Slowing Things Down as We Age

Before I get to the main topic, my mileage last week (week 20 of my training for the Santa Barbara Marathon) was 48 with a long run of 13.1 miles in a half marathon race.  I've been hoping to achieve 60 miles in a week at some point but this week also looks to be on the light side.

On the topic of mileage and training hard as my age advances, I came across another interesting article in a recent Wall Street Journal.  The article, "Older, Wiser, Slower" touches on this issue of training too hard as we age...something I find myself constantly struggling with.

Just 10 years ago I was running 70, 80, 90 miles per week in my marathon training.  I was in my mid-30s, single, no kids and in my distance running prime. 

Today I can barely contemplate running those kind of miles, as my life has changed and time is so scarce.  But on top of that and maybe more importantly, my body has aged and can only take so much hard core training and competition.

I ran 5 or 6 marathons in the 2:35 to 2:40 range in the mid to late 1990s. Today that seems impossible because not only do I not have time to train that hard (nor the time to recover from such training), but my body just won't let me do it!  I'm constantly battling and re-battling injuries, new and old.

So the article basically tells us we have to acknowledge our limitations as we age and literally slow down or risk really hurting ourselves.  Overuse injuries, lack of rest and stressing ourselves out about our training can kill us! 

Type A runners can do a number on themselves attempting to compete at a fanatical level year in, year out and can lead to either complete burnout (and abandoning exercise altogether) or doubling up our training in pursuit of the past.

I am a member of the Conejo Track Club, which is a local group of runners, the majority of which are in their 50s, 60s and beyond (I ain't quite there yet). It is motivational and encouraging to see this wonderful group of runners and friends continue to stay active through the years.  Their times slow down, many stop running but continue with walking long distances and others move on to other forms of exercise...cycling, skiing, hiking, etc.

Take a lesson from these aging athletes.  Slowing down as you age is a natural progression that allows you to stay in the game.