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Age or Poorly Prepared? (Read 590 times)


Marathonmanleto

    This thread is aimed at the more senior members here. Yesterday I ran my first road marathon in 7 years (Detroit Free Pres) and finished in a very disappointing 3:25. I am currently 42 years young. Prior to this race I have run an average of around 3:00 hours with much the same type of training. I am struggling to make sense of the race. What is your experience with the aging process as it relates to marathon times? Confused
      Well I'm only 36 so not sure I qualify but 42 isn't old. I would look at your training and lack of recent experience at that distance (7 years is a LOOOOONG time between marathons) way before your age. I had a friend who ran his lifetime marathon PR of 2:50 at age 51, and it wasn't like he started running late in life. He had been a runner for decades, and just stepped up his training in his late 40's.

      Runners run.

        Congrats on the run - sorry to hear you were disappointed (although I'd personally welcome a "disappointing" 3:25 marathon!). As for age or poorly prepared - maybe both? What kind of running have you been doing for the last 7 years? Have you maintained a base? Did you not do enough (or too much) long run workouts? Or speedwork? I doubt there's a physical reason for your slowdown. I've heard plenty of anecdotal evidence of even pretty fast marathoners running PRs in their 50s and 60s; the research I've read seems to support that. I'd take a barely educated guess that it's one of two things: 1) You may not be adjusting your training to match your age. You may have to train smarter rather than harder. You might find that the plan that worked 7 years ago doesn't work now; or 2) Similarly - you may just need more recovery time in your training (I haven't peeked at your log, so this may be way off base). I told this story elsewhere, but I'll repeat it: a long-time marathoner had been trying to break 3:30 for decades, with no success. After turning 60, he changed his 6-day-per-week schedule to an every other day plan. Still running the same weekly mileage; just longer runs with complete rest in between. In his early 60s, he went out and ran a 3:25. My 2 cents. I'd wager that if you just experimented a bit, you'd be back to 3:00. Maybe consult a trainer? Oh - one last thought. Hate to mention but - are you wearing the same size jeans you were wearing 7 years ago? I'd guess that even carrying an extra 10-15 pounds could slow your marathon times that much. (Nevermind. I just pulled up your profile pic. You're one o' them skinny !^!#%!'s. Ignore that last bit. Smile )
        E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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        Marathonmanleto

          Thanks guys. Jake, in answer to your question about my base--yes, I have always run. Here's the kicker. I began training for an ultra in January and logged some slow high mileage months . Then completed a trail marathon at the end of April. Then I had an injury and drastically reduced my mileage in July and August. At the beginning of September I decided to turn my attention to the marathon. Having a good 8 weeks of training which included speed work at the track, several long runs and consistant weekly mileage I felt prepared for what I thought was a modest Boston qualifying time of 3:20. Not meant to be.
            I don't want to think that I qualify as a 'senior' member, but I'll respond anyway. First--the aging process will naturally slow you down, but it doesn't have to be by a lot. Mike makes a good point about the fact that 7 years is a long time between road marathons. I suspect that much has to do with getting your body acclimated again to racing that distance on that type of surface. If you were doing 3 hours 7 years ago, an equivalent time for a 42-year old is around 3:06 (the following site gives you age-adjusted equivalents: http://www.heartbreakhill.org/age_graded.htm). Nonetheless, 3:25 is a good time. I can tell you that your best times are yet to come. One thing I believe you need to work on, after reviewing your log, is running more 5K, 10K, and Half's for speedwork. You are putting in sufficient distance in your training, but your tempo runs and shorter races are too slow (forgive the bluntness). Your longer runs are being run at a good pace, but your times on the races I have looked at should have been run 1 1/2 to 2 minutes faster. I think it is vital to include shorter races as part of your overall marathon training program. And, I am a big fan of Arthur Lydiard, who was a strong advocate for hillwork. Also--on some of your longer (15+) runs, some of the miles should be run a PMP-30 (you may be doing this, I just can't tell from your log). At 42, there is no reason you can't run a sub-3. You just need to get re-acclimated, and tweak your training a little bit. It'll come.
            My Masters (>50) Race PR's: 5K - 20:17 10K - 42:36 HM - 1:31:22 Marathon - 3:20:48


            Marathonmanleto

              Thanks Don. You bring up an interesting point. As I look back to my log in my best marathon years I see fast 10K times that may have contributed to fast marathon times. I have never raced consistantly. When should that begin i.e. spring, summer? for an expected race. What distances? 5K then 10K or a mix?
                Thanks Don. You bring up an interesting point. As I look back to my log in my best marathon years I see fast 10K times that may have contributed to fast marathon times. I have never raced consistantly. When should that begin i.e. spring, summer? for an expected race. What distances? 5K then 10K or a mix?
                Briefly--for a fall marathon, I would start in the spring. You don't need a lot of them. Perhaps one Half, a couple of 5K's, and a 10K (with the half closer to the marathon). You could certainly just incorporate the speed of a shorter race into your regular training cycle, but we tend not to do that on our 5 to 15 mile runs. No matter how you look at it, you will always run faster in an actual race. These shorter races not only help with your overall marathon pace (which may seem somewhat counterintuitive), but do a great deal for your VO2Max. The "off-season" is a good time to pick up on some local 5K races, particularly this time of year (seem to be lots of holiday runs around).
                My Masters (>50) Race PR's: 5K - 20:17 10K - 42:36 HM - 1:31:22 Marathon - 3:20:48