How would you train a client in her late 50s who is training for a half marathon?
My client is in great shape and keeps up her runs with a local running club. She works with me twice each week to supplement her running. I'm not able to do vertical jumping as per her chiropractor (was only doing 1-2 sets 1x per week) and single-leg work seems to aggravate an old ankle/calf injury. Basically I can't do any of the regular things I would do with my runners. Any suggestions?
If her goal is to run half marathon I would only concentrate on running some mileage in the next few weeks. Since she is in a great cardiovascular shape, just work with her on improving her endurance. That means more runs every week (5-6 days/week). Have her run in various surfaces as long as her ankle allows it. If all she does with you is strength training then do more upper body stuff. Some TRX, body weight exercises and battling rope routines will be very helpful. Kettlebells could also be used here (if you and/or her have experience with them) because of the excellent physical conditioning they can provide. I'm not sure why she needs to do vertical jumps for this type of training, but I'm sure you have a better idea since she is your client. You could try some stair climbing training to improve her lower body conditioning (this is less strenuous than vertical jumps). These are the type of routines and exercises I would recommend for someone who is training for half and full marathons. Her age seems not be a major issue for her.
I hope this helps.
If your client is keeping up with her running on her own, I would supplement some of her program with cross-training to keep her body strong and prevent injury. Running does use the whole body, and she still needs strength training for both upper and lower body. In addition, core work is also necessary. Planks (front and side) and bridge work are good choices to keep her abs, hips, and back strong.
To supplement the cardio portion needed for endurance, you could do strength/cardio intervals using kettlebells, battling ropes, TRX, low impact leg exercises, etc. that will not aggravate her ankle. Make sure she takes a day of rest during the week.
I teach interval classes of strength and cardio and have many runners in my classes who run races. The cross training with different modes of cardio/strength/core will keep your runner strong.
Good luck to her!
I would also do cross training; how about rowing or swimming, and moves to care for the ankle. Try to have her run on gentle surfaces to protect the joints.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.
I would work on total-body exercises, work with the tempo at which the exercersis are done, and specific running form movements such as different skipping movements, and hip and glute movements.
I am in total agreement with N. Smith, cross train and teach her how to listen to her body.
While you have already received many good suggestions, before providing any specific input, it would be beneficial to know more about the clients running history and how long she has to prepare before running the half marathon. If she is new to running you need to build her "base" mileage gradually. An increase of 10% per week is usually safe progression. If this is her first half marathon she should be running just to finish and not be targeting a specific time goal.
With that being said, plyometrics or any type of interval training is really not necessary. This is especially true for this client since you indicated she had some problems with a previous ankle and calf injury. As others mentioned I would definitely work on strengthening her core. I would also add some regular and single leg squats, lunges, and some hip flexor stretches. The key for this client is to get her to the starting line healthy. This can be done with moderate and sensible training progression, and by improving her stability.
I would also work on postural exercises/back extension etc.
Hill runs holding a medicine ball
Medicine ball toss/squats