We can’t run the same way year after year. Indeed, running has to adapt to fit our age.
When taking the USA Track & Field coaching course, training age was taught as an important concept to consider when coaching any runner. If you’re 30 years old but have only been running for two years, your training age is two.
This critical concept influences the type of workouts that you should be doing, how fast you build your mileage, and when you should begin training for your first marathon.
But today I want to talk about your physical age and how it impacts your running. High school kids train very differently from 30 year olds, who train very different from 65 year olds.
Recently I got a question from Tom, who asked:
I’m 42 years old and a sub-three hour marathon runner. What different training methods are there for masters athletes? Should I be running different workouts than what I was doing 10 years ago?
This is a GREAT question. The short answer is yes! Older runners have different needs than those in their peak years (generally 25-35 years old).
I think Tom is still young to make dramatic changes to his training at the youthful age of 42, but I wanted to answer this question for SR readers over 50.
At the end of the video I mentioned several resources that older runners can use to ensure they stay healthy and reach their goals.
- Advanced running recovery
- Do the “little things” – see the concept of body maintenance
- Specific strength for runners – see Strength Training for Runners
These are the “big wins” of adjusting your training as you get older. Of course, once you start becoming a senior citizen you may have to eliminate truly difficult workouts like VO2 Max sessions and hard 20 milers. At this point it’s very individual so you may want to talk to a coach who can plan training around your abilities.
Older runners may also want to become more disciplined with their diet to prevent additional weight gain, get frequent massages or ART sessions to keep their muscles supple, and reduce their overall mileage to focus on quality days.
Thanks for sending your question Tom!
What are your running questions? Leave one in the comments and I might just make you a video…