A Good Training Schedule for Track
The “track” portion of the sport of track and field refers to events held on a running track. This typically includes sprints, hurdle events, relays and long-distance races of up to 10,000 meters. To run your best during the season, you ideally should train year-round. But your training schedule should change periodically, based in large part on the proximity of the season’s start, or the next meet.
Stay in Shape in the Off-Season
Off-season workouts begin after your track season ends and may extend for six to 12 weeks, depending on the length of your seasons. This period focuses on improving your strength and overall fitness level. Work out four days per week -- such as Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays -- with Wednesday and at least one weekend day for active recovery, which involves light exercise such as jogging, or alternative training like moderate-intensity bike riding or swimming. On Mondays and Thursdays do agility exercises, from running drills, functional strength training -- such as medicine ball work -- and short sprints for sprinters and hurdlers, or longer runs of up to 1,600 meters for distance runners. Perform sport-specific drills -- such as block starts or hurdles drills -- on Tuesdays and Fridays, along with an extended stretching session.
Get Ready During the Pre-Season
The approximately eight to 12 weeks before your first meet of the season is the pre-season training period. You’ll do more event-specific work during this period to prepare you for competition. Follow the same weekly schedule as you did in the off-season, but perform more drills targeted to your specific event, such as starting-block and finishing-line drills for sprinters and hurdlers. Hurdlers can also perform hurdle clearance and stride pattern drills, relay runners can practice baton exchanges and distance runners should do form drills. Sprinters and hurdlers should also do sprint intervals. Distance runners can alternate sprint intervals on one day and longer endurance runs the next. Add a strength-training session -- such as a weight circuit -- on Mondays, at the end of your workout.
Work Around Your Meets
Your in-season training must accommodate your meet schedule. If you compete every Saturday, for example, you’ll do no training on Sundays and Mondays, full workouts with form drills and plenty of stretching on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, a light active-recovery workout on Thursdays, and possibly some light jogging or flexibility work on Fridays. Adjust your workout schedule accordingly if you have meets on different days.
Warm Up and Cool Down
No matter what type of workout you perform, or when you perform the work, warm up before you begin. Perform at least 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise, such as moderate jogging or skipping. When your muscles are warm, do some dynamic stretching, such as leg and arm swings. Conclude the warm-up with medium-intensity sprinting or high-knee drills as you transition to your main workout. After your workout, cool down with some moderate running or jogging and then a static stretching session for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Track and Field Coach: Periodization Plan
- Sports Illustrated: Track -- Championship Running; Mel Rosen and Karen Rosen
- So You Want to Be a Sprinter; Bud Winter
- Track and Field Coach: The Warmup
- Track and Field Coach: Rest, Recovery and Regeneration
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.