Train Hard - Stay Humble
Welcome new members! Glad to see more of us joining!
So I've now been PK'ing nearly a year and half with a long dry spell in the latter half of 2010. So far, nothing broken! But news has not been good for a couple of my other friends, also in their 40's who started with me -- one broke his achilles tendon and the other had a fractured tibula. Seeing these two go through this has made me more careful ... since I think there is some age correlation here.
A few things that I've been practicing regularly.
a. Never PK when tired. While a sample of two is small, I'm matching this with my own experience. The two folks mentioned above were training 3-5 days a week and both said they were so tired, they should have skipped that day. My schedule used to be 3 days a week, for 3 weeks, then skip a couple of days to recover in the 4th week. I'm now reducing that to two days a week every week, with other gym workouts for the other days of the week.
b. Keep up the strength training in periods of low PK activity. While this is rather obvious, I found when I resumed PK after my dry spell, I still had the aerobic fitness (due to regular aerobic workouts), but had lost quite a bit of strength. While I didn't get seriously injured during this period, I had some narrow escapes. Moves that were easy before my dry spell took a lot more effort after. The double whammy here is that this makes you more tired and these make you prone to more injury. I now try to stay on top of core strengthening, pushups, pullups in the weeks I can't do PK workouts.
Would love to hear more suggestions from you guys about this ...
Some thoughts on strength training from someone with perspective of age and other physical activities.
In my own experience, I don't find that I'm more prone to injury due to age, but injuries do take a noticeably longer to heal than when I was both younger and much more active (dedicated to a competitive sport 5days/wk then versus casually 2days/wk at lower intensity now), even though I'm stronger now and possibly more fit, depending on the metrics.
I think what you mentioned about rest periods is very important. Resting is part of training, especially as we get older- working out most days a week while maintaining a career, family, other pursuits is very difficult if not eventually counterproductive. We have to come to terms that we're not pro athletes whose lives are dedicated to physical excellence and likely will never be (though those for whom it's their livelihood know the importance of rest even more) then decide what are reasonable goals for our training.
I think it's important at any age to consider parkour a long-term activity, ie not something to achieve a certain level to add to a resume, but a path that will allow endless learning. Simple techniques and movements and the strength that is developed through them must still be the foundation of deliberate progression. Some of us who bring a lot of experience from other disciplines- whether that be sports, academics, music, etc.- may have gotten used to performing at a high level in those activities but forget how long it took to develop those skills because we were young and engrossed in what we were doing. At the same time, injuries are part of any physical activity so even a setback of a few months will hopefully not become the termination of training that may continue for years.