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Discussion Starter #1
I was reading the 5k runner's blog and in one of his posts he makes the point that it's extremely difficult for a 49 year old woman to achieve a 20 minute 5k. He wasn't being sexist or ageist (I don't think). He was merely basing this on the percentage age rankings.

http://the5krunner.com/2011/08/22/5k-sub-20-minute-5k-running-and-training-plan/

I'm 49. Setting out with the goal of getting my 5k time down as much as possible. This statement of course gives me the perfect challenge....to see how close I can get - maybe even bang on target!

Now the thing I'm thinking with age related rankings is that they're based upon what most people do. My feeling (from listening to people) is that few actually set out to address the specific issues that cause us to slow down with age. So maybe that's the way to beat the odds.

Has anyone else put any thought into this? What are the main causes of age related decline and to what extent can you adapt your training to prevent or reverse it?
 

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Age related issues are mostly around recovery (takes longer) repair (takes longer) some natural bone density reductions and other bio-physiologic issues that I can't recall (like reduced elasticity of muscle and connective tissues). Most of these can be minimized to a point with really good diet, rest, lifestyle, ect but how much? Not sure...
 

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I was reading the 5k runner's blog and in one of his posts he makes the point that it's extremely difficult for a 49 year old woman to achieve a 20 minute 5k. He wasn't being sexist or ageist (I don't think). He was merely basing this on the percentage age rankings.

http://the5krunner.com/2011/08/22/5k-sub-20-minute-5k-running-and-training-plan/

I'm 49. Setting out with the goal of getting my 5k time down as much as possible. This statement of course gives me the perfect challenge....to see how close I can get - maybe even bang on target!

Personally I don't think you've a cat in hells chance - in fact I challenge you to match Sheila Carey's time of 21:39 set when she was 65!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Personally I don't think you've a cat in hells chance - in fact I challenge you to match Sheila Carey's time of 21:39 set when she was 65!
OK, I'll take care of that en-route to 20! :d

Does no one fancy joining me in this little experiment? Not necessarily to aim for 20 min 5k, but to see just how much you can reverse the age related decline in speed?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here's a nice little article which pretty much answers the question.

http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/speed-training-for-veterans-how-to-combat-the-decline-of-speed-and-power-41391

In summary:

Why do we slow down with age?

1. Declining muscle mass
2. Decline in muscle building hormones
3. Loss of fast twitch muscle fibre
4. Decline in power creating muscle compounds
5. Declining flexibility

Research has shown that much of this can be prevented or significantly slowed down through the correct training. Even reversed! And it just so happens that the 'correct' training is pretty much the opposite of what most aging athletes do.

So, before writing yourself off (from a speed point of view) on the grounds that you're likely to go the same way as other older runners isn't it worth having a bash at training to turn back the clock and get back the capacity for some high speed?
 

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Does it get harder with age or is it a state of mind ? According to a recent article I just read the one age group constantly breaking age related barriers is the over 50`s and above.

In my own experience I`d say you can still set PB`s as you get older, I`m a 58yr old male who`s been running nearly 30yrs, over the last 18 months I`ve got back into running after 5 yrs plaqued with injury, it got so bad I actually stopped for 12 months. But after starting from scratch I`ve got my 10k time down from 47:16 to 42:57 this year. I`ve also done a 5k in 21:17. My goals now are 40 mins for 10k and 20 mins for 5k.

I`m a firm believer if you set realistic goals and have the willpower and determination you`ll get somewhere near your target. So if you think you can get 20 mins for 5k I`d say GO FOR IT !!! one thing I will say is you`ll have fun trying
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well done Mick on getting your times back down! I'm in a sort of similar situation in that I was diagnosed with hip osteoathritis 7 years ago. I soldiered on a bit, but wasn't really able to do much at all. Always doubted the diagnoses - got through umpteen specialists with no luck. Until July of this year when I found a brilliant physio who's got to the bottom of things. Not my hip at all but a fixable muscle imbalance. Now I'm feeling better than I did at 20 (physio fixed some postural/bomechanical inefficiencies while he was working on my hip) and now I'm raring to go and desperate to make up for those 7 lost years! Hope I do as well as you.

I'm busy searching for research and info - I'll keep posting up what I find.

