Aging: Changes That Impact Performance

Aging Athlete Coach Lora Erickson Blonde RunnerAging: Changes that Impact Performance

There is no question that age has an impact on performance. If you compare the Boston Marathon Qualification times for an athlete in their 20’s and an athlete in their late 40’s you will see a 20 minute difference meaning that an athlete over 45 can qualify with a time 20 minutes slower than an athlete in their 20’s. That is a significant difference. As an athlete over 45 years of age that has competed for over 30’s years I can tell you that I have seen the effects of aging on my training.  Just this year my body has showed signs of early menopause.  The symptoms have had a big impact on my training and it has shown in my under-par performances.  For instance, hot flashes and night sweats have disrupted my sleep, weight gain has made the impact of running more difficult to recover from and the change in hormones have resulted in moods swings and hampered my ability to focus.  I often have to stop in the middle of a workout, because my heart is racing or a headache becomes too much to push through.  I know I am not alone and many women who are also athletes have been coping with these symptoms.  It is difficult to know that these changes often take many years before periods go away (the only good thing about menopause) but there are some things we can do to help.

Men also are impacted by changes with age. With a decrease in growth hormone and testosterone they often experience loss of muscle & strength and weight gain. The body can undergo vision, hearing and digestion changes.  The bodies’ ability to adapt to temperature changes and stay hydrated is also affected. A lack of focus is also reported in men.  As I have coached athletes of all ages over the years there are many things I do differently with older athletes.  The fact is, we are all aging and we need to be mindful as our bodies’ needs change.  Here are some suggestions to help cope with aging changes:

  • Allow more time for warming-up before exercise. Many of my more youthful athletes can skip a warm-up all together and not be affected too much, however older athletes need the warm-up. As we age our muscles lose elasticity and can be torn more easily, the joints are stiffer and the body needs time to prepare of exercise. I recommend older athletes warm-up 10-20 minutes on the elliptical before a run, weight training or ride. Or use the rowing machine before swimming.
  • Incorporate yoga into your exercise routine. Because the muscles do lose some elasticity as we age, it’s important to maintain flexibility and balance. I recommend adding yoga to your exercise routine 1-2 times a week.
  • Do weight training weekly. With the decrease in muscle tissue that accompanies aging I suggest doing more weight training. This will also promote bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Gaining muscle can also help keep the metabolism up and control weight gain. I recommend weight training 2-3 times a week.
  • Be mindful of your eating. Most people gain weight as they age due to hormone changes so it becomes more important to be mindful of what goes into your mouth. I recommend using the MyFitnessPal app to track your food and assist with making better food choices.
  • Take time for meditation. As we are older we have more experiences to reflect on. Take the time to allow for meaningful meditation and reflection. This can help keep us centered and cope with the mood swings. Meditation before bed can also help with sleep.
  • Exercise regularly. With the increased challenges aging poses it often becomes more difficult to keep up a good routine but exercise can help us cope with symptoms. Even 10-20 minutes of exercise counts on difficult days.
  • Allow more time for recovery from races and hard workouts. This has probably been the most difficult thing for me this race season. But my body simply doesn’t recover as quickly from hard workouts and races as it used to. How much time you need to recover really depends on your background and experience but I suggest listening to your body. Don’t be afraid to change a hard workout into an easy one if the body says so. It’s best to stay injury-free.
  • Be gentle with yourself. As a competitive athlete I know how difficult it can be to let go of slow performances. I try to remind myself that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone and I have years of race results to illustrate my hard work over the years. A friend reminded me recently that not all flowers bloom all of the time; it’s okay to just finish a race having done your best for that day because that is what the body will allow. I have recognized things get harder as we age and I have even more respect for older athletes. It reminds me to do the best I can for me. Wishing you healthy and happy training. Coach Lora Erickson

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Coach Lora Erickson is an Ironman All-World athlete (top 5% in the world in her division) that recently competed in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. She is a long-time running and triathlon coach offering in-person as well as online coaching programs and community classes. She loves to work with beginners. To learn more contact her at theblonderunner@gmail.com or visit BlondeRunner.com

Read More:

The Aging Body

Menopause Symptoms

The Real Reason Old Olympians are Still Fit

Blonde Runner Race & Product Discount Code List 2017

April 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Health Classes, News, Product Reviews, Races

(new code added 5.17.2017 – check back often)

Who doesn’t like to get a discount on a race or great products you love?! Check back often as discounts will be added through the year.  Please feel free to share with a friend or family member.

What is better than a discount?  FREE!  Often I have giveaways for free entries on my Blonde Runner Health Facebook page.  Check it out!

If you need help with training for a triathlon or running events don’t hesitate to contact me. I love to coach! I work with people all over the country on-line and/or in person in Northern Utah.  I also offer local classes (Run Form, Swimming, Nutrition etc…).  Come join the fun!

