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Sports Blog 2: Track and Field

Track and field is a sport that dates back to 776 B.C. and has been continuously around for thousands of years. Track and field did not become popular in the United States until the late 1860s, when it was still considered a purely amateur activity. It wasn’t until the 1920s that it was finally recognized by the NCAA.

Track and field consist of running, jumping, and throwing. Athletes are at a heightened risk of injury due to the sport’s high level of competition if proper measures are not taken or if they receive insufficient training. Track and field events are separated into three categories: track events, field events, and combination events. Sprints, middle-distance, long-distance, hurdles, and relays are all track events; jumps and throws are field events; while pentathlon, heptathlon, and decathlon are combined events. Track and field events are usually held in stadiums outside. The outer running track and the field within the track are typical characteristics of a track and field stadium.

track sprint runners

BODY FORM:

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NORMAL RUNNERS

Males run at an average pace of 8 miles per hour, while females run at a speed of 6.5 miles per hour. People who are running for their life rather than for fun can run at a speed of 12 miles per hour. Athletes and gym goers are typically speedier than the ordinary individual, running at speeds of 14 to 17 mph.

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ELITE RUNNERS

A high VO2 MAX capability is one of three inborn physiological features that distinguishes elite distance runners from fitness and recreational runners. This gives importance to excellent movement efficiency and the capacity to run large distances while remaining anaerobic.

FUNDAMENTAL OF GOOD RUNNING:

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-Avoid looking down at your feet.
-Look straight ahead of you, about 30 to 40 meters out in front.
-Keep your jaw and neck relaxed.

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-Your shoulders should be back and down.
-Keep them relaxed and avoid tensing them up.
-Don’t hunch over as this restricts breathing, allowing less oxygen to get to the muscles.

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-Your hands should be relaxed, but don’t let them flop.
-Tight hands can cause tension all the way up to the back and shoulders.

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-Your arms should be bent and positioned at a 90-degree angle.
-Swing them forward and back, but not across your body.

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-The arm movement helps to propel you forward, so swinging them sideways could be a waste of energy.
-Using your body weight to lean forward a bit while running can reduce heel strike and help you land on the middle of your foot.

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-Your hips should remain stable and forward-facing.
-Don’t stick your bottom out or rock your hips from side to side.
-Keeping this position in your hips can help prevent low back and hip pain.

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-Land with a slight bend in the knee.
-Don’t lift your knees too high and avoid bouncing up and down.
-Your knees should be lifting forward rather than upward.

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-Landing on the middle foot is the safest way to land for most recreational runners.
-Avoid striking the ground with your heel or your forefoot first to avoid any injuries.

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-Aim for a short light step.
-Good running is light and quiet.
-Whatever your weight, your feet should not strike loudly as they hit on the ground.
-Light steps are more efficient and cause less stress to the body.

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-Breathe deeply and rhythmically through your mouth or nose for better endurance.
-Avoid swallowing and quick breaths.
-Try to aim for one breath for every two strides, but don’t be afraid to try longer breathing.

The Common Injuries in Track and Field

  1. Runner’s knee is a condition that affects runners. An overuse injury is a common occurrence. There are various causes of runner’s knee. When your kneecap is out of alignment, it is possible for this to happen frequently.

The cartilage in your kneecap might wear out over time. With this, you may experience pain around the kneecap, especially in activities that involve:

• Climbing or descending stairs

• Squatting 

• Long periods of sitting with the knee bent

  1. A stress fracture is a form of fracture that develops when there is a minor break in the bone, which causes a painful and unpleasant sensation. The shins and feet of runners are most frequently affected. A common culprit is working too hard before your body adjusts to a new activity and performing strenuous activities could make the pain much worse, while rest makes it better. Rest is highly crucial, as continuing stress on the bone might result in a more serious injury and a lengthy recovery time.

3. Shin splints are a type of splint that causes discomfort and occurs along the shin bone in the front or inside of the lower leg (Tibia). Shin splints are prevalent when you change your routine too rapidly, such as increasing the amount of days you run or running larger distances. Pain wise, they can be hard to distinguish from a stress fracture of the shin, however the pain is usually more spread out along the bone. 

Trivia: It is said that people with flat feet are more likely to develop shin splints.

Some treatments for this injury include:

  • Rest
  • Stretching exercises
  • Slow return to activity after several weeks of healing and avoid abrupt switch of exercises 

4. Achilles tendinopathy is a condition that affects the Achilles tendon. Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, formerly known as tendinitis, which is the big tendon that connects the back of the heel to the calf.

