Track and field for Masters Athletes 8: Cross-training

This is the eight in a series of articles covering all aspects of Masters athletes’ training and nutrition for track and field events. In this article, we examine cross-training, which is a very important tool for all Masters athletes.

As stated in one of my previous articles, Masters athletes need to train smarter, not necessarily harder or longer. For most of us seasoned runners, gone are the days of high-mileage workouts. Unless you’re genetically gifted, an aging body just can’t cope due to slower recovery. For example, my brother Claude (Chief Warrant Officer of 17 Wing Winnipeg) ran up to 140 km each week 20 years ago, which made him a near-elite runner. He finished the Ottawa Race Weekend half-marathon in one hour and eleven minutes, placing fourth overall! Unfortunately, the high mileage took its toll on his Achilles tendons, forcing him to drastically reduce his training volume. At age 53, he now tops up his weekly total running distance at 60 kilometres, and that includes cross training. So for most of you “seasoned” athletes, try to introduce cross-training in your weekly schedule to make up for the loss of running volume and intensity. Doing this will improve your cardio, strengthen your muscles and help speed your recovery. Single-sport athletes such as runners often are in poor skeletal shape above the waist, and could use additional forms of workouts for better overall fitness.

While my sprinting program calls for four or five sessions on the…

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