Old, Fat and Slow
Middle-aged Comeback 1/17/2013 4:44PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm 47 years, woefully out of shape (about 5'8" and 200 lbs)and more than two decades past my so-called prime. But I want to get somewhat serious about running again, and I'm wondering what my realistic expectations should be. A little background:

My aproximate PR's - most set about 22 years ago - are as follows: 1500 (4:00), 5K (15:00) and 10K (32:00).

Presuming I could lose 50 pounds and work back up to a meager 40-45 mpw, will it be possible to sub-6 pace for a 10K again? Or will my years of relative inactivity and carrying extra weight make it physiologically impossible to run that...uh..."fast" again?
Dislikerofthings
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/17/2013 4:49PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Temper your expectations. You'll likely get your 5k back in the 19 to 19:30 range but no more unless you want to do more than 45 mpw. Losing base fitness and leg turnover is a big deal and it takes a while to get those back, like at least a year of consistent training. Not many hobby joggers run sub-6 pace for 5k, much less 10k, on 45 mpw.
ukathleticscoach
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/17/2013 5:00PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Same age and trying the same thing

You can do it if you get the desire back and can do the training without getting injured
Former Average Runner
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/17/2013 5:03PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Miles, weight and speed.

If you are mentally into this attempt the first two are the easiest. You will gain some speed as you progress with the weight loss and building aerobic base but the 6min/mile speed is something I don't think anyone can tell you for sure. I think from your history you will make it but I would set a goal for a November race.

Good luck
youvegottobekidding
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/17/2013 5:03PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Your PRs show enough talent to have a chance to run sub-6 for 10k on 45mpw. However, you will need to work hard on both training (some quality running) and diet while being patient with the early results (no quality running). In any case, you're likely to feel a lot better if you get into some kind of shape and it doesn't get any easier as you get older.
rockcelloman
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/17/2013 5:18PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I wanted to encourage you in your comeback. I am also trying to make a comeback although I was not that fast to begin with. I'm 55 now, my mile PR back in High School was 4:37 2 mile a woeful 10:23. I'm 6-1 and weighed 229 when I started training. I do think 40-45 miles a week is reasonable with a slow build-up to it.

Don't push it with the speed work too soon though. I have aggrevated PF a few times by putting in speed work too soon in the build-up to a race. I figure I spent over 30 years being mostly a desk jockey so it takes awhile to get back in shape. Do some weight training and stretching along with bike, treadmill, cross trainer it helps running and weight loss to do the resistance training. It never ceases to amaze me with how much speed I've lost but it does come back a little at a time. Be very very patient and build-up slowly. I also wouldn't trade the feeling of floating along an open trail for anything. (at who cares what speed these days) You can't compete with your former self, but you can probably do very well in your age group.
donkey plums, revisited
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/17/2013 5:24PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Conventional wisdom says you're better off focusing on longer distance. Unless you're a glutton for disappointment.
Strange brew
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/17/2013 5:57PM - in reply to donkey plums, revisited Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
i have a similar background time wise, but i switched to biking when i couldn't run enough to stay in shape anymore because i kept getting hurt.

the past couple of years during the winter, i started running again. the first year, i ran too fast to start with. it was easy because i was biking so much but i got hurt within a couple of weeks.

the next year, i got smarter. my first runs were really short and really slow ie. 9-10 min pace and i only ran 3-4 miles at a time. i slowly built up the miles to 40-45 and the let the pace get faster naturally. i was able to run sub 6s for 10k after 4 months of this.

the big lesson was starting really slow and really short. speed kills in middle age.
Comeback Kidd
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/17/2013 6:30PM - in reply to Strange brew Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I was a mediocre HS/college runner who worked his as$ off just to get where 4:00 1500 guys would be with months of partying and no training. I got injured bad and became a fitness jogger for almost two decades after college. Came back as a master and guess what, all those fast guys got fat and lazy. Within a few years I was winning national age group medals on the track. Now I am knocking on the door of being among the top ten in the world.

What did I do different? I didn't gain a pound in all those "down" years. I watched what I ate, studied up on injuries and their prevention, and did other sports. I now have been the same weight for over three decades, and injury free as well.

Nothing you can do will make up for those lost years. Accept the fact that the best you can hope for is to be unfat again, and that will take years, if you are determined. Don't think about "comeback" and don't post abpout one until that blubber is gone. Then we might have something to talk about.

