Monday, January 12, 2009

Not So, Scottso!

The other day, Scott, having noticed that I ran a 7:57 pace decided to leave me a voicemail telling me that I was beginning to enter the downhill phase of my running abilities, due to age.
Truth is, I am still coming off a knee injury, I am 13 pounds overweight, and I never get off to a fast start when a new year approaches anyway (In fact, the same race I did last year was completed at a pace of 8:31).

However, I'm am aware that a body physiology will begin to breakdown over the course of age, and wear and tear. Sure, prior to 2004, I had not run a lick in 14 years (18, if you discount my failed comeback attempt in 1990), so my body is still fairly unused, but I am 43 years old no matter how I want to slice it.

Then, I read this article in this month's Runner's World, which basically has confirmed my feelings about my capabilities all along. And that is that age in it of itself, is not always the determining factor in capability. Here is an excerpt of that Feb 2009 article (page 66-68 for those of you wanting to read the whole story):

First the bad news. Whether you're an Olympic champ or a midpack runner,
your aerobic capacity falls with age. For a healthy trained athlete, it's
not your heart's stroke volume or your ability to extract oxygen from blood that
changes with age, it's that your max heart rate declines and no one can change
that, says Sandra hunter, who has a PhD. as an exercise scientist at
Marquette Univeristy.

The article further goes on to say,

These physiological changes inevitably alter marathon
performance. Though individuals will age differently, studies indicate
that beyond about age 35, endurance performance declines by about five to 15
percent per decade, says Dieter Leyk, a researcher at the Institute for
Physiology and Anatomy in Cologne, Germany. Leyk recently examined
age-related changes in marathon performance among 300,757 runners, and found
that among the top 10 finishers, running times slowed by about 10.5 percent per
decade for men and 14.8 percent among women.

But that study yielded encouraging news for runners outside of the
lead pack. For the nonelites tracked, the decline was a little slower -
and began later. "For these runners, significant age-related losses in
endurance performance did not occur before the age of 50. Mean marathon
and half-marathon times were nearly identical for the age groups from 20 to 49
years." The bottom line: Keep up your training, and there's no reason you
can't continue to put in solid performances well into middle-age.

Sorry Scott. It looks like you will have a very very long way to go before you beat any of my PRs. And judging by the amount of food that you are sampling as a soon-to-be promising chef, I think that a decline in performance will be in order as you suggest......However, it will be for those people who live in Rockaway (or Rockaway Park, or Far Rockaway, or wherever the hell you live!)

Keep dreaming.....and please.....KEEP EATING!!!!

No comments: