Should Older Athletes Shift From Intensity To Volume?

Older athletes: intensity or volume?

Older athletes; Old guys running

Older athletes; evening track run.

I love running the track in the evening. Photo by FitOldDog.

Older athletes are less flexible, they recover more slowly, and they would most certainly benefit, by transitioning from intensity to volume.

I was running track the other day. Along came a guy, a sprinter, and I thought, “That looks dangerous.” I was busy with 3 x 1-mile repeats, real easy. He was sprinting 200 to 400s. In pain! He came walking by me, as I was stretching on the grass, after my workout. I said, “Hi! How are you doing?” He replied that he was fine. I then asked, “Are you English?” He was! He asked me what I was training for, and I replied, “Well, I’m training for the 2016 Louisville Ironman, but mainly I’m working on overcoming an injury. A hip sub-luxation.” Due to a bike wreck, no fault of my own – a young guy rode into the back of me, in a race. Bikes and blood all over the place. The joys of racing!

The Englishman replied, “I’m working on an injury, too. Strained hip flexor, followed by a torn hamstring.” OUCH!

I asked his age, 48! Not much older than my oldest grandkid! I suggested that he might consider moving from sprints to longer distances. From intensity to volume. He looked offended, shrugged his shoulders, grunted, and walked away.

I guess he won’t be enjoying the track much longer.

There is absolutely nothing worth debating on this issue.


FitOldDog (whose been there, and done that).



  1. I bet you planted a seed in his mind and he will try your advice.

    • You’re right, Marsha. I guess that’s how we all change. One little, ignored insight at a time, until suddenly we have ‘this idea’ out of nowhere. I had to suffer three knee surgeries, before I woke up the the need for low impact running.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.