Have Fun, Get Fit for Track!

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Develop your running skills and improve your fitness by playing games with your friends.

Summer training shouldn't consist solely of traditional weight room workouts. Instead, gather a group of friends and play some games. Here is a game that not only provides a fun break from your regular routine, but can also help you achieve your track performance goals.

Pace Master
Skills Developed:

Aerobic conditioning and cognitive awareness (pacing)

2 or more

Materials Needed:
Stopwatch, paper and pencil

Playing Area:
Quarter-mile track

•    After a proper warm-up, pair up athletes of similar ability and designate one to run the quarter-mile as fast as possible while the other holds the stopwatch.
•    Switch roles and repeat so everyone completes the run.
•    Bring the pairs together and discuss the concept and necessity of pacing during competition.
•    Have each runner come up with one or two pacing strategies. For example, if an athlete runs the lap in 60 seconds, instruct him to run it 10 to 30 seconds slower.
•    The goal is to find a pace that's fast enough to develop cardiovascular endurance.
•    Instruct the athletes to practice pacing until a steady pace can be maintained over the distance required.

More Performance-Improvement Games
Find more enjoyable games to supplement your traditional sports training at the following links. Most of them can be adapted to deliver a total track training session.

Volleyball Training Games
Baseball Training Games
Basketball Training Games
Soccer Training Games
Football Training Games

Source: Dawes, Jay, and Chris Mooney. 101 games and Drills for Conditioning Athletes. Monterey, Calif.: Coaches Choice, 2006.

Mark Roozen, STACK's senior content editor, has been in the strength, conditioning and performance field for more than 28 years. He holds a Master degree in exercise physiology and several certifications as a strength and conditioning coach, including CSCS,*D, NSCA-CPT and FNSCA.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock