|Pages: | 1 | 2 ||
I have returned to relatively serious running after about 20 years out of it. I've been running up to nearly 80 miles a week, with consistent mileage in the range of 60-70 for a while now.
My race times are quite a bit slower, obviously. When I was 24, I ran a 16:21 5K. Now I am almost 47, and ran a 19:15 several weeks ago. I'm trying to get under 6:00 pace for a 5K this summer.
I find it interesting that I have lost a HUGE amount of basic speed. In my heyday, I was probably a ~60s 400m guy (I know, I sucked even then), and now from my track workouts I'd bet I couldn't go under 70. I think I am about 10s/400m slower, and lo and behold I *race* about 10s/400m slower at 5K.
I am considering adding strides or sprints to my program over the winter after my daily runs a couple times a week in order to try and get back some leg speed. It seems that if I dropped my 400m time by 5s, I might just speed up my racing by 5s/400.
What are people's thoughts on this, particularly older folks with some experience of this phenomenon?
Strides a couple of times a week is a good start. The hardest thing about becoming a more "mature" runner is coming to the realization that you no longer have the speed that you once had or thought that you had. It sounds that you have a nice base, I would maybe add some 600-800 meter repeats to your schedule weekly and each week try to add 1 more until you can work your way up to 6-8 800's, these should get easier and a little quicker each week as you become accustomed to them. I would stick to 600-800's if you are mainly concerned about improving your 5k and avoid any of the shorter intervals which can be physically detrimental to us older runners. Good luck and stick with it, the times will come down.
I hear you, I'm 48. I'm still looking for that top gear that I lost. I suggest tempo runs as probably the best bang for the buck for older runners to drop their 5k or longer times. Strides are always good and I also like hill repeats, either shorter/steeper (say one minute at mile race effort) or a little longer/moderate (like 2-3 minutes at 5k effort). Over the past several years I have worked on increasing my cadence which I think is something that drops off as you get older. A few years back I'd average around 165-170 strides/min on easy runs and just hit 180 on a 5k/10k race. Now my race cadence is more like 190 and it feels perfectly natural and my times have improved (as has my top end speed).
|Ghost of Igloi|
I am about eight years older than you. Like you, I started racing again in 2002 after a about a quarter century layoff. I continued to "jog" during the non-racing years, and I believe I had naturally good endurance. Like you I had lost a great deal of speed over the years, and my anaerobic endurance was less than optimal. I started running track workouts at the beginning of my masters career, but I can say now they were pretty pathetic. Over the last couple of years I have made substantial progress, and I believe the improvements are the result of the following factors:
*consistency of training
*staying healthy (flexibility, diet, sleep, progression of training)
*improved biomechanics(flexibility, weight training, sprint drills, repetition training)
*tempo runs(workouts designed to improve your anaerobic threshold)
*shortened recovery for interval training (workouts designed to improve anaerobic endurance)
If I had to single out the training modes that were helpful in re-awakening the feeling of being "quick," I would choose flexibility, sprint drills, repetitions, and weight training.
Daniels' Running Formulas is helpful in designing a schedule that would incorporate the running elements. Beck's Running Strong will give you some flexibility, drills, and strength training ideas.
Ghost of Igloi
From an old John Kellogg post on tnfmedia (lengthy):
MASTERING RUNNING AFTER 40
Owing to the "running boom" of the late 60s and early 70s, a large proportion of the country?s running
population is now in the masters (40 and up) category. In fact, in most road races, many of the top finishers
(sometimes even the overall winners) are masters! If you are an over-40 athlete who is pushing yourself to
remain competitive, it's important to remember that your workout regimen should differ from that of younger
runners. While those in their prime require higher base mileage and stricter periodization to reach full potential,
masters usually perform better by focusing more on shorter training cycles and by staying in touch with a
short-distance and middle-distance component year-round.
When considering training guidelines for the over-40 runner, it behooves us to examine some of the
physiological changes that take place with age, how those changes affect running performance, and what can
be done to keep those negative effects of aging to a minimum.