Achilles tendinitis produces discomfort and stiffness in the tendon area, especially in the morning and when the person is active. Repetitive stress to the tendon is the most common cause. This might be further caused by adding too much distance to your jogging program, as calf muscles that are too tight can also be a factor.

The following are a list of treatments:

• Rest

• Applying ice to the affected area

• Stretching the calf muscles before performing exercises/activities 

5. Pull on the muscles. This is a muscle strain which causes a little tear in your muscle area. Overstretching a muscle is also a common reason for this injury. When you pull a muscle, the muscle tears and you may feel a popping feeling/sensation within this area.

For remedy, this treatment includes R.I.C.E., otherwise known as Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Muscle pull commonly affects these muscles areas:

  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Calf
  • Groin

Tips to Prevent Running Injuries

  Many common running injuries can be avoided by taking a few safety measures and planning ahead of time. Here are some helpful hints for avoiding such injuries:

  • Pay attention to your body and don’t dismiss any suffering you feel. It is normal to feel a little sore, however, if you feel persistent discomfort in a muscle or joint that does not improve with rest, it is advised to visit your doctor.
  • Make a running plan: Consult a trainer before starting a running routine. A personal trainer can assist you in developing a running program that is tailored to your current fitness level and long-term objectives, goals, and needs.
  • Warm-up and stretching: Inadequate stretching is the cause of many injuries. Stretch your muscles thoroughly before and after you run, especially your calf, hamstrings, groin, and quads. Also, warm up for five minutes prior — by walking, for example — before you start stretching. Stretching cold muscles may cause potential injuries.
  • Strengthen your body by including weight training and ab movements in your workout. Muscles are then strengthened and core strength is developed as a result of this.
  • Cross-train: Change up your workout program. Don’t just sprint. Swim, bike, play tennis, or do other engaging activities. This helps prevent overuse injuries, which are more likely when you repeat the same activity over and over again.
  • Wear clothing that is lightweight, breathable, and wicks sweat away from your skin and layer your clothing. Wear a hat to shield yourself from the sun and changing weather.
  • Wear socks that fit properly and shoes that provide adequate support. Keep in mind that running shoes are designed to last a particular amount of time. If the soles of your running shoes have become thin or tilted, it is time to replace them.
  • Run wisely: Run on a flat, smooth surface and avoid steep hills until your body gets used to this type of activity.
  • Be safe: Run during the day, in well-lit areas, or use a light so that you can be seen within dark/dimmed places. Carry a cell phone and identification with you at all times. Set the volume on your headphones low enough to hear automobiles and other noises if you’re jogging with them. When you have the opportunity, run with a companion.
  • Stay hydrated: On days when you run, drink an extra 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 glasses of water. Always remember that hydration keeps the body working!

 

Strength and Conditioning for Track and Field

Core Stability Circuit

  • Whether your event involves running, jumping, or throwing, your core will undoubtedly be involved, and strengthening your core will aid you in your goal to run faster, jump higher, and throw farther. Coach Graham’s core stability circuit can be performed as part of your normal core training program or before speed and power sessions.

Plyometric Training

  • Plyometric training is described as an exercise that improves the body’s ability to generate force by stretching muscular tissue. Jumping exercises are the most common, although many other types of training, such as sprinting and throwing routines, contain a significant plyometric component.

Kettlebells for Strength Endurance

  • Most sporting events revolve around your ability to create explosive movements over an extended period of time. This athletic quality is known as power-endurance. Training for power-endurance can be absolutely grueling.

Medicine Ball Exercises for Strength and Power

  • All track and field athletes, whether participating in sprints, jumps, throws, or endurance events, need speed, strength, and power to succeed. Medicine ball based exercises are a fun and participatory technique that all athletes appreciate.

To discover more sports fit for your needs and interests, reach out to info@holifit.ph in guiding you through the start of your fitness journey. 

Photo Credits from: https://amp.rappler.com/sports/by-sport/other-sports/263091-philippine-athletics-to-return-under-new-rules

References:

Common Running Injuries: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment. (2012, April 5). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/running-injuries-causes-prevention-treatment

Strength and Conditioning Articles. (2013, March 19). Complete Track and Field. https://www.completetrackandfield.com/strength-conditioning/

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