Exercise! - Track running

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02-24-2008, 02:18 AM
So, I am new to distance running (did track in HS), and am trying to work in some intensity into my three and five miles. Right now I am doing them on the treadmill and an indoor track (due to nasty weather), and so in order to simulate "normal" running conditions I keep my treadmill at at least 1% or higher incline. Does anyone know if running on the track is considered significantly easier than trails or road running? If so, any suggestions for how to up the intensity on a track to compensate?

02-24-2008, 10:32 AM
Hi freshman15! When you say "significantly easier," I assume you are referring to the amount of effort expended on the various surfaces. One would assume that even the flattest of outdoor roads isn't as consistently flat as the track you're running on indoors. With that being said, the roads on which I run are pretty level, so there's not as big a difference in track-running versus road-running for me. You might try using this "HIIT" (high-intensity interval training) everyone is talking about these days, a description of which can be found in the exercise forum here. Essentially, switching up your pace during your run, as opposed to running at a constant speed, is a great means of upping your intensity.
Another idea: do you do any weight training? If you work out in a gym where the treadmill is near the weights, try running full speed for a certain distance, then immediately moving over to do a set of weights, all the while keeping your heart rate up (while not sacrificing form). You know, like circuit training. Then hop back on the treadmill, etc. My trainer has me do this and I am worn out at the end of my session. Of course, the trick is to ensure your gym isn't so crowded as to have your treadmill stolen while you're gone for 90 seconds...:)

02-24-2008, 02:57 PM
You might find some more advanced runner workouts at the cool running website. Or make up your own variations. I've been having fun once a week with 1 minute of running faster than my normal pace, then back to my normal slow jog for 2 minutes, and repeating that 10 times, once warmed up, of course. It's a much harder workout for me than my normal slow/steady pace jogging routine, though I'm sticking with steady pace the rest of the week.


02-24-2008, 03:32 PM
If you mean because you are indoors? No, there is no inherent difference between track running and street/trail running. Different surfaces give you different energy return and also different injury return. The lack of hills makes track running a little easier, but in general you compensate by trying to maintain a similar perceived effort

02-24-2008, 03:53 PM
Going from treadmill to outside track was definitely harder for me. Running on trails is more challenging because of the topography, but a lot less boring than the track, which makes running on trails significantly easier for me. HIIT is always a good idea, IMHO.

02-29-2008, 08:24 PM
Thanks for all the advice. I did a HIIT run today, and it made the 30 minutes go by MUCH faster. It also made the guy I run with cringe everytime we upped the speed. The look on his face alone would have made it worth it. Thanks again!