This is Part 2 of a multi-part series.
- The Journey & Realistic Goal setting
- The 10 changes I needed to do to avoid injury as in the past (this article)
- Race Report, part 1 (including the superspikes)
- EMAC in Pescara (part 2)
- Some changes for 2024 to prep for WMA in Gothenburg
If you are attempting a Masters comeback, or simply want 10 tips to apply for your training, here goes:
1. Lose Weight, Realistically
You need to get your weight down using habits that are manageable (no crash weight loss). 400 meters is a LONG way to carry 10 kg of excess luggage.
In my case, I lost 6 kg or 13 lbs simply by doing one thing in May 2023:
I swapped my high calorie, high carb lunch for a huge salad. And I mean huge, with lots of chewing. But I also started increasing my protein intake slightly. Here is a detailed YouTube video of all the supplements I take:
2. Work on Mobility & Flexibility, Including Microstretching
I can’t emphasis range of motion enough! Find time to stretch at night, use a foam roller and spiky balls, and do some mobility exercises, especially the hips.
The plus side of doing Microstretching is it helps you sleep better at night. I have covered the pros & cons of it on this Blog.
As well, get yourself a massage gun! These high end models really work. In fact, I brought mine to EMACs in Pescara. The funny part is the massage gun & spikes went through airport security without problems, but my protein powder was stopped, searched and analysed! Whey protein powder! It’s just filtered milk!
3) Work on Being an Athlete First – Overall Strength, Power, Speed
This is basic for any athlete… Strength, Power, Speed. Go to a gym, or even do home body weight exercises. Even Circuit Training to build up the lactate tolerance.
The hardest part is self discipline. If you can find a training buddy, or workout group, I highly recommend doing that.
4) Cut your Volume by at least 50% from your Open Years
There is an expression…”Don’t do your friend’s workout“. I used to be obsessed with doing 10x100m tempo. Or even 2 sets of 10x100m. 2000m volume. Sometimes 3000m early in the season. The Big Circuit or tempo workouts.
Today, my warm up is barely 6x60m of strides. But I still do a lot of drills & light plyometrics.
I think 2000m of pounding has an effect on the Achilles, at least for aging Masters athletes!
It’s all quality vs quantity.
But Tempo running shouldn’t be evil either, as I wrote this article back in 2021.
5) Use Time vs Distance as your Workout
My workouts are usually one of the following: 0-7sec, 7-15sec, 15-40sec, 40-120sec, 2 min+
Look familiar? Review the UKA Classification below:
SEE: UKA Michael Khmel & Tony Lester’s CLASSIFYING SPRINT TRAINING METHODS (PDF file, 1Mb), Table 1 on Page 24, and UKA Exercise Classification Hierarchy (v1.0) (125kb)
Don’t try to replicate a 3x300m when you did 35 or 36 sec back in the open days. Try 3×250 or even 3x220m in 35/36 sec for the same effect. If you were to do 3×300, expect them in 55 seconds (which is a whole different workout!)
6) Speed & Acceleration will always be Key from Day 1
Speed is the key to success. But try to avoid wearing spikes on a track, whenever possible. You can still get a good speed workout with Flats/Trainers on grass. You can also get a pair of old spikes, put long 7 or 9mm needles, and sprint on grass. Ultimately, you’ll need to run on the track.
You need to find that right balance of Intensity & Volume that will not blow up your legs.
If you’re looking for a good stimulus, look into Derek Hansen’s 10 x 10 Sprint Protocol:
7) You will need Speed & Special Endurance, eventually
One thing I didn’t do (but I tried to work up to) was over distance training (i.e. 400 or 500m) to get used to running 60+ sec for 400m.
The best I got to was 3 x 150m in 20+ seconds with 4 minutes strict recovery.
I simply ran out of time this year to incorporate some meaningful sessions. Patience!
8) Flats on Grass is about ~10% slower than Spikes on Track
If all you have is access to grass, with no track in sight, fear not, you can get quality speed sessions on a grass surface. Just make sure the grass is short and well maintained. Don’t get too obsessed with times. Biomechanics and energy systems are key.
I estimated a slowdown of approximately 10%, so if you want to run 25 sec on a track with spikes, expect to run 27.5 sec with flats on grass (25 sec + 10%). Again, this is just a rough estimate.
9) Don’t use Blocks until your Strength/Power levels can get you out in the Start/Set position.
Else, use a 800m standing or crouch start.
My plan was to start using the (1) crouch start, then (2) go down on all fours without Blocks (aka Allan Wells), and finally (3) use starting blocks.
My only caveat is the new NIKE superspikes with the air cushions are too wobbly and unstable for a crouch start. So towards the end of these season, I was going down on all fours. Like Allan Wells :)
I reviewed 3 pairs of NIKE superspikes on my YouTube Channel. At the end of this series, I’ll tell you which ones were my favourite, and why.
10) Write Everything down in a Log book
Keep track on your recovery, especially if you are stiff and tight in the Achilles/ankles upon wakeup, because these are warning signs. Don’t be afraid to train hard every 3rd day, instead of every second day. I started doing track work every second day, but found every 3rd day was better at times, depending on the previous workout.
Sometimes, this dreary rainy English weather can be difficult to train in, so replace it with a good circuit training, and take a ‘forced’ day off from the track!
Write it down. Because you can’t improve what you don’t measure.
NEXT UP: 2023 Race Report, part 1 (including the superspikes)