President of the International Association of Women Runners, Bennett Cohen is a renowned coach for women over 40 and has helped women into their late 70s reach new personal bests.
Plagued by his own nagging injuries, Bennett conducted research on how to train smarter and use strength training. As a result, he was able to get back into full training incredibly quickly, as you’ll hear, and he has been able to remain virtually injury free since.
He explains in detail the reasons why older runners in general, and women specifically, have different injury risks and training needs than younger runners and he also discusses strategies to help master runners of any experience level.
He’s been an avid runner for almost 40 years and a coach for 16 years, and in this episode he shares his valuable insight on how to tailor our training depending on our age and gender. And don’t worry - if you’re a man or woman under the age of 40 - there’s plenty for you in this interview as well.
2:07 How did you first get into running?
7:27 How did you transition from becoming a runner to being a coach?
9:57 What prompted you to co-found the International Association of Women Runners and what is its mission?
12:10 What sets women over 40 apart from younger women, or even men, regarding their training needs?
15:29 Do male master runners also have different needs than when they were younger?
17:17 How should older runners structure a week of training and entire race build ups for sufficient recovery?
22:13 Do you think older runners should be doing two full marathons per year?
24:46 Are there any particular injuries that older runners, especially women, are prone to?
26:01 What can runners do to prevent these injuries?
27:20 Why do you think there has been so little research on post-menopausal female runners and do you anticipate an increase in research in the future?
31:15 How can women make changes to their training, diet and lifestyle to mitigate the symptoms of menopause on their running?
33:51 How can women structure their training to be in sync with their symptoms or cycles?
35:34 How can insomnia sufferers get the rest the need for training and recovery?
39:26 How about for avoiding weight gain during, or post, menopause?
42:17 Is it true that running economy or one’s ability to use oxygen at a given pace decreases with age?
47:19 Do you have any tips for longevity in the sport? Anything younger female and male runners can do to set themselves up for success later on?
50:35 Do you have any advice for those over 40 just getting into running?
52:42 What’s on tap for you next?
“I’m not an elite runner now and I never was an elite runner.”
“Gradually my coaching practice migrated to primarily women runners and they began enjoying success regardless of age, experience, or natural talents.”
“My experience is that women runners over 40 are poorly served by generic running programs that neither age, nor gender, into account.”
“A marathon is twice the distance of a half-marathon in distance only. It’s not twice the effort, it’s not twice the focus; it’s more like 3-4 times the effort, the focus, the commitment and the sacrifice.”
“In North America the running movement is driven by women. There are far more women distance runners than male distance runners and there are more women masters runners still looking to improve and race their best.”
“If the symptoms associated with menopause are affecting your training, they’re also affecting your daily life, your overall well-being, your relationships, your job performance; it’s kind of like everything that you do.”
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