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Street vs. Track Running

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  • Street vs. Track Running

    I can't stand running on a track so I always run on the sidewalk. I had a friend warn me that this isn't the same as track running. He suggested that I mix it up and make sure I get some track time in. My question is, how often should I be running on a track? Are there other ups and downs I'm not mentioning?

  • #2
    Running on the sidewalk is about the worst place you can run. It's the hardest surface and therefore is hardest on your joints and shins. Now I don't know what type of track you run on, whether it's dirt or rubber, but either of those is better for you than concrete.

    The positive thing about a track is that it's designed for running, and therefore is pretty easy on your joints and you don't have to worry about cars or potholes. Downside is that it's pretty boring. I wouldn't say there's a certain amount of time you have to run on the track. It's like asking how many times a week you should eat brussels sprouts instead of carrots.

    Running a track is excellent for timing yourself and knowing the precise distances you've run. But it's not very challenging or interesting.

    I'd suggest running dirt trails and the like. The dirt is easier on your knees, and the hills will make you a stronger runner. Of course, then you have to deal with poison oak, mud and a higher chance of injury.

    If you insist on doing roadwork, run on asphalt as much as practical.

    You don't mention why you're running? Are you training for a marathon, trying to improve your cardio, lose weight? Cuz there are a lot of other ways to get in shape that are easier on the body than running. And this is from someone who loves to run.
    *Not a cop*

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    • #3
      I drive the route that I run to measure the distance and try to run on the grass as much as possible. I hate the track, it is so darn boring
      "Respect for religion must be reestablished. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of public officials must be curtailed. Assistance to foreign lands must be stopped or we shall bankrupt ourselves. The people should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence." - Cicero, 60 B.C.

      For California police academy notes go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CABasicPolice/

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      • #4
        I absolutely *hate* running on the track. For some reason, it seems to be twice as difficult as running around town. I can bust out a 20 minute 2.5 mile run around town, but as soon as I hit the track I can barely manage 1.5 miles in 12 minutes. I hope it's just a mental thing, and the fact that when I run on the track it's sometimes over 100 degrees outside. I try to mix it up anyways because I'm sure when I start testing, they'll use a track.

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        • #5
          I agree that running on a track sucks! It is so frickin' monotonous. The only thing worse than a track is the treadmill. I also notice more pain from my left knee when running on the track. I swear running on the side walk doesn't bother me as much and it is definitely more motivating to see a change of scenery. I think a really good pair of cushioned running shoes also helps a lot.

          Most of the academies that I know of use the track for evaluating the PAT at the beginning, middle and end of the school and usually mix up the running during class between asphault, grass and the track.

          I run at the track probably two or three times a month just to check my times but other than that it's streets and sidewalks for me. Running in a straight line is more enjoyable.

          Just my two cents.
          Be a leader, not a follower

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          • #6
            Foot Pain

            My partner and I run on the access road surrounding the building (it's off the sidewalk, much safer than the street, and we don't get in anyone's way). We measured it to the 1.5 mile mark so we can time ourselves. The only problem for me is that I'm having a lot of foot pain--bottom of my feet. I have good running shoes, etc but I'm finding that the next day after we run (5 nights per week) that the soles of my feet hurt like someone beat them with a bat or something from the heels to the balls of my feet. I take a break on weekends to let them recover, but they remain sore and then I'm back to running on Mon-Fri again. Anyone know what the deal is with this? I realize the road (asphalt) is harder than running on a track, but we have no access to a track, so we're stuck with what we have. I'm wondering if the foot pain is something that will work itself out over time like shin splints (after a while the pain went away and they don't bother me anymore)? Will seeing a podiatrist help?
            Last edited by ArcLight; 07-27-2005, 12:41 PM.
            "... They think I'm crazy... But I know better... It is not I who am crazy... It is I who am MAD!... Didn't you hear 'em? Didn't you see the crowds?!! Oh my beloved ice cream bar... How I love to lick your creamy center... And your oh-so-nutty chocolate covering... You're not like the others... You like the same things I do... Wax paper... Boiled football leather... Dog breath... WE'RE NOT HITCHHIKING ANYMORE... WE'RE RIDING...

