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Old 10-10-2009, 17:18   #1
GratefulCitizen
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An old man's running advice

Been reading through the various posts on running and didn't know to which this should attach, so it's a new one.

My old man is something of a running expert, so I picked his brain about many of the concerns posted on this site.
He distilled the issues down to a few, I'll do my best to relay his thoughts.

Focus will primarily be on durability and injury avoidance.


His background:
******************************
Has run competitively off-and-on for over 50 years.
Coached track (among other sports) for 26 years.

Had various accomplishments in his younger years, too many to catalog here.

At the age of 50, he began competing in USATF age-graded events.
He had many national championships from the 1500m to the half-marathon.

His best 50 year-old 1500m was 4:14 (this is about equivalent to a 4:34 mile).
His best 50 year-old half-marathon was 1:10:44 (this is about 5:40/mile pace).

Named USATF athlete of the year twice in the 50-54 category and once in the 55-59 category.
Has accumulated 19 national championships (including 2 so far this year in the 65-69 category).

At the age of 60, his doc said he had the knees and hips of a 25 year old.
Now, at the age of 65 and weighing in the low 170lb range, he has a resting heart rate of 40 bpm.

He knows his stuff.
******************************



Some of his thoughts:

-Choose your running surface wisely.
Dirt is best, then grass.
Never run on concrete, limit running on asphalt.

All-weather tracks are easy on the joints, but their use should be limited.
They are too smooth. The lower leg benefits from slight surface irregularities.
Overuse of smooth surfaces often causes injury.

-Use running shoes which are comfortable.
Not racing shoes, not cross-training shoes, or some other "latest" thing.
When they become uncomfortable, replace them.
Don't run in worn-out shoes.

-Warm up slowly. Very slowly.

-Stretch after running. Don't stretch before running.

-Avoid running downhill whenever possible.
Running uphill is a somewhat safe way to keep training while nursing an injury.
(This assumes you have a way to skip the downhill portion.)

-Don't do plyometrics.
They are specialized exercises with narrow (albeit, good) benefits and a very high risk of injury.

-Don't do "ballistic" stretching.

-Keep your body weight down. Don't weigh more than is necessary.

-Mindset
There are no "magic" pills or techniques.
More is not better. Better is better.
It takes as long as it takes. You cannot get in shape at the last minute.
The will to win is meaningless without the will to prepare.

*************************
*************************



Concerning training for PT standards (2 mile):

If the 2 mile is not the primary training goal in your profession or hobby, then keep it simple.

Start training about 8 weeks prior to event testing (perhaps more if you're out of shape).
Run 5 days/week, with rest days being non-consecutive.

Ramp up mileage until you are running 5 miles/day, 5 days/week.
Running 5 miles/day for 5 days/week should be maintained for the 4-5 weeks prior to event testing.

Stop training 2-3 days prior to event testing.

Don't worry about special breathing or running techniques.
Just run.
Your body will learn how to become more efficient all by itself.

HTH, YMMV .
************************

Would be happy to relay specific questions to the old man.
However, realize that individual questions are sometimes difficult to answer because of lack of context.
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Last edited by GratefulCitizen; 10-10-2009 at 17:22. Reason: typo
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Old 10-10-2009, 17:40   #2
dadof18x'er
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just what the dr. ordered

Grateful I'm grateful for that info! as a 58er trying to stay halfway in shape

that is some very good info. I wonder why dirt is better than grass? slippery?

does he have any advice for weight training?

Last edited by dadof18x'er; 10-10-2009 at 17:43.
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Old 10-10-2009, 17:49   #3
GratefulCitizen
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Originally Posted by dadof18x'er View Post
Grateful I'm grateful for that info! as a 58er trying to stay halfway in shape

that is some very good info. I wonder why dirt is better than grass? slippery?

does he have any advice for weight training?
He said dirt is better mainly because you can find long stretches of it.
Running in grass usually has limited options or involves dodging golf balls.

The weight training he did/recommends bore a strong resemblance to Blitz's stuff, but it was somewhat less intense.
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Old 10-10-2009, 18:41   #4
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Quote:
Would be happy to relay specific questions to the old man.
However, realize that individual questions are sometimes difficult to answer because of lack of context.
GC,

Thanks for the thread. Although I am 80% healed and it seems I am pretty much on the road to full recovery I'd still be interested on your fathers thoughts on recovery from severe ITB Friction Syndrome if he's willing.

Quote:
Don't worry about special breathing or running techniques.
Just run.
Your body will learn how to become more efficient all by itself.
Also I'm interested in his comment about running gait training, currently the POSE techneque is all the rave, could he expond on his comment about just run.

Scimitar
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Last edited by Scimitar; 10-10-2009 at 18:44.
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Old 10-10-2009, 18:53   #5
GratefulCitizen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scimitar View Post
GC,

Thanks for the thread. Although I am 80% healed and it seems I am pretty much on the road to full recovery I'd still be interested on your fathers thoughts on recovery from severe ITB Friction Syndrome if he's willing.
Scimitar
Some important context is needed:
What is the purpose of your training?
What are your goals?
What is your training history/conditioning level?
What is your time-frame?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scimitar View Post
Also I'm interested in his comment about running gait training, currently the POSE techneque is all the rave, could he expond on his comment about just run.

Scimitar
I'll ask.
Most likely he'll say that this falls under "over-coaching" or "magic technique".
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Old 10-10-2009, 20:30   #6
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James R. Ward

Many of you might not know, but James R. Ward, our brother and Detechment member of OSS-101, Burma, WWII. Also at age 74, set a record as the oldest finisher ever of the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon. In the Ironman, James swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles nonstop in 16 hours and ten minutes.

