TOLT: PRs, Heat and Races

thinking out loud

Since it is Thursday,  I’m linking up today with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

So here’s what I am thinking about:

  • Speed

As we are than halfway through 2016, I realize that 2016 is the first year that I have NO PRs.

I run a lot of races (40 last year) which means so many opportunities. I also run all distances: 5k, 4m, 5m, 10k, 15k, 10m and 13.1.  Again lots of chances.

In 2015 and 2014, I had 4 PRs but does it get more difficult as you age?

Research says:

The first study we’re examining is a 2010 survey by Celie et al. of nearly 200,000 participants in a 15km (~9mi) road race over a period of twelve years.1  With such a large number of participants, the authors were able to make some statistically powerful predictions.  Probably the best news is that for each year over 40, the runners in this study slowed by only 0.2%. That’s about one second per mile per year.

There’s more good news if you’re a woman: As runners age, the gap between men and women shrinks significantly.  By age 60, women have made up five of the ~15% difference in performance that separates the genders at age 40.  While both genders slow at roughly a linear rate from 40 to 60, men’s performance decreases more sharply afterwards, while women continue on a roughly linear track.

The study also parsed runners into “trained” and “untrained” categories, presumably from something like a survey question on the race’s registration form.  As you might expect, trained runners were almost 16% faster than untrained ones.  If you’ve got a keen eye for math, you’ll realize there’s more good news for women: a trained woman should be able to edge out an untrained man! (from

So you do get slower as you age.  But not a lot.

In Lore of Running, Tim Noakes makes the interesting observation:

that most of the best runners over age 45 are late starters. Your typical age-group record setter in the older masters divisions only started running in his or her late 20s or early 30s. A classic example of this phenomenon is Kathryn Martin, who started running at 30 and then rewrote the U.S. record book in the 50-54 and 55-59 age groups. (from

It is weird that Adult Onset Runners are defined as ones who did not run in high school or college and only started in their 30s.

But what if you only started running at age 55!!??

I guess I’m an OLDER Adult Onset Runner. And I can’t find any research on that.

So I plan to continue running – racing all distances (except the marathon) and whatever happens happens. If I stay healthy, a PR will be just gravy.

  • Heat

I can’t remember a summer this hot and humid.

And I like hot weather.  But I just feel like doing this:


Not this:

Adirondack Distance Run

It was 93 degrees yesterday at 5 pm and I thought I was going to have heat stroke. Alyssa was understanding about my need to stop and walk.

  • Races

I can’t stop myself from signing up for weekend races even though I should be starting my training for my fall half marathon.

well at last $25

This Sunday is my third 5k of July.

Happy Running!  What do you think about age and speed?  Are you running in this heat? How about summer races?  Doing any?




9 thoughts on “TOLT: PRs, Heat and Races

  1. I’m tending to do a couple of early morning runs a week, when it’s nice & shady, and a couple on the treadmill.

    TX was a whole lot hotter, but I didn’t run when I lived there (and the mosquitoes were much fiercer, too).


      • When I say morning, I mean I’m out there at 6 am. Which is why I’m not doing it every morning — I’m always up by then, but a lot of times I don’t really want to be out there running then.

        I am very grateful for my treadmill, and for the fact that I’m able to run 4 x week again, which means my weekday runs have been short & manageable.


  2. I read somewhere that there’s a decade-long window in which new runners can improve their speed before a gradual decline, irrespective of the age they start running. I’m hoping this is true! It would give me a few more years of my 40s to hit new PRs.

    And as someone who also lives where it’s hot & humid, my rule is run, but don’t race, during summer!


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