By EVA DUNN-FROEBIG
Every spring as the days get longer and the temperatures get a little warmer, I want to run more. I start to increase my running mileage and I want to run faster. I’ve found the quickest way to increase my speed is by going to Run Wild Missoula’s Tuesday Track workouts.
Running as fast and consistent as possible on Dornblaser track may not sound like the most enjoyable way to spend an hour, but I love the way I feel when I’ve finished a workout. With the encouragement of the other runners, I push myself more than I would if I were to run on my own.
There’s also something about getting my heart rate up more than I would after a middle- or long-distance training run. My mood changes. I feel happy and comforted by a little fatigue and a few sore muscles. It’s especially gratifying when it’s all over and I get to go home, eat dinner, shower, and get a great night’s sleep.
Tuesday Track is free for members of Run Wild Missoula and Team Stampede. It’s open to runners of all levels, ages, and abilities. And there really are people of all ages and abilities at Tuesday Track. There’s also a lot of encouragement and support from the runners.
The workouts are coached by Olympian Courtney Babcock. Courtney is the distance running coach at the University of Montana and holds the Canadian record in the women’s 5,000 and 10,000 meters. She is now retired as a professional runner and we are lucky that she has time to offer her expertise and coaching to Run Wild Missoula members.
Courtney is nice enough to split people into groups at Tuesday, so some of us don’t get lapped by the faster people. She also treats us as equals and as athletes even if we just started running and it’s our first track workout.
If you participated in track in high school, Tuesday Track may bring back some memories.
The workout starts out with drills like high knees, butt kicks, and strides. Then, Courtney will tell us what type of workout we’re doing, like three mile repeats (a mile is four times around the track) or six 800s (an 800 is twice around the track). Sometimes there’s a different option for those training for a marathon compared to runners training for a 5K. The workouts vary each week and Courtney researches upcoming races to help us prepare for what’s coming up.
Courtney instructs runners to come to Dornblaser warmed up or a little early so you can run at least twice around the track before the drills start. We run workouts in lanes one and two, so when you warm up, stick to lanes five and six so the inside lanes don’t get worn out.
Let Courtney her know if it’s your first workout and she might suggest that you do half of it and not push yourself too hard the first time.
Most importantly, don’t let Tuesday Track intimidate you! You’ll be surprised at how much you like it and how much your fitness will improve in a short amount of time. You might even make some new friends.
Tuesday Track is every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Dornblaser through the fall. Speed workouts move to the trails for half of September and through October. Runners meet at the Runner’s Edge and at 5:30 p.m. in the winter months.
Axis Physical Therapy sponsors Tuesday Track. Visit the Run Wild Missoula website for more information.
See you there!
Planning to run the 2012 Missoula Marathon? Check out Eva’s post about the marathon training program.
Stay in the loop with Missoula’s running community! Check out the Run/Walk It archives for more posts from Eva and other Missoula runners and walkers.
Eva Dunn-Froebig is the executive director of Run Wild Missoula and has been running since the seventh grade. She moved to Missoula 12 years ago from upstate New York to attend the University of Montana’s Journalism School graduate program. Eva never dreamed that she would have a running-related job and feels lucky to be a participant in Missoula’s vibrant running community.