Track Season Begins!

Below you will find information about our Spring 2015 Track & Field program.  As always, feel free to email me at harriersxc@gmail.com with any questions.

Summary of the Track Season

  • The track season will run from early February to mid-May.  As with cross country, all practices and meets are totally optional and voluntary.
  • There are no dues for the track season – you just pay me at the meet for their runner’s registration fee.  Most youth track meets are around $12 per athlete (regardless of how many events he or she runs in).
  • Track meets are really fun, and give the kids the opportunity to take on new challenges.  In general, our training will be focused on the distance and mid-distance events: 3000 meters (almost two miles), 1500 meters (almost a mile) and 800 meters (half mile).  But that being said, there are many other events offered, and the kids are welcome to try any distance or field event that they find interesting.  Last year we had kids run 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, and even some of the hurdle events!  There are also opportunities to long jump, high jump and throw (shotput, discus, turbo javelin), and I’d like to field a relay team at some point.  The only restriction is on the number of events – kids born in 2002 or earlier can do four events, but the younger kids can only do three.
  • Track meets can also be very long.  At most meets we will probably plan on doing a full slate of events, but we may pick a couple where we try to “front load” our events to the first half of the program.

Schedule

  • Attached is the tentative schedule for each weekend of the track season.  This is very tentative – as you’ll see, some of the meet dates haven’t even been finalized yet – but it will give you a sense of how the season will progress.  In general, the season is broken up like this:

Pre-Season (Before February 7).  For now, we’re just goofing around and occasionally getting together.

Base Training (February 7 to March 21).  In this phase, we will begin formal practices (discussed below), and focus on building a base of aerobic strength – a fancy way of saying, “we’re going to get back into shape.”  There won’t really be any track meets during this phase, but we will try to run some local 5Ks, which will be a great foundation for the shorter, faster races in April.  Again, this is all tentative, so don’t sign up for any of these 5Ks until you hear more from me as we get closer to those dates.

Racing Season (March 28 to May 16).  As you’ll see on the calendar, this is when all of the races are.  During this period, we will replace our Saturday practice with a Saturday meet, and begin to focus more on our goal race times during practice.

Post-Season (After May 16).  Most track programs will go well beyond mid-May, as the big regional/state/national invitationals are all held during the summer.  But since we are primarily a cross country program, we will wind down our season on the early side so that the kids have a chance to rest a few weeks before we begin our summer mileage program for XC.  That being said, if anyone is interested in running track during the summer, I have the ability to identify meets and sign runners up.

Practices

  • Daylight savings begins on March 8, our schedule should become more regular in March.  But in general, we will probably have Saturday practice plus one or two weekday practices in February, and then when Daylight Saving Time begins, we will have practice on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday.
  • In addition to track practice, we will also have the opportunity for group runs on Wednesday evening (from The Running Center) and Sunday morning (long runs at Flatwoods or other trails).
  • Most of the practices will be held in Lutz and at the community track in Land O’ Lakes, but we may use some other locations as well.
  • As with cross country, there will be a weekly e-mail that lists all of the days, times and locations.

Special Events

  • “Afternoon at the Movies” – Sunday, February 22:  As you may have seen, Kevin Costner is starring in a new Disney live-action movie about a cross country team!  The movie is released the weekend of 2/21, so I want to get a group of kids to go to a Sunday afternoon showing (probably at AMC Veterans).
  • Florida Relays – Friday, April 3:  The Florida Relays is the most important outdoor track meet in the southern US, and it features some of the best professional, college and high school runners in the country.  It falls on Good Friday this year, which means the kids have no school.  It is a lot of fun to watch, and I think the kids will learn a lot from seeing these runners in action.  For those who can continue on, we will be running in a big meet in Jacksonville the next day.  For those who need to get back to Tampa for Easter, we can arrange your child’s participation in the meet so that your day is done on the early side.

Equipment

  • Running Watch.

Every runner should own a running watch that he or she can wear to practice.  There is one important requirement for this running watch:  it should have a “lap button” that the runner can hit to restart the timer at 0:00.  So for example, if I ask the kids to run intervals of one lap and then rest for one minute, they need a watch where they can look down as they approach the end of the lap, remember their time, hit the “lap button”, and then begin again after 1:00 has passed.

If you have a watch that has this lap function already, that’s great.  If not, we are able to order a really good watch (Timex Ironman 10 Lap) through The Running Center for a significant discount, but we need to do it as a group.  The cost will be $35 per watch, with no sales tax.  If you would like to be included in the group order, please email me.

  • Shoes.

You do not necessarily need to wear special shoes to run track – our kids all ran in regular running shoes last year, and they did fine.  But some kids may be interested in either track spikes or lightweight racing flats, and those are perfectly acceptable.  The Running Center will be holding their annual “Spikes Night” on Tuesday, February 10, which is a great time to check out the different models and get a great deal on discounted shoes.  And as always, feel free to walk into The Running Center on the weekend and ask Coach Strack for his advice and assistance.

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