T Nation

Over 45 Sprinters

One thing I’ve learned in my life thus far: when I think I’m smart, many are smarter. Fortunately, when I think I’m dumb. Some are even dumber!

That’s why I know I’m not the only crazy so-and-so who started to sprint at the age of 44 (I’m now 45), having been a couch potato for my whole life.

I’m curious - how many other “elderly gentleman” sprint or do similar high-intensity running; when did you start, what problems do you get by way of injury’s (and how did you solve them or even prevent them!)?

Any tips for old-age sprinting? :slight_smile:

Yesterday, I did three sets of the 400-yard-dash, just for a change (I have always done 100-yards x 8 sets only thus far). I also measured my time (never bothered timing any sprinting before). I posted a best time of 1m 13.5 secs - on my second set, curiously enough (that’s my own timing with a stop-watch - no guarantees for accuracy of either the equipment or user!).

I actually enjoy sprinting - it gives me a real sense of satisfaction (even though I run alone). I am probably going to try Christian Thibaudeau’s IBUR (Running Man article), just to give my work some structure (just as Chad’s programs have done for my strength training). Anyone else in my age category doing/done this? Can you share any experiences?

Hoping for some discussion on this. :slight_smile:

Regards,

WiZlon

Hey…you are not old man…

I sprint about once per week. I run hills, 440’s, 220’s 100’s whatever I’m in the mood for.

I think there is a far better chance of injury running distances over three miles.

I can still run a sub :12 100yd dash. About a 60-65 second quarter. And that’s only training once per week. I think if you stay in shape through the years and have the right diet and lifestyle you can keep training hard in all areas for a long long time!

Keep it going man!

[quote]ZEB wrote:

I think there is a far better chance of injury running distances over three miles.

[/quote]

I have found that a reliable way for me to pull a muscle is to sprint at the end of a long run when I am tired from the prolonged exertion.

I run intervals once a week, a short (3 miles or less) fast run once a week, and a long (6 - 10 miles) slow run on weekends. I never injure myself on the short fast runs, but I hate to feel like I left energy unused so until I learned better I used to use all of the energy I had left at the end of the long runs to sprint out the last few hundred yards. This is kinda “duh” but when your muscles are very tired from a long run is definitely the wrong time to do full-on sprints.

I’m so darn smart I only had to hurt myself a half dozen times before I figured that one out. :wink:

Bottom line: I keep the intense days short, and the long days (relatively) easy.

I’m 48 and know a bit about running. I was an accomplished runner at one time consistently turning in sub 17 5ks and a sub three hour marathon.

  1. Stop almost all jogging. If you want to sprint do almost no jogging.
  2. Over head squats, front squats, and clean and press and snatches are helpful in developing speed. But if you’re not moving the weight fast you’re going to heavy.
  3. Sprint up stairs.
  4. The hardest part is not over training – sprinting once or twice a week is enough to make constant progress for most people.
  5. Do not practice sprinting for more than 20-30 minutes per workout. Over training is insidious at our age. But, you can be become very fast is you’re patient. Good luck.

I’m 41 and hadn’t sprinted since high school (I was damn fast back then 10.7, 21.9, 47.9). I was very small back then (145). The problem is I feel sprinting at my top speed at this size (220) just doesn’t feel safe I don’t know how to explain it other than I feel like I’m about to tear my self apart. I run 400m and 200m is the shortest I’ll go do to fear that the speed at shorter distances will injure me. I always time myself. I find sprinting really hardens me up especially in the mid section. i also run a little distance 1-2 miles at about a 7:30 pace but I find it hard to do this every day or so and progress with heavy squatting so I’m stopping that and going to sprints only. The only injury is I frequently get shin splints.

[quote]scs wrote:
The problem is I feel sprinting at my top speed at this size (220) just doesn’t feel safe I don’t know how to explain it other than I feel like I’m about to tear my self apart. [/quote]

That’s what I feel I’ve done. I had a hamstring issue develop back in June, and it’s still not healed. I was doing all-out 100m or so sprints then (which I loved). I rested up for a couple of months to “heal”, and I then started running again, but increased distance to 400m - reducing the intensity but increasing the volume.

