Five Questions (Part 2 of 5): Caleb Masland

This is part 2 of a  special Five Questions interview with someone I admire greatly.  Caleb Masland is, by all accounts, an incredible running coach and one hell of a runner. His story is one that speaks to runners at all levels.  His ability to recover from knee injury to full strength and speed (1:10 half marathon and 2:30 marathon!) is inspiring. And I hope to one day follow in his coaching footsteps.  (Click his name above for his full bio.)  You should follow him on facebook and twitter.  You can find him on Instagram at Caleb Masland, as well as follow posts on Twitter and Instagram by members of  his team with the hashtag #TeamWickedBonkproof.  He publishes a daily coaching tip that I often include in my five links for the day.  He is a connection well worth making.

I’ll be 47 in April.  So I am well into what we would call “Masters” running.  So as I age, even though I am fitter than I’ve ever been, and eat healthier than ever, I must remain cognizant of the changes in my body as I train for marathons and beyond.  What I did with Caleb is ask him a series of questions about the masters runner.  How does one coach a masters runner?  What changes should masters runners expect?  And so on.  Since these are lengthy, I decided to post one Q&A each day this week.  I hope you enjoy. Many thanks to Caleb for doing this.

2) Ok, so given the answer to question 1, how do you help a masters runner set their goals.  Most of us have BQ on the mind, or have attempted several times.  Is the BQ goal for masters a ladder process of slowly increasing speed to reach the goal, or something else.  How do you approach goal-setting?  Multi-year perspective? (I say multi-year since I have learned to approach marathons as part of along term running life, not mutually exclusive events.)

For masters runners, goal setting doesn’t need to be any different than for other runners. In all cases, the goal-setting approach should be an open discussion between the athlete and the coach. I always tell my runners (of all ages and ability levels) that I’m not here to tell them what they can and cannot accomplish, I am here to provide the best possible training approach to meet the goals they set. In many cases, I might say, “This goal is attainable, but not in the timeframe you want…” This just means that we have to make a longer-term plan so that the training program has ample time to prepare the runner for the race where they will attempt to meet that goal. Goal-setting is a multi-step process, as I go into in detail with the following post:

Boston Qualifying is a very fair process, and it even favors masters runners above youngsters in a lot of cases. Based on common age-grade calculations, it’s relatively easier for a 45-50 year old individual to qualify than it is for a 25-29 year old. A masters career is also a great time to try ultras, as the endurance and patience they require tend to be strengths of masters runners as compared to younger runners. There are plenty of things to be accomplished as a masters runner…and just as with younger runners the goal setting simply needs to take time available and current abilities into account.

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