Preparing for the Upcoming Track Season
After a long winter season, it's easy to fall out of shape due to an overload of holiday eats, a lack of motivation in the freezing cold, and barely any outdoor activity. However, those who run track have no time to waste getting back into shape with the spring season just around the corner. Luckily, it's not a difficult task to get back in peak race shape, as long as runners go back out there and get moving!
Here's some tips for athletes getting back into shape for the upcoming track season:
1. Devise a Training Plan: Having a set training program to follow is the first step in getting back into track shape. Whether you find the plan online, from a fitness specialist, or your track coach, make sure it includes both strength and cardiovascular endurance training. In regards to the strength training, it should be building overall strength, as well as muscular endurance. With the endurance training, it should be building gradually, as runners should aim to increase their training mileage by 10 percent each week.
2. Hit the Track!: Barring any inclement weather, the track is still accessible throughout the off-season. Use it to your advantage! The 10-20-30 method is a great way for runners to ease back into the speed of track meets. Start with a warm-up, then move into the 10-20-30 interval drills. Start out at a light pace for 30 seconds, then work your way up to a moderate pace for 20 seconds, then finish with an all-out burst for 10 seconds at full speed and power. Repeat this sequence 3-5 times over a 5 minute period with short rests in between sets.
3. Stick to a Clean-Eating Diet: Any physical training that is done leading up to the season will be completely worthless if athletes do not follow a healthy diet. Obviously, with holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas in the off-season leading up to the track season, there are going to be some days that sticking to a diet is the last thing on track athletes' minds. However, it's important to stay consistent with eating habits in the off-season so that the physical training done doesn't go to waste. Avoid sweets such as chocolates, candy, and cake. Make sure to get a lot of protein in (chicken, beef, fish), and keep a good balance of fruits and vegetables. Don't forget to always stay hydrated as well! Drink plenty of fluids before, after, and during training sessions to avoid dehydration and injury.
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