Today’s track workout comes as a progression to last week’s installment available here: https://runningyourbody.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/track-workout-tuesday/. I must say that the track feels like down feathers under my feet after the last several months of trail and street running. It’s almost luxurious.
Speed work is important for folks who are wishing to run faster and or improve running form. It is very important to do a solid dynamic warm-up prior to running sprints.
A dynamic warm up can consist of:
-Walking and pulling each knee into your chest for 20 ft. (gluteal stretch)
-Walking while kicking each leg up at waist height 20 ft (hamstring stretch)
-High skipping 20ft. (entire lower leg and abdominal warm up)
-Bottom kick jog
-Grapevine 20ft. in each direction (also referred to as carioca drills, for hip stretch and foot work)
-Speed work up: Run 50 meters, and begin your run at 20% of maxim speed and gradually increase finishing the 50 meters at 80%. Do this twice. On the third set, begin at 20% and finish at full sprint. These work ups will help your muscles get ready for exertion. Gradually increasing the intensity improves blood flow to the muscles, and will help decrease the risk for injury.
8 repetitions of 200m. sprints at 90% effort. Jog 200 meters in between sets.
Cool down with an 800 meter jog.
Ways to injure yourself doing speed workouts:
1. Do not warm up thoroughly
Cold muscles do not have proper blood flow, and are not flexible and ready to contract and elongate quickly and powerfully. Instead they will strain or tear, sometimes in micro tears, sometimes in larger more serious tears.
2. Begin at 100% maximum effort
Beginning a sprint workout at 100% effort straight out of the gate is asking for a strain as described above. Ease into it.
3. Do not focus on your form, run flailing like Phoebe on friends
Loose and uncontrolled form lends to greater work in some muscle groups and thus to strain on the body that can result in break down and injury of the joints and muscles.
4. Do not cool down, get straight into your car and drive home, then lay down on the couch.
Just as the muscles need blood flow and warm-up to contract and recoil properly, they need to slowly and gently cool down. Continuing movement after a tough workout also introduces new fresh circulation of blood flow that can help reduce lactic acid buildup and thus soreness after the workout.
Make your day great!