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GratefulCitizen
10-10-2009, 18:18
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.

dadof18x'er
10-10-2009, 18:40
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?:lifter

GratefulCitizen
10-10-2009, 18:49
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?:lifter

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.

Scimitar
10-10-2009, 19:41
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.

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

GratefulCitizen
10-10-2009, 19:53
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?



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".

wet dog
10-10-2009, 21:30
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.

Scimitar
10-10-2009, 22:43
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.



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

GratefulCitizen
10-13-2009, 18:38
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.

Scimitar
10-13-2009, 19:13
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

MILON
10-13-2009, 19:21
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

GratefulCitizen
10-14-2009, 14:13
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?

MILON
10-14-2009, 14:18
Gratefulcitizen,

PM inbound.

GratefulCitizen
05-26-2015, 23:09
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.

Beef
06-19-2015, 20:06
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.

GratefulCitizen
06-21-2015, 23:37
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

PSM
06-21-2015, 23:51
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

(GC,

Clear out some of your PMs, please.) Incoming. ;)

Pat

GratefulCitizen
06-22-2015, 00:57
(GC,

Clear out some of your PMs, please.) Incoming. ;)

Pat

Runway clear.

Bechorg
07-04-2015, 12:52
Great advice, I find it funny that despite great advice like this, the military as a whole and especially combat arms choses to just run men into the ground. Suck it up, drive on, don't worry about those knees blowing out at 35. Hopefully common sense prevails, someday. Until then everyone will continue destroying their bodies.

GratefulCitizen
07-04-2015, 14:44
Great advice, I find it funny that despite great advice like this, the military as a whole and especially combat arms choses to just run men into the ground. Suck it up, drive on, don't worry about those knees blowing out at 35. Hopefully common sense prevails, someday. Until then everyone will continue destroying their bodies.

Have some thoughts concerning knee issues.
Much of this is collected anecdotally, but I've seen consistent good results when heeded, and consistent bad results when ignored.

Knee stability is affected by interactions among the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
Particular imbalances in strength and flexibility have a huge effect.

General principals:
Strong quads + weak/flexible hamstrings + inflexible calves = knee problems.

If you have knee issues:
Do not work on hamstring flexibility, do work on calf flexibility.
Do not work on quadriceps strength, do work on hamstring strength.

NEVER do machine leg-extensions. EVER.
Machine leg-curls are OK, but stiff-legged dead lifts are far superior.

Barbell squats are a complex issue, they can be beneficial or harmful depending on a number of circumstances.
Leg presses/hip sled are generally an inferior choice.

Keep body weight as low as possible.
Avoid thick-heeled shoes when possible.

HTH.

GratefulCitizen
07-25-2015, 19:13
Chatted with the old man some more.
He decided to race some shorter stuff in the outdoor track championships (he generally runs the road/cross country stuff, and has won everything from the 8k to the half-marathon that have so far occurred this season).

He entered and won the 800m and 1500m.
The 2nd and 3rd place finishers in the 800m were actually faster in sheer speed, but he won by pressuring them and relying on superior conditioning.

Sometimes it isn't your strengths that matter.
It's your lack of weaknesses.

On the final straight, he was able to maintain function while his competitors broke down.
According to him, this is not just a matter of metabolic conditioning, it is a matter of neuromuscular conditioning.

When he trains with high volume and limited intensity, he not only gains metabolic conditioning, his body gets a great deal of "practice" running correctly.
Practice makes permanent, perfect practice makes perfect.

It's an issue of repetition.
When people train too hard, they are pressing their body to do things incorrectly, and their body remembers to do the "incorrect" thing.

This can lead to poor performance.
It also leads to injury.

Any movement involves force production by muscles.
The force of the movement is affected by intermuscular coordination, intramuscular coordination, recruitment levels in the muscles, and rate coding.

"Intermuscular coordination" is coordination as most of us understand.
It is a learned skill.

"Intramuscular coordination" is the degree to which muscle fibers within a given muscle fire synchronously or asynchronously.
This affects force production, how smooth or explosive the contraction is, and it is a learned skill.

"Recruitment levels" refer how many motor units (a group of muscle fibers activated by a particular motor neuron) within the muscle are called up to produce force.
They are recruited in an orderly fashion, from weakest to strongest, and while not exactly a learned skill, the threshold for recruiting the last, strongest ones can be lowered through training.

"Rate coding" refers to the firing frequency of motor units, the greater the frequency, the greater the force production.
This is the method the body uses to produce more force after most of the fibers have been recruited.

(There is also "rate of force production" which is very important but it is kind of a function of the things listed).

So, what the hell does this have to do with running and other conditioning?

Most of western training tends to focus on metabolic training: the ability of the body to produce energy and use various energy systems.
While this does matter, it sometimes comes at the expense of proper neuromuscular training.

Every movement is a skill.
As soon as the weakest muscle involved in the practice of a skill is no longer able to generate sufficient force, the movement degrades.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Every muscle functions somewhat differently, but they must work together to move the body.
For example, large muscle groups tend to use higher levels of recruitment up to about 80% of maximum voluntary force, and rely on rate coding after that, whereas smaller muscle groups use recruitment up to about 50% of maximum voluntary force, and start relying on rate coding after that.

Sufficient repetition and proper skill in a movement matter.
They should not be sacrificed for the sake of proving "mental toughness".

Testing is not training.

Here's the 800m championships for the 70-74 age range.
In the final stretch on the second lap, you can see how form broke down for the 2nd and 3rd place finishers.

http://www.usatf.tv/gprofile.php?mgroup_id=45365&do=videos&video_id=152538

Those guys run pretty hard for men in their 70s!