James, or as I called him, "Mr. Ward", was a retired cryptologist at NSA.
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Old 10-10-2009, 21:43   #7
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Quote:
Some important context is needed:
What is the purpose of your training?
What are your goals?
What is your training history/conditioning level?
What is your time-frame?
Sure thing GC,

Appreciate any insight. I will PM this part to you. No need to clutter the board I feel.



Quote:
re: Running Techniques
I'll ask.
Most likely he'll say that this falls under "over-coaching" or "magic technique"
I am new to this side of PT, but there seems to be some pretty strong science behind...

good-better-best form / gait = conservation of energy = better work capacity = less fatigue...?

Always interested in being challenged by a dissenting PoV.

Regards


Scimitar
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"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks."
-- Phillip Brooks

"A man's reach should exceed his grasp"
-- Robert Browning

"Hooah! Pushing thru the shit til Daisies grow, Sir"
-- Me

"Malo mori quam fiedari"
"Death before Dishonour"
-- Family Coat-of-Arms Maxim

"Mārohirohi! Kia Kaha!"
"Be strong! Drive-on!"
Maori saying
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Old 10-13-2009, 17:38   #8
GratefulCitizen
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ITB friction syndrome

Got some feedback from the old man in regards to a few questions.

He had ITB friction syndrome back at the age of 23.
In his opinion, it is not possible to train your way through it.
It takes as long as it takes to heal.

At its worst, he was running one day, resting two.
It took a full year to get back up to baseline levels prior to the injury.
Some effects from the injury lingered for 3 more years.

The cause in his case (and others) was too much running in hard shoes on hard surfaces.
Moral of the story: don't run on asphalt in boots when it's not required.

***************
Caveat on the "running uphill" while nursing an injury:
This is not recommended in the case injury to the calf/achilles tendon, plantar fasciitis, and some ankle injuries.
***************

Concerning running "techniques":
There is some small benefit, but it is generally not worth the effort unless you're a highly competitive runner.
The training time is generally better spent doing something else.
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Old 10-13-2009, 18:13   #9
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Quote:
Concerning running "techniques":
There is some small benefit, but it is generally not worth the effort unless you're a highly competitive runner.
The training time is generally better spent doing something else.
Hadn't thought about it from that PoV.

Great feedback.

Cheers

Scimitar
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"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks."
-- Phillip Brooks

"A man's reach should exceed his grasp"
-- Robert Browning

"Hooah! Pushing thru the shit til Daisies grow, Sir"
-- Me

"Malo mori quam fiedari"
"Death before Dishonour"
-- Family Coat-of-Arms Maxim

"Mārohirohi! Kia Kaha!"
"Be strong! Drive-on!"
Maori saying
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Old 10-13-2009, 18:21   #10
MILON
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Weekly training sessions & progression

Gratefulcitizen,

Your fathers thoughts are very appreciated. Just wanted to say thanks and ask a couple quick question.

How does your father suggest mixing up speed work, distance work and lifting sessions, along with adding in rest/recovery methods in a given week of training? Also, what are his thoughts on progressing when combining speed work and distance work over the course of several months?

If my questions is not clear, please let me know.

Thank you for your time.

MILON
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Old 10-14-2009, 13:13   #11
GratefulCitizen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MILON View Post
Gratefulcitizen,

Your fathers thoughts are very appreciated. Just wanted to say thanks and ask a couple quick question.

How does your father suggest mixing up speed work, distance work and lifting sessions, along with adding in rest/recovery methods in a given week of training? Also, what are his thoughts on progressing when combining speed work and distance work over the course of several months?

If my questions is not clear, please let me know.

Thank you for your time.

MILON
I'll be happy to pass along your questions, but context is needed.

What is the purpose of your training?
What are your goals?
What is your training history/conditioning level?
What is your time-frame?
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Make a decision, and then make it the right one through your actions.
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Old 10-14-2009, 13:18   #12
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Gratefulcitizen,

PM inbound.
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Old 05-26-2015, 22:09   #13
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Talking with the old man again about running, he's been competing now for 57 years.
He just set an American record for the 70-74 age range in the 10k, 40:14 (that's about 6:29 per mile).

He's been gradually healing from some injuries and is still improving, and thinks he may be able to shave up to a minute off of that time in top shape.
Realized that some of his rehab/recovery principles may apply to those who are nursing injuries, are older, or are carrying wear and tear towards the end of a physically demanding career.

After picking his brain, here's what I got:

Stay away from too much intense (fast) training.
One intense day per week at most, not too intense, and only after you're in reasonable shape.

Focus on making gradual gains in volume (weekly mileage).
High frequency training is better, i.e.: it's better to train 6 days per week for shorter runs than 3 days per week for longer runs.

As you get older, the mind will easily push the body past the breaking point.
The gifts of youth are no longer available to forgive the error with quick healing and recovery.

There it is:
Limited intensity, high frequency, focus on volume.

HTH.
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Old 06-19-2015, 19:06   #14
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Thank you,GC. At 59, I can use your Dad's sort of advice. His 10K time is about the same as mine at age 30-35. I never broke 40 minutes. Convey my congratulations to him on his record.
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Old 06-21-2015, 22:37   #15
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Originally Posted by Beef View Post
Thank you,GC. At 59, I can use your Dad's sort of advice. His 10K time is about the same as mine at age 30-35. I never broke 40 minutes. Convey my congratulations to him on his record.
Chatted with him this evening and mentioned the post.
He really wanted to stress the benefits of avoiding running on hard surfaces.

Dirt trails, grass, dirt/cinder tracks, or even gravel roads are best for the majority of training mileage.
Never on concrete, and limit asphalt when possible.

All-weather tracks are good for the occasional faster stuff, but slight surface irregularities are good for the lower leg when doing base work.

HTH
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