Monday, 10 August 2015

On Track

When my house move made staying with my running club unfeasible I was determined to join a new club local to me. I looked online to see what my options were, found a couple and decided on one. Great! Now all I had to do was get along there...

Clubs are really handy for becoming more familiar with the local area and finding new routes but what I really find clubs most useful for is taking me get out of my comfort zone and getting me tackling hill, speed and track sessions. So far I've either had other commitments on the club track nights save for one occasion when they were doing a handicap session in the forest which was no good for me. So. I came up with a plan B. 
Credit: Runner's World
I've programmed my Garmin for some speed sessions in the past which works quite well and I will continue to do some of these on the roads, with the Garmin in the future but for some sessions, those based more on distance than time e.g. 400m or 800m repeats, it's easier to use a track than worry about routes and roads and crossings and so on.

The gyms I use don't have tracks but the one the club uses is at another near by leisure center and as long as it's not been booked out by one of the many athletics groups in the area, anyone can hand over £3.65 (non-member price) and theoretically use the track for as long as they want. The first time I went I was able to use it for free as I'd built up loyalty points from when I used to use the center years ago and I had it almost all to myself - result!
Credit: Bracknell Athletics Club
I've used the facility a few times now and really love it. I'd never used a proper track before, having run on grass tracks in school fields previously; it's a much faster surface and counting off the laps can be quite therapeutic, like a form of meditation, with the added advantage that it's easier to figure out how far you've run and to compare like for like laps than on the road over short distances. Using the track as a member of the public gives me more flexibility than running with the club, it makes me feel like a pro (just for a little while) and I do find I really put the effort in. I'd possibly do even better with the club and maybe I'll get to find out one day. But until then I'm embracing my inner athlete, donning my sunglasses and squeezing in track sessions whenever I can.

Do you use a track, either with a club or on your own? Do you find it useful? Fun? Any tips?


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  2. I've never run on a track before and would feel a little intimidated to run there with others I think. What session did you do when you went there on your own? I like the idea of paying a fee as a member of the public to go ahead and run on it.

    1. I must confess I was a little nervous the first time but the fact it was quiet helped a lot. I did 6x800m repeats, something a track is really handy for! It's definitely nice to know that you can use these facilities without belonging to a club or a leisure centre.