Spring is on its way throughout Canada, and although winter might have a few more snowstorms left to spit out before we can fully transition to warmer and sunnier days, shorts weather will be upon us soon enough. With the upcoming thaw, outdoor tracks across the country will be clear and accessible in no time, and runners everywhere should take advantage of them.
If you’re a new runner, you might think the road is all you need for training, and while it’s a great place to spend most of your runs, the track is equally useful. Once your local oval is open for use, it’s worth heading over for a weekly speed session. If you’re still questioning its usefulness, here are a few reasons to add track repeats to your training schedule.
You’ll get faster
The track is made for speedwork. Whether you run short repeats or long ones, you’ll be able to hammer out quick times that will build your confidence and help you become a faster, stronger runner. Need some inspiration for workouts? Check out the Canadian Running training archives for speed sessions designed for runners of all levels.
The track is fun
Running on the track every day would certainly become boring in no time, but if you only hit it once or twice a week, you’ll probably come to love your speed sessions. Think about it — it’s fun to go fast. All runners love going fast and pushing their limits, and the track is the perfect place to do that. Yes, track workouts will be tough, but the fun you’ll have will overshadow the difficulty.
Mix things up
Just like running on the track every day would get boring, the same can be said for constantly running on the road. Sure, you have a lot more options when it comes to road running, and no matter where you choose to run, you’ll get more variety than you would on a 400m track, but it can still get tiresome. After all, a lot of us tend to find two or three go-to routes that we stick with for almost all of our runs. The track will give you the chance to add some new scenery to your weekly schedule, which can help with your overall motivation to train.
We already mentioned that track workouts are tough, but there’s more to be said on that matter. When you hit the track, you experience a different kind of pain that you won’t find on the road. You can of course run fast and hard on the road, but there’s something about the consistency of the flat track that makes for a higher intensity in workouts.
This might not sound like something you want to experience, but facing that pain and charging forward anyway will help you become a tougher runner, which will lead to better results and hopefully PBs in future races.
You can race
Just because you add the track to your training schedule doesn’t mean you have to enter track races. You might find that you love the track, though, and racing might be exactly what you need. If you choose to race, this will only help you even more, as racing on the track will boost your toughness to the next level.