Aerobic Thoughts

I’ve been back in self-coaching mode since Carlsbad (as you can tell by my crazy goings-on), but I posed a question to Coach Adam/A Muse the other day and his answer, unbeknownst to him, struck a wildly resounding chord in me.  I had asked him how Elites manage to keep improving as the years progress.

The question arose because, even though I’m finally seeing improvements, I’m still trying to understand that long plateau I went through.  Why was I stuck so early in my running life when these people, who’ve been running for so long and are trained to the Nth power, are able to keep on an upward trajectory for so long?

In no way am I discounting their incredible genetic gifts which clearly bring them to a certain level, but to keep improving when they’re already so insanely kick-ass, well…that’s gotta be something to do with training.  I was liking this idea because, while the methods may never be available to me (no one’s inviting me to Mammoth anytime soon) it’s a fresh bit of hopefulness in the time vs. improvement continuum.

The magic thing Adam said (aside from personality traits that drive them beyond normal folk) is that these people have developed a massive aerobic foundation.  Massive aerobic foundation.  Wow.  In one phrase, he clarified something so important and simple and that is also what I assuredly do not have.  BUT…

It is something that us newcomers can improve upon to a dramatic degree.  Granted, a “massive” engine will never be in my future, I started about 35 years too late for that, but room for growth?  Shit yeah!  I’ve got tons of space available in that department.

In a timely find, I just read this quote from the great Arthur Lydiard, confirming the point, “Your aerobic development is a gradual thing. It takes years and years of marathon-type training to develop your aerobic capacity to the fullest.”

So for all you late-starters, former couch potatoes and fellow plateau sufferers, take heart that aerobic fitness is an ongoing process and it’s within our abilities to improve for a good clump of time.  Now, I misspoke in the last post saying it’s a given, of course it isn’t, but I’m beginning to think that with the right physiological recipe, there’s no reason why the oft-repeated “7-10 years of improvement no matter the age you start” wouldn’t be true.

But here’s the catch: you have to figure out what you need and then you have to work for it.  Hitting a new mileage peak for race prep is helpful but to run increased mileage over a long period of time, well dat is da true bomb.  Or if you never did speedwork and tempos, then perhaps those are your magic weapons.

I know that for me, it’s a hell of a lot more fun and easy to add a bunch more miles than to bust my ass with hard workouts.  Which is not to say I won’t get back to the tough stuff, I will!  Before the Fall arrives, I’ll be back at it with vim, vigor and a fresh attitude because by that time, I’m bound to be a stronger runner and that makes the hard stuff way more fun to handle.

But had I not switched gears with this base work, I’d probably still be stuck in the plateau moaning about how I never got my 7-10 years and that it must be my age working against me.  Ridiculous, now that I think about it.

Then again, maybe I shouldn’t speak so soon, I’m not out of the woods yet, but here’s a fun fact: my weekly volume has increased by about 52%.  Aerobic development, here I come.

Speaking of Lydiard…
I’m not following the Lydiard program by any means, but there are methods of his teaching that I find myself drawn to.  Currently, of course, is the mileage build (he was the original “run more miles” guy with his runners routinely doing 100mpw).

But one thing that is commonly and incorrectly attributed to Lydiard is the term “Long Slow Distance”.  Many people, when thinking of Lydiard, are under the impression that his runners ran tons of slow mileage, that his long runs were joggerly Sunday outings.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Lydiard’s base training focused on high-end aerobic running: steady-state, moderate paces, etc.  Those were not slow long runs!  They’re not time trials either, but they were/are faster than the usual  “go slow!!” admonishment-laden long runs.

Just a little factoid for you, apropos of nothing, because he was on my mind today.

Fun Reading
Also unrelated to anything above, this Running Times article is quite entertaining.  They interview some of the Age Group winners from this years Boston Marathon so you can read about their race prep, mileage, etc.  Good stuff!

