This post is dedicated to anyone over 40 35 trying to make a comeback in Masters Track, but it also applies to everyone of all ages who wants to begin Track and Field, or any sport for that matter!
I get a lot of email from readers asking for advice on making a comeback, especially the sprints. However, the thought of a sedentary 50 year old male weighing 90kg (~200 lbs.) running a 400 meters or doing triple jump scares the heck out of me.
Since I like to ramble (and that’s what old guys like to do, by the way), here are some pointers and recommendations for your training plan.
The Injury Bug
The number one setback you will incur is injuries. There are several books on injuries and how to prevent them, but I’ll try to summarize it here.
The most common reason for getting injured is the old cliché, and that is doing too much, too fast, too soon.
John Smith of HIS gave me 3 pointers (you can read my 2005 meeting here) and that is:
- when you are tired (i.e overtraining)
- when there is an imbalance
- when the mind wants to do something the body doesn’t want to do
My personal stance on injuries (and I’ve had a lot) stems from two reasons:
- too much repetitive pounding, twisting or force on muscles, tendons and joints
- when you are compensating for a weak muscle
An example of too much pounding and twisting are Achilles injuries, and I’ve had my fair share. Having good ankle mobility and Achilles flexibility is one thing, but that cannot cure the high volume of pounding, twisting and force of sprinting. Think carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrist for computer people, and imagine your Achilles has 200,000 miles on them, and you can’t change the shock absorbers. You can ice, take Advil, and stretch all you want, but you’ll have to get those tendons stronger if you don’t want the soreness down the road.
It’s the same for shin splints. If you run the 800 meters and up, and you doubled your mileage from 40 miles per week to 80, that’s like going from 120 mpw to 240 mpw for the Elite guys! The body can only handle so much pounding.
As for compensating, Loren Seagrave once said, “Elite athletes are the best compensators in the world”. Read the article Hamstring Injuries, the Iliopsoas and Imbalances and you’ll get the idea.
Now that I’ve depressed the hell out of you, I’ll talk next about prevention and hopefully cure.