Firstly talking of older runners all the best to John Quinn, who is older than me and had an op yesterday that will make him stronger and faster, all the best fella.
I read something on my lunch break today. The author was about the same age as me and said, amongst other things for the mid 40s worrier “There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.” This really does ring true and got me thinking about the differences from running as a talented youngster to running as a born again old cynical plodder.
Just because someone has all the gear and looks the part doesn’t mean they are any good. I am addicted to running gear. I’m addicted to sales. I have more running gear than I have time to wear and it’s all good stuff. I think I justify spending the money I used to spend on cigarettes on clothes/ shoes/ gadgets/ whatever. Maybe I’m overcompensating for my lack of post 40 ability. The sports car as a penis extension type of thing. Anyway, in my first flush of running if someone had trainers and spikes that matched their spike bag, and if they had sweatbands as well then obviously they were good. If they had a headband they were Steve Ovett. Laugh at these people but look out for the man in the Hitec Silver Shadow, he has a hunger.
Don’t go about asking folk how they are feeling before a race, it gives the impression that you yourself have worries about your own shape or form. And if you are asked the question it is acceptable to lie. Tell them you’ve never been fitter. Suggest to them that they look like they are carrying a few extra pounds. Put doubt in their mind. I was taught this one by one of the nicest guys you could meet off the track/ road but a real winner on it. Thank you Mr Robertson :).
Trust no-one and beware of the sharks. It is not coincidence that someone runs a few slow time trials before the championship starts to reduce their handicap. It is only rumoured that instead of singing “Sweet Caroline” Neil Diamond was actually singing “Cheat Gary Lines”. It’s not a backpack it’s a folded fin. Beware the smiles. Don’t trust any of your team mates before a time trial. Even the deaf one “forgets” his hearing aid to ignore shouts when he takes a short cut.
“The bigger they are the harder they fall”. No. The bigger they are the bigger the elbow reach. Watch the lanky ones, like Ross Burton, they’ll have your eye out before the first rep is 50% done.
My youngest son says to me before every session “Run for fun”. It’s key to me now. Think about that sometimes. We can’t all be champions, so if you aren’t enjoying it maybe it’s time to take up another past time. I feckin love it, even when it hurts me. I ran when I was young because I was good at it. I ended up hating it and stopped for 20 odd years. Run with a group you like, or can at least tolerate. I am lucky in finding a good squad with MAC. I wasn’t so lucky before that.
Technology is not always king. I mentioned in my last blog about the curse of the garmin. Feel your flow, feel your body and learn to race. Don’t be restricted. And don’t buy the first version of a new gadget. I still laugh at Stuart Gray every training night as he almost has to climb up on a roof and stretch to the stars to get a GPS signal on his all singing all dancing first generation of a popular sporting brand watch. Version 3 will normally suffice.
Wear heavier shoes to train and lighter shoes to race. When I was young it was one pair for everything. If you can afford two pairs then get them. And again, the newest ones aren’t needed. Get a gait analysis done in store then buy the previous version of the recommended shoe online for half the price. (Spot the accountant….)
Age is not a barrier. I intend to be faster this year at 44 then I was at 43,42 41 and 40. I have removed my PBs from when I was 20 and under as that was a different person. Resetting your PBs should be done everytime you change age group I think.
There are plenty more to follow on this and I look forward to hearing yours.