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Form & Training
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Track Etiquette
By Mark Lorenzoni

​A word or two about the track. I’d like to add a few thoughts to our ongoing discussion regarding our efforts as a club and to find the correct paths to harmony with our fellow runners in the community.

One of the most commonly utilized running venues is Lannigan Field, better known to us as “The UVA track”.  Dedicated in 1954 to the memory of one of UVA’s legendary coaches and faculty members, this centrally located oval represents the last UVA athletic facility still open to the general public.  Therefore, it serves our best interest to follow these rules that apply to all tracks. 

First off, the track is made up of a series of oval lanes and the closer these lanes (1, 2, and 3) come to the “infield” the more important it is for us runners to pay attention.  Why?  Because, like the left lanes on the highway, these “inside” lanes are for those running the fastest.  So, if someone comes up behind you at a pace faster than yours, you should always “give way”, which means move to your right (from lane 1 to lane 2 or 3).  The faster runners should shout out “track” as they come up on the slower runners in lane 1, which is a polite way of saying “please get out of the way” or “please move to your right”. 

There are two other important reasons why running in the “fast” lane can be a “no, no”.  1) It is harder on your hips and knees because the turns are tighter.  The higher the lane # (7, 8, 9) the safer it is for your body. 2) the more folks run lap after lap in lane 1 the quicker it wears out the track, which creates a slicker surface for the UVA varsity track athletes (who train their on a regular basis) and also causes water to pool up on rainy days, also detrimental for the UVA athletes.

I hate to pick on dogs, BUT, simply put, the track is NO place for dogs!  It’s a privilege that the University allows us to use this wonderful facility and we want to always be respectful of that neighborly gift.  The track is closed from dark to dawn and is also closed to the public during varsity practice (generally from 3:00pm to 6:00pm).

Mark's Rules
  • Prior to your run, practice dynamic not static stretching techniques like light skips, bounding, high knees, back pedals and butt kicks. Save the static stretching for after you’ve completed you run.

  • Dress properly…not too much and not too little. Your body will warm to 15 degrees above the air temperature. Embrace, not fight, whatever weather conditions you face!

  • Deliberately start with a very slow jog or fast walk for your first half mile and always make your first mile the very slowest of your entire run. Your last half mile should also be run at a slower pace, as this helps with your post run recovery.

  • Never increase your total weekly mileage by more than 10-15% on any given week.

  • Keep your stride length short and follow the golden “30/20” rule (30 hits/foot/20 seconds). Start all of your runs with a three degree lean from your ankles as this will naturally place you up onto your mid-foot, which will keep you off your heels.

  • Always maintain a “conversational” pace (AHR- Aerobic Heart Rate). Taking one full breath every 4-5 steps should be your personal guide, like a poor man’s heart rate monitor. If you can hear yourself breathing you’re probably running too fast! 

  • Follow your Perception of Effort (POE) by always maintaining the same effort, NOT the same pace, throughout the varying terrain of your entire run. This is particularly important to follow when running up hill, when you should actually slow down!    

  • Your longest run of the week should never be greater than the sum of your other runs.

  • Take it easy on the down hills….short stride lengths are the key!

  • Never introduce “speed” into your regimen when you’re also increasing your mileage!

  • Stay out of the “gutter” (side of the road) by always trying to maintain balanced legs. 

  • Try to get something nutritional into your system within 20 minutes of completing your run, like a banana or Clif-bar type product and a sports energy drink or chocolate milk.

  • Journal, so as to monitor how all facets of your training are and are not working.

  • Drink at least 60 ounces of hydrating fluids/day…soda doesn’t count…electrolytes do!!

  • Make sit-ups and push-ups, which work on your core strength, a part of your daily routine and use running specific exercise like Pilates and Yoga as your “cross training”.

  • Get adequate sleep (7-8+ hours). The more you exercise the more rest you will need!

  • Listen to your bodies communication signals. Feeling fatigued? Then back off! Have a new ache or pain (knee, shin, hip, ankle, Achilles)? Stop running and immediately consult with a professional ASAP!

Compiled by Mark Lorenzoni 
Questions? Call him at 434.293.3367.

Two-Mile Tactics

See Mark Lorenzoni's pace chart here

5K Tactics

See Mark Lorenzoni's pace chart here

Race Potential

See Mark Lorenzoni's chart here

Running Bridge

Use this guide to bring you from the Four-Miler to the Ten-Miler training program

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