The Week In Running
It cracks me up seeing all these 7:5x’s – it’s certainly new and different.  As is the average pace for the week.  Considering how new I am at this volume level and that it was 75 degrees for most of the runs, I couldn’t be happier.

Monday: 12@7:54
Tuesday: 4@8:25 (toe hurt so bad, had to cut it short)
Wednesday: 11@7:58
Thursday: 14@7:53
Friday: 12@7:58
Saturday: 15@8:06
Sunday: 13.25@8:17
Total: 81.25 mi (avg pace 8:03)

50 thoughts on “Aerobic Thoughts

  1. A muse

    As you know, I’m not exactly on board with the apparently single-minded focus on mileage as a means of developing one’s running. Aerobic capacity should take many years to develop, for sure, which is good news for all of us. I think it’s probably hard to know whether you’ve maxed out at a particular mileage “level” — the tendency is to assume we are and that we should add more.

    You’re not just developing an aerobic foundation, you’re rebooting the system from its constant program of sharpening. Backing off of tempos and “Vo2 max” type of interval training for a period of as much as 4 months has been a go-to approach for a lot of elite runners.

    The thing to keep in mind is the value of neuromuscular development and its role in running efficiency. Lydiard, who you cite in your post, was a huge proponent of neuromuscular work — the infamous hill sprints, bounds, etc. were all intended to affect the runner’s stride length.

    I just happened upon something from several years ago by Salazar. There’s nothing new here, but he’s a proponent of the following exercises:

    1. Hill Running: It is important to run 200-300 meter hill repeats, 8-10 reps at 90-95% of an all out effort. This simply uses your body weight and gravity to work the muscles in an obviously running specific way.

    2. Hill Bounding: This should be done on a soft surface on a very gradual slope with a 2-3 degree incline, 6 x 30 meters maximum. Hill Bounding involves an exaggerated vertical leap with each step you take uphill. This drill was popularized by the great Finnish distance runners of the 70s and 80s, including Lasse Viren.

    3. Single Leg Squats: These squats should be done using nothing more than your body weight. Build up to 3 sets of 10 reps where the goal should be to have your knee at a 90 degree angle.

    4. Eccentric Calf Raises: This exercise can be done by standing on stairs and rising up using both feet, but then lowering yourself using only one foot. You should build up to 3 sets of ten with each leg. This
    exercise can also help with flexibility as it stretches the calf and Achilles muscles.

    5. Ankle Flips: 3 sets of 10 hops only using your calf muscles. The idea here is to increase the strength and explosiveness of your calf muscles.

    6. Rocket Jumps: 3 sets of 10 jumps where you start in a squatting position and then thrust your arms upward, jumping as high as you can.

    7. Standing Broad Jump: Begin standing tall, with your feet hipwidth apart and your hands at your sides. Then quickly push your hips back, flexing the knees. As this occurs swing your arms back from your shoulders and move into a quarter squat. Without pausing, jump forward and swing your arms forward. Complete 3 sets of 10 continuous standing broad jumps.

    http://www.treine.net/admin/arquivos/PEAK_RUNNING_PERFORMANCE.pdf

    1. Flo Post author

      Yeah, I know you’re not on board with what I’m doing and I appreciate the exercises you supplied. Thanks, I’ll consider them for later. Right now, my main priority is to run steadily at this level for a few weeks to make sure whatever niggles that are going to arise, come and go. Since I raised the bar from 70s to 80s, I still owe myself a “settling” period, it’ll make me feel more confident moving forward.

      But really, I LOVE not having anything extra to think about, no calf raises, hill bounding, sprints etc. It’s fun. I know it’s not the most efficient or best way to train but it’s still worthwhile.

      Also, to reiterate, I’m not following Lydiard (who would turn in his grave at my lack of anything extra) so I hope nobody thinks I’m mistakenly skipping something he’d advocate…I knowingly am.

