Track and Field Tips

Read these 23 Track and Field Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Track And Field tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What should I bring to a track meet?

Track Meet Day: What to Pack?

All track and field athletes need to take responsibility for their personal equipment needs and bring gear including spikes, gloves, their specific shot put, discus, or javelin. But a few other things are helpful for athletes in any events to have in their bags:
-Band-aids, both small and large, for mid-meet blisters on fingers, toes, or heels
-Toilet paper/Kleenex
-Water bottle/sports beverage of choice
-Energy snack of choice (bars, gels, crackers, etc.)
- Pain reliever (Advil, Tylenol, etc.)
-Warm-up jacket; even on a warm day, sprinters, jumpers, and hurdlers in particular need to stay warm between events

   
Should I wear brand new shoes or try a new energy bar on a competition day?

Don't Try Anything New on Track and Field Meet Day

This tip applies to all track and field athletes. Avoid using, wearing, or eating anything on a race day that you haven't tried in practice. You never know whether that new mango-flavored gel will disagree with you midway through the race or whether going barefoot in the new long jump spikes will cause blisters, and you don't want to find out during a competition. Maybe everything will be fine, but why take a chance? Test snacks, equipment, socks, and shoes in practice first. You don't need anything else to be nervous about.

   
What is the point of warming up and cooling down?

Yes, Running Takes Time

What is the most important part of your track and field workouts? It is the warm up and the cool down. If your muscles aren't ready to do the anaerobic activity you are asking them to do in a workout, they simply don't do it and you'd either get injured, or if you're lucky, just not what you wanted from the workout.

Cool downs help prevent injury and stretch and strengthen your muscle fibers so that over time, you'll recover faster and be able to handle a larger workload.

   
What should I bring to a track meet?

Track Meet Day: What to Pack?

All track and field athletes need to take responsibility for their personal equipment needs and bring gear including spikes, gloves, their specific shot put, discus, or javelin. But a few other things are helpful for athletes in any events to have in their bags:
-Band-aids, both small and large, for mid-meet blisters on fingers, toes, or heels
-Toilet paper/Kleenex
-Water bottle/sports beverage of choice
-Energy snack of choice (bars, gels, crackers, etc.)
- Pain reliever (Advil, Tylenol, etc.)
-Warm-up jacket; even on a warm day, sprinters, jumpers, and hurdlers in particular need to stay warm between events

   
What are some workouts for middle distance runners?

Run

Suggested track and field workouts for middle distance runners:

  • Day 1 - 10 x 300m
  • Day 2 - 30-40 minute run
  • Day 3 - 3 x 500m at 800m race pace
  • Day 4 - 40 minute run
  • Day 5 - 6 x 800m
  • Day 6/7 one day rest, one day 50+ minute run. Finish the long run days with a difficult abdominal workout.

   
What are some workouts for sprinters?

Sprint

Suggested track and field workouts for sprinters:

  • Day 1 - 600, 200, 200, 100, 100 with full recovery
  • Day 2 - 3 sets of 3 x 30m
  • Day 3 - jog and strides
  • Day 4 - 8 x 150m w/2 minutes rest
  • Day 5 - flying 60m
  • Day 6 - jog.

Work on starts out of the block 2 days per week.

   
What are some workouts for 100m/110m hurdlers?

Hurdle High

Suggested track and field workouts for 100m/110m hurdlers (every day preceded by hurlde drills):

  • Day 1 - 3 sets 2 x 6 hurldes
  • Day 2 - running trail legs and running lead legs over 8 hurldes
  • Day 3 - 5 x 4 hurdles, 5 x 3 hurdles, 5 x 1 hurdle
  • Day 4 - 4 x 200m no hurldes
  • Day 5 - 4 x 2 hurdles at 1-step distance, 5 x 4 hurdles at 5-step distance.

   
What can I do to make running more exciting?

Spice It Up

  • Do you ever get bored with plain old running, for miles on end?
  • Do you enjoy running but want to be faster or get in better cardiovascular shape?

Do a few track and field workouts each week, and the difference you'll notice in your muscle tone, strength, stamina, and even metabolism will amaze you. Throw in three track and field workouts per week like these, and you'd be ready to race a 5K in one month.
  1. 5 x 60 seconds with 60-90 seconds of walking or jogging in between each
  2. 6-8 times up a hill 200+ meters
  3. ladder: 200, 300, 400, 500, 350, 250, 150 increasing speed, decreasing rest.

