Friday, February 15, 2008

Running In Small Circles

Indoor track is a sport that starts as early as December (on the east coast) and ends sometime in March. Races are run on tracks that can range from 120 meters to 200 meters. For most of you, the tracks are less than 200 meters long with tight turns and hard surfaces. To top it off, the air quality in most facilities is poor, which results in soaked uniforms, burning lungs and throats, and dry mouth.

For distance and middle distance runners there is not much time between cross country and indoor track to rest and then build up a proper base for the indoor track season. Starting speed work and races after only three to four weeks of endurance training is a recipe for disaster.

Sprinters are most likely coming off of a football or soccer season and need/want to rest. Jumping right into another sport and adding intensity is also not the best approach.

Take a look at results over the past years from indoor track races and compare them to the races in May and June, when outdoor track championships are taking place. What you will most likely find is that runners are either running the same times, or slower in May and June than they were in February and March. Why is this? Can the answer be that many high school runners are peaking way to soon?

If the goal of high school track is to be at your best in February or March, then indoor track makes sense. If the goals are to be at your best in May and June, again, when championships are taking place, isn't indoor track taking away from that?

What is the purpose of indoor track and should we continue to support it at the high school level or drop it and only focus on outdoor track?

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