While I train most of my clients either at their homes or gyms (and yes we love training where we’re most comfortable), I do recommend a session or two outdoors, in particular at the neighbourhood running track.
I know some people who’ve finished marathons even before they’ve set foot on an honest-to goodness oval track. And in some ways they have good reason; many people view track training as one of the toughest and most gruelling fitness workouts out there. However, running on a track offers a lot of benefits that most people find hard to resist once they’ve received a taste of them:
1. You can’t cheat on distance measurements. It’s natural for us to exaggerate a little—or even a lot—when it comes to the distance we cover when we run as part of our personal training. Four kilometres becomes five, and seven kilometres becomes ten. It’s the sort of self-delusion that’s meant to make us feel better about ourselves.
Of course, it comes as a rude surprise when you can’t meet the goals you’ve set for yourself when you enter your next event. But with a measured oval track, you can’t cheat about your distance at all. This allows you to evaluate your abilities more accurately for a race.
2. You don’t have to worry about changes in terrain. When you run on the streets or on jogging paths, you have to watch where you’re stepping on. This can be very distracting, especially if you’re trying to improve your form. But on the track, it’s flat and often the surface is really great to run on. You can find your proper stride and focus on your leg turnover for your entire session. This will help you run faster in a shorter amount of time.
3. You can pace yourself better. This is another advantage brought upon by the flat and measured surface. You can find out how to pace yourself for the time you want, unlike others who tend to start out too quickly. So if you want to finish a 10km race under an hour, you have to run a 400m lap in under 2 minutes and 24 seconds. By figuring out the pace for that time and distance, you can simulate it in real race situations.
4. You are less likely to injure yourself. The softer surface of the oval track is much easier on your legs than running on the pavement. This will reduce the impact your legs will have to endure in your personal training, especially for interval work exercises. You should also remember to change direction on the track every now and then so that you even up the load for both sides of your body.
5. The other people on the track can help motivate you. It feels good to overtake someone, or to have someone you can try to emulate or even beat. Improving your time is one thing, but seeing yourself overtaking someone feels better sometimes.
A training buddy or a personal trainer Singapore can help you become stronger and faster as you can on the track, and you can also be much more efficient in your running or briskwalk. Include track workouts when you train, and you may find yourself improving much faster than you ever thought possible.
Coach Sharm, MSc