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Updated October 14, 2002

Training Secrets
of the Masters

Secrets? Not here. Training for track at middle-age and beyond is an exercise in public disclosure -- the free sharing of ideas and encouragement. Here you’ll find sample workouts submitted by athletes light-years ahead of you or a half-lap behind. Some are new; others are dated. All merit a peek.

Like a good cookbook, this site offers recipes that you’ll want to try immediately and ones you’ll defer to another lifetime. Workout regimens are highly personal, and one size never fits all. Drills that you did in high school or college may still be helpful, but you’ll find that declining bone density, VO2 max and muscle mass can’t keep up with your mental readiness to tackle a challenge.

That’s the real wrinkle in masters track. It’s easier to run ten 400s with five minutes rest than to accept the fact that we can’t do today what we did 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Unless you’re working on a streak of 9,300 days running in a row, forget about pushing yourself to daily extremis. The gods of Rest and Recuperation must be served.

At the same time, regular training is essential to athletic progress in running, jumping and throwing. So the real booger is finding the balance of rest and activity that permits steady progress without raising the risk of illness and injury.

Some of the workouts herein are by athletes from other planets, talent-wise. Read them with awe and appreciation -- and don’t fault yourself for being unable to finish even the warmups depicted. These training regimens are included to inspire you -- and show what masters are capable of.

Special recognition and appreciation also are due Coach Ross Dunton of Sevierville, Tennessee, a transplant from Southern California and a middle-distance runner in his late 60s who in recent years has become one of the savviest scholars of masters track and field training and technique in the world. 

With bills to pay, families to nurture and bosses at work to placate, masters often struggle to find time to train. We also lack the advantages of youth -- full-time coaching help and adequate year-round workout facilities. On top of this, many of us still have to contend with a popular culture that raises eyebrows over hurdling at age 50 or chucking javelins past 100. But this site also can help you find a coach and a place to train -- and give you the confidence to ignore the stares.

So pack your training kit, hit the track or weight room and top off the day with your favorite anti-inflammatory or brewski. And when you find a workout that works, send it along to us for inclusion on this page.

Keep no secrets. We’re all in this together.

Coach and webmaster Ross Dunton, 68, guts out the 800-meter run at the 2000 USA masters nationals in Eugene, Oregon. He took ninth in the M65 finals with a time of 3:06.60.

Photo by Ken Stone


“How to be a Champion from 9 to 90” by Earl Fee

“Ready, Set, GO!” by Phil Campbell


Courtland Gray, M55 sprinter/hurdler

Gerry Krainik, M40 sprinter

William Patrick, M65 thrower

Mike Scofield, M40 middle distances

Larry Steinrauf, M65 runner/jumper

Richard Stiller, M50 miler

Frank Taylor, M60 sprinter/jumper

General tips

Jess Brewer, M50 hurdler

Advice for novice masters


Ross Dunton's main site

Dunton training archive

Steve Bennett on sprints

Steve Bennett on 800

Coaching Science Abstracts

Krainik Sprint Workouts

Pannell on off-track training

Remko training/science links

Run-Down training resources articles


Pannell on sprint starts

Dick Richards on sprint starts

Remko all-event listings

Dave McGovern on racewalks


SportsMed Web

Dr. Pribut's Running Injuries page


California training groups

Brian Mackenzie UK site

Steve Bennett in Sydney

Remko coach/athlete listings

Remko global clubs listing

USA masters coaching list

Note: This page is barely begun. Many, many more links to come.

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