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Change of Pace: 5 Track Workouts That Throw Strength Training Into the Mix

have arguably the world’s best physiques: Their bodies consist of long, sinewy muscles that can propel them around the track at breathtaking speeds. So why do so few people do track workouts? The facilities are readily available (many high schools and middle schools keep their tracks open to the public during evenings and on weekends), and they’re not just for running, either. Most tracks have grassy infields, if not lined football surfaces, that can be used for shuttle runs and exercises that might otherwise be done in the gym.


 



 


in the spring and autumn months or on summer evenings is often more pleasant than enduring another crowded . And unlike your typical long, steady-state jog on a treadmill, running on a track is much more likely to produce improvements in strength and speed. If nothing else, it provides a welcome change of pace from the gym and an opportunity to train outside.


Ready to get started? Here’s a warmup and five workouts you can do on the track and the infield:


5 Track Workouts That Will Get You Out of the Gym


Warmup



  1. Cobra: Lie prone (face down) on the infield grass. Squeeze your glutes (butt cheeks) and bring your shoulder blades back and down. With thumbs pointed up, arms externally rotated, and chin tucked, lift your chest and hold for 2 seconds. Slowly lower to ground and repeat for 10 reps.

  2. Pelvic Tilt: This opens the hips and pelvis, which can become locked down from too much sitting. From a standing position with hands on hips and knees slightly bent, move your hips back and forth, tilting the pelvis. You should feel a stretch in the lower back. Be sure to move from the hips; don’t thrust from the crotch. This also can be done with hands on the small of the back for more of a stretch. Tilt back and forth 10 times.

  3. Knee Hug: Lift your right knee to your chest and grab below that knee with your hands. Pull that knee as close to your chest as you can while contracting your left glute. Repeat on the other side. Do 10 on each side.

  4. Lateral Lunge: Step to the right while keeping your toes pointed straight and feet flat. Squat by sitting back and down onto your right leg; keep your left leg straight and your weight on the right midfoot to heel. While keeping your left leg straight, squat as low as possible and hold this position for 2 seconds. You can return to the starting position or slide out to the next lunge, gradually moving to your right. Do 10 on each side.

  5. Butt Kicks: From an athletic stance, squat slightly as if sitting in a chair. Jump, bringing heels to glutes. Don’t arch the lower back. Land softly in an athletic stance and repeat for 10 reps.



Workout No. 1


Directions: Repeat the exercises below four times for a total of 5 sets, or 30 minutes.



  1. Warmup Run: Two laps around the track at 60 percent effort.

  2. Plank: Hold for 1 minute, rest 30 seconds.

  3. Dips: Repeat for 1 minute, rest 30 seconds (use a bench or bleachers).

  4. Lateral Bounds: Stand balanced on your right leg with your left foot off the ground. Squatting slightly with the right leg, jump laterally to the left. Extend your ankle, knee, and hip and land on the left leg while maintaining your balance. Hold for a three count and then leap back to the other side. The idea is to explode from your hips for maximum height and distance. Do 10 reps per side.

  5. Burpees: Repeat for 1 minute, rest 30 seconds.














Workout No. 2



  1. ½-mile Warmup Run: Complete two laps around the track at 60 percent effort.

  2. Pushups x 20

  3. ¼-mile Run: Complete one lap at 80 to 90 percent effort.

  4. ¼-mile Brisk Walk

  5. Pushups x 20

  6. ¼-mile Run: Complete one lap at 80 to 90 percent effort.

  7. ¼-mile Brisk Walk

  8. Pushups x 20

  9. ½-mile Cooldown Run: Complete two laps around the track at 60 percent effort.


Workout No. 3



  1. ½-mile Warmup Run: Complete two laps around the track at 60 percent effort.

  2. 5-10-5 Drill: A staple of the . Position three cones or other objects in a line on the grass, each 5 yards apart. (If the football field has yard markers, use those instead.) Start at the middle cone or yard marker. Run 5 yards to your right and touch the ground by the cone. Then run 10 yards to your left, touching the ground. Then sprint back to the starting point. Repeat twice with a 30-second rest between sets.

  3. Park Bench Routine: A park bench—or one likely found around the track—is a versatile piece of equipment from which you can do a combination of dips and pushups. If you struggle with pushups on the ground, you’ll find them easier to do on a bench because of the increased angle between you and the ground. Do 12 pushups; then turn around and do 12 dips. For the dips, face away from the bench and grasp the edge of the bench with your hands. Lower your body toward the ground and push up with your triceps. Perform 10 pushups and 10 dips, followed by 8, 6, 4, and 2 of each. Note: Use the lower edge of the bench for dips and pushups if you can. Use the higher edge of the bench for pushups if the lower one is too challenging.

  4. Bleacher Run: Run up and down the bleachers for 5 minutes. No bleachers? Run on the track at 60 percent speed for 5 minutes.

  5. Pushups x 20

  6. Squat Jumps x 10

  7. Bleacher Run

  8. 5-10-5 Drill

  9. Park Bench Routine

  10. ½-mile Cooldown Run: Complete two laps around the track at 60 percent effort.














Workout No. 4


Directions: Repeat the exercises below until you reach 30 minutes total for the workout.



  1. ¼-mile Run: Complete one lap around the track at 60 percent effort. Increase to 80 to 90 percent effort after the first round.

  2. Burpees x 15

  3. Mountain Climbers x 50

  4. ¼-mile Run: Complete one lap around the track at 80 to 90 percent effort.

  5. Pushups x 20


Workout No. 5



  1. 1-mile Warmup Run: Complete four laps around the track.

  2. Run: Run for 4 minutes at 80 to 90 percent effort.

  3. Brisk Walk: Walk for 2 minutes.

  4. Run: Run for 4 minutes.

  5. Brisk Walk: Walk for 2 minutes.

  6. Run: Run for 4 minutes.

  7. Brisk Walk: Walk for 2 minutes.

  8. 1-mile Cooldown Run: Complete four laps around the track at 60 percent effort.


Pete Williams is a NASM-certified personal trainer and the author or co-author of a number of books on performance and training.















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