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2012-11-19 6:48 AM

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Subject: Older (45+) Runners

I don't do many stand alone running races, but I did a 10K 2 weeks ago and a 5K this past weekend. I was amazed at how many fast guys there were in my age group (45-49). For any of you that fit this description, or know people that do, what is your/their background? Are most of these people life long runners? I'm just curious if there are any later in life runners that have gotten fast. I know "fast" is a relative term. I'm using 20:xx or less for a 5K as an example from this weekend.

 

I'm also interested in what kind of mileage you are running. My Tri season ended in late Sept. with a HIM. Since then I have been using the BarryP plan to increase my run frequency and mileage. The "A" race for 2013 is IM Wisconsin, but I enjoyed these last 2 running events very much and I think I would like to see what I can do with my 5 and 10K times in the next couple years. I'm going to continue with the BarryP plan until my IM plan kicks in late March. Currently I'm running 30 MPW and increasing 10% every 3rd week.

 

Thanks for any input/insight you can give from your experience. I know there isn't any 1 way, but interested to hear from older runners that are fast.



2012-11-19 2:05 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners

I'm not in the speed range you mentioned but following the Barry P plan I cut significant time off of my 5K and 10K times over the course of 2 years.

There's a local 5K I do each year and my time in 2009 was 24:11, 2010 was 23:26 and 2011 was 22:22.

Before that I was usually in the 25-26 minute 5K range. I turned 45 in 2010.

2012-11-19 2:36 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners
I am 46, and recently ran a 20:36 5K, but used to run 18:xx regularly in my late 20's and early 30's.  I have given up on trying to improve my running times, but I suppose if you start running in your 40's you could have 5-6 years of improvement.  I actually consider myself a marathon runner (19 completed), but only run 2x/week with multisport.  I used to run 8-10x/week (double days) at the peak of my running, but could never do that now.  Thank goodness I discovered cross-training, not only does it allow me to keep a high level of fitness than just running 2 days/week, but I experience the rewards of improving on my new sports (swimming and biking), which are long gone for me in running.

Edited by Jonathan7 2012-11-19 2:40 PM
2012-11-19 2:47 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners

A lot of the "fast" older runners, as you call them, don't feel fast anymore.  I concur with Jonathon.  I used to be a sub 18, then sub 19, then sub 20 and now 20:xx is a good time.  A lot of it comes to lung/aerobic capacity.  Studies have shown that lung capacity drops substantially as a male crosses over the 35 y/o threshold and keeps dropping the older we become.  My theory is that most of the 20:xx 45-49 runners used to be sub 17/18 min runners in there teens and 20's and have a bit of natural speed.  Problem with speed is that it is hard to keep and train for.  Most injuries old guys get come from "speed work" and not necessarily the miles to build the base.  In fact the older I get the easier it is to put more miles on, probably because I'm doing them slower and more regularly.  I have to be very careful with my speed work.  One last thing...as we age we tend to pack on a few extra pounds as well and with 2 secs/mile per pound an extra 5-10 pounds makes a difference.

just my .02 worth...

2012-11-19 2:55 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners
TriBoilermaker - 2012-11-19 6:48 AM

Are most of these people life long runners? I'm just curious if there are any later in life runners that have gotten fast. I know "fast" is a relative term. I'm using 20:xx or less for a 5K as an example from this weekend. 

Sub-20 5K split in sprint tri.  I've been running since college.  "Fast" has been a function of what else has been going on in my life--not when it's crazy busy, as in young children.  My fastest times have been in the last couple years, as I've been more serious about tri training, and paying better attention to form/cadence.  But I certainly think that 25+ years of running helps in having both a good base and having worked out some biomechanical issues.

I'm also interested in what kind of mileage you are running.

 

40-45 mi/week in preparation for IMAZ. (yesterday!) (finished!) (PR!).

Probably an average of 30 mi/week for my adult life.

2012-11-19 3:09 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners

52 y/o female here.  I usually place in my age group at 5K's as well as sprint tri's.  I have been running since I was 15 (took a break when my kids were young). I ran track and cross country competetively in high school, and went to league finals. 

As the op said- I no longer feel fast.  I guess compared to other women my age- I am fast.  My level of training and miles fluctuate.  However, when I follow a training plan, I am very disciplined. 

My husband swears that I developed running muscles at a critical age.  I have very strong thighs, and can handle hills very well.  I also can talk and run, except when doing interval work.  I attribute it to genetics. 

The longer I live, the more I believe that genetics play a major role in both athletic ability (and in intelligence). 

 



2012-11-19 3:33 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners

62yrs old.Started running road races when I was 29yrs old, never ran in high school but played baseball and football. I was always a fast runner in those sports, when I started distance running I never really trained just ran.Now I normally run 23 5k after a tri and have this year ran 21 and 22 5k's in road races. I have never put in heavy miles per week, the most was for a 70.3 tri in 2010. I feel that I have gotten faster and less injurys because of the cross training and strenght training I do for triathlon. I also run everyother day if I can unless I'm training for a race. I also do speed work  and hill repeats when trianing for races. I don't know if that helps you but it has worked really well for me.

2012-11-19 3:42 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners
I believe being "fast" has a lot to do with genetics; some people are designed to be faster than others. I am 49 and have been running off and on for the past 20+ years and up until the latter part of this year my times have improved. I typically try to run 2-3 times per week (5-8 miles at a time) if my work schedule permits with no speed work at all. I usually do not run 5ks, but I was able to run a 15k at a 6:36 pace earlier this year.
Getting back to genetics, my 56 year old brother who just started back running after about a 20 year hiatus and little to no training at all just ran a 5k in 20:37 in long sweat pants. And that only got him 2nd place in his AG! At the local, more popular races here in Jacksonville, a 6:36 pace in the 45-49 AG doesn't even get me in the top 3; it's sickening!

Edited by rgretsof 2012-11-19 3:44 PM
2012-11-19 3:50 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners

50 year old male. 19:30ish 5k on about 35-40 miles per week.

On the heavy side (172lbs)

2012-11-19 3:51 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners

I'm not exactly fast but I'm running past a lot of 20 something's at races these days. I started running in my late 30's with the C25K program so I could run in the City2Surf fun run in Sydney and got into tri's 3 years ago.

This year I ran my first marathon and set PR's in 10k and HM races during my training program. My best 5k was 22:xx a couple of years ago, I haven't run one since. My 10k this year was 44:xx, HM 1:40 and Marathon 3:52. I know I can get faster than this and see lots of older runners posting great times. PS I turned 45 this year.
2012-11-19 7:39 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners

I'm sure there are many faster guys on the site, but I'm 51 and have been running since high school (4:31 miler).  I competed one year in college (not until senior year) and kept running during and after my grad school years but didn't really race much.  I got back into serious racing in 1998 when I started marathons and did a total of 10 marathons (8 sub 3, 2:51 PR in my last one in 2004).  I started tris in 2005 (Ironman focus starting in 2006) so I haven't had a dedicated running season since then.  While Ironman training I have done a few running races and did a 17:28 in an early spring 5k in 2010 (age 49) and my last half marathon was in 2007 (age 46) where I went 1:17 and my only goal was to run even 6:00 pace rather than actually "race" the HM.  I think I may have 1 or 2 10k races in the 37 range somewhere in there but nothing super fast.  Since I started tris I have still managed to go sub 6 pace in most Olympic tris and duathlons.  I still have a goal of going sub 2:50 in a marathon sometime in the next few years, but KQ is my focus right now. I'm averaging roughly 40 miles/week during my Ironman training.  Not sure if any of this anwers your questions.



2012-11-19 8:12 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners
I turn 46 this Dec. I certainly would not call myself a fast runner. Its usuallly where i get past the most. But I ran a 20:40 in an open 5k past year and usually in the 21:xx for sprint tri's. My goal this year was to go below 20:00, but the race I was targeting didn't work out. I have no running background but some cycling. In fact, 4 years ago was the first time I ever ran more than 2 miles. In 2010 I ran My first 5k in 26:xx. I think the biggest thing for me was consistency and staying injury free. Losing weight also helped a lot. I don't run lots of miles per week. Usually only 15-20. But I try to run 4-5 times a week. For the first 2 years I did zero speed work. Since my weekly mileage is low, I now run many of my runs as tempo runs, but still way off from my race pace. I am sure I would see more improvements if I increased my weekly mileage. I don't think my strategy would work for longer distances though. You need a lot more miles per week.
2012-11-19 10:24 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners
I might not yet belong on this thread, as it's another few weeks before I join the 45+ group (... if I was just a few hours older I'd have already been racing tris in M45-49 this year). I ran a lot when I was younger, albeit without much distinction, then fell off the wagon for nearly 15 years, gained lots of weight, etc., and only got back into running in the past 3 years. I don't have the top-end speed that I used to have -- and I've not yet figured out how to do the speedwork without getting injured -- but over 5k and longer I'm far closer than I'd have thought possible. I've set lifetime PRs in HM and marathon this year (in 2012, 5k: 17:34; HM: 1:23; Mary 2:59). The keys to getting back into running shape for me have been losing lots of weight; running frequently (every day, when I'm not injured); avoiding speedwork when I'm not ready (which is generally the case; I do high intensity on the bike as a partial substitute); taking flexibility more seriously than I used to; progressing gradually in training load. I still haven't got a real handle on injury avoidance. Having biking and swimming to fall back on when I do get injured has been huge, as it allows me to stay fit and active even when I'm not running. I've been mostly aiming for 40-45 mpw, but reached 70 mpw during recent marathon training, and it was much less difficult than I'd have imagined - I'd love to do that more often. Unlike what some others in the thread have described, I'm not feeling slow these days. Partly because I'm still on the improvement part of the comeback. And partly because I used to race as one of the slow guys in high quality races, so I always thought of myself as a mediocre runner (I was a mid-distance track guy in the UK in the 80s, when everybody wanted to be like Coe and Ovett); now that I routinely get AG awards in races it feels a bit odd. I'm loving my running these days and looking forward to kicking the current injury and running faster next year.

Edited by colinphillips 2012-11-19 10:25 PM
2012-11-20 6:46 AM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners

Thanks for all of the responses. I enjoyed reading your different perspectives and experiences. As I had said my focus for 2013 is IM WI, but I can see myself entering a lot more 5 and 10K races in the future. I'm really interested to see what my times are like after doing a 17 week BarryP and then the 24 week IM plan. I'm hopeful that the volume will lead to faster times next fall.

 

It was very motivating (and humbling) to see so many guys my age (47) and older running at those kind of speeds.

2012-11-20 7:10 AM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners
TriBoilermaker - 2012-11-20 6:46 AM

Thanks for all of the responses. I enjoyed reading your different perspectives and experiences. As I had said my focus for 2013 is IM WI, but I can see myself entering a lot more 5 and 10K races in the future. I'm really interested to see what my times are like after doing a 17 week BarryP and then the 24 week IM plan. I'm hopeful that the volume will lead to faster times next fall.

 

Without getting into a big training discussion.....the volume will be important but the 5 and 10k races will make you faster. Good luck!

2012-11-20 7:25 AM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners
Birkierunner - 2012-11-20 7:10 AM
TriBoilermaker - 2012-11-20 6:46 AM

Thanks for all of the responses. I enjoyed reading your different perspectives and experiences. As I had said my focus for 2013 is IM WI, but I can see myself entering a lot more 5 and 10K races in the future. I'm really interested to see what my times are like after doing a 17 week BarryP and then the 24 week IM plan. I'm hopeful that the volume will lead to faster times next fall.

 

Without getting into a big training discussion.....the volume will be important but the 5 and 10k races will make you faster. Good luck!

No argument there. I'm just hopeful that I can sort of kill 2 birds with one stone in the next 12 months. With the increased volume from IM training I'm hoping I can get faster at the shorter distances also. My last 5K was about a year ago at 23:17. This past weekend was 22:10 with nothing in between but HIM training. I think I have the potential to go faster but I have no experience to back that belief up.

 

I would love to have a training discussion with you! Maybe I should start a different thread for that.



2012-11-20 9:12 AM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners
I just turned 52 and I have been running for most of the last 25+ years.  I am also surprised at how fast many guys and girls are running into their 40s and 50s.  I ran my fastest 5K when I was in my early 30s and approx 145 lbs, 17:05.  Now I am approx 175 lbs and a about 5-minutes slower.  However, life is much different now. Not only am I older, I'm married with 2-kids, as well as I just don't have the motivation to train hard consistantly.  When I was younger it was pretty routine for me to run 35 - 45 miles per week and I seldom had any injuries.  Now a good week for me is running 25-miles without getting injured.  I'll still do a tempo run or even get on the track once in a while, but I lack the focus to really see improvements in my running times.  I'm just happy to still be running.
2012-11-20 6:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners

50 years old.  My best 5k race time is 21:14.  I have been fairly active all my life but definitely not a life-time runner.  I have been running off and on for the last 10 years but the last couple of years have been more serious than previous years.  My PRs for both 5 and 10km distances were this summer.  I think that I have a 20:xx 5k race in me.

I typically run 20 - 25 miles per week.  If I decide to enter any marathon or HM races I would increase this considerably.

The last two summers I have used the FIRST "Run Less Run Faster" training program.  I know that a lot of people are concerned about injury risk with this program, but I like it and I think that it has worked pretty well for me.

2012-11-20 10:02 PM
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Subject: RE: Older (45+) Runners

48 yo, ran a 19:24 5k in the spring, and a 39-ish 10k a month earlier.  Won AG for both.

My background is cross country team in high school, though we were nothing special, and I biked everywhere before I got a car.  Played a couple other sports, but cross country was my strongest.  I was never a sprinter, so I guess I'm chock full of slow twitch...

Then college, cars, etc, for almost 30 years.  I did maintain some fitness throughout that in the Army and National Guard, 2 mile run on a PT test every year, some years that was almost all the exercise I got.  Maybe a few tune up runs the month prior to our test.  For me the run was never an issue.  In Army school, I think I ran an 11:34 at the track, for a 2 mile run.

I've also felt that it was genetics, combined with training at young ages.

My training these days is only running a couple times per week, with spinning and cross training mixed in.  Right now, no plan, just relaxing for November, then back into multisport mode in December.

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