You will slow down. It is inevitable. It is hard to deal with in your mid-40s, but you come to a realisation that
a) you will die and
b) you will not accomplish everything you originally set out to do.
When you come to terms with this, it is much easier to enjoy running, your partner, work, family etc. It is normal to go through this and emerge when you are 50 much more confident and happy.
You will slow down. It is inevitable. It is hard to deal with in your mid-40s, but you come to a realisation that
If you abuse your body your body will make you feel abused.
I ran 25 miles today. Age is 54. Ran a 4:41 mile last year. My high school PB was 4:45. I ran 5K in 16:04 at age 35, and 16:38 at age 52. Live clean and take care of your body, mind and spirit.
I'm 54. Ran in HS and 2yrs of D I College before I got hurt, started lifting weights to stay fit, and changed my body in a way that made it hard to compete at that level. Recently I ran 3.5mi in 20:00 or 5:44 per mile. I'm 6'4 and 208lbs so not really built like a runner and only trained for 5mos (my usual is indoor rowing). Bottom line is that I feel like I felt when I was running 5mi XC at 4:45/mi pace even though I'm running much slower. It's only when you run up to someone who looks awkward/slow and realize that you're running at the same pace that you know you're running slowly. Bottom line is don't worry about ageing. I feel about the same as I did when I was 30 and haven't gained/lost a pound in 30yrs. Takes longer to recover so you have to take days off/cross train and get a lot of sleep to avoid injury. But life great. Don't waste it worrying about getting older--the alternative is worse.
No, slowing down is not inevitable. Age is just a number. If slowing down was inevitable then we wouldn't see so many world record holders aged 65.
35 is no problem. Maybe not quite as much energy and fire as when you were 35, but being more mature, and smart/consistent with training can more than make up for that. I am pushing 45. Turning 40 was nothing. Running was great. Each year since, I have been able to hold on, but have to be careful about over training and having dead legs. Easy days are rrrreeeaaaalllllllyyy easy. Biggest issue gets to be motivation. Why put on the hurt just so you can run 30 sec slower than last year at the local 1/2 marathon? Why not cruise it in, add 15-20 sec to your finishing time and not feel like crap the next day?
Friends who have hit 55 are pretty much done. They are just happy to still be out there and feeling good now and then. Speed drops off precipitously each year.
Im just wondering how people feel at these ages and how their priorities and perspectives change as they get older?
Im 26 now, and I feel my body is starting to age. I try to exercise everyday to keep myself in shape. I need longer to recover from hard workouts, I need to stretch more, warm ups take longer, injuries take longer to heal, it sucks. when I was 21, I could just get up and go. I hope it doesnt get much worse.
Oh, it will get worse..MUCH worse.
I felt my first "calf heart attack" at age 29. I started running though at age 8, so earlier than most...junior Olympics, the whole deal early on.
By age 37, I had had several years where I would train for 3 months, just start to feel like I was in shape and capable of much more only to have one or the other calf shelve me for 2 weeks again, and then I'd start over. About then is when I turned into a run 2-4 times a week person and started doing Power 90 workouts.
Now, at age 47, I have other lower-body issues...the inside of my left knee is horribly painful today after I ran three days in a row for the first time in months. Super short runs too 1 mile, 1.5 miles, 1.5 miles. AND, I ran those runs 3 weeks ago; super sore when I first get up from sitting for a while. Had the same issue after ONE short run in September and had to take 4 MONTHS off before the pain went away, so I don't know if I've torn something, just need to stretch more or what.
Realistically, I'm just not a runner anymore. Kind of sad as I would love to be able to do it...even just short runs of 3 miles a day. I just can't though.
Going to be stuck with the elliptical and Power 90 and like workouts. Or maybe I'll just let myself go and swell to 300 pounds.
It's your race now, Flagpole!
There was no need to continue this thread after the first reply.
.....it's not nearly as much physical as it is mental....whereas life didn't get in the way in your 20s it now becomes easier and easier to allow it to get in the way as you get older....( lag at is good proof of this.....he hasn't allowed agae to get in the way of his training/racing...but then again it is his job :-))...
