Built For Speed: What Makes a Good Running Track

Professional and collegiate runners dedicate countless hours to training for a meet. Meanwhile, architects work toward setting the stage for that competition. So what do athletes have in common with architects? Both efforts will be more successful with the guidance of a good coach.

As a designer of athletic spaces, it is important to know the factors that set the stage for a world class track competition. Here are the key performance characteristics that matter most:

Shock Absorption: Of all the attributes of a good running track, shock absorption does the most to minimize stress injuries, which are common among runners. Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints) can sideline a runner, but shock absorption reduces the strain on lower extremities. Although injuries can still occur, higher shock absorption percentages can reduce their frequency.

Elasticity: When a runner puts energy into a track surface, they want as much of that energy back in the form of forward motion. That is essentially what elasticity provides. Elasticity is a quality of rubber materials, which is essential for track surface performance.

Traction: No runner wants to slip on the track, risking injury or losing a race. Through a textured granular surface, the track should provided uniform anti-slip properties, giving athletes the traction they need to compete safely.

For more information about track design and performance, contact Abacus Sports for a consultation.