How To Out­run Ag­ing

YOU BE­COME MORE LIKELY TO IN­JURE YOUR­SELF AS YOU AGE. BUT THERE’S NO REA­SON YOU CAN’T GET OLDER AND RUN PAIN-FREE.

Runner's World South Africa - - CONTENTS - BY JEREMY SHORE

Age means more in­jury and pain. But it doesn’t have to.

WHEN I TORE my me­dial menis­cus in my 30s, there was a chance I might never run like I had – freely, when­ever I wanted, for as long as I wanted, on any ter­rain, at any in­ten­sity.

I set a goal: in­stead of surgery, I would re­hab my knee so I could still run with ex­cel­lence – and with my two young sons. I set up an ap­point­ment with a phys­i­cal ther­a­pist who spe­cialises in work­ing with run­ners. I did ev­ery­thing he asked, and I learned a lot on my own, too – not just about my knee and my body, but also about how to train as I aged. These lessons are uni­ver­sal, and they ben­e­fit any­one who wants to run freely with­out pain for as long as pos­si­ble.

Here are three key lessons I’ve learned about run­ning as you get older.

In­cor­po­rate In­ter­vals!

Swop long runs for shorter, in­tense ses­sions that in­clude sprints. In­ter­vals are good for your heart, train­ing it to pump at its max and then re­cover quickly. They also tar­get the highly meta­bolic fast-twitch mus­cle fi­bres. To run off body fat, in­ter­val sprints in any form are the way to go.

Re­cover More!

Ag­ing can make just about any­one wish they had a per­sonal mas­sage ther­a­pist, but a ball and a foam roller can get the job done – for a lot less. These self-mas­sage tools can help you free up tight spots, mak­ing mus­cles more pli­able and re­spon­sive to stretch­ing. Plus, it just feels great.

Jump!

Our soft tis­sues can be­come more prone to in­jury as we age, mak­ing ex­er­cises such as Olympic-style power lifts or cer­tain ply­o­met­ric drills more risky; so many peo­ple avoid ex­plo­sive move­ments al­to­gether.

But there’s a safe way to get the ben­e­fits: use just your body weight (or if you want more of a chal­lenge, use a re­sis­tance band). Start at the bot­tom of the move­ment, from a dead stop, then ex­plode. For ex­am­ple: to do a jump squat, slowly lower into a squat. Hold for one to two sec­onds, then spring up and land softly. This tar­gets dif­fi­cult-to­train fast-twitch fi­bres and puts a spring in ev­ery step.

A cau­tion be­fore you start: proper form is key. Be sure to study the move­ments you want to make.

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