Your pituitary gland releases less growth hormone as you age. One upshot of this is that you find that you lose
your raceworthiness (anaerobic tolerance and speed) incredibly quickly following a competitive season and
that it's a shocking battle to get that sharpness back.
What you can do about it:
Use multi-tier training. This utilizes small training pyramids which begin with slower, longer endurance work
and which build through faster-paced training stages to a moderate-intensity, reduced "peak". Then the
process is repeated, with each stage performed at a higher intensity (faster average pace) than before.
Most young runners focus on six-month "macrocycles" in which they do long, slow to moderate distance for
two or three months, tempo runs and long intervals for a month or two, then hone up with hard speedwork,
time trials, and races. This general approach is preferred for those in their prime, but as a master, you need to
shorten those macrocycles to weeks rather than months. That is, emphasize longer endurance training for
about three weeks, ease yourself into faster tempo runs and stamina-oriented intervals for a few weeks, then
introduce the harder anaerobic intervals, sharp speedwork, and time trials for three or four more weeks. This
general cycle can be repeated several times per year, with more time or more intensity devoted to the
anaerobic phase during the times you wish to approach peak racing shape. In a non-competitive season, you
should still use the fast anaerobic training stage, but the intensity should be made deliberately lower, as
though you were just "going through the motions". More time and emphasis in the off-season can be devoted
instead to relaxed tempo running and endurance-directed intervals with short rest periods. [Note: the multi-tier
approach is not as effective for young runners as is periodization. Young athletes (particularly preteens and teens)
cannot tolerate (and do not need) a profusion of stressful anaerobic training. Too much killer track work will
burn youngsters out quickly and may harm their future running careers.]
Blood vessels begin losing elasticity and capillary density tends to decrease. You fatigue more quickly because the blood supply to your working muscles simply isn't as high as it once was.
What you can do about it:
Run at a "sub-threshold" pace 1-3 times weekly during an "endurance training" stage and occasionally during
the faster training phases. "Threshold tempo" refers to the pace which, when exceeded, will cause you to
experience a sharp upsurge in lactic acid production. This pace is actually slower than most runners realize. It
can be estimated as the pace you could run for one hour in an all-out, evenly-paced effort. After about 20
minutes at this pace, subtle changes (and often some not-so-subtle ones) take place in your breathing
pattern, muscle fiber recruitment, and access of fuel sources. This makes running continuously for significantly
longer than 20 minutes at exactly "threshold tempo" a less-than-optimal workout for maintaining or improving
your ability to run using aerobic metabolism. If you slow the pace by 15-20 seconds per mile, however, you
can accumulate up to an hour of running time which works almost exclusively on your ability to maintain a
decent pace aerobically. This sub-threshold running is often referred to as "steady state" training, since no
eight steps while running in a steady state of effort. If you find yourself exhaling once every four or five steps,
chances are you're going too fast for this type of workout. Staying in complete control allows you to spend
enough time at a "high-end aerobic pace" to extendcapillary beds.
The ability for motor neurons to contract muscle fibers is compromised, meaning that you will never be as fast
(sprint-wise) as you were in your teens and twenties. This decline in nervous system transmission is
ultimately a result of reduced DNA replication.
What you can do about it:
From a nutritional perspective, eating one-third less than you did in your 20s will forestall the process of
lowered DNA replication. Of course, this means that you must also keep your training volume somewhat in
check (although running more does simulate eating less, so the more you run, the more you get to eat!).
Obviously, eating healthy foods ensures you get the most from your food intake! You should also take a good
multivitamin supplement with your meals, and (particularly in hot weather) a colloidal mineral supplement may
prove useful, as many minerals are lost through sweat.
From a training perspective, do something about your speed! This ties in with the multi-tier training approach.
Using shorter training cycles guarantees that you willalways stay in touch with some faster running, even
though it won't be quite as fast during a non-competitive season. It's a good policy, though, to add some
light, relaxed strides or buildups to your daily runs 2-3 times per week even during a "long, slow distance"
stage of your training. These pickups should never be hard; they should feel loose and smooth and should just
be fast enough to provide some variety in your routine. Hills and drills also work different muscle fibers,
maintain joint strength, and prevent boredom. Again, these should be fairly easy during the off-season.