Here's another good article that talks of the success stories and also some more ideas on how to hold onto your speed:

http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/endurance-training-for-master-athletes-766
 

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I think the blog in the first post pretty much says it right. I'm sure you could do a 20 minute 5K if you tried wickedly hard for a very long time. But i don't think you will because you'd have to give your life over to it, your job would have to be running, for several years. Something would get in the way, like bills. I run 5K in 25 minutes at age 41, i think it'd take me atleast a couple of years to get close to 20mins, and probably not that close. As i'm currently unemployed its not that hard to improve (when i'm not injured) but sooner or later i'll get a job and just not have the time. It is an interesting discussion though. I know recently i've certainly set my lifetime 10Km pb...because i've never run 10Km before! :)
 

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I think the blog in the first post pretty much says it right. I'm sure you could do a 20 minute 5K if you tried wickedly hard for a very long time. But i don't think you will because you'd have to give your life over to it, your job would have to be running, for several years. Something would get in the way, like bills. I run 5K in 25 minutes at age 41, i think it'd take me atleast a couple of years to get close to 20mins, and probably not that close. As i'm currently unemployed its not that hard to improve (when i'm not injured) but sooner or later i'll get a job and just not have the time. It is an interesting discussion though. I know recently i've certainly set my lifetime 10Km pb...because i've never run 10Km before! :)
It takes some effort, but it's not a case of giving your life over to it. I am in search of another sub 20 min 5k and at 58 y.o. I am fairly close with a 20:22. and I certainly don't run for a job:cool:( would be cool though)
I think as you get older you need to think harder as well as train.
 

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Snap Susan !!! Its amazing what a really good physio can do. I was told by a couple of GP`s that I had achilles tendonitis (hence the username) to PF also was told to have my gait analysed and was prescribed stability shoes which actually made my problems worst.

My physio cured my lower leg problems by going back to neutral shoes and showing me a series of stretches (which I`m still do) and also altering my running position by stopping me heel striking just by leaning slightly forward and keeping my hips in line with my knees

If you do find anymore article`s on age related improvement I`d be very interested to read
it, I`ll also post anything I find.

Any way best of luck with your goal :d
 

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I know a couple of old guys who are still very fast. Just shows you if you train you can still get decent times.
 

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It takes some effort, but it's not a case of giving your life over to it. I am in search of another sub 20 min 5k and at 58 y.o. I am fairly close with a 20:22. and I certainly don't run for a job:cool:( would be cool though)
I think as you get older you need to think harder as well as train.
This begs the question how many running years do you have behind you?
 

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It's all about the age grading! A chap I used to work with, no retired, is 91.91% at Swindon Parkrun having run a 17:55 back in the summer. I gather he didn't start until his 30's either! Currently competing for England in XC and was a 1500m world record holder (possibly still British record holder) for the vet40 category (I think).


MattB
 

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This begs the question how many running years do you have behind you?

Having a standard base fitness obviously helps, but two things I`ve noticed as I`ve aged is recovery from each session takes longer and also I dont seem to take my running as seriously as I use to do, if I dont get the time I planned I take it on the chin and try again, where as when i was younger I`d analyse each failure and feel down as you say its not my job just a hobby so treat it as such.
 

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It's all about the age grading! A chap I used to work with, no retired, is 91.91% at Swindon Parkrun having run a 17:55 back in the summer. I gather he didn't start until his 30's either! Currently competing for England in XC and was a 1500m world record holder (possibly still British record holder) for the vet40 category (I think).


MattB
Me goes to google age grading!
 

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Having a standard base fitness obviously helps, but two things I`ve noticed as I`ve aged is recovery from each session takes longer and also I dont seem to take my running as seriously as I use to do, if I dont get the time I planned I take it on the chin and try again, where as when i was younger I`d analyse each failure and feel down as you say its not my job just a hobby so treat it as such.
I came to running 2 years ago with no base fitness. I'd done no exercise since the age of 20 and until 2009 i was also 20 stone. Writing that actually makes me feel proud of running 5K in 25 minutes, its not a miracle but a big turn around!

My endurance is still very weak i'm more of a sprinter, and my muscles under developed because i've done too much sprinting/tempo work and not enough long running. I like running because its a great anti depressant, a good run and the world and its problems are all gone :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Achilles Ache, I've come across lots of great articles - will track them down and post up the links shortly.

As for whether you need to dedicate your life to it....