My experience may be different from many. Although I wasn't good enough to be an XC walk-on in my senior year of college (I'd only started training in my junior year), I kept at it after graduating and ran 5:02, 17:27, 35:49, several 10-milers just under 60 minutes, and a 2:53 marathon, all by age 25. That's nothing by LR standards, of course, but we do what we can do.
I quit racing in 1984, quit training in any kind of focused way, just jogged for 19 years. Then raced again in 2003 and got hooked. That was age 45. My times dropped steadily from that point through the end of 2009; that year I ran masters PRs for 10K (40:48), 10 miles (6:55 pace, whatever that is) and half marathon (1:31:93). Again, nothing to write home about by LR standards, but notable in one respect: I got stronger and faster every year between age 45 and 51.
Things slid downhill over the next 3-4 years, but this spring I managed to string together some decent training and ran 20:36 for 5K, which in age-graded terms is 17:09--faster than I ran as a 25-year old.
I've got a very bad big toe (arthritis from an old injury), tweaky hams--and now, recently, some achilles trouble and a little knee pain, which is not something I've ever had.
The WAVA age grading tables are a great help as you age; they help me know just how well I'm doing relative to past performances.
And heck: even with the pains of various sorts, I just love to run. It starts and ends there. And I love to compete. There's no feeling like the feeling of putting in the training and starting to get strong again. It's one of the greatest feelings in the world. Then somehow making it to the starting line, yet again, and kicking some ass. (I came in second overall at a recent very-small-town 5K.) What's not to like?
I should have noted that my first 10K after returning to racing in 2003 at age 45 was 47:30--almost 12 minutes slower than my last 10K back in 1984. Then between 2003 and 2009, I lowered that 47:30 to 40:48, race by race, just putting in a whole lot of miles again and soaking in whatever training tips I could find here. That was fun.
Old Crackpot wrote:
There was no need to continue this thread after the first reply.
And yet, here you are...
The biggest thing is do not stress about what you used to be able to do. As you age will get slower, and weaker, but just embrace it and enjoy whatever activity to are participating in. You must pay more attention to sleep, recovery, good eating habits and have minimal if no detrimental activities. If you started running at an early age you will most likely not be running much in your late 60s, it is very rare. Most runners will have some body part wear out after 30-40 years and will have to embrace a new activity. I ran from age 15 to 49 and then knee surgery stopped my running days. I could have continued but it would not have been wise. I then took up cycling, and I am now 66 and still ride 4 hours every day, and I live in the Sierras, so it is possible.
I'm late 50s, and what I've noticed like you see in these posts is everyone ages somewhat differently. It's hard to predict. You can try to maintain superior shape as you age, and you will certainly be far better off than people who don't exercise at all, that's for sure. But your ability to maintain hard training and/or post good times in races may fall off faster (or slower) than people who were of similar ability to you when you were both younger. Injury susceptibility is something else that varies regardless of how fast or slow you were/are.
Part of the variance in aging slowdown between people is probably due to genetics, just like talent is. But life or career circumstances can intervene and change your motivations and goals which makes it hard to tease apart. And motivation can wane on its own, too, but that in part has physical roots. Just how much you probably never really know, which is another confounding variable in the mix. Here's how things have gone for me.
High School: 4:34 mile, 9:40 two-mile, 60-70 miles/week off-season training (mostly "LSD" with maybe a threshold run per week), 40 in-season when doing 2-3 hard interval workouts and speed sessions per week plus racing.
College: Ran XC season as a frosh and made last man on varsity, but dropped out after the season because the coach and training program were injuring or otherwise burning out too many runners.
Rest of College: Kept running because I loved it, probably 50 miles/week for the most part, but on occasion more like 60-70 when logging a bi-weekly longer run such as 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 miles. For me this period was the peak. Got in better overall aerobic shape than I had been previously even though not training competitively. Had I added intervals and raced, I likely could have improved on previous race efforts.
Post-College: Kept running for another year or two but then started my own business. Had a tiger by the tail, got completely swallowed up working 70+ hours/week, and dropped all running. I "woke up" 10 years later with health suffering in a big way from the stress, poor diet, constant sugar/caffeine to keep going, lack of sleep.
