Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Track Workouts - Why?????

What are these? These are my track shoes, not really "track" shoes but "marathon racing flats". During my 20+ years of running and finishing over 25 marathons I have never worn a pair of these kinds of shoes! Last year Scott Jurek - my coach talked about these kinds of shoes and I thought why not, I can use them for my track workouts and my tempo runs that are done on the road. I bought a pair for just that reason and loved them. I wear an orthotic so I have a lot of freedom when it comes to choosing a shoe. I don't run on the road that much so the pair I bought last year lasted through my running season so I had to get new pair for this year and here they are, red hot and fast! One nice added feature of a racing flat is they are stylish, they come in bright colors and the just look fast. When I put these on my feet I feel faster :). When I put these on my feet any excuse I might have had to not do my full track workout leaves my brain forever!.

Why would an ultra runner need to do a track workout and do I really see any improvements from doing them? I have been asked that question a lot and the answer is yes! During my 20+ years of running I never went to the track and when I hired Scott to coach me 3 years ago he said one of the workouts would be done on the track if I had no objections. I had a lot of objections but kept them to myself because I relinquished all control of my running to him. I decided I would do all the workouts he prescribed whether I liked them or not. This was a big move for a control freak like myself but it paid big dividends. I was so uninformed about the track that he would have to remind me that the distance of one loop is 400M, he is patient! He would have to give me very specific instructions on exactly what a 400M, 800M, 1000M and 1200M may times around....where should I start.....are there lines on the track that indicate a starting and stopping do I monitor my speed. The conversations went like this for awhile before I finally got it. I've noticed a definite change in my leg turnover since I have added track workouts and I notice one additional gear in my cardio, a gear that can be called on during racing. Track workouts make me a more efficient runner. I use less energy when I run than I used to, better form and stride rate. My track times have come down significantly and I recover much quicker. I would say that is progress.

Now track workouts are just part of my routine on a weekly basis and I went for a feeling of nervous apprehensive to excitement as I drive to the track. Even the night before I think about my upcoming track workout and get pumped up! I am not sure it's because of the workout itself or that I get to wear the lightweight red hot shoes :).


Darin Swanson said...

I have been toying with moving to racing flats for my next marathon. Anything different from normal shoes in terms of what to look for...besides the snazzy colors :-)

Rooster said...

Hi Darin,

Yes, Go with a "Marathon" flat. Apparently there are vaious types of "flats" and the ones I have a to flat for AR50. AR50 has a marathon on a bike path before you hit the trails and I was going to wear these but Scott said too flat! Brooks has a great one out, it's yellow with black laces, I don't know the name. You will definately notice the difference!

Stella said...

Rooster, Wow! Your Blog is awesome... and Stella will be reading it! Thanks for the great stories, pictures and information. Great read! Your blog is really going to come in handy when you start your training in Utah and Colorado this summer... I can't wait to hear all about your adventures with the Beast. All I have to say is this is a "Class Act" and I would expect nothing less from the Rooster! Keep the stories coming!
Thanks for sharing your blog,