Track and field is a popular sport for high school and collegiate athletes and
is also becoming increasingly popular in junior highs and middle schools.
Although track and field has never been as popular as team sports such as
basketball, soccer and football among younger children, high school aged
children and college students it has been around for quite some time and has
always enjoyed a modest following. A track meet may not draw the same types of
crowds which pack the stands for football games but to the athletes who
participate in this sport it is an exciting event. This article will explain the
sport of track and field and will offer some advice for training for some of the
most popular events of the sport.
Track and field usually has two main seasons during the course of the year.
There is usually an indoor season which typically spans late fall and early
winter and an outdoor season which typically spans late spring and early summer.
These two seasons make track and field a sport which is pretty much considered
to be year round for those in school. There is usually some form of track and
field going on pretty much throughout the school year but there is usually not
an opportunity for these athletes to participate during the summer break from
school unless they attend camps designed to help runners and field athletes
improve their performances.
The outdoor track and field season which takes place in the spring and summer
months is usually the most well known of the two seasons. These track meets take
place on outdoor tracks which are typically manufactured of some type of
rubberized material and are usually 400 meters in length. The events which take
place during this season may include races such as the 100 meters, 200 meters,
400 meters, 800 meters, 1500 meters, 4x100 meter relay, 4x400 meter relay and
even the 4x800 meter relay. Additionally, there are usually hurdle events such
as the 100 meter hurdles and the 400 meter hurdles. Other events may be included
but these are some of the most popular events for track runners. These events
are similar to the ones held during the summer Olympics and therefore, most
people are fairly familiar with these types of events. In addition to the
running events included in the outdoor track and field season there is also an
assortment of field events available as well. These may include events such as
shot put, hammer throw, discus, javelin, long jump, high jump and pole vault.
Depending on the setup of the stadium, these events may take place on the
infield of the track or on a separate field apart from the track.
The indoor track season which takes place in the fall and winter months is the
least well known of the two track seasons. These track meets also take place on
an indoor track which is typically manufactured of some type of rubberized
material but they are usually approximately half the size of outdoor tracks.
Because these tracks are smaller, the types of events which are typically
offered vary from the outdoor events. For example the 100 meters is usually
offered outdoors because this distance can be accommodated on the straightaway
portion of an outdoor track. However, the straightaway portion of an indoor
track is much shorter. Therefore, events such as the 50 meter dash or the 55
meter dash are often held as the premier sprint events during an indoor track
meet. Other indoor events are also usually modified to include distances which
are more comfortable on the indoor track which is shorter and includes tighter
The running events in track are typically divided into sprint distance events,
middle distance events and distance events and the training for these different
events can vary considerably. Some of the training components of a running
program may include interval training, distance training and hill training.
Interval training is used to improve speed and develop the fast twitch muscle
fibers. Distance training is used to build endurance and improve cardiovascular
health. Hill training is used to build strength. Each of these components has a
worthwhile place in any training program but the concentration of each component
may vary depending on the runnerís race of choice. For example sprinters
obviously participate in a race which only covers a short distance and requires
explosive speed. Therefore, it is likely that sprinters will do a great deal of
interval training but may not do as much distance training. The distance
training is certainly worthwhile to maintain overall health but is not as
beneficial in terms of performance. Sprinters may also do hill work to build
strength. Distance runners participate in races which require a great deal of
endurance. As a result these runners should focus primarily on distance training
but their training would be incomplete without some interval training as well.
Incorporating this type of training can help the runner to improve his overall
speed and can give him the power he needs to increase the speed during the race
when necessary to either win the race or overcome an opponent.
The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.