   
What are some workouts for 300m hurdlers?

Hurdle Low

Suggested track and field workouts for 300m hurdlers (each day preceded by hurdle drills):

  • Day 1 - 4 x last 100m with hurdles
  • Day 2 - 200, 300, 400, 300, 200 no hurdles
  • Day 3 - 4 x 150m (first straight away and curve with hurdles)
  • Day 4 - 6 x 200m no hurdles
  • Day 5 - 3 x 800m with hurdles on the straight aways, easy running on the curve.

   
What and when should I weight lift?

Lift

Possible weight lifting plan for high school track and field athletes (the following three days are not consecutive):

  • Day 1 - lat pull downs, seated row, bicep curls, hamstring curls, rubber band resistance exercises, calf raises, sit ups.
  • Day 2 - bench press, leg press, leg extension, tricep extensions, Russian twists with a plate, push ups, lunges.
  • Day 3 (only if over 17 years old) - squats, push jerks, good mornings, military press, box jumps, sit ups.

   
How can I avoid injury?

Be Smart Before Anything Breaks

  • Tough: falling over a hurdle or no-heighting in the high jump.
  • Worse: running too hard in the first mile of a 2-mile race ending in a walk across the finish line.
  • Worst: being injured.

So called “failures” or difficulties can teach and athlete as much or more than winning. Injuries, especially over use or ignored small injuries over time are the hardest issues to deal with when running or coaching track and field.

Getting injured only teaches athletes that being injured is the pits. Teach athletes to learn how to prevent injuries and stay healthy in their lives and in their sports, and they will never have to recover from a lesson not learned soon enough.

   
How do I get the athletes to trust me and the work that I give them?

We're all Human

Coaches make mistakes. It's true, it happens, just try to make as few as possible! Coaching track and field from experience gives you credibility when dealing with your athletes, especially the more talented ones.

However, in order to really become the best and most trust coach, which will in turn help your athletes excel, you need to be a student of your track and field sport, not necessarily the best at it. Learn to be a student of your athletes mentally, physically, and verbally. When you make them the center of your training and racing plans, and not the results, the improvement will take care of itself.

   
Should I wear brand new shoes or try a new energy bar on a competition day?

Don't Try Anything New on Track and Field Meet Day

This tip applies to all track and field athletes. Avoid using, wearing, or eating anything on a race day that you haven't tried in practice. You never know whether that new mango-flavored gel will disagree with you midway through the race or whether going barefoot in the new long jump spikes will cause blisters, and you don't want to find out during a competition. Maybe everything will be fine, but why take a chance? Test snacks, equipment, socks, and shoes in practice first. You don't need anything else to be nervous about.

   
How can I teach my six-year-old breathing techniques? I'd appreciate any other advice on cross country running, too.

Cross Country Training for Younger Children

Most kids naturally love to run. And encouraging exercise is one of the best things a parent can do for their child's long-term health. Where we have to be careful is that our adult enthusiasm can easily turn what was once fun for our kids into work.

Unless your child is specifically looking for guidance on becoming a better runner – and it does happen - six is probably too young to begin “training.” However, it's not too young for you to be there to answer questions when they come up.

A number of all-round training books, such as Patricia G. Avila's “Fitness for Sports and Health,” include some information on breathing techniques. Many yoga books also contain a great deal of information on breathing that you may find helpful.

For more general information on cross country for younger runners, there are a number of books available, such as “Training for Young Distance Runners” by Laurence S. Greene.

If your child is truly interested in running cross country at such a young age, by all means, encourage her or him. Better yet, run with your child… but keep the speed and distance age-appropriate. That is, fairly slow and fairly short.

Learn what you can about the sport, and be ready with answers. But be careful not to volunteer too much advice or set your child's expectations for her. An over-eager parent can inadvertantly quash a child's enthusiasm for an activity.

   
How could I get a scholarship to run college track and field?

Cough It Up

There's money for the taking, If you are a track and field athlete, especially a female, research colleges that have track and field programs, their performance requirements for membership, and whether or not they give scholarships. When you find a few good fits, call the coaches after your junior year in high school.

Many people think that unless a college coach recruits them, they are not good enough for college athletics. That is untrue. College coaches are very busy with their own athletes and cannot spend all of their time recruiting. Give them a hand - they'll appreciate it and you may get a “hand” in return.