There's no need to go hard on all of your hill workouts; if you use the correct form, the hill will work the proper
muscles even at a medium pace!
Maximum heart rate (HR) decreases with age. This is also mainly due to a drop in nervous system
What you can do about it:
During an anaerobic training period (and possibly during the end of a pre-anaerobic phase, as well), push your
HR up near its maximum by running at "VO2max speed" one or two times per week. Another hard day during
the week can perhaps be devoted to a "steady state" effort or a difficult anaerobic interval workout. VO2max
speed is roughly the speed or pace at which you could run for ten minutes in an all-out, evenly-paced exertion.
If you run 3,200 meters in 10:00, for example (an excellent time for a master), your VO2max pace would
probably be right at 75 seconds per 400. The best results from training at VO2max pace come by running 8-10
repeats of about 2 minutes each, with recovery jogs of just under 2 minutes. Time trials of 7-8 minutes at the
same pace (virtually all-out for a workout atmosphere) are also effective training devices. Spending some
time at VO2max pace will slow down the rate at which you max HR declines over time. It also helps you
maintain a high stroke volume (a principal determining factor in VO2max), so that more O2-carrying blood is
pumped to your muscles with each heartbeat.
Testosterone levels are lower (in men), resulting in fractionally lower hemoglobin and myoglobin levels, with a
corresponding reduction in oxygen transport capability. Women will tend to slow down less later in life than will
men, owing to the fact that their already low testosterone levels do not exhibit this sharp decrease.
What you can do about it:
Running hard, fast workouts regularly will keep your testosterone levels higher provided you don't run hard
more than three times per week. Your body needs time to "absorb the training", as famed Australian coach Pat
The best training procedures for stimulating androgen production in over-40 runners appear to be time trials of
2 minutes to 10 min. in length; in other words, hard short-distance to middle-distance running at VO2max pace
or faster. Tough anaerobic interval sessions (such as 8 x 400 at 3-5 seconds per lap faster than mile race
pace, or 5 x 600 at mile race pace) and pure speedwork outings are also productive. Remember, though, that no
single workout stands alone; a proper balance of hard work and recovery is necessary in order to maximize
Tissue repair capacity is lower. This is also mostly a result of lower androgen levels.
What you can do about it:
Since your ability to repair tissue is lower than it was in your 20s, your mileage levels will probably also be
lower as a master. This is particularly true if you were a serious runner earlier in life and piled up 100 or more
miles per week. It's very tough to do that much past age 40 and stay uninjured! The more volume you can
tolerate, the better you will run (and the less you will have to rely on multi-tier training), but chances are
you'll break down trying to train like a 20-year-old.
A healthy diet is as important as any training technique as far as injury prevention is concerned. Avoid
additives and refined sugars in particular, as these are the main culprits in connective tissue deterioration.
Some supplements (such as glucosamine, fish oils, chondroitin sulfate, gelatin, and MSM) have helped many
people retain cartilage and synovial fluid, thereby easing stress on joints.
Returning to the issue of training volume, remember that high mileage days are more important than high
mileage weeks. Even for younger runners, high mileage blocks of three to five days provide ample stimulus to
the aerobic system. We tend to operate on a seven day cycle, but that's not always necessary as far as
running training goes! For example, you might build one of your higher training weeks around a Saturday long
run by going very short on Friday and Sunday, then going higher on Monday through Thursday. A short, easy
swim or bike workout could be substituted for running on Friday or Sunday or both. Where aerobic fitness is
concerned, five high days out of seven are just about as good as seven out of seven, and the two low days
can actually be somewhat therapeutic.
Running on soft surfaces (grass or trails) about 50% of the time is invaluable as an injury prevention measure.
You don't want to do all of your training on soft surfaces; if you did, you would be more injury-prone if you
began racing on the roads. However, the well-cushioned impact afforded by grass or trails certainly goes a
long way toward preserving (or possibly increasing) joint integrity. You may have to go slower on a soft
surface, but pace shouldn?t be a concern on most easy runs, anyway, and your legs will probably thank you
later for the off-road running!
