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  • Getting Started In Track and Field

    Posted on October 3rd, 2012 Patricia No comments

    Here are some tips for getting yourself started in this exciting, rewarding sport. When I stop to trace my steps in the sport of track and field, the first picture that comes to mind is of myself as a young child running pell mell through the woods (or a meadow or at the beach or wherever I happened to be at the time), jumping over logs, racing against the wind just for the sake of feeling my body exert itself, propelling itself forward.

    I can still recall the exhilaration I felt whenever I let myself run full tilt. I would pretend I was the fastest track athlete in the world, flying through the air, leaping with no thought for landing style or grace. I raced the wind. I was the wind.

    Now, I’m much slower, and I’m usually pushing my two children in a running stroller, but the thoughts of breathtaking speed are still there. One of my greatest hopes is that my children will develop the same passion for track and field that I once held and still harbor somewhere in my aging body. In fact, as I was researching the Masters Track and I realized that, while I may not run quite so impetuously as I did when I was a child, I could still manage to compete in my current age group. The question is how to accomplish this without taking too much time away from the other aspects of my life such as motherhood, work, my marriage, etc.

    To answer this, I’ve devised a simple formula of sorts that I’d like to share with you. Revise it as necessary to fit your life. To begin, I realized that I might need some support and encouragement to achieve my goal, so my first step was to discuss my plan with my husband and family. After all, I would need help not only with childcare while I’m training, but every so often I might need someone to jumpstart my motivation if I’m having a less-than-energetic day. This support can take many forms; so don’t limit yourself to my solution.

    Next, I came up with a concrete goal: to run more races. I plan to start with the shorter races such as the 5K and 10K. Once I feel comfortable with those and am in better shape, I will try a half-marathon and then the big one, the marathon. Since the big one is still several months ahead of me, I will concentrate on the first part of this goal.

    To do this, I need to determine what kind of shape I am in currently. Because I try to run five days a week for anywhere from three to eight miles per run, I figure that I am in decent shape and ought to be able to handle a short race. So, I will choose my race, preferably one that is local and occurring within two to three weeks. There are many different places that I could check to find a race.

    Good suggestions include: a local specialty running shoe store (such as Fleet Feet), the Parks and Recreation office in my city, the Chamber of Commerce, a current edition of Runner’s World Magazine, or a local running club.

    While my current running schedule is sufficient for fun runs, should I decide to compete more seriously in races or other track and field events, there are a variety of places to find training tips and coaching. Many of these are easily accessed online. Check out the featured links on this Web site for some suggestions. And, good luck. May your feet be swift and may you feel like a child again.

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