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Developing the ideal surface for sprint training

 

posted by Focused on November 18, 2010 @ 10:30 am in SPORTS

How much has training on grass tracks helped Jamaican sprinters in developing their speed over the years? While the extent to which it has is hard to quantify, I believe that training on a grass track during their formative years has played a positive role in the grooming of Jamaican sprinters. Why ?

 

When one trains on grass, running on a hard surface such as a Tartan track (made out of polyurethane) can result in running faster times than when one trains on a hard surface. The fact that grass is a soft surface provides resistance to the leg muscles, strengthening them in the process. It is similar to when people practice playing football on a sandy beach. When they switch to playing on grass, movement becomes faster as the surface provides less resistance than sand. What are other benefits for sprinters who train on grass ?

 

Since it is a relatively soft surface, grass has a less violent impact on athletes’ joints than the Tartan track. This is very significant as anything that provides a gentler impact on the joints aligns itself with a philosophy of injury prevention. Fewer injuries and healthier joints mean longevity for an athlete. Longevity equals more opportunities to perform at the highest level and, of course, higher chances of making more money. What about the disadvantages of training on a grass track?

 

A drawback that comes to mind is the fact that it is very difficult to practice running technique on a grass track when it rains heavily. Grass drainage is a slow process. When it rains for an extended period of time, an athlete who relies on a grass track is left with 2 options: wait for it to dry or train on a mud track. Needless to say, the training cycle is disrupted. So what would the ideal solution be?

 

Most professional sprinters train on Tartan tracks. Yes, this enables them to run faster during training but it also gives their joints a pounding. I believe that it would be more beneficial for them to train on a surface that represents a compromise between the softness of grass and the hard Tartan track. Virtually anything can be achieved with technology today so developing that type of track should be achieved easily.

 

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Tags : jamaica, track, sprint, athletics, grass, track & field, surface, running
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