The Sports Archives – Which Of These Four Track Materials Would Suit You Best As An Athlete?

As a track athlete, you probably have certain preferences as to the surfaces you run on. That’s why some athletes fair pretty well on track meets while others perform best in cross country races. You may be used to running on one track surface alone but did you know there are up to four different types of track surfaces? They are made from different materials and offer different levels of traction, hardness of surface, levelness and so on. Here they are and what each of them is all about. Find out which you prefer and which would actually fit you best based on your skills and talents on the track.

Natural

Running track along Takitimu Dr (with HDR)

Natural tracks are made from rock, soil, grass, slate, wood or any other naturally occurring earth substance. They require extensive maintenance because they tend to deteriorate when left exposed to the elements. Rain is especially detrimental to most of these tracks as it makes them slippery and hard to run on. One advantage of natural tracks is that they are cheap to install and environmentally friendly. In many cases, simply leveling the track is enough for maintenance. The downside is that with rain and other elements, as well as rocky extrusion, the track could prove dangerous to run on, running the athlete the risk of a twisted ankle.

Synthetic

Running Track

Synthetic tracks are designed specifically for running on. Made of materials such as latex, polyurethane and rubber, the track has a spongy feel to it and has a fantastic grip when you wear running shoes with studs. They often have very clear markings and remain this way for a very long time. They are also very durable and can last for decades if well maintained. The upside is the design and materials, which make it best suited for running on. The down side is the cost of installing it and the materials used, which may not be very environmentally friendly.

Asphalt

Running Track

Asphalt tracks are rare to find because of the prohibitive cost and complexity of laying out asphalt but they do come with some with some advantages. Asphalt is very durable and tough. Built with the stuff used to make all-weather roads, these tracks are best for the outdoors and places where the track may double up as a parking lot or something similar. As an athlete, you may not be able to run on this with studs because they will have no grip but it provides a firm and solid track to run on.

Recycled tires

track

Rubber from recycled tires provides yet another type of track. Recycled tires have a strong and slightly hard rubber that can be used to make running tracks. The surface produced is hard and lacks the rubbery feel of the synthetic tracks. The upside to using these tracks is that they offer the best of asphalt tracks (firm and hard) while giving some perks of synthetic tracks (slightly soft and tremendous grip).

Whichever type of track you choose or prefer as an athlete, it is worth noting that using the safest track for your kind of running is paramount. If you sprint then you are better off using synthetic tracks while if you run long distance, using an asphalt or natural track would suit you better.

Featured images:

Scott Ryan loves to run in the great outdoors when he is not writing for polished concrete x, a firm that develops all manner of flooring solutions.

Related Blogs:
What Causes Stitch When Running?
How To Train For A Full Marathon

 

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