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Looking for thoughts for struggling masters runners

Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:15 am
by BarryP
Hi all, I'm looking for some insight. I've been struggling to get a small, consistent program going.

Background - former collegiate runner (15:xx 5ks). Running tanked in my late 30s, dropping down to ~15 miles per week due to chronic calf/knee/lower back pain.

I'm 47 and have made several attempts to return in my 40s, just to add a little fitness into my life. I am in far better shape off of a little running than I am off of no running.

I fluctuate between about 180 and 195 at 6'3". My college weight was 150 lbs. 180 is off of lean eating and an hour a day of cardio. I don't really see that dropping any further.

I'm currently experimenting with the Bob Schul program, which consists of lots of 100m-300m intervals with walking breaks. Last week I did two days of 4x200 easy warmup, 8x200 @hard-ish effort (faster than tempo pace), 4x200 easy cool down. Breaks were 30s after odd numbered intervals, and 60s hip flexor stretch after even numbered intervals.

It sounds counterintuitive to me, but it feels like the shorter, faster efforts with stretching in between help keep my form smooth compared to jogging at 9 minute per mile pace.

Other things I've tried:

Hokas, soft surfaces only, lots of stretching, hill workouts where I walk the downhills. I also do a lot of elliptical, stairs, and cycling.

Barefoot running never seemed to help, and water running is too boring and inconvenient.

Notes on stretching - my hip flexors and quads have always been exceptionally tight, and seem to put a lot of stress on my lower back. This is one of the reason why I'm considering the schul program, just to get me more focussed stretching in those areas.


Re: Looking for thoughts for struggling masters runners

Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:25 pm
by sup03
Look up Kelly Starret. I use his stuff for stretching and staying healthy physically. I am a lot younger, but his stuff when done consistently can help with that lower back pain and a lot more. I would start there before adding mileage. One thing to note: Thick shoes and soft surfaces don't work great together (unless flat terrain that is tightly packed). Tinman has talked about this before on a post, can't remember which one. What are you Training for?

Re: Looking for thoughts for struggling masters runners

Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:04 pm
by BarryP
Thanks for the tip on Kelly Starret.

I find the soft shoe - soft surface comment interesting. I'll have to put some thought into that. Right now I'm paying close attention to how I feel comparing hills to flats to the track. The track surprisingly felt better than I expected, and I think it might be because I can better control my form (ie get my weight over my hips). Also, despite the fact that there's less pounding running uphill, it puts a lot of stress on my lower legs.

Re: what am I training for? In a nutshell, to be in better shape than I am when not running.

Truth be told, I play a sport that endurance helps a lot with, and I've found running to be infinitely more effective than anything else.

But if I had to pick something racing specific, I'm thinking of racing the local 5 miler in June. I ran a 35:24 2.5 years ago. If I can hit a 36:15, it'll be the same age graded result.

Re: Looking for thoughts for struggling masters runners

Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:37 am
by sup03
I'll explain the thick shoe on soft surface the way I understand it. Basically think about standing on a bosu ball barefoot, difficult right? well now do it with a pair of thick Hokas on. Much harder, why? Because your trying to balance on two surfaces now. Switch the Hokas out with a pair of Altra Escalantes, which
are basically the complete opposite with a wider toe box and very little foam, and it should become easier. Now you run on some Grass in a park with the ground uneven and the maybe even ruts here and there, basically a typically highschool xc course. The same affect happens, your foot tries to read the ground, gets thrown off balance with the thicker shoe, and eventually it hurts you. Trails are a different story because there are various forms of them and footing is very important as well as speed.
Running on the track in lane 6-8 is much better with thicker shoes because you have two controlled variables. The surface and the shoe. The surface isn't terribly hard and the shoe can have a lot of cushion. You run in lane 6-8 to keep the turns long. Soft surface running is more about Terrain then the actually material you are running on to a certain degree.

As far as training for the 5 miler. I would simply keep it easy for a couple weeks 25-30mpw. Try running on the track about 2-3 times a week for that soft surface. Find some good solid ground without grass hiding the actually surface to run on. I usually make a couple different routes and stick to them for a couple weeks and then try and find new ones that I can use so it doesn't get boring. Hope this helps

Re: Looking for thoughts for struggling masters runners

Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:34 pm
by sup03
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3224&sid=6a24f8766 ... 4da8c7051e
Should have linked this in the first place lol

Re: Looking for thoughts for struggling masters runners

Posted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:34 am
by BarryP
Thanks for the insight and the link.

As for 25 mpw, right now that's me END goal. ;)

I just ran a 10 mile week. I think that's the most I've run in a week since I was in my 30s. A slow "filler" run for me right now is about 12 minute miles. Based on pace calculators, I should be in the 9:30-10:30 range, but I can actually get my HR up around 70% at 12 minutes.

Side note: I was always a slow "easy day" person. Even when I was a sub 16 5K runner, I preferred easy days to be ~8 min pace when my peers all wanted to be running somewhere in the 6s.

What seems to be helping me the most is really targeting my quads and hip flexors in my stretches. I used to dedicate 30s-60s each a day. Now I'm hitting well over 5min each.

Anyway, thanks again.