Athletics Magazine

Getting Older Can Make You Slow(er) AF, But Does It Have To?

By Brisdon @shutuprun

For the past two to three years (well, since I turned 50), I've become a slower runner. Shocker. Any one else? Raise your hand if you can relate.
I can't blame myself. It's a proven fact that as you age you get slower. Why else are age group requirements for Boston "easier" as you get older? The BAA has to know what they are talking about.
In actuality, shit happens to the body as we age. Gravity takes hold and things like boobs and nut sacs droop. Hair (including pubes apparently - my mom of all people told me this) get gray. Wrinkles show up making road maps across our foreheads and around our mouths and eyes. Sometimes we pee ourselves, or worse. Hence the enormous number of Depends commercials you see during the evening news.  Don't even get me started on my neck. It is becoming a shit show.

Depend FIT-FLEX Incontinence Underwear for Men, Maximum Absorbency, S/M, Gray (Packaging may vary)

I think this guy as "bigger" issues than wetting his pants

But, there is also physiology to why we might become slower as we age. As the years pile on, the body, unfortunately, tends to break down. Our ability to take in oxygen decreases. We lose flexibility. Muscle strength lessens. 
Just shoot me now.
Woah...wait. Let's knock off the pity party.
The thing is, once you buy into the fact that you are going to be slower and it is simply your fate, something psychologically takes hold. We begin to not only accept this as truth, but it becomes our excuse for slowing down. We basically give in as our minds continually tell us a story about our limitations.
Again, there is validity to what happens to the body as we age. But we can fight it like hell. Sure, maybe we'll never see those times we did 20 or 30 yeas ago, but there is still hope.
There's a reason I was inspired to write this post.
I'm always floored by older runners who are kicking ass, but last weekend I saw it up front and personal. I did a ten mile trail race. Granted it was not super technical and didn't have a ton of elevation gain,  ten miles is ten miles and there were still a couple of decent climbs. This was my longest race back since getting injured in May, so I was happy to finish in 1:40, good enough for 2nd in my age group.
Getting Older Can Make You Slow(er) AF, But Does It Have To?

Later, Ken and I were looking at the results. Guess who WON the race? Take into account that there were a ton of youngsters running this race.
Dan - 57 years old - with a pace of 7:18
The first woman came in 5th overall with a pace of 7:36
And then there's Mark who at age 67 came in 10th with a 7:52 average pace
I would love to hook up with these bad asses and find out their secret. My guess is they train hard including strength and cross training. They probably are also unwilling to make the excuse that age HAS to make them slower. They train their mental muscles too.
So, what can we do? First, train our brains to believe. Strength train. Take our calcium. Keep moving. And, most importantly, just because we slow down does not mean we can't still have big goals and strive for them!
Getting Older Can Make You Slow(er) AF, But Does It Have To?

What have you noticed in your body as you've gotten older?

Are you slower than we were 10, 20, 30 years ago?


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