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson

theblonderunner@gmail.com

BlondeRunner.com

 

April 2018 – SaltLakeMarathon.com – Use the code “blonderunnerslc18” for 2018 for 20%

Splashnsprint.comUse the code BLONDESPLASH for $5 off

RaceForGrief.comUse the code RFG5 to save $5 (10K or 5K events)

OgdenMarathon.com – “blonderunner” for $10 off the Ogden Full, Half or Relay or  “blonderunner5” for the 5K 

June 24, 2017 – Daybreak Triathlon – use the code “blonde” for $10 off.  Get Registered

Women of Steel Triathlon – BLONDERUNNER10 for 10% off

June 10, 2017 – Utah Health Food Expo.  Come to my presentation at 1 p.m. on Nutrition for Athletes. Use the discount code “blonde” for 50% off  –  Get tickets

UtahValleyMarathon.com – BR15 for 15% off 

JulyCache Gran Fondo Cycling Event in Logan Utah – Use the code TeamBlonde2017 ($25 discount – jersey at cost of $35) Get Registered

July 14, 2017Wildflower Trailfest – Use the code BLONDERUNNER to save $

July 15, 2017 – Topaz Tri – Delta, Utah – Use the code blonder to save $10

August 12, 2017Wildflower Pedalfest – Use the code BLONDERUNNER to save $

GoTriathamom.com – Use the code “blonde” to save $10 on this Women’s Only Sept Event.

OnHillEvents.com – Use the code “BLDRUN15” to get 15% off events

RaceTri.com events – BlondeRaceTri2017 – 15% off

Xterrawetsuits.com – use the code CO-BLONDE to get 60% off wetsuits and Lava Pants

Use these links to help accumulate product giveaways on Blonde Runner Health:

Swimoutlet.com/blonderunner  – great prices.  Check out their grab-bag suits.

TriSports.com

RoadID.com

Champion Systems. I love the custom race gear Champions Systems has made me.  Want to have some made for you or your club/team.  Contact me at theblonderunner@gmail.com and I will get you in touch the right people.

Evofitforlife.com – “blonderunner17” gets 25% off and free shipping on the enso roller

Wasatch Running Center and Bountiful Bicycle.  Message me at theblonderunner@gmail.com to learn how you can get discounts.

Cocogo.com/ – Use the code BLONDERUNNER code for discounts (grape is my favorite)

Noxgear.com/tracer360  – Visibility Vest – Safety First! Use code BLONDERUN for 20% off

Elete Electrolyte – Set up a free account and use the code “blonderunner” to save 15% on your first order. https://www.mineralresourcesint.com/products/

 

Ogden Marathon & Half Marathon Discount Code

March 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Weight Loss

I am super excited to Ambassador for the Ogden Marathon & Half Marathon.  I did the half marathon last year and it was so pretty to run down the canyon and I was honored to place 1st Overall Female Master’s.  What a great race!  Use the code “blonderunner” and get $10 off the Marathon, Half or Relay.  Let me know if you need help with training. Invite a friend! Such a great race! Have fun!

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Get Registered!

 

 

Win a Spot in the Utah Valley Marathon, Half or 10K race

February 27, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Prevention & Safety, Races

This is a great event.  Enter for your chance to win.  Don’t want to wait?  Use the code br15 to get 15% – Get Registered.

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Need help with training?  Contact Coach Lora directly at theblonderunner@gmail.com

Eating Better to Train Better – Nutrition Class

February 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Health Classes, News, Nutrition, Prevention & Safety

Tues. March 21, 2017
6-7 p.m., $25
Davis County Area

Learn daily nutrition tips that will help you in your training. Whether you are training for a triathlon, running event or your daily exercise; we will review what you need to know to stay healthy. This one-time lecture-style class will review protein powders, supplements, cellular hydration, anti-inflammatory eating, gluten-free diets and more. Learn how to prevent weight gain while training for long events like marathons and Ironman events. Class Fee: $25. Limited spots. Pre-registration is required. Message Coach Lora Erickson at theblonderunner@gmail.com to learn how to reserve a spot.  Bonus:  Get to try some yummy Power Bites (pictured)!

Learn more about Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner

Can’t make it, but want to join another class?  Check out the Triathlon Training Class or next Running Form Class

Get the recipe

Yay! Women of Steel has moved back to American Fork!

February 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Races

logo-woman-of-steel-triThere is just something about women-only events that is great! Maybe is the “girl-power” or the great  boyfriends, brother’s, grandpa’s and Dad’s that get out and cheer for the women in their life.  The Women of Steel Triathlon was one of the first triathlons I did so it hold a special place in my heart.  I remember racking my bike on the metal racks and waiting in line for my turn to jump in the water.  I was nervous and excited all at the same time!  It was good competition and those ladies inspired me to do better and push harder.  Last year they moved it to a new venue but I am so glad it has been moved back to AF where I remember it being.  Join in the fun and save 10% using the code BLONDERUNNER10

Bonus!  Julie Moss is coming!

