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It is important to get in shape before track season starts if you are serious about being competitive. You will have a greater advantage as you train for events and races due to a smaller chance of becoming injured and a greater chance of becoming stronger and building a higher level of endurance. It is difficult to stay in optimal shape for track year-round, so the best track athletes take a few months before the season to get in good shape, stay there until the season is over, and then take a training break.
Create a plan to get in shape for track season and write it down. Begin training two to four months prior to the beginning of the season for best results. The amount of time that you dedicate to getting in shape depends on your drive, motivation and current level of fitness. Plan to increase your overall level and amount of training each week until you reach the beginning of the season. Combine certain activities into one day, such as cardio and strength training, so that you can fit everything into your schedule. Take at least one or two full days off per week to prevent overtraining, which can cause problems that include injuries and burnout.
Do a moderate-intensity cardio activity on three or four days per week. Begin by doing 20 to 30 minutes at a time, depending on your current level of fitness. You should be able to carry on a brief conversation while exercising; otherwise, you are working too hard and should slow down or stop. Add five minutes per session each week until you reach 90 minutes. Moderate-intensity activities include jogging, swimming, cycling and aerobics classes.
Perform strength-training exercises, such as lifting weights or Pilates, two to three times per week. Increase the amount of weight or the intensity of the exercises each week that you are training. This will help you build power and endurance for track season.
Train for the specific event that you plan to focus on during the track season on two or three days of each week. This does not need to take a long time, but will help keep you sharp and ensure that you are ready to go once the season begins. For example, if you are a sprinter, do three to five sprints on these days. If you plan to focus on the long jump, do the long jump three to five times.
Perform plyometric exercises three to five times per week to help increase your speed, power and performance. Do one minute of standing jumps, one minute of side-to-side ankle hops, and one minute of standing long jumps during your first week of training. Increase each exercise by 30 seconds every week.
Eat a diet that consists mainly of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and healthy fats. This will help your body run smoothly and efficiently, because you will be getting all of the vital nutrients that you need. Your daily diet should range between 1,800 and 3,000 calories depending on your weight and the amount of training that you are doing. Talk to your physician or a nutritionist to ensure that you are eating right based upon your specific body type and goals.