I’m currently dealing with a hamstring strain. So much for trying to do more strength training! Tuesday’s HIIT session ended prematurely as I felt my right hamstring tighten up and then give off a disturbing series of cracks and pops as I tried to stretch it out.
Ice it? Heat it? Stretch it? Rest it? Roll it? What is the best approach to healing and rehab that will ensure you’re only out a few days or a few weeks and not a few months? It’s a common question to any injury.
Here are the best ways to treat and prevent 5 common runner injuries. Don’t neglect those aches and pains and definitely do no try to run through any nagging niggles or tweaks. Listen to your body. Heal it up and then get back to running or exercising at full strength.
Here’s what I’m learning as a master’s athlete (i.e., an old man), there isn’t a lot of room for error. All those things coaches have been telling you for years (nutrition, strength training, stretching, rolling, recovery), if you don’t do them now, or try to skimp, like you did in your 20s or 30s, you will get injured or see impacts to your performance.
So far, the biggest impact to maintaining speed and fitness as I age has been to increase the focus and consistency of my strength training. I think I’ve finally hit on a formula that doesn’t make me dread going to the gym to lift.
The second biggest impact has been a return to the track and consistent speed work. It doesn’t have to be the gut-busting, lung burning intervals of high school or college. I’m learning that consistency over intensity is also a key to success as a master’s athlete.
I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a morning person, but I do realize that I am most productive in the morning up until about 2 pm. After that I end up in a downward motivational spiral until I land on the couch by 6:30 barely able to contemplate turning the pages of a book.
If I am going to get anything of consequence done, it’s usually in the morning. I’ve especially noticed with the Addison’s that if I don’t workout by lunch, it’s likely not going to happen.
Your cortisol levels peak in the morning and slowly bottom out by the late afternoon to allow you to begin to get ready to sleep. My synthetic dosages follow the same pattern to try to mimic the body. My motivation to lace up the shoes or get on the bike is highest in the morning.
But knowing something and being motivated and then actually doing it are somewhat different things. I’ve developed a few strategies that help get me out the door and get my morning workout done.
Before I transition to triathlons for the summer months, I have one month and one more 5k (you can read my recaps of the previous three here, here and here) to tackle in the spring season. My times have been inching downward and my goal is to get back under that 20 minute barrier. I’ve written in the past about the mental and physical demands of running a fast 5k. Now, I want to talk tactically about the 4 key workouts for a faster 5k that I’ll be using this final month of training.
These 4 workouts target speed and pacing, the two critical factors in executing a successful 5k race strategy.
You get older, you get slower, even for the elites science, competitive records and experience all show that all athletes slow with age. It’s true and it starts happening faster and faster (as you get slower and slower) after 40 and especially after age 50. You might not be able to beat father time, but you can fight back.
Quite a few recent studies have shown that regular, targeted strength training can at least push back and help hold our fading paces a little longer. Here are my 7 favorite strength and weight training exercises to-do as a Master’s runner that hates the idea of slowing down.
When we moved three years ago, one of the most under-appreciated aspects of our new neighborhood, for me, was the trail access to a local reservation right at the end of our street. Suddenly, I had no excuse not to try trail running. Except for the mud and snow.
Once winter came, I did what I always did and headed down into the basement for a season for running on the treadmill. I actually really don’t mind the treadmill, but it can become monotonous month after month.
It would have been nice to escape onto those trails again, but I was always worried about slipping or pulling something with little traction in the ice or mud.
Real runners don’t use treadmills. Or something like that. There is a bias against treadmills in the fitness community. Some just find them boring. Some think they can cause injuries. Some just really hate them for other personal reasons.
Living in the Northeast, I’m not going to say I prefer running on the treadmill, but I’m glad they exist to help keep my motivated and in-shape in the dead of winter. However, being a data nerd, I do often wonder about treadmill workouts. I certainly don’t totally trust the numbers the treadmill is spitting out.
Just how hard are you actually working on the treadmill? What is the pace if you change the incline? Do your mechanics change on the treadmill? Should you really always set it to a 1% incline? Let’s get some answers.