At what age can I expect my running pace to slow down?


Question:I'm 38 years old and am wondering at what age I can expect my running pace to slow down? At some point, I would think age will catch up to me. Last year my mileage averaged 38 per week but this year so far I am averaging 55 miles per week. I'm hoping the extra distance will make me a stronger runner. I train hard, eat well, stay injury-free, and watch my weight. I'm wondering if these factors might let me improve a little longer. Will I slow down at certain distances before I slow down at other distances?

For the past several years, I've kept setting new PRs. Since 2004, I've reduced my marathon time from 3:18 to 3:02, but can't seem to shave any seconds off of my 5K. However, I think I might be getting close this year since I've run close to my PR.

5K - 18:50 - 2003, 18:54 - 2005
4 Mile-25:12 - 2007
10K-40:18 - 2006
Half Marathon-1:26:48 -2006
Marathon-3:01:58 - 2006

Answers:

Does anyone know of any marathons or runs that take place in London toward the end of the year?

The simplest answer is that no one know for sure how age is related to your running pace. Sure, for relatively shorter races, people usually peak out in their mid to late 20's, but for longer races, no one has a definitive answer. All we know are the trends.

I read a recent study (published in 2007) where they found that for most of the running events (400 meters through the half marathon), the slowdown rate per year is estimated to be .80 percent between ages 35 and 51. For events longer than a half marathon, the rate of decrease is slower. The people used in this study were elite athletes who experienced no debilitating injury that caused them to quit. These results were also averaged over a fairly large group of athletes, and I remember a wide distribution.

The basic take-home message is that you will peak out at shorter distances before longer distances. As for the age when you peak out, well, that depends very much on the individual person, and I like to think that mentality plays a big role too. If you keep thinking that you will peak out at any moment, you probably will.

I suggest just to keep going and don't look back. I'm a few years younger than you, and I would love any of your PR's.

Good luck on your continued running success.

What is a proper track diet?

My times started to slow in my mid 40's.

How much does a pair of running shoes - ie brooks Trance - weigh?

when you are 40 years old

I am conducting a cross country even in mid july. How do i get the Milo truck to be at the event?

No one knows for sure when distance running slows down. There is a certain point when it continues to get harder to improve, but there is nothing about slowing down too much. It's easier to read the lower distance paces changing, but that's because your focus seems to be mostly on the long distances. Good luck with keeping up =)

What are some good pointers for training for the 800 meter and 1600 meter race?

Your times are really good! It seems that the long distance runners peak in the low 40s. Based on your training, your times, and your conditioning, you may a few PRs still ahead of you for the distances above (5k +). Over 40 for many marathons is the Masters Division. The page below is a motivator for those that are 50+ to run marathons...but it has some good stats on age & marathon finishers. You can also go to MarathonGuide.com and find age stats on most of the marathons around the globe...note all the those in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s that are sub-3.Keep it up!

- Mike

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