I plan to attempt it on extremely low mileage. Just 3 runs a week (and cross training!). I don't have a running background...just dabbled in it occasionally. That probably makes it sound even more impossible, to most of you. But I do know how my own body responds, and I do firmly believe that reasearch and standard advice re running tends to be cut down versions of elite running programs. Not very applicable to the older recreational runner that's looking to get better than expected speed over 5k. And lets face it, statistically those that follow the conventional route don't do that well.

If you look at the articles and research the big mistake that most people make when they age is to REDUCE intensity. When in actual fact what you need to do to maintain capability is INCREASE.....which is a darn sight easier to do if you're not trying to pack in high mileage training too. It's also vital to strength train (if you're to avoid loss of muscle mass, loss of bone mass). And finally, because your body's natural inclination is to loose muscle then you need to cross train to make sure ALL of your muscles are getting a workout.....otherwise you merely widening the strength gap between those muscles you use to run and those you don't use. Leading to imbalances and injury risk.

I've been back running for 2 months and got down to a 25 min 5k. *Hoping* that'll be 24 by the end of the year.

Currently, all three runs are speed sessions - done on the treadmill as I'm having to work around physio stuff. But will definitely keep up at least one of the treadmill sessions as it's got lots going for it when it comes to speed!

I do three weight training sessions. Chest 'n Triceps; Back 'n Shoulders; Legs. The most beneficial of these was recommended by my physio - 3 sets of 30 deadlifts (currently at 50kg but building up weight). This seems to create a huge surge in growth hormone which massively improves my rate of recovery. Not to mention piling on lean muscle mass. Fat levels are down in the past two months but weight is up by 4kg. Not ideal for running, but then again, loss of muscle mass is what slows us down with age, so....

I also do an extremely intense spin session once a week and cross train (cross trainer, rower etc) for my warmups on weights days.

I hill walk too, so sometimes some sessions get dropped to accommodate that. Which gives me little rests from routine. Also 8 hours or so climbing up mountains is a good endurance workout!

I'm keen to get some plyometrics into my strength training, but not ready for that yet.

I read all the running research and advice and work hard to really grasp the theory behind it all. But I don't stick to it rigidly - I tend to go with what I respond well to. All that running advice simply isn't based upon the strengths and weaknesses of someone like me.

Don't have a plan to get me to 20 mins......I'll just adapt each time a I reach a point where I'm not improving. I'm not ruling out doing some higher mileage for short periods just to push through a plateau.

One of the runs I love to do from a psychological point of view is to run at 20 minute 5k pace. So currently, 12 x 30 second 'sprints' at 15kph with 1 minute recoveries at the fastest pace I can sustain for the entire workout. So every week i'm running 6 minutes at my target pace. If I play about with this - perhaps make the intervals 1 minute...then maybe 2, then it's not long before i'm covering the required distance at target speed. Albeit with rests.

I'm going to enjoy the experimentation as much as anything else :)
 

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You say your down to 25 mins for 5k atm. Is that on a treamill or on the road? Because put simply its not the same. Are you aiming to do this on the road or the treadmill?

30 second intervals sound very short to me. Not accumulating much time running at VO2 max. Surely you'd be better served with longer intervals.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My endurance is still very weak i'm more of a sprinter, and my muscles under developed because i've done too much sprinting/tempo work and not enough long running. I like running because its a great anti depressant, a good run and the world and its problems are all gone :)
I'm naturally more of a sprinter too.

Hopefully I'll be able to track it down and post up a link, but I recently read a discussion started by a young sprinter. If I remember correctly the furthest he ever ran was 400m repeats. He'd recently entered a 5k race - without training - just to see how he'd do. He completed it in 18:20 but explained he had to stop 3 times to catch his breath. He asked what he could do to get his 5k time down to 17 mins. One wise poster pointed out that if he just ran a few 5k's he'd soon be able to complete the race without the stops - which would probably be enough to get him to a 17 minute 5k. Or, he could build up his mileage to 80 miles a week and shave off another minute or so......diminishing returns on investment!

I think we're all 'made' differently. Some thrive on lots of slow mileage .... and get fast on it. Others get fast on taking a speedier approach. The elites **need** to do both in order to be competitive, but I suspect 99% of what they do gives them only 1% of their performance.....if you know what I mean. I bet you could get darn fast taking a speedier, low mileage approach - **if** that's what you enjoy more. I'm not putting up miles until I stop making gains on my current mileage.
 
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