Indoor track running

Last Friday, at the end of my "feeling knackered week", my new club organised a session at the indoor track at English Institute of Sport - Sheffield.

I went along out of curiosity more than anything else, but was keen to have a run round a track to compare it to road running.

There was a disappointing turn-out from the organisers point of view - only 6 people ran, although a few others turned up to watch or help out. However, it made it fun for those of us who did run as we weren't hanging about waiting for a chance to run.

The indoor track at EIS is a 200m loop (I assume that's standard for indoor tracks because of the size of stadium needed for anything much bigger), but the wierd thing is that it is banked on the bends at the ends - similar to a velodrome, but they tend to be banked slightly on the straights too, which this is not. What this means is that the outer lanes are actually quite steeply sloped around the bends, which is wierd to run on. An additional quirk is that because the straights are flat, there is actually a hill up to the bend and down onto the straight for those running in the outer lanes. I think this makes it more difficult, although I confess to not noticing it when racing - even in lane 6.

In the end, we did one race of each of 200m, 400m and 800m. I managed a respectable (I thought) 2nd, 3rd and 3rd (out of 5 each time), although I must confess that the guys behind me were a little older ;) My times were:

  1. 200m - 31.7s
  2. 400m - 1m 12s
  3. 800m - 2m 44s
Nothing world shattering about them, but at least now I have times for these distances (albeit indoors).

The indoor track environment is certainly radically different to road running - there's no wind and the track is much more cushioned than the road, yet not as soft as grass. The air in the arena is also much drier, making me a little wheezy afterwards. However, I enjoyed it a lot and it has encouraged me make an effort to attend outdoor speedwork sessions at a local track too.

One slight downside to the indoor run is that I had aches in all sorts of wierd places on my legs over the weekend. However, worst was that my hamstrings were very tight (even after stretching) so that put paid to any idea of a decent run on Sunday - which I was kinda thankful about anyway.

If you enjoy running, I'd heartily recommend you try an indoor track if you can - preferably with some fellow runners to test you - it is hard, but also rewarding too.

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