Can you run a PB even as an experienced masters runner at age 40 or 50 or even 60? The answer is yes! As the ageless Ed Whitlock and Meg Keflezighi have proved age is just a number. Ed recently broke 4 hours in the marathon at age 85 and Meb ran 2:12 to make the 2016 Olympic team at age 41.
Through my personal experience as a national competitive masters runner, researching the latest science and helping numerous masters runners achieve PB’s, I have discovered 5 strategies that can skyrocket your fitness as a masters runner.
1. Run Faster By Running on Hills. Run hills at a minimum of once every 10 days and run a variety of grades (4 to 12%+). Run a variety of hill workouts such as short 15 sec hill sprints, 10 x 1 min hills @3k effort and 40-60 min hill @ HM effort.
2. Incorporate Circuit Training. Combine this with hills and maximum strength/plyometrics for 6 weeks 2+ x year. A well designed plan which includes circuit training can boost fitness by naturally elevating testosterone, human growth hormone levels and running economy.
3. Focus on a Plant Based Diet. You can do this by limiting added sugar and avoid dairy and gluten. Sugar, dairy and gluten have been shown to cause inflammation which can result in increased recovery time needed between harder workouts, water weight gain and more frequent colds and infections. Plant based diets build muscle and are rich in antioxidants which reduces inflammation thus allowing the runner to recover faster between hard efforts.
4. Run Your Easy Days Easy. Do this by objectively wearing a heart rate monitor running 70% or less of maximum heart rate (MHR) or run 2:45+ min slower per mile than 5k training pace. A runner becomes faster on their easy running days so running an easy jog the day after a hard workout is crucial for speed optimization and injury prevention.
5. Believe and Visualize. Every faster running workout visualize yourself achieving your goal and feel that ecstatic feeling of accomplishing your goal. Capture that elated and confident feeling. Replay that focused awareness and unyielding determination throughout your training and most importantly believe.
Using the 5 strategies above you have the tools to combat the effects of aging, blast past your competitors and even run a PB as a masters runner!
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