Christian Thibaudeau’s “Running Man” artlcie inspired me to do that. However, I find even that still gives me Hamstring issues. I believe the intensity is just too high.

I’m resting it again (doing interval rowing, which does not affect hams), but I hope to try again - I will start with 800m runs instead, which further brings the intensity down. I may do some treadmill plodding at 6-7mph in the meantime to see if that helps work things a little (I quit endurance running earlier this year after I learned about the muscle-eating effects, and also after my right knee developed an occasional click).

I am now also doing overhead squats, and I agree with a prior posting that they quickly show you your flexibility issues - I have to stand on 25lb plates to get my heels off the ground, else I cannot get arms over my head. I intend to work on that by using thinner and thinner plates to see if I can encourage some flexibility back. Hopefully by then, my ham will be ready for some more running, too. :slight_smile:

I have learned running once or twice (max) a week is good. Anything more is just overtraining and builds up “endurance”, which is not what I now want.

Regards,

WiZ

Not their yet (only 32) but I figure when the day comes that I decide to hang up my throwing cleats (HGs) I’ll go back to my original track roots as a sprinter.
My old track coaches still can’t believe that the 5’5" sprinter is now throwing 100# tree trunks and 56# lead weights…but I digress.

Bravo on getting into the sprints.
I still use 100m wind sprints and hill work as a part of my workouts. I had dropped them for awhile and it left me slow and sluggish in my throws.
Sprinting brought back the flexibility and quickfire response I first had when I started throwing in 2002.
Keep it up man!!

While not into my 40’s just yet, I am noticing some tendency towards shin splints and discomfort in the right knee.

I’ve just started adding it in, and haven’t really done any running since my early 20’s. Hopefully the body will adapt?

It seems to be having a great effect on metabolism and so on if I can manage to avoid injury.

I just started doing hill sprints and I noticed 3 things right away:

  1. Less feeling of potential hamstring tears while going 100%
  2. No shin splints
  3. Freaking hard

Well, I’m not over 45, but is 42 close enough?

I started sprinting to increase my speed for baseball which I play competitively at the semi pro level as well as at the national level for my age group (38+). I am a leadoff type hitter and outfielder so speed is one of the key skills I am trying to improve upon.

Last year I began to work with a sprinting coach where I got my first formal training with regards to sprint mechanics and how specifically to train for short distance sprints. I was surprised at the level of improvement I made in short period using the programs I was given (we rotated programs every three weeks). Would be glad to share more information about the training if anyone is interested, but the primary focus points were mechanics and maximal strength (targeting Type IIB muscle fibers), correcting muscular imbalances, e.g. through single leg movements etc., and proper warmup and stretching. Workouts were generally short and very intense, there was very little conditioning aspect to the training.

Hi Mikren,
I would be interested in hearing more about your sprint training. Thank you in advance.

[quote]mikren wrote:
Well, I’m not over 45, but is 42 close enough?

I started sprinting to increase my speed for baseball which I play competitively at the semi pro level as well as at the national level for my age group (38+). I am a leadoff type hitter and outfielder so speed is one of the key skills I am trying to improve upon.

Last year I began to work with a sprinting coach where I got my first formal training with regards to sprint mechanics and how specifically to train for short distance sprints. I was surprised at the level of improvement I made in short period using the programs I was given (we rotated programs every three weeks). Would be glad to share more information about the training if anyone is interested, but the primary focus points were mechanics and maximal strength (targeting Type IIB muscle fibers), correcting muscular imbalances, e.g. through single leg movements etc., and proper warmup and stretching. Workouts were generally short and very intense, there was very little conditioning aspect to the training.
[/quote]

gvlahos-

Here is an overview of the training program that was designed for me.

BTW, the sprinting coach is a disciple of Charles Poliquin and many of the ideas behind the training comes from his experience with Poliquin.

