December 10, 2022 3 min read 2 Comments
Photo: Angela Staab with her trainer and coach, James Wilson.
James Wilson 51, certified athletic trainer and certified track & field coach (IAAF) Greensboro, N.C. Former college runner (800)
Trainer for Geezer Jock Angie Staab.
What is your best training tip for an older athlete?
Rest is just as important as the work. A lot of your older athletes are high achievers. And so they want to work, work, work, work. And, so, that's all well and dandy, but the rest is very important because as we get older, we just don't recover as fast as we used to.”
You really have to listen to your body. When you're tired you need to rest and not run. Because at that age, it's more about who is going to last in Angie’s age group. It's easier for them to get hurt. And your immune system is impacted if you are rundown from over-training, which is important with Covid and flu season .
How do you approach an older person who says “I can’t do that’?
First, we assess their limitations, whether they have a back issues or knee issues, or whatever. Every exercise can be modified.
It's knowing that person and Angie and I have been training together for a long, long time. I know when I need to push her. When she can't do something and it's physically impossible for her to do a certain weight, we stop. If the doctor says ‘hey Angie you need to stop running’, ok, we need to stop running for now.
But if she comes over there and she's she says ‘I'm just tired’ and she starts walking right at the 100-meter mark when it's so convenient, I can say to her ‘Hey, if you want me to treat you like an old lady, I can treat you like an old lady. If you want me to treat you as an athlete, you know, hey, let's do this’. With her, it’s so rare I have to say that.
What gives you the most satisfaction working with an older person?
In the beginning, I didn't appreciate what they were going through to be out there. As I've gotten older I can appreciate what it takes to keep going and I appreciate that. I’m still working out and Angie says ‘James, why don't you run?’ I just don’t want to work that hard. And then there is your ego and you know you are not going to run the same 800 time. There’s a hit on your ego and that keep you from going out there.
So I appreciate what they go through as an older athlete. It takes courage to keep going and I’m envious they go to the world championships.”
How long does it take to build a habit, where an older athlete starts up themselves every day without a trainer?
They say 20 days. They also have one motivation we don’t realize at first, and that’s mortality. Things are on the line, there is not much time, and they get out there and work. If they don’t exercise, or don’t work out, you start to go down. You build a habit faster when your life is on the line. When you are younger, your skin looks fine, you feel fine, but when you’re older the habit can build faster. It’s never too late to go for a walk.”
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