Normally I wouldn’t look forward to becoming a year older, but in a few weeks time I’ll be moving up an age group in athletics terms, and this time it will work a little my favour. Up until now the change in age groups has not made a huge amount of difference, particularly in terms of endurance events. But once you get into your mid to late 40s there are a number of factors that can work against you, particularly the increased frequency and length of recovery from illness and injury.
I’ve had a number of issues in recent years, and my flexibility (which was never good in the first place) has also been a hindrance. But at the same time I still know that if I get a clear period of health I can build myself up to a decent level of fitness and still compete at a decent level. I like the idea of age grouping in athletic events. It gives the competitive ‘maturing’ athlete something to aim for, and be rewarded by. Personally I still look to the overall results and focus on those above me in the table, for the local events at least.
My recent form has been a bit of a surprise. The result at the Storm the Castle Duathlon was realistic, all things considered, although I would have preferred a faster time and overall position. My pace at the Civil Service 10k champs was a pleasant surprise. The numbness and stiffness in my legs and creaking knees from that period has improved over the last week thanks to the work of my local (ex GB team) physio. Amazing what a load of textbook one-leg squats can do for you!
Last week I did another Wyre Forest Parkrun. Hilly 5k TT run through the Wyre Forest. Another chunk off my course PB with a time of 17:38. Bearing in mind 2 years ago I did 18:05 off the back of a 16:56 in Bushy Parkrun, on paper I should now be looking for <16:30 on a fast 5k and <34:00 on a 10k. This is faster than I was running 10 years ago at my peak (Ironman).
Unfortunately I pulled my left hamstring in a local (Ludlow) Parkrun on 16 Jun, and rather than give it time to completely heal I’ve continued training on it and following a tempo indoor row have made the injury worse, which has now progressed to the lower back (an area that gave me problems a few weeks ago during a period of ‘heavy gardening’). Hey it’s one of those things. In my 30s I’d rarely get injured, and when I did most of the time it would fix itself while I continued training. Now I’m in my 40s I’m rolling the dice a lot more and sometimes, this week being a good example, the risks don’t pay off. I now have to hope I fix up in time for my first 10k in two weeks time.
Still uncertain what I’ll be doing in the next few years. I certainly don’t have the time to train up for Ultra races again, but I do like the idea of breaking old PBs for 5k to Half Marathon running race and Sprint to Olympic Triathlon. I just have to respect my ageing body a lot more!