1

Slowing with Age (Read 736 times)

    I am a 41 year old born again runner. I ran a limited amount three years ago and easily maintained 8 min/mile pace for 4-5 miles. Now I struggle w/ 3 miles at 9 min/mile. This decrease in speed seems a bit excessive to me. I am sure age has something to do with it, but I can't believe that age alone has slowed me down this much. I am curious if others have experienced this drastic of a decrease in speed with a few years of aging or if something else is going on. Any suggested workouts would also be appreciated.
      I read an article recently (I wish I could find it again....) that said you will begin the loss of conditioning after two consecutive weeks of inactivity, never mind three years. I'd be willing to bet you can get back to where you were pretty easily and even see improvement if you commit to the regular running that builds your aerobic base. Don't expect it to happen overnight, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and the pace will come.

      E.J.
      Greater Lowell Road Runners
      Cry havoc and let slip the dawgs of war!

      May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your SPF30, may the rains fall soft upon your sweat-wicking hat, and until you hit the finish line may The Flying Spaghetti Monster hold you in the hollow of His Noodly Appendage.

        I agree with the last post. The difference between 38 and 41 is not enough to lose noticeable speed or strength. If you were able to do 8 minute miles comfortably a few years ago, you could do that and more now. I'm not sure what your goals are, but generally speaking, you should build up a consistent base of miles to begin with. That alone will start peeling seconds off your pace. Once you're running at least 20 or more miles a week, you could begin incorporating some speed workouts or hills. Plenty of runners, even into their 50s, are able to run close to PRs they achieved back in their 20s/30s. It takes more work, but it's possible!


        I've got a fever...

          What is your weight now compared to 3 years ago? If you're heavier now, that will certainly have an effect. Be patient. It takes time but it will come. I'm restarting running this year after several years of little to no activity. In January, I was 220 lb and walking 1.5 miles. It was disheartening. But by August, I had dropped 35+ lbs and had my VO2max tested out at 56~57 (equivalent to 17:45~18:05 5k). [Modified to correct typos because I am such a geek.]

          On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

            My weight is similar. About 190lbs at 6'1" tall. I hope to drop about 15 lbs. I am running 6 days a week compared to 4 days three years ago, so recovery time may also be a factor. I have only been running for 2 months now but I looked at my logs from three years ago and saw that I was sub 8 mpm after the same amount of time three years ago. My lung capacity seems to have diminished as I have difficulty taking that deep refreshing breath like I seem to remember.
              Improvement will come. Perhaps you are too focused on pace. You might try running by effort or heart rate. You are very good at getting out the door every day (the hardest part!), but perhaps if you slow down a bit and try to run a bit farther, improvement will come more quickly. You can get faster by running slower if slowing down helps you run farther. Though I am still a young whippersnapper (30), I am also chasing the ghost of my former, faster self. And I intend to catch him. But I won't catch the ghost by running as fast as he did, now. After all, that faster former self wasn't so worried about running too slow--he just set out, and ran. A lot. That's how he got so dadgum fast. Good luck!
                Thanks for the sound advice. I do tend to be a bit obsessed with my watch and logs. Actually when I ran in HS my coach would not allow me to wear a watch so I could run more by feel. But it's just too fun to compare workouts and see the improvement. Thanks again Bob... who is trying to be less compulsive