They always say that everyone adapts to running differently and that recovery and training times are absolutely individual. This is all correct, and it is an absolutely valid concept and one that should always be kept in mind, but it is also true that age plays a key role, and it is possible, partly in a serious way and partly for amusement, to go and see how the passage of decades goes to affect performance. It goes without saying that-although the scientific basis is sound-individual variability is always the discriminating factor, so if you don’t recognize yourself in the category of your age, don’t mind it so much. In fact, don’t mind so much if you think you recognize yourself in the oldest age group, but pay attention to it and brag about it to your friends if you see yourself in the lowest decade instead!
Running in your twenties
That’s the age group in which everything (or almost everything) comes easy to you, in which you feel that warm-ups and stretching are just wastes of time, and in which you can do two or three exhausting workouts in a row without-apparently-impacting your physique. This is the best age to build your body and is the age when you can expect to perform at your best and be in your best shape for the next decade.
Running in your thirties
If you are starting to run at this age, everything your body could have done in the previous decade is obviously and irreparably compromised! No no, just kidding, just kidding! On the contrary, there is no need to despair, because even in this decade you can still train your best and give your body new habits. Of course, you need to pay more attention, do more joint exercises and take care of your running technique, but basically you still have a lot of room and can still squeeze your muscles and mind 100 percent. This is the right age to balance rest or quiet training days with tough training sessions, replacing any easy run days with core stability exercises and cross training.
Running in your fourties
Maybe because that’s my age, I like to think that the phrase that “forties are the new twenties” is true, even if I then run up against the harsh reality and the limitations that my body begins to present to me. It is the age of maturity and full knowledge of one’s body, the one when you think more about running without getting injured than about the result, where you pay more attention to other lifestyle habits.
If you take a second to think about it, it is easy to see why: this is the age when you usually start going out less in the evening and spend more time at home, so it is easier and comes almost naturally to improve your eating and sleeping habits. All these shrewdnesses in managing one’s life and days also lead to improved scheduling as far as training and recovery days are concerned.
Running in your fifthties
This is the age of running without too much thought and without fretting if things don’t go exactly as planned chronometrically. One can hardly think of aspiring to a place in the Olympics at this age (as far as I’m concerned, even in previous decades I couldn’t!), and even from a work and family standpoint in this decade one is usually more serene, so running also takes fully the place it should always have: that of a pastime and a way to keep your body in shape.
Running after your sixties
Who said you can’trun beyond the age of 60? It can be done, that’s for sure. Of course, one has to be alert to all the signals his body sends (and this is always true) and one should not aspire to stratospheric results, but if one wants to spend part of one’s time running once past this age, I personally think the best result has already been achieved. And it is not at all true that you should only and always run at a leisurely pace and stay in your comfort zone, quite the contrary. Our bodies, even when we are past a certain age, need stimulation, and repeats or sprints are also to be included in any training plan to follow. You will get more tired than you used to, and that is beyond doubt, but you will also benefit greatly.
Whatever age you run, however, the rule should always and only be one: have fun!