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Saturday, October 25, 2008

When you become older, you must do more recuperation after training

"When you become older, you must do more recuperation after training and you are not doing the mileage that you were doing when you were young"

Quote from Tomescu-Dita of what it takes to become an Olympic champion at 38. She stunned the field in China by breaking away after half distance to become the event's oldest winner.
For the complete article please go here.
Gary comments
It happens that Tomescu-Dita lives in Boulder, Colorado, the same city as my sister Lorraine, who won Olympic bronze in Barcelona when she was 39.  Lorraine was an inspiration to Tomescu-Dita that she was not too old to go for it at Beijing.  "I met her last year and I told her I am too old to win a gold medal, or a medal, at the Olympics," said Tomescu-Dita. "She said, 'You are not old.

This article discusses Paula Radcliffe's tendency to hammer out the miles in training and her less than favourable chances of winning the London Marathon after her recent run of injuries and poor performances.  Among those interviewed is one of the greatest female distance runners, Ingrid Christiansen.  As an aside I met Ingrid and her young family over a few days way back in about 1988.  I put together a lecture about exercise and pregnancy based on that and other experiences.  Here it is. Exercise and Pregnancy

As an athlete gets older the need for big training diminishes.  After about 8-10 years of continuous training any further gains in strength and endurance are negligible.  Further ramping up of training intensity and duration merely add to injury and illness risk for no real gain.  It is better to concentrate on recovery and competing smart.  This principle applies regardless of age after one has done 10 years of hard base training.  Please go here for my presentation notes that explain this in more detail:
Train to Win - Training the Lydiard Way

From about 40 years of age the body also needs progressively more recovery time between training and competition.  There needs to be much more attention to optimum nutrition, seeking to identify and correct subtle deficiencies.
The older athlete should not make the mistake of trying to do a young man's training schedule as so often happens when an aspiring older athlete hires some whiz-bang fitness specialist to design a training schedule.  The result may be short term gains for a huge amount of effort and cost at the risk of eventual chronic fatigue and injury - and consequent premature retirement.
The better approach is to concentrate on a training and competition programme that yields the best results for the least effort.
I have applied this principle to my own fitness and sporting competition and am delighted to be going as strong as ever at 55 years.

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