Your easy days must usually be extremely easy to ensure full recovery. Don?t do a hard workout (or a long
run) unless you feel fresh; otherwise, you probably won?t be going fast enough (relative to your comfort level)
to achieve the desired results. Take a day off at any time if needed.
Masters need a wide variety of training procedures year-round in order to prevent injury, maintain a high max
HR, keep hormone levels up, preserve capillary density, reduce boredom, and retain speed. The 40-and-up
crowd appears to benefit most from an 8-12 week training cycle which features a 3-4 week stint of extremely
hard training 2-3 times weekly (with particularly easy recovery days). Varying the running terrain is helpful,
especially during a slower stage of training. Taking time off occasionally (or cross-training) can also be crucial
to allow for optimal recovery. A healthy diet is essential as well in order to keep feeling young and to have a
long, enjoyable running career.
Thanks everyone for all the input.
I am already doing some speedwork, mostly sets of 800's on relatively short rest intervals. I appreciate all of the ideas for additional training.
|just another post|
I hear you man.
I'm not quite your age yet but I also came back to running after an 11 year layoff, got into the best aerobic shape I had ever known but wondered where had the speed gone (and will I ever break 70 seconds for a quarter again...).
Now here's the real problem: every time I tried to hit the track for some faster intervals, a new injury was looming (or struck) and I just couldn't manage any consistent speed or anaerobic work. I was just about ready to accept my "marathoner only" status.
This year, I decided to try something else - a real focus on proper transition (somewhat a-la Lydiard). I included strides and various moderate fartleks during base, and then scheduled 5 weeks of hill work, staying away from the track.
This means I kept the mileage relatively high (85 mpw for me), and ran 2 workouts of 6-8 times 2.5 minutes at a fast effort up a moderately steep hill, (jog back down). While doing these, you should really work the final 30 seconds of each repeat, concentrating on form, driving your arms, etc. These can do wonders for you (I like the term "speed work in disguise").
Each of these workouts was followed by a 15 min. jog, and then 4 * 30 seconds fast (more of a pickup), 30 seconds off - just to get some turnover and a feel for "speed". A third workout was a 24-29 km run, with the second half ran at tempo pace.
Only after sticking religiously to this transition phase, I attempted to return to the track.
I was transformed. Most importantly, I enjoyed the workouts.
Since then, I've managed to break my 1500 pr from highschool by 4 seconds (I never imagined I would do so). True enough, I haven't completely regained the pure speed of my younger years and my 800 pr is still untouchable, but for any event from the 5000m. on up - that's not the deciding factor anyway.
Basically, my advice would be not to hurry into interval training on the track, but to gradually get back in touch with your speed and to work on those hills.
|43 year old|
You have lost some fitness, you will be slightly slower due to your age, but you haven't lost a huge amount of speed, the old fast twitch is still there. Most of your pace will come back with the right training and racing strategy.
It gets worse when you get past fifty. Brace yourself.
I've found the shorter alactic sprints are particularly hard on the body...the results are usually felt a day or two later. I have sciatica and PF. Both can come back with a vengeance doing shorter sprints. Tempo runs, not sprint-type workouts are much less hard on the body. You must be wise in this regard.
Another option: toss the watch. You're not 20, so every 5 years or so after 40 you'd be advised to start your seasons' PR goals anew by adding a little time or just running by feel...listen to your body, if you want to keep running.
Lose the ego, too. It can cause more trouble than anything else.
I'd suggest Messrs. Atkins and Whitlock could teach us a lot on dealing with the large numbers of calendar pages some of us have behind us.
Should I run 30 meter hills, after my long run? I have no speed at the end of a hard race. I was last at my team TT last month.
Why would you run 30m hill sprints at the end of your long run? You will likely be at your slowest ... and you are trying to build basic speed. Do your hill sprints when you are fresh, when it will do the most good.
If you improve 5 sec in the 400m Wwill you be able also to improve 5 sec pr 400m in a 5k?? ..... = 12,5 x 5 = 1min 2,5 sec. I guess if you can run the % of your max speed its possible. But it will maybe be harder to keep a high % if you have developed your speed a lot.
|Pages: | 1 | 2 ||