Getting along with getting old, Part I
The body changes, but the running continues
Sunday, February 02, 2014 6:06 AM
We runners want to run forever and apparently, as evidenced by the number of 70- and 80-year-olds still at it, one can keep jogging until the Grim Reaper comes calling.
Author Dave Foley, in the gold Cadillac, Mich., T-shirt, shows younger runners how it's done at a local race.
If you are over 50, books, magazine articles and lots of stuff on the Internet tell you how to race and train, but no one reveals what it actually feels like to be running when you are an old guy.
Back in the 1980s when I saw those seniors, the ones with white-hair or no-hair, racing toward the finish line with those short little strides and grimaces on their faces, I thought to myself, “That looks painful. I wonder what it would feel like to be that old and still be running.”
I knew that if I kept at it eventually I would find out. Now I’m 67 and know exactly what it feels like.
Glory days long gone
For older runners, “less is more” is a truism. In my mid-30s, logging 90 miles a week was no big deal. Now 35 miles a week is a big deal. Now the only way I’m going to get 90 miles in in a week is on my bicycle. It used to be that when I was a little sore, it meant I had raced the day before or completed some monster workout. These days, after doing a four-miler at an eight minute pace, I walk around the next day stiff-legged like the Tim Man in the Wizard of Oz.
My training log makes me look like a slacker. The entries no longer show alternating days of “hard” and “easy.” At best my running routine is hard-easy-easy-easy. And the easy days are so slow. I remember being offended when people called runners “joggers.” Well, I have become a jogger. And if I jogged any slower on my easy days I would be walking.
The entirety of Dave Foley's take on aging runners appears in the February 2014 print edition of silent Sports magazine. To order a copy, call 888-706-4045 or subscribe online here and avoid missing another issue!