think my best time was 1:20 with a strong wind. I've stopped running and I think it has helped my swimming (I'm a little faster than I was when I was running).

Track workouts are not as demanding at swimming workouts. You can find sample track workouts on line - or you can go watch some college or high school workouts.

The workouts follow the same format - first, perform both dynamic and static(?) stretches. The current wisdom states that static stretching actually weakens muscles. Next, there is "main" (and only) set - 10 x 400 meters with 100 meters jog recovery. And that's it! Track athletes don't slave away for hours like swimmers.

It makes me wonder why their workouts are so much shorter than our workouts. Perhaps my limited sampling is flawed, but from what I've seen and read, track athletes don't spend hours training each day.

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  1. Swims With Twins's Avatar
    I have found that static stretching helps my recovery. I admit that my stretching time is limited to a few stolen moments throughout the average work day, but it seems to help me be ready for the next available swim session.
  2. pdjang's Avatar
    Hey Linc,
    I like static stretching also - really helps keep me away during the day.

    The current research is that dynamic stretching activates the neuromuscular system and preps it for activity.

    Hope you are feeling better.
  3. Bobinator's Avatar
    Track work outs are shorter(less yardage) than typical swimming workouts because they are weight -bearing. If a runner did 2-4 hours of straight track repeat work 6 days a week (like a swimmer) they would be crippled in 2 weeks or less. Swimmers body's can take more intensity for long periods of time since there is no impact.
    Runners hearts do get a greater workout if intensity levels are equal; weight bearing exercise causes a larger stroke volume in the heart.
  4. Iwannafly's Avatar
    I remember a particularly difficult track workout in college. We went 20 x 400 on 1:10 with a 100 jog in between. It didn't take hours, but I came very close to leaving my lunch on the infield a couple of times!
    Thanks for the information about dynamic stretching! I'm learning about it now!
  5. pdjang's Avatar
    Hi Bobinator and Iwannafly,

    Thanks for the comments on the track workouts.

    I was talking to a gymnastics coach (a weight bearing sport) and they regularly practice for 60-90 minutes. Perhaps the intensity is not as high? Speaking of high intensity, I used to play racquetball on a daily basis (6 days a week) for 45-60 minutes. It's pretty intense and a hell of a lot of fun. I still go out to play, but I'm sore in unmentionable places for a week.

    IWF - 20 x 400 on 1:10 - man, that is just amazing. I could never make the interval.
  6. Iwannafly's Avatar
    In all fairness, I was only 18 at the time. There are a lot of things I could do at 18 that I certainly can't do now! If I remember correctly, most of our workouts on the track were preceded by a 3 mile warmup and a 2 mile cooldown with 1/2 hour of stretching to end it. All told, practices that involved track work took anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours! But that counts the 1/2 hour of stretching. I was really limber back in the day!:-)