I had a great discussion with Dr. Richard Hansen the other night (over a fantastic meal by the way) and we were talking about the differences between high school athletes getting injured and masters runners getting injured. Richey coaches high school athletes, but in his clinic he sees many serious masters runners. The key point he made was that the masters runner could really benefit from work that changes their hormonal profile. They need to up-regulate human growth hormone, testosterone to stay healthy. But it’s a really hard sell because this group truly loves to run. And they understand going out for an easy run on Monday, workout on Tuesday, easy runs on Wednesday and Thursday, workout Friday, easy run or day off on Saturday, then a long run on Sunday. They’ve done that for years. They’ve found a way to make that running schedule work alongside their family life and social life.
So back to the question, “Should Masters Runners Lift Weights?” Not right away as they need to do some Active Isolate Flexibility (AIF) and General Strength and Mobility (GSM) work first. That’s foundational work that is the precursor to weight room work. Algebra before Pre-Calculus, Pre-Calculus before Calculus.
If you find a good coach, you can spend a year or two at the track doing good strength work before you need to go into the weight room. For example, you can spend 95 seconds and get a great kettlebell workout. But eventually the weight room can be a very important place for the masters runner, so they should go there and make the most of their time. In and out in 45 minutes is my rule. It’s easy to end up in the room over an hour, but you’re probably just talking to your buddies.
The weight room is not the first place the masters runner wants to go – a dirt trail or a quite county road are the places that first call – but some solid AIF and GSM work is needed if the masters runner wants to stay healthy and keep running.