Masters Sports Athletic Competition By Age Groups

“We’re not retiring, we’re retooling”(TM)

This was the year that I finally began competing in Masters Track and Field. I am 60 years old and throw the discus.

It had been a 41 year hiatus since my last competition, so I expected that things had changed somewhat. That was an understatement. The bottom line wasn’t too bad for my first year. I managed to win all the local and state meets and then went to the Nationals and finished 2nd in my age group.

I want to have more of an impact next year and I now know what I need to do. And it will take a bit more strategy than I thought, but it should be worth the effort.

As we all know, athletic training has come a long way since we were in High School and College in the early and mid 60’s. For me throwing style, weight training, core training, flexibility, and speed work have moved light years ahead of where I left off, so I had a lot to learn.

But it is easy to get the information with the internet. What was difficult was the way my body responded. It seems that having a 60 year old body with an 18 year old mind can lead to a lot of problems. And it did.

Fortunately, our younger son is a Sports Medicine doctor so I have a great resource. His continuous words to me all focus on a recurring theme, “…overuse injury, Dad.” So heed this advice, take it easy. We simply can’t keep up with the kids.

I have learned a lot through all the injuries, recoveries, training, track meets, and travel involved.

I will share a lot of the details in future articles. But for now here are some conclusions I have drawn that should make us all feel better.

First, I found that I can do a lot more than the books and articles implied regarding strength and muscle development at this age. But it takes longer.

Second, we sure take a long time to heal, so don’t get injured.

Third, start every new training method really, really slowly so you don’t get sore muscles or worse.

Fourth, there are tons of resources available regarding whatever sport or event you want to get involved with, so do your research.

Fifth, if necessary, get your weight under control before you start training for your event. Being overweight adds a lot of problems to joints, tendons and ligaments. Also, carrying extra weight is tough on our hearts when we are asking them to work harder. Plus, we want to look good in all the nice new athletic clothing we have.

Sixth, one of my resources is something I never would have accepted back in the 60;s, I now have a ballet instructor. The discus actually requires a ballet move, so why not go right to the source. She can also help me stay healthy.

Finally, in most sports, ground contact is critical, so take really good care of your legs in training. They provide most of the strength and speed we need, so heed those great words of wisdom I hear all the time “overuse injury, Dad.”

I injured my ankle before the season started and didn’t have time to address it until the season was over. That was a real nuisance.

Diet, weight control, and rest are very important to all athlete and especially us more mature athletes.

Remember, rest allows recovery and recovery precedes muscle development, so rest is critical.