T Nation

Masters Track and Field


Does anyone here compete in Masters track and field? I am planning on getting involved next summer. I will be 35 years old. I want to do the decathlon (if I don't kill myself learning to pole vault).

I have checked out all of the masters track sites online so I know the basics.

Any advice/thoughts/experiences would be appreciated. Thanks!


Well certainly Dan John and I throw competitively. I'm just waiting for him to turn 50 so I have at least a speck of a chance of being ranked #1 in the M45 discus event!


[quote]Charles Staley wrote:
Well certainly Dan John and I throw competitively. I'm just waiting for him to turn 50 so I have at least a speck of a chance of being ranked #1 in the M45 discus event!

Great to hear from you Charles! I knew you competed, but didn't know if you would see this. I am trying to get some knee problems worked out so I have targeted next summer to start competing. I have never thrown the discus so I may ask you some questions later about that.

My ex-gf was an Olympic Heptathlete and I used to do some stuff with her so I have been exposed to most of the events. She used to train the shot with Connie Price-Smith so I have a good background with that. What kinds of things should I expect/watch out for? Do you have any trouble finding meets to get involved in? I know you are in Arizona so it may be different. I am in Indianapolis...the Indiana Invaders are here and they have a masters team so I can probably join them to get some support.

Thanks for your time.


In AZ there are an OK # of meets, I also go to NV and CA sometimes.


Charles, didn't you do a little bit of coaching/training with a Heptathlete? I seem to remember that...I may be confused. Any thoughts on multi-event training?


Good luck and have some fun. I have always wanted to do a decatholon. I was a good distance runner and a good sprinter as well as performing well in all feild events. The discus is a very fun event and alot of it has to do with balance and hip explosion. Have someone teach you the proper technique more importantly someone who is small for thier throw, many of the bigger throwers can power through the spin and basically chuck the disc as far as thier strength will let them.

Much like getting perfect timing on a golf swing, leverage and timing along with power at the right point is really what makes a throw go well.

Shotput on the other hand, is more about raw power, this is probably the one event that I myself would not fare well in, but heck, if I can win the other 9 who cares right :wink:

On the polevault, be sure to stay aggressive while learning to vault. Also, some mats placed in front of the pit is a good idea for begginers as many tend to fall back towards the runway.

Also, NEVER let go of the pole, unless it is to complete your release over the bar. I had a bad experience once while learning, I was not aggressive enough on my approach and stalled almost straight up and down with my feet driving up in the air. When my body started coming back down and the pole stopped moving foward, I kind of just let go of the pole and fell about 10 ft back into the pit and landed on the back of my shoulders and back of my head. This was not a fun experience and it took me a long time to get over the fear of it happening again.

Good luck!



Hey Vegita...thanks for the response. I am looking forward to trying to learn all of the events. I have started doing hanging pikes and stuff and working on some tumbling to prep for the vault. I need to learn the discus so I will keep what you said in mind. I am 6'4" tall with long arms...I hope that is an advantage. I may see if the coach down at IU (Randy Heisler) can teach me.

Thanks for the advice!


I took up discus throwing two years ago, so I could help out my son. He was in middle school and I have a strong running and jumps background.

First thing, nobody competes under 40. I was at the Northern California PAUSATF championships and there were only a couple of athletes in their thirties.

Second, good luck finding any decathlon to compete in. Masters has way too many divisions and once you get over 50, they keep lowering the weight of the implements. Better to go to an all-comer's meet and compete against everybody. I'm off to one tonight for the shot and discus.

Dan still competes at a level where he would win most college conference meets in the discus and hammer. Right now, we are both going to Dallas for the Master"s Weight Pentathlon championships. He is hoping for a world's record, I'm just having fun. Master' meet are fine, but last weekend, I walked away with three golds and a silver. Just not enough bodies for all the divisions.


Gary John, thanks for the response. I figured that there won't be a lot of competitors in the under 40 crowd. I will probably have to look at some all comer's meets. I will probably just do a lot of single events at various meets and try to compete in the multi events at nationals. This is all assuming that I can get my knees straightened out.


Wow you are a game man indeed.

Decath requirement is mostly speed based. All the events are tehcnical with perhaps the exceptation of the 1500m

So you need to set up your training for the speed and technique. The multi coaches I talk too spend a lot of time on sprint training and technical work with hurdles and jumps (pole vault and high jump).

The throws tend to have a lesser time spent on them, but the technique for a multi eventist is different than a full time thrower - partly because of time restraints.

I would list of importance of training as follows:

  1. Technique
  2. Speed
  3. Recovery

Just some thoughts for you

Good Luck as I have just retired from hammer throwing and sprinting after 16 seasons.