Meanwhile, I will be out on the track, knocking off intervals and winning races, running the times of my youth and staying very healthy. Gotta go, 12 miles easy/med today with my young honey :)
Old, Fat and Slow
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/17/2013 7:09PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thanks for the input, everyone, especially those of you who have been in similar situations and have managed to get back into it.
MiddleAgeCrazy
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/17/2013 9:41PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm 48-started a comeback at 42. Had 2:47 marathon at age 22-ran in the low 16s to mid 16s for 5K-pretty much from Junior in High School through college. Gave it up for 20 years-now I'm running 3:25 for a marathon and high 18s low 19s on 5Ks.

As a kid, ran 60-80 mpw-sometimes hit up to 100. Can't handle that now with getting injured-top out at 50 or so. Weight is the big determinant. If I balloon up to 170, it slows me down. Scrapping weight is 155-160. As a kid, I was 145-150-on a 5:11 frame.

Had a high school teammate with similar build to you. 5-7 120 or so-ran low 15s-and a 2:30ish marathon. He ballooned up to 190 or so by his late 30s. Picked it up again, and got the weight down and ran a 2:42 marathon at age 44-at 5000 feet elevation. There is hope. Just take it slow, and stay healthy.
alf tupper
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/18/2013 9:59AM - in reply to ukathleticscoach Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Older but am willing to have a go started back 12 months ago very slow speed and build up.But hit 70 mile last week and have dropped 30lb,but like ukcoach says the big thing is staying injury free good luck.
bconvey
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/18/2013 10:55AM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I started back around age 43 in about the same shape and height/weight range as you, only somewhat better PR's from back in the "glory days". The key for you will be to lose the weight-- which will help you with the other key, stay healthy. I would encourage you to listen to your body on the rest you need to avoid getting rundown or hurt and if you didn't do this before, LEARN TO RUN SLOWER. I'm 48 and just ran around 17:20 for 5K at 160 lbs and doing about 40 miles per week. I'm sure with more weight loss I could get corresponding time decreases, but I can't seem to lose more, and I don't have time or resilience to run more miles.

I've REALLY enjoyed all the benefits from doing this.
IJ(&^%#gycI
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/18/2013 1:43PM - in reply to bconvey Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thank you all for keeping me from the vending machine this afternoon.
JustMyTwoBitsAgain
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/18/2013 4:36PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Best bet: forgot all those past PR's. Pretend you were never a runner, or those were done in a different universe. You are bound for disappointment if you compare your late 40's self to your early 20's self.

You get a do-over. Start your slate clean with all zero in all your PR categories. Start from scratch and work your way from a 60 minute 10k to 55, 50, 45 and maybe even sub-40. Watch yourself improve and will be satisfied with the improvement. Keep saying "But I use to be able to run..." and you are in for years of frustration and disappointment.
West Coast Guy
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/18/2013 7:39PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Old, Fat and Slow wrote:

I'm 47 years, woefully out of shape (about 5'8" and 200 lbs)and more than two decades past my so-called prime. But I want to get somewhat serious about running again, and I'm wondering what my realistic expectations should be. A little background:

My aproximate PR's - most set about 22 years ago - are as follows: 1500 (4:00), 5K (15:00) and 10K (32:00).

Presuming I could lose 50 pounds and work back up to a meager 40-45 mpw, will it be possible to sub-6 pace for a 10K again? Or will my years of relative inactivity and carrying extra weight make it physiologically impossible to run that...uh..."fast" again?


I would say you need to lose probably 60lbs at 5'8"..... and crank the mileage up to 60-70mpw. Then you have a shot. Quite frankly, you have no business being 200lbs at your height.
Stan S. Flouride
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/18/2013 7:49PM - in reply to West Coast Guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
If you're serious about the times, then it's all about the weight, even more than about the volume of training. Now in my 50s I find 50 mpw about optimal for me, but I run almost as well on 35 mpw. If you can get within 10 lbs of your racing weight in your prime, you have a shot.
you got this man
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/18/2013 8:10PM - in reply to Stan S. Flouride Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I think your comeback is very possible.

Eat healthy, make sure to get plenty of rest, listen to your body (back off miles at first sign of any injury), be consistent.

It will be rough at first, but eventually your fitness will come back. The weight will start to drop.

Personally I'd mix in a lot of high rep weight training and high rpm cycling. This will very much help you shed the lbs without the pounding of running.

You will never be as fast as when you were young, but you can be fit and feel good about running again.
Danoo
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/18/2013 8:25PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Crossfit for you--forget the running fatso.
Old Man by the Sea
RE: Middle-aged Comeback 1/18/2013 9:39PM - in reply to Old, Fat and Slow Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You can do it. Try not to eat or drink in the evening. Take your time with the running. Been there too.