Get registered for the Women of Steel event

register-now2

Need training tips? Attend a Blonde Runner class: 

Swimming Classes

Running Form Class

Eat Better to Train Better – Nutrition Class

 To learn more message theblonderunner@gmail.com

Winter Running Challenges

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By Lora Erickson, BlondeRunner.com

Winter can pose many additional challenges for runners. Poor air quality and cold temperature can drive asthmatic runners indoors or to travel to higher elevations to get out of the inversion.  Obviously breathing bad air can pose health risks so it’s important to check and see if levels are safe to exercise in.  To check air quality in your area visit airnow.gov. Some people opt to run outdoor with masks however often complain of having a hard time getting enough air exchange and the condensation in the mask can be annoying.  I suggest taking the workout indoors if the air quality is bad.  Treadmills can have many benefits this time of year.  Not only do they provide a more giving surface and they obviously don’t have the concerns of slipping. It’s convenient and allows bathroom breaks if needed.  It is also easy to set a pace and just hold that pace on the treadmill.  While it can feel like a “hamster wheel” to some it offers safety from traffic and can be done any time of day or night.  I know many young mothers with small children that utilize a treadmill extensively; however, I often caution them when they start running outdoors more in the spring to do it gradually to allow the body time to adapt to harder surfaces.

If you really struggle with indoor or “dreadmill” running, I suggest cross-training on bad air quality days. Indoor cycling and swimming can have many benefits for runners and challenge the body in different ways.  I always like to suggest yoga for my runners and triathletes as well.  This is great for recovery and flexibility.  Don’t be afraid to utilize the snow for other fitness activities; like cross-country skiing or snow shoeing.  These are all great aerobic workouts to supplement the training.  It can also prevent burnout or keep you active if you tend to not to want to run in the snow.

While exercising outside on better air quality days I suggest dressing in layers. As your body warms-up you can remove layers to control temperature.  I often see runners wearing too many layers so usually in 20 degree temps I wear two layers on the top, earwarmers, gloves or mittens (sometimes with hand warmers) and tights.  If it’s snowing I also suggest a hat or visor so you don’t “blink” yourself to death.  Surprisingly, I often wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun’s bright reflection off the snow.  Glasses can also block the wind from making the eyes water and tears from dripping down the lacrimal ducts causing your nose to run. This can be annoying and lead you to wiping your nose excessively.

Often while running outdoors the feet can get wet and cold and there are concerns of slipping. For this I would suggest running in trail shoes that have more traction and are generally more water proof.  I also like to use a water-proof spray on my shoes and clothes.  If you can stay dry you won’t lose as much heat.  Short gators can also prevent snow from getting in your shoes and melting.  If you are concerned about black ice and slippery surfaces you might consider using yaktrax, IceTrekkers, or Kahtoola MicroSpikes.  They can all be found at Wasatch Running Center or a local running store in your area.

If you are like me and it takes you a while to warm-up in cold temperatures but you don’t like to be stuck indoors, I would suggest warming up on a treadmill or indoor exercise bike then take the run outside. Remember running on slick snowy surfaces isn’t going to be as fast as you can go on a treadmill but it’s still a great workout.  If you usually train by pace I would suggest using heart rate numbers to train with during the winter.  Contact me if you need more training tips.

Another outdoor concern is traffic safety. I often find myself winding back and forth from the sidewalk to the street to avoid really deep snow or icy patches.  As always be aware of your surroundings and assume cars don’t see you.  I also suggest running against traffic, wearing bright colors with reflexive strips, blinking lights or utilize the Tracer 360 visibility vest (noxgear.com 20% off with code BLONDERUN) which can be seen from all directions.  I don’t use music as much in the winter so I can hear my surroundings better and stay safe.  It is also helpful to train with others as a group since you are  much more visible to traffic.

Either way, whether you plan to workout indoors or outdoors don’t let anything get in your way. Yes, winter can make it more challenging to get the workouts in but if you want the rewards you have to do the work.  No excuses.

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

About the Author:

Coach Lora Erickson is a nationally ranked and All-World Triathlete as well as certified running, triathlon, swimming, and cycling instructor. She has a true passion for nutrition education, fitness & health promotion and has been coaching for over 25 years. She works with all level of athletes and relishing the opportunity to help beginners harness their true potential.  She offers community classes, in-person and on-line custom coaching.  To learn more contact her directly at theblonderunner@gmail.com or visit BlondeRunner.com to read health articles. 

