How Often Should A Track & Field Athlete Train?
Whether you’re a seasoned track and field athlete or just starting out, it’s crucial to establish a routine training schedule and stick to it. But how often should you train for track and field? And what kinds of workouts should you do?
This post will answer those questions and help you create an effective training program.
The Basics of Track and Field Training
Training for track and field is relatively straightforward. After all, it’s just you against the clock. There aren’t any other competitors to worry about. You can train alone or with a coach, but you’ll be doing some interval training at one point. Interval training is generally regarded as one of the best ways to improve endurance and speed.
Most track and field workouts consist of short intervals (100m, 200m) followed by a break. These intervals can vary in length, but the total number stays the same for each interval. For example, you might take 3 minutes of rest after running 100m three times before moving on to the next set of intervals.
Training for track and field isn’t just about running, either. You’ll also be doing a weightlifting routine to build your strength and increase your lean muscle mass. Keep in mind that this post is mostly about how often you should train for track and field, including sprinting and jumping events! Track and field are filled with different races, so you’ll need to adjust your workout schedule accordingly.
How Often Should You Run?
Since track and field are mostly about running, knowing how often you should run for workouts is important. Let’s start with the basics. The number of interval training sessions you do mainly depends on your goals. Novice runners should stick to just one interval workout per week. At the same time, more experienced athletes can perform multiple workouts per week.
If you’re a novice runner, you should complete each interval workout with two sessions of steady-state running and at least 1-2 days of recovery time between workouts. Of course, it’s always important to listen to your body and take extra recovery time if you need it.
Interval workouts are designed to be intense, so they should consist of either 200m or 400m intervals. You don’t want to perform longer intervals because the added rest time will hinder your training efforts. These sessions should build endurance and speed with all track and field training.
Interval workouts should only last about 20 minutes, with a 5-minute warm-up and cool-down session before and after each workout. Don’t worry; they’re not as bad as they sound, and you’ll be done in no time.
Now for the rest of your track and field workouts. Again, most running workouts for this type of event consist of short sprints followed by a recovery period and then another set of shorter intervals (100m). You might do 4-6 sets per workout with various amounts of recovery time in between each set.
For novice runners, every other workout should consist of a 2-4 mile run, while more experienced athletes can complete up to 6 miles per workout. Whether you’re a novice or advanced athlete, track and field training should only last about 45 minutes to one hour at a time.
Be sure to add in some other exercises, such as resistance training and/or weightlifting, because this will help improve your overall fitness level.
How Often Should You Lift Weights?
As with any type of exercise, weightlifting is integral to track and field training. The extra strength gained from lifting weights will make it easier to complete the short intervals at very high speeds.
While you don’t want to lift too heavy of weights or perform long sets, you’ll still want to stick with a good weightlifting routine that includes the following exercises:
Bench Press: This is one of athletes’ best upper body workouts. You only need to bench press as part of your track and field training twice per week at most. In fact, even your lower body workouts should be limited to just two days per week.
Bicep Curls: Again, you shouldn’t do too many sets of these and should keep your workouts limited to one or two times per week at the most.
Squats: You can also do squats twice a week, but no more than that! They’re great for your legs and overall strength, but remember to stick with low-weight and high-rep sets.
How Much Rest Time Do You Need?
Rest is just as important as any workout or training session, so be sure to allow yourself at least one day of rest per week. If you’re a novice runner, you should also take an extra day of rest for every interval workout you complete.
Advanced athletes can get by working out multiple times per week. Still, they should also take an extra day of rest for every two interval workouts they complete.
Essential Tips for Track and Field Training
Get Enough Sleep: While you may think it’s possible to get by with just four or five hours of sleep each night, you should really be aiming for at least six hours per night (or even seven if you can manage it).
Limit Your Workouts To One Hour at Most: This is especially important for novice runners who should be completed no more than two workouts per week. On the opposite end of the spectrum, advanced runners should only complete one interval workout and one run per week.
Eat a Healthy Diet: Track and field training isn’t just about exercise; your overall diet plays a vital role in how well your body responds to your workouts. You should eat plenty of vegetables and fruits and avoid sugary and fatty foods as much as possible.
Drink Enough Water: No matter how old you are or what type of workout routine you follow, you must drink plenty of water before, during, and after each workout session. In fact, many athletes find it helpful to keep a bottle of water with them throughout the day and sip from it whenever they feel thirsty.
Training for track and field can be grueling, but finding a balance that works for you is important. If you train too often, you risk injury; if you don’t train enough, you won’t improve.
The key is to listen to your body and find a training schedule that allows you to recover between workouts. With proper rest and recovery, you’ll be able to perform your best on race day.