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In the words of the infamous Notorious B.I.G,

"I been in this game for years, it made me an animal It's rules to this [sport], I wrote me a manual A step by step booklet for you to get Your game on track"

These are the dos and dont's of track and field. Follow these rules and you will have success on the track or at the very least, not be that guy.

NUMBER 1: Never walk or stand in lane one A track is similar to a highway. Cars drive in lanes on the highway while runners run in lanes on the track. Most indoor tracks are 6 lanes while most outdoor tracks are 6-9 lanes. Lane 1 should only be used for running at a workout pace if you are sharing the track with others. You can jog in the outside lanes. Lane 1 is similar to the fast lane on the highway. If you are not keeping up to speed then can slide your behind into one of the outer lanes.

NUMBER 2: The 4x100 is the only relay that should have a blind handoff Can we please just stop with blind handoffs for the 4x200 and 4x400, especially indoors? It is idiotic and unnecessarily dangerous. There is very little evidence to show that this even makes the relay faster. I understand wanting to get that running start but unless you are that much better than the rest of the field then your risk of a collision or dropping the baton. The runner can just leave a bit earlier with an open exchange? If elite teams can run in the mid to low 1:20s in the 4x200 why are teams slower than them doing blind exchanges? Just a bit of food for thought. outdoors with open exchanges but for some reason in Illinois they love to go blind.

NUMBER 3: Always run with the flow of traffic Going back to the highway analogy. Have you ever seen a car driving the wrong way down the highway? No? Me either! Tracks are meant to be run counterclockwise. If the numbers appear to be upside down to you while you are running on the track then you are probably going the wrong way If you are on a track with others, run with the flow of traffic. It is extremely dangerous and reckless, as the cause for a collision unnecessarily increases. Don't be the cut-off sleeve, spaghetti tank top bro that thinks he owns the track. NUMBER 4: The track is not a park This means that there should never be any bikes, strollers, dogs, etc on the track. I have been at the track which is surrounded by trails, open grass, and a play park but yet people feel inclined to ride bikes, bring strollers and play catch with their dogs on the track. This may come as a surprise for some but the track was made for running. The track is for running. Nothing else. Most tracks typically have an adjacent field or trail where you can do all of these other lovely activities.

NUMBER 5: Know your markings on the track If you are running a relay, it is important that you learn the markings on a track. It is a coach's job to make sure that their athletes know the exchange zones. This problem can be easily addressed upon arriving at the track. If the team or athletes are unfamiliar with the markings then a walking warm-up lap may be necessary to point out all the zones. This is also important for other events as athletes need to know where they are during all times at the track. This is extremely important if the race is switched directions at the last minute. I've seen many athletes not kick early enough, too late or lean at the wrong place because they did not know exactly where the finish line was located.

NUMBER 6: Never walk across a field event area while the event is in progress At many meets, the shot put, discus, and hammer throw areas are usually separated by hurdles or some other type of barricade. The rule of thumb is to just walk around and never cross. But if you absolutely have to then you should always look both ways before crossing that area. While it may seem like a small risk, athletes have been seriously hurt and even died from throwing accidents. Jumps are all about speed, rhythm, and technique. Now imagine you are about to get ready to run close to maximum speed and right as you are taking off you see somebody cut across your runway or in front of your high jump area. This breaks the concentration and timing of the jumper and can also lead to injury as they rapidly try to decelerate in order to not hit the person.

NUMBER 7: Never give up the inside lane This should possibly be #1. Never, never, never give up the inside lane. Track & Field is not a defensive sport but if someone is trying to beat me in a race, I'm going to make them run longer if possible and that means making them run around me. Giving up the inside lane is basically rolling out the red carpet and signaling to your opponent that you are ready to get beaten. You run on the outside of Lane 1 and force that person to pass you in Lane 2 or 3.

NUMBER 8: Never forget spikes/uniforms As a track & field athlete, you never forget your running shoes/spikes, uniforms, or throwing implements. You should have on your uniform when you get on the bus or when you leave the house. Pack your bag the night before to make sure that you have all your gear.

NUMBER 9: Pass on the runner's right, your left Never pass on the inside, unless you're competing against that person that goes against Rule 7. Trying to pass on the inside of a runner in Lane 1 will typically result in your stride being broken, you being disqualified, or end with you being on the inside of the track. You cannot just run over your competition. Wrong sport. Avoid situations that end with you boxed in Lane 1.

NUMBER 10: Always warm-up before a workout or race Good athletes have good habits, while great athletes have great habits. Always warm-up before a hard workout or a race. While you may not realize it, the warm-up is a signal to your body to get ready for the race. It is automatic sending signals to your brain and body that it is time to perform. If you want to have an ideal workout or race, then you have to have a warm-up that matches the occasion. Please don't risk injury over a lackadaisical warm-up.

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