When I first started running, it was in team sports growing up. Having to “run the track” was for punishment. This is why I loathed the track for quite some time. It took me a while to get into running more as my sport, and I still was not quite warmed up to the thought of running on the track.
Running in circles, seeing the same things over and over and even trying to keep count of how many times I actually went around was hard enough.
Then I started doing speed work on the treadmill. Essentially, a series of sprints varying in distance: a quarter mile (or “one lap”), a half-mile, etc. It was both a mental and physical challenge, but it also made me faster and stronger. The more I did it, the more I loved it. Since the distances were always conveniently split as a track is, I decided to take my love of speed work to the track to see what I could do.
The challenge was invigorating. It was not only a physical game, but also a mental game. I pushed my body and I pushed my mind past what my preconceived notion of my own limits was. In reality, there are no limits to what we can do. With challenges and hard work, the completion of the task was that much more rewarding.
Now I love to go to the track to incorporate my speed work. Sometimes I just need a good burst of energy on the track that I mix in some strength exercises for variety. One of my favorite ways to do this is to run one lap around, do a set of pushups, sit-ups and lunges, and repeat. You can really add in any strength exercise you want! This is perfect for those days where I want to maximize the time I have for working out.
Bottom line: leave it all out on the floor (or track); run with your heart and your legs will follow!