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March 2, 2000
The Art of Running
As Steve Prefontaine once said ” I like to make people stop and say, I?ve never seen anyone run like that before.” True, anybody can run, but not just anybody can run track. There is more to running than just the fast movement of legs.
Running takes strength, endurance, and a tremendous amount of guts. There are many races which a track runner can take part in, from the fifty-yard dash to the two mile. Each race falls into a particular category. These categories include the sprinter, the middle distance runner and long distance runner. Depending on the category, each athlete has their own way of mentally and physically training for a race.
Sprint runners must be able to move fast. When you only have fifty to three hundred yards to run you depend on turnover. Turnover is the speed which a runners legs move. This plays a large role n sprinting. Physically, a runner?s thighs must be strong and arms fully developed
with muscle to enable them to pump their way to the finish line. In a sprinting race, the difference between winning and losing could depend on your start. Mentally, they have to be ready to pour everything they have into the race.
Middle distance runners go through something a little tougher. A middle distance runner is considered an “all around runner”. They have the capability of running anything from a three hundred to a thousand yard run. They have to train to keep speed for a long period of time. Every part of their body must be strong. When nearing the end of a middle distance race you hit what we runners call the “wall”. Your body feels like jelly and all you want to do is quit. Mentally, like sprinters, middle distance runners have to pour their heart into the race, and pace themselves. You have to know how fast your body will go and for how long.
Long distance runners are trained to run miles. These runners have very high endurance though not a lot of speed. They need to be able to hold out for two miles without collapsing. The most important part is their arms. They need to keep their form and pump their arms all the way through. Mentally, they need to keep their
spirits high and know what pace is right for them. It?s hard to run for a long period of time and keep a steady pace. Therefore pacing is everything.
Running is fifty-fifty, half physical and half-mental. If your short on one, you won?t make it. Steve Prefontaine knew what it took to be a runner. That is why he is considered one of the nation?s best, a legend. He mastered the art of running.
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