Local Race Discounts:

April Salt Lake Marathon- blonderunnerslc17 for 20% off any event. Get Registered:  http://www.saltlakecitymarathon.com/

Utah Valley Marathon – br15 for 15% off any event.  Get Registered:  http://www.utahvalleymarathon.com/

Coping with Emotional Eating Class

November 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Fitness, Health Classes, News, Prevention & Safety

2016 Blonde Runner Race Season Review

November 16, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Product Reviews, Races

coach lora 2nd place soldier marathonThis has been a busy year with races and travel starting with the 1st place division win at the March Madness Half Marathon followed by a memorable Oceanside 70.3 Ironman event in April (Read the Oceanside Race Report). That was a tough race beginning with a difficult choppy ocean swim leading to salt-water consumption that affected my race causing GI issues during the ride and ultimately lead to a slow run with more bathroom breaks than I care to admit. Needless to say it was a huge disappointment as I had trained hard for this event and was prepared to have a strong performance.  It is hard to start out the triathlon season with a bad race but I was determined to prove to myself how strong my running was so in May I took on the Ogden Half Marathon completing it in a time of 1:34 taking the 1st Overall Masters spot in a major downpour and chilly conditions.  While that eased the blow of the Oceanside bomb it was still a difficult race to “get over.”  I resolved to learn from it and tackle my swim aversion, cycling fears and cope better with past injury; unexpectedly winning a trip to Hawaii to train with Dave Scott and compete in the Honu 70.3 Ironman event really helped.  It made me face an open water salty ocean swim head-on again.  I ended up having a strong swim in Hawaii (the clear warm ocean water was awesome!) and subsequently I placed 9th in my division with a strong bike and run. I was pleased with the performance and will always cherish the memories I made there with Dave Scott and the BioAstin community.  What an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience!  I moved forward with my plans on doing the Boulder 70.3 Ironman the following weekend since I had already signed-up.  I knew it was going to be tough with extra travel and jetlag.  My body would be tired from racing a 70.3 only 7 days before. The back-to-back 70.3 was tougher than I expected leading to severe leg and feet cramping starting on the ride and worsening on the run so it was a victory just to finish.  I was still glad I did it and have a lot more sympathy for those that deal with cramping regularly.  That has never happened to me before. After this event I started building my miles for the Vineman Ironman in July. This was my main focus for the year.  As always Ironman training is time consuming and you put a lot into one race so it was upsetting to be struck by another cyclist during a training century ride just three-weeks before the event in a freak accident.  Up to that point my injured knee was able to handle 18 miles without much pain which was great progress.  Last year while training for the Maryland Ironman I was experiencing pain at mile 11, so I was running stronger this year.  I was also riding and swimming strong in training so the hit to the knee left me not knowing how my knee would hold up in the race.  Unfortunately the hilly cycling course proved too much for my knee and my ride and run was severely compromised foiling my attempts of qualifying for Kona but I didn’t let that bring me down.  It was on my 44th birthday and I was please to finish my 2nd Ironman despite a slow performance.  After some time off I was determined to get my knee stronger to tolerate more miles so I built my volume slowly and finished out the season with a 2nd place division win at the Soldier Marathon in November in Georgia to honor my Samantha and other loved ones (RaceForGrief.com).  I am happy to report my knee held up really well and only started to bother me at mile 22, so that was more progress!  I was also pleased to be able to mark-off three states towards my 50-states goal this year:  Alabama, Georgia & Hawaii.  Learn more: A Journey To Race in All 50-states

I am pleased to report that I will be recognized as an Ironman All-World Silver athlete (top 5% in my division in the world) during the 2016 season.

Over all it was a busy season with lots of training, travel and learning opportunities, in total I completed; two 100-mile century rides, two ½ marathons, three 70.3 Half Ironman events, one Ironman & one marathon this year. It was a full race schedule!  As always I appreciate the opportunity to compete and do what I love.  Thank you to my family, friends and sponsor support.  I couldn’t do it without you!  I am looking forward to a successful 2017 season.

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson

Need help with training? Contact Coach Lora directly at theblonderunner@gmail.com

See more race results & learn more about Coach Lora Who is Blonde Runner?

Run the Salt Lake Races in 2017 – 20% discount code

November 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Nutrition, Races

salt-lake-2017-discount-codeThere are a lot of great local races and the Alaska Airlines Salt Lake City races are one of them.  The race will be held on April 22, 2017 and they have something for everyone from a full Marathon, Half Marathon to cycling and skate events.  Check out the Salt Lake City Marathon events! #SLCMarathon

If you need some help training, let me know.  I’d love to coach you to a new PR!  Learn more

Use the code blonderunnerslc17 to save 20%.  Share with a friend.  Have fun! Get Registered

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