Choosing the type of surface is the most important decision to make when constructing a running track. There are many available options and each of them comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. Which one will be best for your facility depends on a number of critical factors such as your budget, location, and maintenance capability, the intended frequency and use of the track, and many more.
The type of surface can impact the speed, technique, and physical health of the runners, so you need to keep safety and performance in mind when making your choice. Cost-effectiveness and ease of maintenance should be among your top considerations as well.
To be able to make an informed decision, you need to be aware of the pros and cons of different types of running track surfaces and choose the one that best suits your budget and your purposes.
Cinder and clay – and occasionally grass – are the most commonly used natural track surfaces. They are comfortable to run on, relatively cheap to construct, and have a minimal force impact on runners’ joints. These soft surfaces provide excellent cushioning and help reduce injuries. They also create more resistance than other running track surface materials and make legs work harder, thus strengthening foot muscles and improving running techniques.
Despite their numerous benefits, however, natural track surfaces have two major disadvantages:
Weather often renders them unusable, as they become soggy after a rain;
Natural surfaces require constant and costly maintenance – leveling, addition of filler material, and re-marking the lanes (if the tracks are not well-kept, holes and irregularities in the surface may lead to serious injuries).
These tracks are durable and relatively unaffected by the weather. They are very fast and allow runners to keep up a steady rhythm. Although many asphalt-bound tracks are still in use, they are disadvantaged due to surface unpredictability:
Asphalt-bound surfaces are affected by temperature – they become very soft in the summer heat and quite hard in the winter cold;
As asphalt ages, it becomes harder and loses its resilience. Older asphalt-bound tracks can wreak havoc on runners’ joints and muscles, increasing the risks of injuries;
Polyurethane EPDM Rubber Surfaces
Today, most running tracks are built with SBR and EPDM rubber – rubber particles bound with polyurethane resin. The polyurethane binder surface is typically installed on top of an asphalt or concrete base. It is possible to construct the systems in layers and use different textures for the optimal amount of traction and best performance.
Benefits of Knoveo Polyurethane EPDM Running Track Surfaces
Knoveo Polyurethane EPDM rubber running track surface has a number of considerable advantages over all other types of track surfaces:
It creates a very fast and high-performing track that helps improve runners’ economy of action by 2-3%. The rubber surface acts like a springboard, giving athletes more energy in their next stride and increasing their speed;
Knoveo Polyurethane EPDM Running Track system provides superb shock absorption and cushioning, protecting athletes from injury and trauma. The soft, resilient surface is very forgiving on muscles and joints – it not only absorbs even the most violent impact, but also reduces muscle stress and supports leg exertion;
Knoveo PU EPDM track is extremely durable, lasting up to 20 years or more. It is almost impervious to weather and requires very little maintenance.
So, which running track surface is right for your project?
It shouldn’t be too soft, nor should it be too hard (so runners don’t hurt their ankles and knees). It should be very fast, but also provide proper traction and grip (so users don’t stumble and fall). It should be durable and attractive, but it should be cost-efficient and easy to maintain, as well. Long distance running events may require a softer track surface which is easier on the legs and feet – and sprint events will benefit from a firmer, faster track.
With so many options available, you need to give a great deal of thought to choosing the best track surface for your installation. You need to consider your particular needs and purposes and take into account the initial cost of the track, its maintenance requirements, life expectancy, safety and performance characteristics, etc. when making your final decision.
The assistance of a sports flooring specialist may be extremely valuable in evaluating surfacing systems. If you’re looking for professional advice, Knoveo Solutions is here for you – we’ll be glad to help you sort through the available options and choose the best running track system for your project. If you need help installing and maintaining the track, you can count on us as well.