Mid-30s: Started running again and cleaned up the diet, sleep, stress issues to begin slowly getting my health back, then moved into training seriously. Figured I would be able to get back to at least some semblance of my previous shape, maybe to the 80-90% level. But whether it was the 10 years of sedentary inactivity, constant stress, and the associated health knocks running the business that had taken a toll, or simple age, I wasn't able to get back to where I thought I should have been.
Made it up to 40 miles/week a few times, but overall could sustain only about 30-35. Whether in ideal circumstances I could have rearranged the rest of my life to eke out whatever additional mileage might have been possible is moot. Aside from that, my competitive fire was still there, could still get in 2-3 hard workouts/week (mostly threshold sessions and 100m or 200m strides/repeats, plus a few intervals), and could still put forth 100% exertion when desired.
PRs at age 35/36 or so (rounded): 17:40 for 5K, 23:15 4M, 37:10 for 10K in road races. To compare with my PRs in high school, the 5K at age 36 would equate on the WAVA age-grading charts to about a 5:11 mile or 11:02 two-mile for age 17. Nowhere even close to the 4:34/9:40 from h.s., not even on the same planet. The people I knew of similar ability who had kept running all along had not slowed down as much race-wise.
Late-30s: Could still put out 100% effort but recovery ability started going down the tubes. (Decline in recovery in late 30s is the most common refrain I hear.) Never had very good recovery even as a youngster and had to do more "LSD" even then to maintain any sort of mileage, but now it was getting frustrating. My recovery days were such slow slogs, eventually I said what's the point, started running every other day instead to be fresher for the workouts that really counted, mileage dropped to 20-25 per week. 2 of the 3 days/week I did run were still pretty hard workouts, however. By the time I hit 38 or 39, though, I threw in the towel as far as competing. Still enjoyed training, but putting out a supreme effort in a race was becoming just too excruciating even when in good shape.
Age 40/early 40s: Recovery ability continued to decline, now only had the desire for 95% effort when any max-type effort attempted. But still ran with an aim toward being in the best shape I could be (without killing myself) just as part of my personal "fitness code of honor," and enjoyed training hard on the days I felt like it -- maybe once/week.
Late 40s: Had been away from the pain of racing long enough I got the bug to compete again on the local age-group road-race circuit. Put in about 9 months of training (3x/week every other day, every 2nd workout a hard or medium-hard one, 20-25 miles/week) gradually ramping it up, but eventually needed a month of downtime running very easy to recharge my batteries before hitting it again. But when starting the next phase of training, to my chagrin I found I no longer wanted to face the 1 or 2 hard workout days I had planned each week. Could I have? Yes. But mentally I was having a hard time facing the level of workouts anymore it would have taken, so I gave up the "mini-comeback" dream.
50+: Now mostly run about every 3rd day (usually need 2 days between runs to recover, even after relatively easy runs), sometimes every 2nd day, occasionally every 4th day, about 10-12 miles week, 3-4 miles per run, once in a while continuing an extra mile or two. Every 3rd or 4th run will be a medium-hard threshold-effort run or a couple of medium-hard repeat miles or half-miles, which I still have an appetite for, and it maintains better fitness/health than all easy runs.
But any time I have attempted what in the past would have been some kind of workout you might do as part of getting race-ready, whether it be a sustained hard threshold or AT-type of run, or a medium-hard long run, the toll is too great. My body will be strung out most of that night interfering with sleep trying to repair the damage, I'm dead meat the next day, my health suffers somewhat, and washed-out enough my productiveness and focus at work suffers. Also since my mid to late 40s, I intermittently fight IT band syndrome if I go too much beyond a 4-mile run, but don't usually want to that often, so it's not much of an issue. I could probably fix this with a very concerted sustained stretching program, and maybe will eventually, but not critical given the limited mileage now.
I no longer try to be a "hero" on a workout -- even if feeling good, I stay back from the brink a certain amount. The gauge now is running for fitness and for health. Any workout that knocks me for too much of a loop that night or the next day tells me I need to back off.
