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Runner's World (UK) - - Coach/ training -

Kre­gal’s ad­vice to fel­low 70-yearolds ap­plies dou­ble to the age divisions above him. For about two decades, be­gin­ning in the late 1980s, John Ke­ston (now 90) was the dom­i­nant run­ner among his peers, set­ting age-group records in a range of dis­tances. In his 70s he trained fairly tra­di­tion­ally, but as he ap­proached 80, he found that rest had be­come so im­por­tant that he shifted to a three-day work­out ro­ta­tion, run­ning one day (up to 16 miles), then walk­ing six miles on each of the next two days. ‘I also raced a lot, us­ing the races as my speed­work,’ he says.

Run­ning only ev­ery third day was a rad­i­cal change from his prior train­ing for­mula. But it worked, so well, in fact, that at 80 he set world bests for the mile, the 3000m and the half marathon.

Run­ning coach Jeff Gal­loway rec­om­mends break­ing up work­outs into seg­ments. In­stead of run­ning for 30 min­utes, for ex­am­ple, do three 10-minute runs, with a five-minute easy walk be­tween seg­ments.

If in­jury hasn’t al­ready forced you to try pool run­ning, do it now. With no im­pact on your joints and of­fer­ing the aer­o­bic ben­e­fits of run­ning, strid­ing through the wa­ter at least once a week will help stave off in­juries.

Marv Met­zer, 87, still man­ages a 3:26 half marathon. Not fast, but it’s the equiv­a­lent of a 30-yearold’s 1:43. At his age, he says, train­ing be­comes more and more like work, and it gets in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to stay in shape. You also have to get used to the fact that you’re slower than you’d like to be. On a re­cent train­ing run, he says, he no­ticed his shadow and ‘it looked like I was walk­ing’. He’s also had to re­duce his rac­ing ( be­cause oth­er­wise he’d spend all of his time re­cov­er­ing) and cut back on his train­ing. ‘I’m only do­ing about 15 miles a week th­ese days,’ he says. ‘A few years ago I did 60.’ But he plans to keep go­ing, even if he even­tu­ally winds up walk­ing. ‘Un­less some­thing se­ri­ous hap­pens, I’m still go­ing to be out there mov­ing,’ he says.

Reif echoes the same sen­ti­ment. ‘Use it or lose it,’ he says. ‘It’s very im­por­tant to stay ac­tive and healthy. I am very mo­ti­vated to live a healthy life­style for the rest of my life.’ And from a much younger mas­ters’ per­spec­tive, Cot­ner notes that as you reach each new age group, ev­ery­thing read­justs. ‘But that’s what mas­ters run­ning is,’ he says. ‘ You’re rein­vent­ing your­self ev­ery sea­son. We wipe the slate clean and start again.’

You have to get used to the fact you’re slower than you’d like to be

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