In case you observe grasp’s observe and subject, it’s laborious to overlook Sue McDonald’s astonishing accomplishments this season, together with eight world information within the 60-64 girls’s age group—seven ratified, one pending.
Having not too long ago snatched world information within the indoor 800 meters (2:25.72) and indoor 1,500 meters (5:08.88), McDonald was unstoppable chasing outdoor information, too: 400 meter (62.34), 800 meter (2:22.52), 1,500 meter (5:04.27), mile (5:28.02), and 300 meter (48.89) at a number of Southern California observe meets and the 2023 USATF Masters Out of doors Championships in July.
So as to add to her dazzling document assortment, on August thirteenth at Mount SAC School in Walnut, California, McDonald completed the heptathlon with a world document level whole of 6,269, enhancing on the earlier world document of 5,815. (In case you’re dying to know, right here is the way you rating in heptathlon.)
“I’m Not Shocked I’m Getting Quicker in My 60s”
Sue McDonald is a masters runner, mother, and coach. “Earlier than the occasion this previous weekend, I had not competed within the heptathlon for 27 years!” McDonald laughed. “I used to be capable of get in a single javelin and shot apply session earlier than the competitors with Dan Lange, former USC throws coach for 32 years and my school teammate. I additionally went into the lengthy leap chilly, which I don’t suggest.”
Terry Howell of Blue Collar Working is McDonald’s coach, and he’s impressed by her ambition. “Sue has a number of enjoyable competing, which is why she has such unimaginable longevity in observe and subject. She has this kid-like pleasure for so long as I’ve recognized her.”
You may clearly see this pleasure in her fierce, easy strides going over hurdles on the 300-meter hurdles occasion on the masters out of doors nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina. After crossing the end line in 48.89 seconds, McDonald smiled in her calm method. “I watched her each race on the livestream and thought, we’re simply getting began!” mentioned Coach Howell.
With eight world information in a single season, Sue McDonald felt she may do extra.
“It does seem to be the other of regular, however I’m not stunned I’m getting sooner in my 60s,” mentioned McDonald. “I spent just a few years working marathons and triathlons. I used to be a excessive jumper in school. I did a number of issues, and I’m simply doing completely different occasions than what I did previously.”
McDonald and Coach Howell not too long ago appeared on The Masters of Working Podcast with Niall Energy. “Somebody not too long ago requested me: ‘when do folks decelerate.’ My reply was: I don’t know. I suppose it occurs when it occurs,” mentioned coach Howell.
What’s the secret to Sue McDonald’s illustrious observe and subject profession that spans over 40 years?
Sue McDonald first began working within the Parks and Rec league throughout elementary faculty. Since her highschool didn’t have a observe, she practiced at Los Angeles Junior School, which led her to be recruited to run there. She positioned second within the excessive leap on the Junior School State Championships two years in a row.
By the point she graduated from California State College, Northridge, McDonald practically certified for the Olympic trials in excessive leap. She additionally competed within the heptathlon, together with her strengths in sprints and jumps. After chasing the Olympic Trial qualifier within the excessive leap in 1988, McDonald retired—for the primary time—and finally moved onto triathlons and highway races. She joined an area biking workforce in Santa Barbara to problem herself differently and made nice pals.
“After three pregnancies, I didn’t have any plans to return to trace and subject, till someday, after I turned 50, I seemed as much as see what the American and World Information have been within the excessive leap for my age group. It was over 5 toes. And I assumed, I used to heat up at 5’ 6”! Seeing that document was what pulled me again into observe and subject. I began coaching for prime leap once more. Ultimately, I did get the American document [for Women’s 50], however missed the world document.” mentioned McDonald.
“Sue will not be a one-dimensional athlete,” mentioned Howell. “She has been extraordinarily devoted, but in addition having a lot enjoyable with these completely different occasions—the excessive leap, pole vault, shot put, and javelin forces her to maneuver her physique in a mess of the way, making her sturdy.”
Power has been a key element of Sue McDonald’s coaching constantly. “I don’t raise heavy weights, however I do bodily remedy kinds of workout routines daily, and I raise two to a few instances every week for half-hour every time.”
McDonald acknowledged that she had by no means been a excessive mileage individual, solely averaging below 30 miles every week. “My definition of an endurance run for an athlete like me is three to 4 miles with strides on the finish. I additionally do some longer intervals on Wednesdays, and shorter exercises on Saturdays. I additionally experience my NordicTrack bike at residence and aqua-jog at a public swimming pool. When folks age, they have an inclination to lose their stability and stability, so I do a number of single-legged workout routines like single-leg Romanian deadlift and single-leg squats.”
“Sue seems for brand spanking new challenges and by no means backs away from them. She merely loves what she does,” mentioned Mark Covert, McDonald’s junior school coach, who was the primary athlete to ever cross a end line carrying the well-known Nike Waffles on the 1972 Olympic Trials marathon and has run at the least one mile a day for 45 years.
New challenges and quite a lot of occasions are what make McDonald’s athletic profession enjoyable. “I’m trying ahead to having enjoyable with these mixed occasions. That’s why I do it,” mentioned McDonald. Even after such breakthrough performances, McDonald nonetheless does every little thing for enjoyable.
