Masters Track is like a Car: It’s Mileage, not Age that Matters – Part 3

This is Part 3 of a 3 part series.  Part 1 talks about being injury pronePart 2 talks about expectations.  Part 3 are my top recommendations.

My Top 7 Recommendations

I covered some of these topics two years ago in this article but I’ll elaborate more here.

1. Get Fit First

GPP (General Preparation) workouts all the way, especially for leg strength and power, and core workouts.  Tempo workouts (with light circuit training) will help melt the fat, trust me on this.

2. Lose Weight and Regain Flexibility & Range of Motion

Unless you resemble your College body, any excess weight will increase the stress on your body.  Using traditional height and weight numbers won’t cut it, as you can gain fat and lose muscle and still have the same bodyweight.

3. Strength, Speed, and Explosive Power are Synonymous

Running fast in workouts are great, but you need strength and power from plyometrics and weight training.  Hills are great for power and stride length.  2X per week is sufficient.  For a balanced training plan, see article here.

Outside of your competition event, I believe here is the key to success: a balance of various isometric strength, dynamic strength, speed strength, power, and explosive power.  The number of sets, reps, and load (i.e. weights) will vary.

You are basically trying to prepare your body for the physical strain of a particular movement.  Unfortunately, the only way you can get better at pole vault is pole vaulting.  The only way you can get your muscles and tendons ready for pole vault is pole vaulting.

So you want to prepare the body the best you can in all forms of movement.  If you are still getting injured, you’ll have to revisit the Injury Bug section.

4. Recovery is King

World Class athletes do not work in an office 40+ hours a week, train after work, and sleep 5 hours a night.  So how do you expect world class results?

Hopefully if you are over 40 or 50, you now have the disposable income to pay for extra physio, chiropractic, and massage services.  (As I said, hopefully, but I don’t mean to offend anyone.  Times are tough!)

Here is my quick checklist on ways to recover.  Some of these topics overlap into injury prevention and treatment.  You can use the Blog’s search function to research these articles as I’ve covered each of them several times over the past 4 years.  I’ll write more in detail in the future if there is a demand.

  1. sleep
  2. active recovery
  3. passive recovery
  4. water and proper hydration
  5. massage, ART, trigger point therapy, foam rollers
  6. EMS
  7. microstretching, resistance stretching, yoga
  8. compression clothing
  9. supplements (i.e. ZMA, glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate, etc)
  10. breathing techniques
  11. ice baths, contrast baths (hot/cold)
  12. Active Therapeutic Movements
  13. ASTYM treatment
  14. Low Level Laser therapy
  15. Copper, Magnetic & Titanium Bracelets, and PhysioBalm
  16. muscle rubs, arnica, traumeel

5. Nutrition is Queen

You’ll need to get your weight down and lose the excess fat.  You’ll be surprised what 5 pounds of weight loss will feel like.  Avoid dieting, using caloric expenditure as your weight loss mechanism.  Many people try to substitute supplements in exchange for bad nutrition, which is a bad idea.  Whatever you eat, try to have the foodstuff packed with vitamins, minerals, good fats, and fiber.

6. Train on Grass… Surfaces, that is

NoRoss Rebagliati jokes please!

Get an old pair of spikes, get long spike pins or needles, and do sprint work on grass surfaces.  You’ll want to go on a synthetic track and run fast just to feed your ego, but your legs and joints will pay the price the next day (or two!)  Since I recommend running top speeds at 95%, there’s no need to go 100%, especially in practice.  In the World’s Finals, well, that’s a different story.

Bud Winter was the first person to prove the idea that the key to winning in sports was not to extend a 100 or 110 percent effort.  He said “Far more can be achieved with a four-fifths effort”.   His book So You Want to be a Sprinter covers this topic, and his classic book Relax and Win is scheduled to be re-released.

Speaking of World’s, some athletes worry about running the rounds, but you have to get to the starting line of the heats first!

7. Growth Hormone and Testosterone… naturally!

I don’t have to tell you that Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and Testosterone is the holy grail to staying young and being stronger (but I just did?).  For those who want to cheat, that’s your prerogative, but I rather get mine naturally.  Here are 3 ways:

I mentioned ZMA in past articles on the Blog.  ZMA is simply Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B-6, and taken before bedtime (in the correct formulation) to increase natural testosterone, and provide a deeper sleep.  A new formulation is available.   I’ve used this in the past, and I feel it works.  Some experience lucid dreams.

But the good news is exercise is known to stimulate HGH release, and the higher the intensity of the exercise, the more HGH will be released.


Phil Campbell, author of the book Ready, Set, Go! Synergy Fitness, recommended limiting carbs up to 2 hours after exercise so it does not inhibit the natural Human Growth Hormone (HGH) from being secreted from post-exercise activities.  Remember, this advice is for those who want to benefit from natural HGH, and not fat loss or recovery.  For recovery, you’ll need a good post workout shake.  You’ll have to decide what works best for you.

Good Luck to everyone on your comeback trail!

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • that is great advice Jimson, than you.
    i have a meet this coming w/e-i have entered the M55-59 400m.
    i ran a 400 on the same track the meet will be held othis past saturday to get the feel of it.
    i ran a 63.05 which is really good for me.
    i am planning a pretty easy week-a few drills, a bit of weight training and crosstraining, and then 3 full days rest.
    does that seem like a reasonable taper?

  • Jimson, thanks for another great article.
    Hope you will not mind if I translate it for my monthly bulletin (master athletes in my country don’t have a website, so I translate articles etc. from foreign sites, and distribute these bulletins free-of-charge by email).

    Do you believe that Traumeel (p.4, last line) can help for Achilles tendonitis?

    Point 6: Recommendations for Achilles tendonitis include training on grass, dirt, gym mattresses and other soft surfaces. However, after moving to the track inuries are likely.
    Curious: It was written somewhere that in Atlanta, GA, there is a track 8 mm thick – very fast but very risky for injuries, especially for triple jumpers.
    What is the optimum thickness – good for the health but not slow?

    • @ventsi – you are free to translate any of the articles and post it online. Just give me the courtesy reference source (i.e. , and link back to the original article (if it’s an online site)

      Traumeel from my experience will only work on mild strains, and not sever injuries.

      RE: Atlanta. It is possible that track is made from the 1996 OG stadium, which was torn down for Turner Field. For a good read on track hardness, see:

  • Nice to hear about the progress in re-releasing Relax and Win. Can you give us a rough estimate of the release date?

    • @Mike, it’s taking a while collecting the interviews from various coaches of different sports. I would like to say 2011, but 2012 is more realistic. Rocket Sprint Start should be out in a month.

  • Great Article Jimson,

    poor inspiration – thx so much – a thing that I need – doing a 7:20 for the 60m dash in M 40 agegroup then changing sports – going to cycling time trialing – finaly reachin’ my goal – doing a 41 average in 20 k TT
    suddenly there was the strong desire to go back to track ….

    since 9 month I am trapped by tight calves and as expected hamstring problems, but I will carry on hoping to peak in 2013 when in M55 agegroup …

    is there a cure for tight calves that someone eventually knows ?

    hopefully looking forward for more inspiration from you !

    thx Jimson, thx folks

    best wishes JJ

  • Just saw I wrote poor instead of pure
    sorry :-)
    I am so sorry –
    I had to correct that ;-)

    thx JJ