    2. Flo Post author

      Btw, thanks for this:

      “You’re not just developing an aerobic foundation, you’re rebooting the system from its constant program of sharpening. Backing off of tempos and “Vo2 max” type of interval training for a period of as much as 4 months has been a go-to approach for a lot of elite runners.”

      You make it sound as though my wayward rebelliousness is actually kind of sensible. What a good soul you are, Adam. Just for that, I’ll add those 200-300m hill reps sooner and who knows…I might even bound eventually.

    3. dogpound

      I do a lot of these drills and have found they really keep the niggles and injuries away more than anything else I have tried. When I stop doing them, they come back.

    1. Flo Post author

      You crazy girl, I have no idea where that came from but of course, I love you for it. Thanks, sweetie! :xo

  2. Jim E

    Here’s a proposition to play around with. The rules change a bit once you have that massive aerobic base, and most cookie cutter training programs are aimed at people who don’t yet have it. VO2max work provides pretty good bang for the buck for new runners, but the benefit tails off.

    Oh yes, and Lydiard’s runners ran hills quite a bit, not just when doing specific hill training.

    1. Flo Post author

      True, anaerobic gains have a very short shelf life, whereas aerobic gains can be tweaked and worked on for years. And yep, Lydiard was a major hill fella, taking advantage of the New Zealand environment. Those long runs were usually steady state on hills…Long Slow Distance, my foot!

  3. Rachel

    Nice paces, Flo! Yay!

    Without being Debbie Downer at ALL, I did mean to comment the other day about how you felt your running friends were all getting faster. I most definitely am NOT, and I know I am just going to get slower unless I put out a huge effort.

    You probably haven’t read enough of my blog to know about how I got totally derailed by a smashed-up right leg, but it took me out for probably my best running years (age 32-36). I have come back to running knowing I will likely NEVER get as fast as I was (and it was almost effortless back then, which kills me) again. Even my HM times since baby #2 (ok, yeah having her was my choice, my bad) are 2-3 minutes slower. It’s depressing if I think about it, but I have learned not to dwell on it and to live in the now and enjoy the fact that I can still run AT ALL, which is the more important point.

    This is partly why I moved on to the full after so many HMs – I thought it would be rewarding to work on a different distance, rather than eternally comparing my times to those from the glory days – and it definitely has been a wonderful move. I’m not done improving at the marathon yet, though, and I’m going to apply what I now know about training properly to see if I can get closer to the glory days of HM racing again.

    So, to sum it up: YIPPEE! YOU’RE ONE SPEEDY LADY!! Celebrate it!

    1. Flo Post author

      You are SO not Debbie Downer, you’re a very fast runner who had a horribly traumatic experience. That is such an awful circumstance and reminds us all that whatever we have can be changed in an instant. I do think about things like that, how even one wrong step in a pothole could break an ankle, etc., not to mention someone crashing into you (what a nightmare)

      But one thing is sure, you are knocking the marathon on its ass! You’re only just beginning to test yourself in that, and I’m sure sub3 will be there for you without much ado at all. Btw, I think it was brilliant to change distances, allowing you a fresh start. Ghosts suck.

      I wish you only positivity and a return to the fasty you once were (though the fasty you are now is friggin’ impressive, if you ask me). Can’t wait to meet you soon! :)

      1. Rachel

        Aw, thanks. :)

        One day we will all be little old ladies, hopefully little RUNNING old ladies, and we’ll look back on our forties as our glory days!

        1. Flo Post author

          Since I’m going to be 50 in September, I pick fifties for my Glory Days. Thank god for running!

    2. Jim E

      Hey Rachel,
      I just went and had a look at your blog, and agree completely with Flo. You’re a fast lady destined for sub-3!

  4. rovatti

    This is a very interesting blog lately! and thanks to Amuse for chiming in.

