Like many of you, I have a running routine.
During the week, I get out the door at 6:30 a.m. and do a couple-three laps around a 2-mile loop that winds through my subdivision and a neighboring one. On Saturdays, I hit the Mallard and Clark's Creek Greenways in UCity with my running group and put in about 10 miles or so.
It's a pleasant routine -- but lately, I've been thinking I need to spice it up a bit.
I think about this, in fact, every time a training program in Runner's World (or in one of the various "how-to-train-better" books I own) lays out guidelines for doing workouts on a track.
The benefits of running on a track are clear: The softer surface reduces the risk of injury (or helps you recover from one); tracks make it easier to measure your distance; and they're great for speed work, since the flat surface allows you to accelerate quickly and maintain your fastest paces.
Yet in the eight months since I started running, I've never been on a track myself. And part of the reason is that while the articles and books I've read tell you how to run track workouts, they don't tell you where the nearest usable track is.
Fortunately, I recently discovered some tips on just this subject, buried deep within the Charlotte Running Company's Web site. Here they are:
"If you're looking to run on the track, many runners use the facilities at Myers Park High School at 2400 Colony Road. The track is eight lanes and asphalt. Providence Day School on Sardis Road has a six-lane ground tire rubber track, and the public is almost always welcome. Rubberized or synthetic tracks are also available at UNC-Charlotte (world-class facility), Davidson College, Charlotte Christian School, Charlotte Latin, Charlotte Country Day, West Charlotte, Vance H.S., and Butler H.S. We recommend not trying to get on these schools tracks between 2:30 and 5 p.m. because of their practices. You may also want to call ahead to make sure that the public is welcome."Have you used any of these tracks? If so, do you have tips or advice regarding public access (or the quality of the surface)? Can you recommend other facilities not listed above? And how often do you go to the track? Once a week? Once a month? What kind of workout do you do?