Up Your Psychological Sport
David Epstein writes in his e-book, The Sports activities Gene: Contained in the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Efficiency, “It was a powerful clue that one key distinction between skilled and novice athletes was in the best way they’d realized to understand the sport, moderately than the uncooked means to react shortly.”
Sue proves to be an excellent instance of perceiving a sport earlier than it occurs. Since 2015, she has been revisiting a program known as The Assured Athlete by Dr. Patrick Cohn. Earlier than main competitions, McDonald would overview her sports activities psychology program and likewise visualize how the competitors would possibly shake out, how she would possibly reply to a tactical race on the championships, and the way she would possibly hold on if it’s a quick or sluggish tactical race with combined age teams.
“I’m quite a bit much less nervous on the beginning line than 5 years in the past,” mentioned McDonald. “That is due to my psychological coaching. I take just a few deep breaths to attempt to calm myself down after I really feel anxiousness approaching. Fifty % of my preparation is my psychological sport. It’s straightforward to brush off as a result of it’s time-consuming. I positively suppose extra folks ought to up their psychological sport if they’ve massive objectives.”
As a health coach herself, McDonald additionally helps different athletes with their psychological video games. Daphne Scott, Professor of Arithmetic at Western Washington College, mother of three and present Girls’s 60 (W60) American document holder within the decathlon, credit McDonald for serving to her together with her sturdy psychological state throughout her decathlon competitors.
“At the latest meet at Mt. Sac, the pole vault I ordered didn’t arrive on time. I used to be then handed an incorrect substitute pole. It was all very irritating, however Sue was there and he or she helped me reframe my scenario. Ultimately, I used to be capable of obtain a private document due to her assist,” she mentioned.
“What makes a number of occasions like decathlon very difficult is all of the modifications. Between occasions, you’ve half-hour to vary garments and sneakers, hydrate, and prepare for the following one. Your adrenaline goes up, and it goes down. Your physique’s chemistry shifts in a short time. You additionally put your physique by completely different motions. That’s a number of transition in a really quick time. As a heptathlete, Sue understands all of the challenges herself and is able to serving to different mixed occasion athletes like me very effectively.”
Optimize Restoration and Vitamin
To organize for the 2023 World Masters Athletic Indoor Championships, Sue McDonald dialed up her diet by doing two seemingly contradictory issues: she gave up alcohol, and he or she went again to consuming meat.
“I actually like wine however gave it up as a result of it interferes with my sleep. Now I solely permit myself to have two to a few of what I name Sue Sips from my husband’s glass,” McDonald mentioned. “I wished to enter Worlds with no regrets and do every little thing I presumably may, legally, to spice up my efficiency.” With out wine, McDonald is getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night time, which has considerably improved her restoration, particularly throughout multi-day occasions.
Vitamin has been an enormous a part of her efficiency enchancment. “In January, I began to work with a metabolic practitioner, Cynthia Monteleone, who’s the world champion within the 400 meter, a mother, and creator. “I used to be largely plant-based earlier than with some seafood for a very long time, till I made a decision to work with Cynthia. Reintroducing meat and poultry into my weight loss program was one of many situations Cynthia had proposed to me for our partnership.” mentioned McDonald. “I felt I wasn’t getting sufficient protein previously anyway. After reincorporating meat and poultry, my restoration has improved.”
McDonald’s technique is in step with Dr. Stacy Sims’s advice in her e-book, Roar: How you can Match Your Meals and Health to Your Feminine Physiology for Optimum Efficiency, Nice Well being, and a Sturdy, Lean Physique for Life: peri- and post-menopausal girls ought to intention to remain on the greater finish of the beneficial vary of protein consumption (2.2 – 2.4g per kg of body weight).
Be in Group
In addition to teaching her personal athletes and coaching with youthful athletes from Blue Collar Working, Sue McDonald began a USATF observe membership named the Pursuit of Excellence Observe Membership (POETs), below the urge of Melissa Chiti, the 2022 W55 Nationwide Steeplechase Champion, a mother and librarian.
“After we began POETs, we simply wished to have a bunch of masters athletes to help one another. All of us compete in numerous occasions, from pentathlon to middle-distance and long-distance. All of us attempt to set a superb instance of how one can age with nice well being and pleasure,” mentioned Chiti.
For the reason that founding of POETs, the membership positioned eleventh out of 67 girls’s groups and fifteenth out of 135 mixed groups with solely six athletes, on the USATF Masters Out of doors Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, this previous July. “Sue is at all times supportive of all of the athletes in our membership, and able to share any and all experience,” mentioned Chiti.
“I hope Sue sends this message to the observe and subject world: there’s an occasion for everyone; whether or not you like to run, leap, throw, there’s something for you. For elite runners, she conjures up them to remain within the sport for a very long time. For grownup athletes and everybody else, she proves that age is only a quantity,” mentioned Coach Howell with conviction.
Trying towards 2024, Sue McDonald is happy to begin coaching for the World Masters Athletics Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. “Possibly I can decrease my very own 400-meter world document, presumably break 62 seconds,” McDonald mentioned. With the help of her coach and her teammates, she feels nothing however assured.
This text was initially printed on Girls’s Working.
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