As I've pointed out before, I'm a master's runner. For me, and most people over 40, that means that running today is a bit different than it was 10 years ago. Not different bad, but different in the sense that I've had to make a few changes to how I train.
Here, in no particular order, are some of the tips I've learned and recommend for staying healthy, and speedy, after 40:
* Recover after races and hard efforts--It used to be that I could race a 1/2 Ironman on a Sunday and be back on the track doing speedwork two days later. No longer! I find that recovery takes longer these days so I always reward my race efforts with an easy week. I also make sure I am feeling fresh before adding in a second day of speed; often I stick to just one speed session/week. I don't find this hurts my times any, but it goes a long way towards keeping me healthy.
* Strength train--Once you're in your 30s, you begin to lose muscle mass. If you don't do adequate strength training, that loss can add up to injury from muscle imbalances.
* Stretch--Just like muscle strength, flexibility takes a dive as you age. Take the time to stretch after each run. Bonus points for yoga or pilates.
* Cross-train--I love to swim and I find that getting in the pool even once or twice a week helps my body work out the kinks from running. A short spin on the bike can help as well. It's all about keeping those non-running muscles engaged to help support your running muscles.
* Eat a healthy diet--It's important no matter what your age, but as you get older, getting those nutrients, carbs and protein into your system at the right time and in the right quantity count more than ever.
* Rest--Time off your feet, preferably asleep, helps your muscles repair damage.
* Get a massage when needed--If you have the time and money, do it regularly. If not, get one when you feel your body breaking down or after a long/hard race.
I hope these ideas help. Feel free to add any others--I'm always in the hunt for ways to keep my body healthy and feeling like it did 10 years ago!