Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Indian Sprints

Last week was my first ever track workout. By "ever", let me clarify... I mean EVER. As in have never ever...

Needless to say, I was walking in blind and a wee bit intimidated. Let us remember that running, and especially sprints, were used as the main torture devise of every soccer coach I've ever met. So shaking that negative connotation is not easy. As a few of us slowly jogged around the track for a mile warm up, the program's head coach ended up next to me. After introductions and "so why do you want to run a marathon?" type chat, I finally asked, as nonchalantly as possible, "so what are these sessions like?" He shrugged and said something along the lines of "Oh nothing too bad, the usual long distance speed training stuff" blah blah blah and left it at that. After a minute of trying to find the right words I finally spurted out "No, I mean literally, what do we do? I've never run a track workout before so I'm completely lost." He was a bit taken aback, and then smirked and said "Ohhh..." and went on to break down some basics for me before the workout began.

Track Etiquette:
Tip #1: Run Counter Clockwise
Tip #2: If you are not pushing your pace (aka warm-up or cool-down) stay away from the inside lane. That is for people who are in the midst of their workout.
Tip #3: At the same time, if you are pushing your pace and just happen to be slower than most of the Speedy Gonzales' out there, don't mind them, stay on the inside and they will pass you on the right. So really if you aren't pushing it stay away from the inside two lanes.

First Workout: Indian Sprints (ironically one of my past soccer coaches most favorite form of torture)

For those of you who had the privilege of escaping childhood without this growing experience let me enlighten. Basically you have 5-7 people running laps in a straight line (one behind the other), with the person at the end constantly sprinting to the front of the line. So as a group you are running laps, and when the person behind you sprints to the front of the line, it is then your turn, then you get to slow down until you are at the end of the line again at which point you sprint to the front again, and again, and again. You usually average 3-4 sprints per lap (quarter mile). We were to do 4 miles.

For me the weirdest thing was that I was running with 6 people, and yet no one was talking. Grant it, it was our first time meeting and we were sprinting, but the whole point, for me, to run with others is to pass the time chatting. So when I figured out that wasn't going to happen I worried that this was mentally going to feel like an eternity. Surprisingly, between absorbing the atmosphere of the track (it seemed the entire neighborhood around this school consisted of runners who were all training that night), keeping pace, watching out for my turn and county laps, I was quite occupied and before I knew it we were half way there. By the end, I was tired, but I felt really good! I know it was my intro to track, and that it is just going to get harder from here (the track coach's speech intro was that we were here to learn how to run in discomfort because no matter how much we train, those last 6 miles come race day WILL be uncomfortable - - not a motivational speaker) but it was definitely a confidence booster to walk out day one feeling good!

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