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’ve been running regularly for a long time. I don’t say this to brag, but to point out the kinds of issues I struggle with now might not be the same as the ones a beginner runner finds most difficult. Depending on where you are in your fitness, just starting, somewhere in the middle, or a long-time veteran, you will likely encounter different struggles both mentally and physically.
It’s February here in the Northeast and we are deep into treadmill season. Despite some brief respites of days over the freezing mark, the majority of my runs over the last two months have been on the treadmill.
As a replacement for the bulk of base miles the treadmill often gets maligned, but as a training tool for specific, targeted workouts, I think it is often neglected. I wouldn’t want to run all my miles on a treadmill, but the treadmill can have a purpose in your training cycle.
It’s the dark days of February in New England which means lots of people are bundled up and running outside to train for the marathon. God bless, them. Training locally for Boston is probably the toughest and sometimes most dangerous part.
I don’t have to worry about that this year, but I’m still trying get some running in despite the snow, ice and general unpleasantness outside.
What’s the best way to train for a 5k? Do you still need long runs? Only sprint workouts?
It’s been at least 10 years since I really focused on the 5k as a goal race. Recently, it’s been longer road races and triathlons as the goal and the 5k’s were only there to spice up the training or get in the speed work, but with my knee arthritis and the goal of building back up very slowly, 2018 is looking like the year of the 5k and the sprint triathlons.
For the last six weeks I have slowly been ramping up the running with the goal of starting the new year with a solid race. Here is what I’ve learned and put into practice as my training.
Since I started running, way back in the local Hershey youth track meets, I’ve been running after numbers. Each distance, each event was defined by a winning time, or later when it was a clear I wasn’t going to be an All-American, a personal record.
I’m highly motivated by goals and for much of my running career that goal has been to go faster. To lower those PRs. Ask any serious runner, even weekend warrior, and they will be able to tell you their PRs across distances.
We are currently in one of those valleys where piano has gotten more difficult and practices have gotten more laborious and more contentious. It’s ratcheted up the stress level in the household to the point where Michelle and I have to tag in and out during practice to keep our own sanity. You can’t fight frustration with frustration.
I worry sometimes that the girls’ days are so packed that they don’t have enough time to fail before it’s on to the next thing. There’s literally no time for the ‘hard’ thing. There’s no struggle because there is always a new activity.
So I am trying really hard to see these piano battles as an opportunity. It’s not easy. Seeing your child get frustrated, struggle and fail is tough, but I don’t know any other way to teach the girls about the importance of effort, deliberate practice and failure. Perseverance is very much a skill they are going to need.
Maybe piano won’t be her passion. It’s not really fair to expect an eight year old to know their passion, right?. Maybe she gives up on it, but right now, I don’t think a low point should be the end point.
She will learn this minuet if it kills us all.