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Fall Training For Track & Field

Teenage girls in track and fieldAaahh...the off-season. As much as we, and our kids, love the sports that they do, there is no denying it's a good feeling when the last competition of the season is complete. For kids and parents alike, a little break from the schedule of practices and meets is a welcome change for a few months. For track & field athletes, autumn is that time, and there are several ways to get the most out of those few precious months of the off-season before heading indoors for the winter and getting ready for outdoor track in the spring:
  1. Take a break. It is extremely important to use this time to heal and rehabilitate any nagging injuries. An injury, such as a sprained ankle or tendonitis that was a problem during the season, will benefit from some therapy and rest.

  2. Try another sport. Spend some of your new-found free time trying a different activity. The physical activity will help keep your body in shape and prepared for track's preseason in the early spring. Also, using different muscles or the same muscles in new ways, due to the demands of a different sport is healthy for kids and will help ward off overuse injuries.

  3. Extra stretching. Try to set aside some of the time that you would have been at track practice just to relax at home and stretch a bit more. Any areas that experienced mild muscle damage (a slight strain or just achiness and soreness) can benefit from some gentle stretching as they heal. This will help minimize the formation of scar tissue in the muscles. Scar tissue is not as flexible as regular muscle fibers and when an injured area of the muscle heals as scar tissue, that muscle tends to be prone to reinjury. Stretching and massage therapy can help muscles to heal with a minimum of scar tissue. Stretching will also help protect your muscles against injury when you get back to harder training.

  4. Maintain strength. The off-season is also an excellent time to concentrate a little more on strength training. Making it a point to continue doing abdominal work especially, will help keep your body prepared for the demands of next season. A program as simple as continuing to do a few sets of sit-ups and some push-ups every other day is a simple and easy strength maintenance program for kids.

  5. Run cross-country. If there are no lingering injuries or fatigue from track season, and there just isn't another sport you enjoy as much as running, the fall cross country season is a fun way to stay in shape and improve endurance and overall fitness for your next track season.
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