Some people like to jog or run along footpaths; others prefer the track. What’s the difference? Well, pedestrian footpaths can be full of people that get in the way, as well as potholes, dog walkers, and traffic lights making you stop all the time. Tracks on the other hand, are perfectly smooth traffic free surfaces, topped off with the promise of a fabulous run for as long as you want!
So, if you’re new to track running, here are 7 must-know rules for the newbies.
1. Do run counter clockwise: You might think that it makes sense to run clockwise, but you’ll create your own traffic jam if you do that! Everyone runs counter clockwise on a track, so if you want to fit in with the crowd, you need to do the same.
2. Don’t run in the first lane: The innermost lane on a track is for the fastest runners, so if you are a newbie to running leave this lane alone. As you become faster, you might be able to run in this lane, but always warm up in the other lanes and move into this lane when you are ready to run fast, remembering to move over again when slowing down. Some tracks open to the public ask that you leave more than the first lane vacant for the athletes, just ask when you arrive.
3. Do a warm up first: You won’t look out of place, because everyone warms up before they run on a track. It’s important because it prevents injuries, which is particularly relevant as you’ll run faster on a track than on a footpath. Cooling down is just as important, as it prevents your muscles cramping after a hard run.
4. Don’t use your GPS: Some runners use their GPS to track their distance, but when you are running on a track it’s not always accurate. Instead simply take note of the number of laps you run and then covert them to kms. Or ask the facility if they have a Polytan SmarTracks system installed. Polytan SmarTracks is a precise and high-level performance diagnostic tool, that can be used by professional to grassroot athletes.
5. Don’t try and compete: If everyone else is running faster than you, don’t speed up and try to outdistance them. Most of these runners will be experienced athletes, so trying to keep up with them can result in injuries. Simply run your best and always strive to do better every time you hit the track.
6. Do finish on a straight track: As you finish your run, you want your body perfectly balanced so you can run at your fastest. This means you need to end on a straight piece of track. That’s because when you run around bends on the track you lean into the curve and your body is out of balance. This is fine for going around bends, but not when you want to run your fastest at the end of your run.
7. Do warn others blocking the lane: If you’re running along the track and see someone blocking your lane ahead, warn them that you are coming through by shouting ‘TRACK’. This usually happens because they’re running slower than you, so be polite about it and ask them kindly to move over (i.e. don’t shout ‘MOVE’).
For information on high-tech surfaces for your athletic running tracks, call Polytan on 1800 663 812 in Australia.