    I’m going to harp again on the “7-10 years of improvement no matter the age you start”, as it has been grating on me (recall I peaked in my 3rd year of running at age 48 – my hopes for PRs are fading)

    1. surely the age you start or how quickly you get fast must be caveats

    2. I can think of some old fast guys who are improving but they’re newbies (Jeep, FornoBravo, Brian Ohiggins)

    3. Can you name some runners who are:
    – as old as you
    – AND as fast as you (AG)
    – AND have been training for >4yrs
    – AND who are still setting PRs?

    It’s not easy to think of any who fit the bill (maybe Kayry or Ziggy, but they’re younger)

    Anywhoo – again I like the all-volume plan for 3 reasons (you were in a rut before, you’re enjoying your runs, and aerobic development can always improve. I’m sure you are savvy enough to avoid developing a perma-shuffle.

    – rovatti

    1. Flo Post author

      Rovatti, what do you think of this? You have a very full life, busy career, wife (not sure if you have kids) so I know your time is limited as to how much you can run. But what if you had the time and inclination to run 20 more miles/week? You don’t think that would make you faster?

      If we keep doing the same thing for 7-10 years then yes, it’s surely a bunch of bullocks, but if you keep pushing the envelope in different ways, it seems plausible. Like I wrote above, the trick is figuring out what’s particular to you.

      There’s a good LetsRun thread right now about a Peter Snell interview and in it and there’s a paraphrased Canova quote that basically says “there’s not different training for each event, there’s training for each different individual”

      As per your #3: Charlie Pro finally got a sub3 this year and he’s early 50s. There’s blogger Jaymee Marty who got an Olympic Trial qualifier this year (a tad younger at mid-40s, been running I think 6 years). I’m sure there are tons of people that fit your parameters, they just don’t post on MRT.

      I think Jim has a great point that when we start, we see the effects of workouts quickly so after awhile, those don’t do the trick as well. That’s why it seems like building more base and then attacking the workouts again once the base is stronger seems logical to me.

      My Mileage history from 2009 through 2010…a telling tale
      January 2009, I began running 7 days/week. I also raised my average mileage from 40s at the end of 2008 to 50s in January to 60s by March. That’s when I set a bunch of PRs. Then I cut back a tad and rebuilt for the Philly marathon.

      By mid-July, I was doing mid-60s, mid-70s by October. I was stronger than shit through September but I think I overtrained, my heart rate started getting wonky in October (no sleep and very stressed out due to the asshole neighbors upstairs, too).

      Ahead to 2010, I was training for Boston. Average mileage went from 57 in January to 64 in March (remember, I was SO not into marathon training, just wanted to get through with it). I peaked one week at 72.

      After that, I cut my mileage for the rest of the year because it was either going to be workouts being cut or miles (I was tired), so I was mid-50s.

      Now, looking back at my best cycles (Spring and Summer 2009), what they had in common was…Mo’ Mileage.

      So you see, my own history is very persuasive when it comes to what I need to run better. Wish I’d given it more credence before, is all.

      1. A muse

        The CharliePro example is a bit of a red herring. Remember, he has a lifetime PR of 2:48. The sub-3 was also at St. George. He would tell you flatly that there are no more PRs in his future, he’s just trying to keep the process of decline on a shallow curve. Anyway, the guy has been running and racing for almost 30 years — not exactly in the frame of that 7-year period. Incidentally, most of his PRs are from his early 40s.

        Age will get us all, but interestingly enough even as it will eventually diminish stride length and power you can still ride out some gains by improving running economy.

        Rovatti: I can name at least 1 (a favorite): Runner in Paradise

      2. rovatti

        CharliePro is amazing and seemingly in a 2nd renaissance (over 53), but his situation is different – his sig line reads: “50mpw since 1982” and “all time PRs 2:49, 1:17, 34:39, 16:39”

        I am voicing my own frustration here (not disagreeing with your mileage argument). My past year brings to mind one of the original Star Trek episodes where an accelerating aging process was vexing the crew…

        – rovatti

        (Edit: Doh! A muse beat me to it!)

