Older Faster Stronger

Sounds like something to aspire to…but I’m already at the older part.

Malta 5K

running at age 61!

For 5k distances I am much faster than I was when I started. In fact I just broke a 4 year old PR.

Apple Run - October

my first 5k time was 37:36 and a recent 5K time was 27:11

Now I need to work on stronger.

Obviously I am stronger than when I started. (I have completed 9 half marathons.) But I would like to struggle less when running longer distances.

Here are some quotes from the book above:

Masters athletes are proving that as much as 50 percent of age-related decline, maybe even 70 percent, is due not to aging but to deconditioning …When scientists probe the bodies of endurance athletes, they discover 80-year-olds with muscles and cardiac capacities akin to those of 20-year-olds.

That is great news!

Wells argues that exercise can improve our bodies at any age… “If we had a drug that did what exercise did, it would be the biggest revolution ever and would be promoted all over the world.  And all you have to do is go out for a run.”

 “Exercise can help keep you young.” … runners who stick with the program can delay the decline. We have to work for it, but it’s worth it.

It’s not all a bed of roses. We, as we get older, will have:

  • Likely injuries
  • Declining cardiac output
  • Slowing times
  • Loss of lung capacity
  • Loss of dexterity and flexibility
  • Loss of bone density
  • Loss of lean muscle mass

So how can runners maximize the benefits of exercise and minimize the risk of injury?

  • Easy running, 75% of weekly mileage
  • Target race paces, 5% to 10% of weekly mileage
  • Fast running or hills, 15% to 20% weekly mileage

Recently, I have been running once or twice a week – easy runs of 3-5 miles.  Once a week, in the running group, we do intervals and run on hills. (I will have to do that on my own when the group runs end.) On the weekend, when I have 5K races, that is my fast running and many times it is followed also by easy running. I always give myself time to recover, rarely running 2 days in a row and never before & after a long run.

I think that is why I don’t (knock on wood) have any overuse injuries like knee, hip or foot pain.

and  “More Is Better.”

Wells says that more exercise is almost always better than less. “I believe training for a marathon is good for your health,” says Wells, “because it stresses the oxygen transport pathway; it puts pressure on your lungs, your heart, your blood, your muscles, inside your muscles, your brain, your nervous system. The stress stimulates your body to adapt and improve. Your body adapts as long as it has time also to recover.”

91 year old marathoner Hariette Thompson

I doubt that I will run a marathon but I plan to continue what I have been doing and train for several half marathons each year.

Now research and the performances of masters athletes show “that older people can adapt with the same relative improvements as healthy young adults–in bone density, aerobic capacity, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness in general.”

Most of this is what I’ve known all along but it’s nice to see it in print.

Happy Running! What do you think about running when you are older?










4 thoughts on “Older Faster Stronger

  1. I have that book on request from the library & just picked up “Build Your Running Body”. They say no matter when you start, you can expect to improve the 1st 10 yrs – which means I only have about 4 yrs left!

    Seriously, I just hope to keep on running. And run that HM in every state.


    • I’ll have to read both of those. 10 years?!
      Good luck on your quest. I bet you do it if you stay healthy or at least have fun trying.
      They say you’re most likely to get injured the first 3 years of running so I thought I was set but if you stop running for 6 mos, you start over so I still have time.


  2. Hi, Darlene. I’ve been following your blog for a while You are an inspiration. I started my own blog recently (HoHoRuns.blogspot.com) as there aren’t very many for “older” females. Stop by if you get a chance.


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