   
How can I take better care of myself?

Fitter, Faster, Fantastic!

Your health is not just important to your success as an athlete, it is the number one most important thing you need to be conscious of and work hard at keeping fit. To be “fit” in terms of you health – learn about nutrition and eat 70% of your diet in carbohydrates and most of your protein after working out.

If your team has or can get a nutritionist to talk to athletes, use that resource. Masseurs are expensive, but worth every penny. If your track and field team does not have a masseur, learn how to massage your own self with a foam roller. The health and performance benefits of massages, especially for injury prevention, are innumerable.

   
What are some workouts for pentathletes?

Combine Training

Suggested track and field schedule of event training for the pentathon:

  • Day 1- hurdles then high jump
  • Day 2 - shot put then running training
  • Day 3 - hurdles then long jump
  • Day 4 - high jump then running training
  • Day 5 - hurdles then shot put, then running training
  • Day 6 - shot put then long jump training

Multi-event training should be done in the order that the events are competed in the pentathlon (leave out the events you are not working on that day).

   
How long should I warm up and cool down?

Don't Cut It Short

How long should my warm up and cool down be? Warm up should be twice as long in distance and/or time than your track and field workout. So, if you are running 4 x 800m for your workout, your warm up should be about 2 miles.

For short, sprint, or hurdle workouts, if your workout of 5 x 50m and 3 x 30m with hurdles will take about 20-30 minutes of actual time, your warm up should be about 40 minutes (including drills). Cool down should be no less than 10 minutes of active cool down and another 10 minutes of flexibility exercises or stretching, no matter what your workout was.

   
Do you want to coach?

Can You Do It?

Do you think you have what it takes to be a track and field coach? If you are as flexible as you are dedicated and strong-minded, then coaching track and field could be a great job for you. Coaching track and field at the college or division I level can be a full time job, or could be just afternoon and weekend hours for high school track and field.

You'd be kidding yourself if you thought that was all the time it took, however. When you see the kids and the athletes looking to you for advice, encouragement, and critique, you'll know that coaching track and field becomes a part of you, it grabs your heart and soul, it is not just a job.

   
Could I be a track and field coach?

Get Ready

Coaching track and field isn't easy. It takes as much preparation and hard work from the coach as it does from the athlete. You don't have to have been the best athlete at the even you coach, but you need to know it inside and out in order to allow your athletes to put their trust in your coaching.

   
What are the decathlon and heptathlon?

Conquer the Challenge

What is ultimate track and field challenge? Combine all of the skills and training needed for each event and try the decathlon or the heptathlon. You'll need endurance to compete for several hours each day and in ten or seven events in a row. You'll need to be a jumper, a sprinter, a hurdler, a thrower, fast, in shape, strong, and above all, mentally tough.

The events in the decathlon are the 100m, long jump, shot put, pole vault, 400m, then on the second day, 110m hurdles, javelin, high jump, discus, 1000m. For the women, the heptathlon consists of the 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200m, then for day 2, the long jump, javelin, and 800m. These events are the marathon of track and field.

   
Am I doing myself damage by training for an event that I don't know very well?

Why Would You Do That?

Fix it before it's too late. Practicing poor technique or working out when your body is too mentally or physically run down is as bad as running on a stress fracture. Athletes need rest and recuperation as much as they need good food and sustained training and conditioning to perform.

Stop yourself or your athletes from running, jumping or throwing if technique is wrong – this will only cause an injury down the road. Recognize that sometimes a day off or on the bike or in the pool is more beneficial than a week of well-planned training.

   
What is the record for a 7th grade male in the 800 meter dash?

800m Dash Record

USA Track & Field, the governing body for track & field in the United States, doesn't maintain statistics by grade, but by age group. For younger competitors, the age divisions are maintained in two-year intervals.

According to USATF, the boys "Midget" (ages 10 - 11) record was set on July 26, 2001 by Reginald Warren of Smyrna Georgia. He covered 800m in 2:07.21.

The boy's "Youth" (ages 12 - 13) record is currently held by Cody Harper of Albuquerque, NM. On July 28, 2001, Cody ran 1:56.36 for the distance.

Both records were set in Sacramento, CA, which hosted the 2001 USATF Junior Olympic National Championships.

   
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