        1. Flo Post author

          What would seem harder to me is that CharliePro’s able to be faster in the last few years at all. (even if not his lifetime PR..thanks for the heads-up) Seems like someone who’s been at it that long, if age was as much a factor as all that, would not be able to have a second life.

          The other thing is this, is aerobic development that crippled by age? Not aerobic maintenance, mind you, but development, starting from scratch. It seems crazy to me that the gains we can make would be shut down simply because we’re a certain chronological age. I can understand a lesser improvement than a kid of course, but does age really have the power to cancel out further effects? Hard to believe.

          Rovatti, I hope I don’t sound combative with you about the mileage argument, I LOVE this talk!!!!

          A muse, RiP is the perfect example. And what you say about economy is so important. It’s a whole ‘nuther addition to the high mileage bonus (as long as you don’t end up shuffling, something we all agree on)

          1. A muse

            “The other thing is this, is aerobic development that crippled by age? Not aerobic maintenance, mind you, but development, starting from scratch. It seems crazy to me that the gains we can make would be shut down simply because we’re a certain chronological age. I can understand a lesser improvement than a kid of course, but does age really have the power to cancel out further effects? Hard to believe.”

            2 things: I think it’s possible to max out on aerobic development — how much capillary density can you really form within a finite space? But, as they say in academia: who gives a rat’s ass. Let’s assume it takes a long, long time for this to happen.

            As I’ve tried to suggest, the limitation is not likely to be aerobic development (though it’s true that VO2 max drops off). It’s musculoskeletal strength and flexibility. These are the things that lead to diminishing performance and injury susceptibility.

          2. Flo Post author

            Good points! Now, if a body doesn’t feel old (lack of aches and pains, rare niggles or tweaks) it seems like that wouldn’t need to be factored in so much. So then it really boils down to aerobics. Granted, an older body, no matter how good it feels will never be as spry as its childhood version. But that’s moot when we’re talking late-starters since the zero point is when they begin. Or am I being too simplistic?

            *If the Reply button disappears (as it did in Adam and my posts) all you have to do is hit any Reply button in another post of this little convo to continue. Sorry ’bout that, it’s a formatting issue thing.

          3. A muse

            Lack of aches and pains is a damned good thing, evidence of good recovery and your ability to tolerate your current program. Sprint speed and jump tests (standing broad jump) would be a real measure, though.

          4. Flo Post author

            Haha. I can’t sprint worth shit so um…nevermind. :) You win, I need to do those exercises.

            I do think my good fortune in running isn’t the portion of speed I’ve been allotted, but the fact that I can recover easily. Don’t want to jinx myself, but I’m grateful for it, it’s a precious thing.

  5. ATHiker07

    Flo,

    I would at least gradually add the short hill sprints if you can fit them in. They serve a twofold purpose of making you more injury resistant and really help the neuro-muscular efficiency. I’m blessed by living on top of a 200m hill so adding a few sprints after a run is easy, but if you had a suitable hill in the middle of a run that would work as well. Just be sure to add 1 or 2 per week and only run them at 90-95% effort. I didn’t listen to A Muse last year and jumped into doing 10 of them with no buildup, only to get injured.

    I’m with you regarding how nice it can be to simply run and not worry about the “auxiliary” training, but I also know I should be doing it as the dividends are worth the effort.

    Congrats on the improved fitness and as the weeks go by it should only get better.

    1. Flo Post author

      You’re right, I did them for the two Hudson cycles in 2009, so I know their value. I’ll get there, I promise!! But you know…when I feel like it. ;)

  6. runnermatt

    Flo,

    All of this appears to be right out of the Hadd’s Approach to Distance running. I think if you read this..

    http://www.angio.net/personal/run/hadd.pdf

    you will find a lot of it resonating. This particular passage reminded me of your recent thoughts.

