Track workouts are awesome…at least in my opinion. I soooo much rather prefer a track workout over a long run.
Whether you’re a beginner runner or not, we could all use these reminders before our next track workout. I’m the worst with warming up and cooling down, but recently I’ve had my cross country runners going through a certain routine, which has made me want to “practice what I preach.”
Eat something. Make sure you have enough fuel in the tank to do the work. Nothing is more frustrating (to me at least) than being pumped for a workout but stopping or slowing down halfway because I feel lightheaded or weak. Make sure to eat a good meal or snack beforehand, depending on what time you’re doing the workout.
Warm-up. If you’re anything like me, you slack on the warm-up before runs. You just get up and go…well I do. And hey, Jenny Simpson told me she does too But the warm-up is so important when it comes to doing any type of speed workout. You want your muscles and joints to be primed for the action. They need to be warm and loose. Coach Marc usually has me doing a 1 mile warm up before any sort of workout.
Do a dynamic warm-up. Okay, so you did your 1 mile warm-up. But you’re not ready to go yet. Now it’s time for dome dynamic movements. I have my cross-country team do a series of moves before a workout or meet, which I wrote about here. This includes A-skips, butt kicks, mummy walks, cariocas and more. When I was personal training, I had clients go through these movements as well. It’s another way to get your joints ready and loosen up the muscles through your range of motion.
Strides. Before a workout or race I like to do a few strides, or pick-ups. Once again, it just helps loosen you up a bit and get you acclimated to that faster speed you’re about to run. Do anywhere from 3-5 for about 50 meters. Marc has me do them after runs too just do get in a little speed at the end of a run.
Cool down. I actually hate the cool down more than the warm up. When I’m done with a hard effort, all I want to do is go home and collapse on the floor or couch. But a cool down is so important for your muscles and heart. It gradually brings your heart rate back down and will prevent your muscles from tightening up or being too sore the next day. I usually do anywhere from a half mile to a mile cool down after workouts. Pace doesn’t matter!
Stretching. Once you’re done with your cool down, it’s time for some stretching and more dynamic stretches. Before getting into static stretches, I have my runners do some mummy walks and skips. It helps get everything flowing and also stretches the muscles. Once you’re done, go through a stretching routine. I switch it up between certain yoga routines or my own routine, but stretches I always do are calf stretches, quad stretches, pigeon pose, and hamstring stretches.
Hydrate. This one is obvious right? You just had a hard effort. Drink some water!!
Protein. Within 30 minutes of any workout, whether it’s running or lifting, you should be eating a recovery meal or drink. If I’m having a shake, I have PlantFusion, which is my all-time favorite protein powder. Getting in protein right away will help with muscle recovery, which means you’ll be ready to go (and stronger) or your next workout.
Pre-hab or rehab. If you have a nagging ache or pain like I do (shins), speed workouts may make it worse. My shins are always sore after track or tempo workouts. Monitor yourself for any sort of pain and do the proper rehab right away. Don’t wait! For example, I had a track workout two days ago and right when I got home I made sure to massage my calves and shins with Biofreeze.
Foam roll. This kind of goes with the pre-hab, but while you’re watching TV after a workout, get on the foam roller or tennis ball. Your muscles will probably be tight, and a foam roller will help work out those knots. You don’t want to be tight for your next track workout! I love sitting on a tennis ball and self-massaging my glutes…even though it hurts SO much.
I just did a track workout on Tuesday and I felt awesome! Coach had me doing 8×400 and I told him I felt on fire!!
When’s your next track workout? What kind of warm-up do you do beforehand?
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