Track running: What I have learned
Recently, I have been attending weekly track running sessions with the Glasgow Triathlon Club. I have had a gap of at least 10 years since I last trained on a track and I am discovering that while it is hard work, I really do enjoy these sessions.
I made a decision when I turned 50 that I would try to challenge my body in new ways and track running, as well as circuits classes and mountain biking, have become part of my new sporting routine.
Here are some of the things I have learned about track running:
I never want to go to the session. I debate all day about whether I am feeling up to it, fresh enough, well enough, confident enough…
I feel nervous before a track session, despite the fact it is training and not racing.
…But as soon as I get in the van to drive to the session (Huntershill track at Bishopbriggs), I know it is the right thing to do.
Once I arrive, I forget about the fact that I didn’t really want to come and I greatly enjoy meeting, chatting and laughing with my fellow tri club members.
A good track session needs to be led by an excellent and imaginative coach. GTC is very fortunate to have Vicky Begg as head coach and her sessions are always tough but fair, as well as good fun (in a strange sort of way!).
I am still very competitive. I had thought that with age would come a lowering of my competitive motivation. But that’s not the case.
I like to push myself hard to keep up with other runners. It’s great to have a wide range of abilities at the club session. It means that there is someone to chase and someone on your shoulder pushing you on.
I might be 50 but I can still run hard. I like the focus of running 400m or 800m sets. I know how far I need to go, and in what time, and this motivates me to run as hard as I can.
For the first few laps I feel stiff and my stride is short. Soon after, I find I can stretch out my stride and run faster and more fluently. My body benefits a great deal from using muscles that I rarely use in other training sessions.
I might not be able to beat the youngsters over shorter distances but when we do repeated laps I find I stay stronger for longer.
I run as hard as I can for as long as I can at each session and while I regularly feel broken by the time I am driving home, I am also elated.
I never come back from a track session thinking it was the wrong thing to do.
I am convinced that track running – and running faster in general – it of huge benefit to my muscles and joints as I go into my 50s and throughout the menopause. Listen to this podcast for more tips.
See Glasgow Triathlon Club if you are interested.