    “Let me try and squeeze some more mileage from my toothpaste analogy:
    If you open a brand new tube, you can squeeze anywhere and expect to get some toothpaste. Without wanting to be too simplistic, see the tube as a new runner: pretty much any training you give him or her will result in improvement (toothpaste). It could even be possible that you are not a new runner, and have been running for some years but are now failing to improve substantially and believe that you have tapped all of your
    “trainability”. Here it is very possible that all you have merely achieved is to squeeze all you can from halfway up the tube. You might have done a
    very good job of doing so, and seen sizeable improvement (toothpaste) for some time. However you might now (mistakenly) believe that is all there is in the tube.I think most people would agree that to get everything possible from a tube of toothpaste (to get every last drop), we need to go to the very end and squeeze/roll carefully all the way up”

    Hadd recommends pretty much exactly what you are doing (except he uses HR religiously). Pace is somewhat of a mirage

    1. Flo Post author

      What a great analogy, I actually visualize the bottom of that tube as Base. I think I got the obvious stuff in the first few years and now I have to go back and pay attention to the basics. Thanks for the contribution, Matt.

    1. runnermatt

      now that you mention it. I haven’t used an actual toothpaste tube in years. Perhaps tube of Ben-Gay would be more apropos

      1. Flo Post author

        I hope that means you’re using a pump dispenser. Otherwise, I do not wanna know what’s going on in your mouth. (not that I was particularly curious before)

  7. Karyn

    hmmmmmmmmmm. i think you must be doing something right if your paces are getting faster and faster each week.

    for the time being i’m going to follow your approach. mostly it’s mental / motivational for me: i really just cannot fathom running speed stuff at the moment. sure i love the stuff to death but running without worrying is so enjoyable right now. and since you started doing this sooner than me i’m going to look to you to see what you’re doing and how it’s working ;)

    1. Flo Post author

      Though I’m kinda following you, you had that fat mileage cycle with lots of goodness to show for it. Plus, I messed with my toe. :)

      Enjoy some no-pressure time! The whole point of this running deal is for it to be fun, right? So let’s have some, damnit!

  8. Nathalie

    Hi Flo,

    First-time runner here and I just came across your blog and I’ve got to say, I’m very impressed by your obsession (obsession? love for?) with running. A few months ago I became pretty serious about my health and fitness. I’m 31 years-old and have never had a weight problem but that all stopped once I hit 30. It’s like my metabolism came to a screeching stop and said “F.U. I’m outta here!” I started with better eating habits and cut out ALL sugar intake (giving up diet coke was very difficult, but I’m happy to say that I’ve been diet coke free for 4 months now) and eatings more veggies and fruits. As far as fitness goes, I’m taking 3-4 spinning classes a week (this has become my addiction, btw) but I’ve always wanted to be a “runner”. My ex-husband would always talk about this amazing runner’s high and I’ve always wanted to know what that felt like. So, I downloaded a Couch-to-5K app for my iPhone (don’t laugh) and now I’m on week 2 (tonight is my 5th run). Still haven’t felt a high and I’m sure I won’t be feeling it for a while but I’ve got to say that I am liking how I feel.

    I will definitely keep reading your blog. Interesting stuff here! Keep running…quite inspirational!

    1. Flo Post author

      Laugh?! Are you kidding? C25K is how I learned to run, it’s a GREAT program. If you have an mp3 player, check out Robert Ullrey’s site for his wonderful free C25K podcasts. What they are is great music and then he’ll come on and say “now you’re going to run X minutes” or whatever that particular week calls for. Then he’ll tell you when to stop, so you don’t even need a watch. They’re really cool.

      Anyway, best of luck and enjoy! You won’t feel a high for a while but girl, you are gonna feel fit, happy and so proud of yourself in no time at all. I promise.

