Former track and field star and lifelong athlete Madisson Ledan provides his top tips to young athletes for the upcoming spring track and field season.
The spring track and field season is underway at high schools across the country, and former track star Madisson Ledan is offering his top tips to help young athletes succeed.
“Safety is the most important part of enjoying a successful track season,” Madisson Ledan says. “The beginning of the season is when a lot of injuries occur, because athletes are just getting back into shape.”
Madisson Ledan and other track and field enthusiasts express the importance of warming up with dynamic movements and stretches before running. Holding stretches for longer amounts of time helps prepare the muscles for the strain they experience while running, whether short or long distance. Drinking plenty of water is also an essential part of any warmup routine, and it often gets forgotten until after the run is complete.
Athletes like Madisson Ledan also explain the importance of having quality running shoes that fit perfectly. It’s important for athletes to have some wiggle room for their toes and slack in the laces, so weight is distributed across the entire foot when running, as opposed to just one area, which can lead to injury. Having shoes that fit correctly is just as important for a child throwing shot put as it is for a child running relays.
“Water and nutrition are even more important than any gear you can buy. Young athletes needs proper nutrition before, during, and after events that won’t make them feel sick,” Madisson Ledan says. “I used to eat a plain bagel topped with peanut butter before track meets to ensure I had plenty of protein without overeating and causing cramps.”
A small, but healthy breakfast is an essential part of performing well at any track meet. It’s equally important for young athletes to stay hydrated at all times, Madisson Ledan explains. Athletes should start drinking water at least three hours before the event and should hydrate regularly throughout. It’s best to avoid sugary drinks, even those typically associated with sports, whenever possible.
“The most important piece of advice I give young athletes is to avoid over training,” Madisson Ledan adds. “It’s so easy to get caught up in the desire to win, but over training won’t be what gets you that gold medal. Never train for more than two hours in any practice session, and don’t make your practice sessions entirely about high-volume or high-intensity fitness.”
Madisson Ledan describes that working too hard can lead to muscles that are overused and broken down. These techniques result in injuries and a disdain for the sport instead of first place finishes.
“As an athlete, you don’t want to burn out on your favorite sport. You should finish practice feeling healthy and eager to turn up the next day and do it all again,” Madisson Ledan concludes.