Training Overview

One of the most obvious things masters athletes notice as we age is that we get slower. While some aging athletes I know may be faster than when they were younger through training smarter or through using a more scientific approach to their training, in general the frustration of slowing down hits us all.

With few exceptions, my experience in masters swimming, veteran cycling, distance running and triathlon over many years is that too many aging athletes use endurance-training methods and expect to go fast. According to the training principle of specificity, this is not possible. The purpose of this chapter is to suggest a more scientific approach to speed and power training in the aging athlete.

Throughout this website and the associated book The Masters Athlete it has been emphasized how important weight or resistance training is for the aging athlete, regardless of whether for endurance events, middle distance events or pure speed events. This is due to the fact that one of the major changes that occurs with aging is a loss of muscle mass, particularly after the age of 50 years and even more so after the age of 65-70 years. A loss of muscle mass means decreased strength, decreased force production, and thus decreased speed and power. Muscular speed and power are important for success in sprinting in every sport, jumping and throwing events in athletics, hitting, kicking and punching movements in other sports