  9. hmm

    GirlInMotion, as for rovatti’s question: how about Sabra Harvey? =)

    she’s 61… started running in her 50’s… managed to set AG world record of 19:12 in 5k not long ago =) (in other distances too.)

    so, aging does not need to “cancel out” the fitness improvements and I wish you good luck

    PS: I forgo t to mention that I once looked up her races and it seemed like she still keeps setting all-time PR’s including the one quoted above, so it is not just AG PR’s. I recall she started from 27mins 5K or something like that 8-10 years ago

    1. Flo Post author

      Ooooh, good one! Thanks for that, it’s the very first example I’ve ever heard concerning a late-starter in her 50s (now 60s) kicking ass. Excellent find!!

  10. Joe Garland

    I happened to post this John Kellogg item in my diary tonight. It supports the idea of having to do more frequent speedwork as one ages.

    A danger of focusing on PRs is that there will come a time when you’ve set your last one. It’s a reason I like age-grading. Because we are focused on a number, time, as we start, it provides a different kind of number.

    1. Flo Post author

      Thanks Joe, your contribution is always interesting since you’re coming at it from a different angle, having run for decades. The article addresses that situation well – you lifelong runners are definitely a different and more complicated kettle of fish.

      Curious, for how many years did you keep setting PRs?

      1. Joe Garland

        Probably more than you wanted to know. And more than a bit rambling. I ran seriously in hs, 440 and 880 and XC. I went to a small college and didn’t run particularly seriously there. I started up again in law school in 1978 and raced pretty regularly through 1985 (when I was 29), so my PRs would be in that era. I don’t recall, however, aiming for them per se. I raced. If I got a PR I got a PR. The purpose, though, was to race (and to train to race).

        1985-1999 is a bit of a blur. I know I ran a lot and I raced, mostly local, suburban races, but I don’t remember much about it. It was pretty random, without particular direction. I had a dark period during which I’d regularly run too hard in a workout and stop and then be more determined the next time and blow up yet again. This happened pretty regularly until I just told myself to stop stopping. Take it easy, and don’t make each run such a big deal and that made things much easier. I started racing regularly again and then I decided to try to understand training. At that point, in a sense, I was still quite a novice, and a frustrated one at that because I was so much slower than I had been.

        The rest is history. I switched to a club to concentrate on track racing but then had a string of bad injuries. Deciding that the track was too fast for me as a racing prescription, I went back to the roads with, as I say, objectives other than PRs.

        1. Flo Post author

          Not more than I wanted to know, very interesting! I never knew your running history. Though you didn’t answer the question. :) After 1978, when was the last time you PRd?

          1. Joe Garland

            I was not trying to by coy. I really don’t know. Except the marathon, which was October 23, 1983. The HM and ten-miler were probably in 1984 or 85, 6-miler about the same. 10K? No idea; didn’t run many of them (as opposed to the 6-miler (which is just about exactly one loop of Central Park)). The 5K was in 1983 but I have no idea what it is yet know it was a PR because it’s the only one I ever ran back then and I only know when it was because I watched the first World Champs in track that morning.

          2. Flo Post author

            OK, so in your second running life, you had PRs for about 7 years after you restarted. Thanks for the info.

  11. Ewen

    Interesting post and comments Flo. You’re making improvements with the plan, so keep going. For what it’s worth, I think you can run your lifetime PBs 7-10 years after starting, even if you start at 50 (more so if you’re a late starter). The secret is consistency (in whatever plan you’re following) and avoiding/managing injuries.

    I think it’s the lifetime runners that might need to change things (like adding speed, strength, or mileage if they’ve been 5k runners and want to improve at the marathon). I started young (23) and ran my PBs 11 years later. Think I could have still been running PBs into late 30s but for injuries and other things.

    1. Flo Post author

      Thanks for the info on your PBs. I’m sorry the run ended due to injuries and other stuff, but it’s heartening to know that it would have continued after that had you been able to continue uninterrupted. And yes, like with the article Joe supplied, it does seem that the longer you’re at it, the more you have shift focus, which makes sense since out bodies get used to the same stresses.

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