Friday, May 7, 2010

At the Track

Last weekend I tried out a new locale for training walks - the track at the local high school. Dave and I went over together on Sunday morning, he was planning to run, and I was looking for an easy, flat walk.

I did notice a few things that are different (in a not-so-good way) than walking in the neighborhood:
  • the track is ever-so-slightly banked on the curves. This means that one foot steps slightly lower than the other, putting a strange and uncomfortable stress on one shin, knee and hip. To accomodate this, I walked counter-clock-wise for half the time, and clock-wise the other half of the time.
  • there are other folks using the track for their morning runs too. And because you're just walking in circles, you sometimes either pass them or they pass you. If you're not careful, you can end up feeling like you're competing against them, and that can become a stressor or a motivator, depending on your outlook.
  • The sun beats down on the track and the bleachers block the wind - making the track feel much hotter than the neighborhood
  • There is not much to look at, and the laps can blur from one to the next. Keeping count of your laps can be tricky if you're not paying attention.
On the other hand, there are other kinds of differences (in a kind of good way):
  • It's easy to challenge yourself to improve. Every second or third lap you can pick a faster pace, and treat it as a sprint. By repeating this pattern, you can really boost your heart rate, and if you do this often, you can boost your fitness levels.
  • It's easy to zone out and really just let your mind empty of all your worries and your stress. You can get into a groove and just walk. Without any curbs, obstacles, or traffic you can focus on just your movements and your breathing. It can be very relaxing and zen-like.
  • You certainly don't have to worry about whether you've accurately counted your mileage!
All in all, things worked out great. I will definitely be back to the track. As you go through your training for your 3-day, I really recommend that you find a local track and use it as part of your training regimine. Good luck!

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