If You Never Slow Down.......
A nice sentiment for those of us no longer in the 1st flush of youth, or even the 1st flush of middle age! We could apply it to our training or to life in general.
I like the sentiment but we do need to add a touch of realism. If we have performed at a reasonable level our performances will decline as we get older, but there is plenty we can do to arrest the decline. We need to train smarter, have a little more recovery and be more aware of injury risk. They take a lot longer to heal!
I started running in November 1983 and ran my 1st marathon in Glasgow in September 1984. Not necessarily something i would recommend to a 24 year old now. I ran my PB for my 1st set of marathons in Newton Stewart in March 1985 in a snow storm. 3:39. Not long after that I discovered cycling and my focus moved to bike racing and a few Winter duathlons. In my late 40's I returned to the marathon and I ran my best ever marathon in London in 2010 aged 50, 3:09. It helped that by then I had a good idea of how to train properly and had years of endurance training behind me.
It has long been a goal to run a faster marathon in my 60's than I did at 25, with 3:30 being the A goal. I have been doing some investigating what this actually means related to age. There are plenty of age grading calculators online. The one I have used shows that my age graded percentage to the world best at 50 was 72.54% (the world best for a 50 year old is 2:12, wow). If I was to 3:30 at my current age the age graded percentage is 72.23%. This is only a calculation but it does give me confidence that my goal is realistic but not easy! I certainly can't afford to slow down!