A few years ago, I unexpectedly became interested in bodyweight strength training by chance circumstances. It's turned out to be a way to excel fitness/athletic-wise in a different area I'd never attempted before. For the time being I have a bit more motivation for this than running but I like the balance of both. I've enjoyed gaining about 10 lbs of muscle, though most people don't really notice other than the fact I no longer look underfed. The extra weight has slowed my running down even more, but the balance of strength and endurance I find is better for my well-being and overall functionality at this age.
Recently an old teammate from high school, who was a more talented miler/two-miler than me then, began running again for the first time since college, and we try to get in one run a week together. As slow as I am now, I'm significantly better off than him. He's having difficulties rehabbing a bum knee sustained playing in the backyard with his kids a few years ago. But at least he can run a few miles (carefully) a couple times a week now and enjoys it. An easy pace for me now is 9:30/mile (threshold pace more like 8:00-8:30/mile), whereas for him easy is 10:30-11:00/mile. But if you can run and enjoy it without fighting injuries too much as you age, it's all good.
I've kept logs since 1981. reading through them is like watching my slow death.
I still can't believe that my "quality" runs now were simple jogs back-in-the-day.
All that said...it's still a great sport if you can stay healthy.
Definitely same for me. Even though my 1500m time is now slower than what I used to average for a 10k, I still feel like I'm just as fast. It's like our minds are playing tricks on us. I have sort of a funny story along those lines: some years back I was in DC and in those days was getting back into running after a multi-year layoff. I happened to run by a track in Northwest DC that was open (or at least the gate was open), and I decided to run some 400s to see what kind of speed I had. I must have run 6 with about 1:30-2:00 rest, and I was blown away because I was running 64s! I was totally pumped that I could still knock out 400s at that pace! Of course, on the way out I looked at the sign next to the track that said something to the effect that 400m was 1.25 laps in lane 6 or whatever...I was running on a short track. I wish I hadn't read that sign. :)
old guy 68 wrote:
Fiddy Tree wrote:
Bad news - I ran 14:45 at age 26, can barely break 19 at age 53.
Good news - 18:41 at 53 FEELS just as fast as 14:45 at age 26.
I agree. At 68 years old a sub 8 minute pace feels just like a sub 6 minute pace did when I was in my 30's.
It's hard to believe someone feels they're slowing at 26.
Keep a running log, it's great motivation. I've logged every work out or run for the last 38 years.
broken arrow wrote:
If you started running at an early age you will most likely not be running much in your late 60s, it is very rare. Most runners will have some body part wear out after 30-40 years.
I have been running since age 15 and have had my best decade of racing in my 70s, after most of my competition has retired. I have been able to set several course records in trail races (post-70) and even win a national championship hill race on Mount Cranmore by 8 minutes for the over 70 group (though I was not an official entrant in the national division).
I do not find I have more injuries now than before, though I have to admit that my Achilles is sore at the moment from a race up Mount Greylock. A more serious problem is a general creakiness from a head-on automobile collision, but I could have managed that at age 18. I am delighted it happened to me at 70, with air bags. If it had happened when I was a teen, I would be dead.
If you keep going long enough, you may well find yourself in the lead.
By 40 your short speed (mile/5K) will be waning. Getting slower is inevitable. Older runners have told me that at some point a slow, gradual decline becomes a cliff. For some guys that happens in the mid 40s, for others well into their 50s. Eventually you will have to become an age group ace rather than someone challenging for the race win.
At 40 I am still feeling pretty much the same as 20 WHILE I am running, but definitely feel a difference in recovery. Haven't slowed down too much either (but I wasn't a studdette or anything like that.) I am female, though, and I have heard some say that it is different for women, though not sure why that would be. Must be childbirth toughens you up, haha.
Sonja Friend Uhl has not lost any speed at all. She might not be quite as fast as when she was in her early 30s, but she is actually faster in her 40s than when she was in college.
Back pain stops me from running fast. I never thought that it would be like that. I really like long distance ultra light hiking though. That and climbing and ski mountaineering.