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Running as a masters athlete episode 2: Customizing your workout

Run it at your own pace and pay attention to what kind of recovery you need to perform best

This season, we’ve tasked our Race Guide editor, Dan Way, with finding out the best tips, tricks and workouts for masters athletes who want to pick up their fitness levels and run faster times. 

In our second episode of the series, Way talks with Paul Osland from the University of Toronto masters track club to break down one sample workout as well as some general tips for approaching running training plans. 

RELATED: Running as a masters athlete episode one

The workout this week: 10 to 12 sets of 300m with a 100m jog for the rest break. This workout isn’t meant to feel like speed work as it’s to be done at 3K and run continuously so as to tax a runner aerobically.  


As Osland points out, masters athletes need to be mindful about not just the volume of the workout, but also the intensity. A big component of the sport is making sure to listen to the body in order to stay injury free. Adjustments that need to be made to the workout and training plan to make that happen change with age. Factors like reps and set breaks will also vary from individual to individual. 


“Our biggest goals as masters athletes is to make sure we don’t get injured,” says Osland. “So masters need to take longer recoveries and we need to be a lot more careful about how high and how much of an intensity the workouts are. This workout is geared at keeping the pace down a little bit. Rather than try to do things at 800m or 1,5000m pace, we slow it down a bit. To compensate for that lack of intensity, we decrease the rest.”

This is a workout that can be completed by any runner but one thing that Osland wants runners to keep in mind is to run it at your current 3K pace with recovery done at your current half-marathon pace. These paces could change dramatically from person to person so don’t alter the paces simply to keep up with a faster training partner. 

In terms of working on a training schedule, keeping paces and distances the same will do a runner no favours. By changing up the intensity and adding workouts like this, runners are training their bodies to adapt to higher demands. If revamping the training plan, a good rule of thumb is to complete 20 per cent of the mileage at higher intensity while keeping 80 per cent to easy or medium intensity.