Basically the program included 3 weight workouts and 3 track workouts per week. The track workouts include a series of corrective stretches which could be performed after the track workout. The workouts could be AM/PM working only 3 days per week or weights one day and then track the next with only one day off. The total volume of the program is quite low, although just about everything is performed at a very high level of intensity, e.g. sprints timed, etc.

The workouts changed every three weeks, however the template was always the same.

I have to leave right now, so I will continue with the program tomorrow in another post.

I keep pushing hill sprints to anyone who will listen. 30-50 yards, walk down. I was throwing the 35# weight all summer, so, I mix in 5 hills sprints per 10 throws. The hill and shot ring are about 20 yards apart, so it was easy. Once, twice a week depending on my schedule. I do not want to pull a hamstring.

I’ve just started a program that combines deadlifts and 6 standing long jumps. You go for three straight days. I’m giving it a month and I’ll report back. May be too hard on the body. Found out real quick, I needed to drop throwing for this workout. Almost toasted my back on an afternoon session. I’m 56 and too dumb not to know better.

If any of you are having shin splint problems I’ve found something that helps me. I don’t know why, I just sort of made this up but it has worked well for me.

On a low cable I put the type of handle that you would use for single arm cable curls. I put my the toe of my shoe into the handle. I sit on a bench and I pull my toes back towards me. For lack of a better phrase I’ll call them shin curls. takes care of my shin splints every time. Go easy at first since it is a completely new idea of training your shin you won’t be able to walk let alone run the first couple times you do it.

at 38yrs of age and 220lbs , 80-90% intensity is the most I can do for 100m sprints before I start to tear things…hamstrings in particular. When I bumped my sprinting from 2 to 3 days a week I wound up with a stress fracture in my foot. I now know that 2 days a week at 80-90% is my max and seeing my ART guy for regular tune-ups is neccessary if I want to stay healthy.

I love sprinting, probably my favorite exercise to do in the world…Then again, things are pretty easy for me at 26 yrs old and carrying around about 8 percent BF at 145 lbs.

I like to keep my sprint workouts short as well. After im well warmed up and had some warmup sprints in at 50 percent effort, I usually keep it anywhere from 5 -10 sprints, depending on how I feel, varying distances anywhere from 10 yards to 50…

Why as a 26 year old- with 8% bodyfat- are you posting in an over 35 year old forum on a thread about over 45 year old sprinting?

Unless your age is a mistake what was the point of your post apart from telling us how easy things are for you?

Hey guys, I’m an ex football linebacker that loves to sprint. I’m only thirty 38 but often times feel like an old fart. Do I still qualify? It’s interesting hearing about so many people pulling hamstrings. Why don’t people try sprinting a little slower. Like topping out at 85% or so. Is the goal to run faster and impress the cheerleaders or just look good and feel better without injury. I usually get a buddy and we run about 15 sprints of 70 yards up steep hills. I don’t know exactly how fast we go but the conversations are great.

I usually jog one half mile to one full mile, then stretch my hamstrings, quads etc. prior to doing any serious sprinting. I think this along with the proper nutrients, active recovery and the proper amount of sleep has kept my injuries lower than they would normally be.

[quote]ZEB wrote:
I usually jog one half mile to one full mile, then stretch my hamstrings, quads etc. prior to doing any serious sprinting. I think this along with the proper nutrients, active recovery and the proper amount of sleep has kept my injuries lower than they would normally be.[/quote]

Got me thinking. I used to do a ton of endurance running (made me skinny and weak - but I didn’t know better then). When I first started sprinting, I was still doing some endurance runs (5 miles a session). I stopped the endurance runs altogether around May, when I realized they were hampering my strength training / growth.

I first injured my hamstring in June, and have re-injured it a couple of times since then (all when sprinting), and I’m still not doing endurance running. Hmm…

I’m not doing any more sprinting until I see a specialist in October (just to be on the safe side for an occasional “clicking knee” that doesn’t hurt, but bothers me coz it happens). However, I thought it might be good to restart my running-on-the-treadmill program, just to see if that helps on the injury prevention front.

Thanks for helping me think, Zeb. :slight_smile: