Off Season Track Training to Increase Speed

Share

Question: I run track in the spring and need to know what I should do for training in the fall with weights to help get me faster. What would be a good routine for that and should I run cross country to get my stamina better or at least maintain it?
Answer: The quick answer for cross country running is NO. You run sprint races in distances of 100 meters to 400 meters and cross country is typically 3 miles or so. While that will certainly build endurance it will not assist you in becoming faster in the races you run. What you need to concentrate on in the off season, as far as track is concerned, is to run interval sprint drills of no more than 800 meters. Do a 400 meter light run warm-up and then begin doing 100m intervals. Basically do a 15 second sprint and allow a 30 second walking recovery. Do 5 of these before taking a 3 to 5 minute rest. If the 200m is your longest race then work on 300 and 400 meter distances at a sprint pace on alternating days. Running with this intensity is demanding so you only need 3 days of training like this a week initially. Though it is months away, when the temperature drops under 45 degrees you need to take your training inside.
In the gym you need to build your hamstring strength and flexibility. Hip flexors need work as well along with explosive exercises like cleans, squat/press and plyometric exercises. Rep ranges are typically 3 to 8 reps for most exercises. Contrary to popular opinion, you also need upper body work as well to pull yourself through the later stages of your races. Core work is essential including exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles as well as the glutes and lower back. Pull-ups and dips are excellent for the upper body and require little equipment.
As an athlete you need to make sure you consume the best nutritionally filled foods as possible. Though tempting, especially to a teenager who can eat practically anything, a balanced diet of 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fats works well. Fast food can be an occasional treat but not on a regular basis. Water is the best fluid for your muscles considering they are almost 70% water. Though Gatorade has some great commercials recommending constant use of it’s product, it is to be used after serious fluid and electrolyte loss and not for every meal. Put these things together and by the spring track season you will be far ahead of your training schedule and your competitors.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

Share