            --Ren Hoek, Space Madness

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            • #7
              Music helps me on the track... get a small mp3 player. They're getting cheaper and cheaper every day.

              Without music, monotony sets in pretty fast for me.
              All Gave Some - Some Gave All

              {"data-align":"none","data-size":"custom","data-tempid":"temp_14312_1475388990098_890","height":"65","title":"flower.gif","width":"72"}

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              • #8
                ArcLight

                Sound like plantar fasciitis. I had it a few years back when I was running in races. It was pretty tough in the morning, but eventually it went away through the day. There are some articles in www.runnersworld.com that help identifying it and what can be done to remedy it. Good luck.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Merrimacke
                  Sound like plantar fasciitis.
                  That would be my guess also. Here's the actual page (leading from the link that Merrimacke posted): http://www.runnersworld.com/article/...0-6710,00.html

                  Here's another link re: the same issue (scroll about half way down the page): http://www.drpribut.com/sports/sportframe.html

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by trpr2b
                    I also notice more pain from my left knee when running on the track.

                    I bet your always running in one direction on the track and always turing left. Try changing directions constantly.

                    I live the metro parks so when I want a change I can hit the improved and rough trails. Hills, scenery, everything.

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                    • #11
                      I am running for the sole reason that I need to lower my 1.5 mile time. However, I have been quite suprised that I am enjoying and looking forward to my runs.

                      I have noticed sidewalk problems. Last night when I finished running it felt like I had twisted one of my ankles. I think it's from the angle of the sidewalk going through a driveway. I guess I'll try sticking to asphalt. There's not much around here for dirt trails. I have a nice track close by, but I find it's too easy to stop when I get tired instead of pushing through it. At least when I'm running through town I still have to get home if I can't run.

                      I have actually been impressing myself. I am still working on distance rather than speed. But, I'm doing much better than I ever have thought possible. I guess kicking that pack and half a day habit last year was really worth it.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks Merrimacke and krj

                        Merrimacke and krj, thanks for the info. Those are exactly the symptoms I have. I've made an appt. with a podiatrist to get it looked at and treated to avoid any further stress/strain and try to steer clear of developing heel spurs. Since we live on our feet in this business I want to be sure I do everything I can to keep things in check. Thanks again.
                        "... They think I'm crazy... But I know better... It is not I who am crazy... It is I who am MAD!... Didn't you hear 'em? Didn't you see the crowds?!! Oh my beloved ice cream bar... How I love to lick your creamy center... And your oh-so-nutty chocolate covering... You're not like the others... You like the same things I do... Wax paper... Boiled football leather... Dog breath... WE'RE NOT HITCHHIKING ANYMORE... WE'RE RIDING...

                        --Ren Hoek, Space Madness

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JRT6
                          I bet your always running in one direction on the track and always turing left. Try changing directions constantly.

                          I live the metro parks so when I want a change I can hit the improved and rough trails. Hills, scenery, everything.
                          You mean you can run the opposite way on the track? Just kidding, Just kidding. You know in Nascar they only go one way..Fast and turn left. He. He.

                          On a more serious note....I definitely envy you on have the trails to run. When I was on vacation in Florida they had a 4 mile jogging trail and it was GREAT!
                          Be a leader, not a follower

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                          • #14
                            My advice to you is to mix it up. Run on different surfaces and grade levels. It will best prepare you. Because how many times are you going to run after a suspect on a track. Before you start running again check out any injuries you may have first with a doctor.

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                            • #15
                              I personally hate to run on a track, theres nothing interesting about running around in circles.. I choose to run streets, hiking trails etc.. Ive found that a good pair of running shoes can make a world of difference when running on any surface thats not a track or treadmill.

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