Tips and Tricks for Track Athletes

January 23, 2017
track runner

If you're a track and field athlete, your main focus on the day of the big meet will probably be to eat a healthy breakfast, drink lots of water, and do plenty of stretching. While these are all important track and field tips to follow, you might be forgetting one of the most important aspects of preparation — what to wear.

Many athletes do not put a lot of thought into the gear they wear when participating in a track meet, but it can have a huge impact on your performance. By choosing the best fabrics, both beginners and experts can improve their success and become faster than the competition.

Track Tips for Beginners

Wear the Right Shoes

When you're starting, you might be tempted to simply wear any old tennis shoes you have sitting around the house. However, this will definitely hinder your performance, as normal tennis shoes weren't designed for running on a track. Instead, invest in a quality pair of racing shoes. These will provide you with the grip you need to launch yourself ahead of your competitors. Additionally, they will provide your feet with the cushioning and stability they need to perform their best while preventing blisters.

Rock a Singlet

A singlet is a style of tank top that is loose fitting and made of performance fabric. Because of that, it doesn't absorb sweat and stays light and free during the entirety of your run. This style of shirt will also help to keep you cool, especially on warm days when you're running in the sun. In addition to a singlet, women must be sure to wear a supportive, high-impact sports bra.

Avoid Sweatpants or Basketball Shorts

Especially on cold days, you might be tempted to leave your sweatpants or basketball shorts on when it's time for you to step up to the starting line. This is a huge running taboo. Sweatpants and basketball shorts are very heavy and not so aerodynamic, both of which will slow you down. In most cases, sweatpants are made of cotton, which means that they will absorb all of your sweat and become even heavier the farther you run. Instead, stick to nylon or technical fiber shorts. Not only are these lightweight, but they also include a protective liner that offers support for men.

Don't Wear New Gear on Race Day

While you might be tempted to wear that super cool new pair of shorts you got yesterday, don't do it. Any new race gear you have has the potential to fit incorrectly, chafe or simply not work for your running style. Even if it feels like a dream when you try it on in the locker room, save its track debut for a practice run.

Track Trips for Experts

Consider Sunglasses

Since you're already a pro at racing around the track, you probably have your basic uniform picked out already. However, have you ever thought of adding sunglasses to the mix? While sprinters only have to deal with the sun for a few seconds, long-distance runners might have to look directly into the fiery star for long periods of time. Wearing sunglasses allows your face to relax, saving you precious energy that you can use to enhance your personal record.

Stay Away From Cotton Socks

Most experienced runners know to stay away from cotton in their uniforms, as it is very absorbent and takes a long time to dry. Not only is this very irritating and a major cause of blisters, but it can also be dangerous if you are running in extremely cold weather. However, many top performers often forget about ditching their cotton socks. In order to avoid the downfalls of cotton, protect your feet by wearing socks made of a technical or performance fabric.

Try Compression Gear

A typical track uniform features a baggy singlet and running shorts. While these are designed for comfort, they don't always provide the best performance according to science. Instead, try using compression gear to enhance performance. Studies show that this tight and stretchy clothing can improve your aerobic threshold and VO2 max, allowing you to run farther or faster. Even better, compression gear has been shown to make athletes feel less sore after engaging in athletic activity. You can choose from compression socks, compression shorts (also known as speed suit shorts) or a compression tank, depending on your needs.

By following these running tips, you'll see a noticeable difference in your speed, energy levels and overall stamina. If you're in need of updated gear to improve your performance, check out our selection of customizable track uniforms. All of our pieces feature a generous athletic cut, and taped neck, armhole and leg openings for the ultimate boost in comfort and convenience.

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