Running track puts focus on mental side of sport

Blackout running trackHave you ever wanted to run in darkness, with no sound, crowds, music or technology? A new running track in London has been created for such a challenge.

Sports company ASICS has unveiled the world’s first running track to train the mind.

The custom-built 150m course in London is cloaked in darkness with no tech, music, scenery, comforts or finish line.

The ‘ASICS Blackout Track’ was developed in collaboration with sports scientists and top coaches to remove all distractions and encourage runners to truly focus on synchronising the mind and body.

We all have the power to think our way to success – Deena Kastor

As you can see from the video on our Facebook page, just a small chink of light paves the way for runners making their way around the track. It might look a touch lonely, but it’s a fun experiment all the same.

The track is inspired by a technique long practiced by distance runners who train the mind by running on loops of a mile or two without any tech. It has been used successfully by runners all over the world, including Japanese distance runners.

Deena Kastor takes on the Blackout running track

One of the first to test the running track was US Olympic medallist and Marathon record holder Deena Kastor. She ran a 10k ‘mental marathon’, clocking the fastest time of 37:16 in near darkness for 66 laps.

“For me, the track was a reminder of the simple joy that running offers; a rush of endorphins, or a quiet place to find ourselves in,” Kastor said.

“Whether you’re a pro athlete or an everyday runner, mental restraints can limit us, but we all have the power to think our way to success.”

The running track is gearing up for a range of scientific experiments over the coming days.

Today, Global Running Day, 10 runners will race for 5k on the track in normal conditions – lights on, music playing, crowds cheering. They’ll then race 5k again in the darkness, with white noise to muffle sound, no motivation, feedback or technology.

This will show how mental strength is just as important to athletic success as physical fitness. Finally, 20 additional runners will take to the track on June 7-8 for a series of test runs.

Certainly, the appeal of simply running in isolation without distractions is high. And it’s an approach that is extremely novel in our hectic modern-day society.

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