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where are all the older runners?

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  • 07-05-2020 1:50pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 3,194 ✭✭✭


    been wondering this for a long time, maybe some on here might have answers/suggestions. the older I get the more I notice that the other people I see out running look increasingly younger than me and people who would appear older than me becoming fewer and fewer, have others noticed this and if so why is that?
    is it injuries, getting slower, less motivation, is there a particular age where runners seem to fall away and if so what age does it tend to be?
    I've never been in a club myself so never really get to talk to other runners regardless of age, maybe some on here who are club members might have more of an insight in to why there seems to be such a drop off of runners as they get older?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,082 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67


    ooter wrote: »
    been wondering this for a long time, maybe some on here might have answers/suggestions. the older I get the more I notice that the other people I see out running look increasingly younger than me and people who would appear older than me becoming fewer and fewer, have others noticed this and if so why is that?
    is it injuries, getting slower, less motivation, is there a particular age where runners seem to fall away and if so what age does it tend to be?
    I've never been in a club myself so never really get to talk to other runners regardless of age, maybe some on here who are club members might have more of an insight in to why there seems to be such a drop off of runners as they get older?

    What's your definition of old?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,194 ✭✭✭ooter


    BeepBeep67 wrote: »
    What's your definition of old?

    well i'd be closer to 50 than 40 so I suppose 50+.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,386 ✭✭✭olestoepoke


    At home icing their knees lol. I ran for years, marathons, half marathons etc and had to stop in my mid 40s. Cycling and swimming is all my knees will take these days.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭youngrun


    At home icing their knees lol. I ran for years, marathons, half marathons etc and had to stop in my mid 40s. Cycling and swimming is all my knees will take these days.

    A lot would be out to pasture. In the aging bracket and would rarely train on the road, parks or grass only these days , the body is wrecked from miles


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,194 ✭✭✭ooter


    youngrun wrote: »
    the body is wrecked from miles

    see that's the kind of thing I never hear but would've suspected, as much as I still love getting out for a run i'd much prefer to quit before I end up on the scrapheap.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭youngrun


    ooter wrote: »
    see that's the kind of thing I never hear but would've suspected, as much as I still love getting out for a run i'd much prefer to quit before I end up on the scrapheap.


    Yes does happen especially road miles and marathons . Along with lack of conditioning/core work I never did . Amazing difference training on softer ground would rarely road race now , and just part of long run on road .

    Lot of the crew running 20+ years Ive trained with would bike at least one day or had gone to triathlon or just dropped away with family . I think you get 5-7 good years road racing at a decent level before you drop off given the time commitment and the fact lots start late now ( ie at 35-45 ages many start again or anew)
    if you look at races ten years ago most names are gone only a few hardy bucks and ladies still there for eg

    Plenty of older runners in the masters Xc and track though and many do the long distances for a challenge


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,096 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph


    Wish a few more of my age group would stop running so fast, or at least when races restart and the opportunity for cheap bottles of wine to be won resumes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,082 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67


    I'm 50+ in 3 days time I will have run for 1,000 consecutive days, and not just a few miles to tick a box, the average of 8.5 miles per day.
    Like Robin, I find the older age getting more competitive, age group world records being set by Irish athletes in the last 12 months.

    Generally, when I'm out running I see a mix of older and younger, and we have a higher percentage of masters in our senior club in both male and female.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,825 ✭✭✭IvoryTower


    Same in Drogheda, if anything there's more masters running than anything else unfortunately!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,852 ✭✭✭pgmcpq


    I'm in the 55-59 age group these days. I don't live in Ireland and don't post much here anymore as the folks who I knew aren't posting much but I still lurk.

    My experience is that once you past 45 things get more competitive. With fewer family demands people start getting out more. With a few lucky folks able to retire they've taken to training like pros ! Gene Dykes lives within an hour - gives me hope that I've got another decade plus to take a shot at sub-3 again. There are two 40+ women I know who've run one of the last two US Olympic marathon trials.

    My local club runs an annual series of 11 races over winter from 5k to a HM. Very tough courses that would not be that attractive to the more "casual" runner. Sometimes the series AG awards for the 20s are not awarded as there are two few runners who've run enough races the qualify. Meanwhile the 45 and above bands are fiercely competitive. The races are small enough that head-to-head finishes are common are people spot their rivals.

    I do think as you get older you need to train smarter, not harder. I do (well until covid shutdowns) most of my miles on packed earth surfaces. When we lived in the city I was on asphalt and concrete and now I think this accounted for five years of off again on again injury.

    In addition, many medical professionals look at you once you hit fifty and think if you can walk a few miles that "job done". It really pays off to find the ones who specialize in sports and even better if they have a sports background - they "get it". Without a wholistic approach it's much tougher to stay on the road.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,194 ✭✭✭ooter


    pgmcpq wrote: »
    gives me hope that I've got another decade plus to take a shot at sub-3 again.

    Jesus, that's great to hear.


  • Registered Users Posts: 933 ✭✭✭jamule


    IvoryTower wrote: »
    Same in Drogheda, if anything there's more masters running than anything else unfortunately!
    Its great, i'm still considered young.
    There seems to be more m45s the last year in louth than when i was m40.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,585 ✭✭✭djemba djemba


    We had 13 head off to the seville marathon in February, I was the youngest by 3 or 4 years and I am mid 30's.

    The oldest ran a sub 2.50 for the first time.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,475 ✭✭✭Glencarraig


    I just hope that I'm gone out of my age cat before Tommy Hughes moves up !!!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,178 ✭✭✭MY BAD


    There seems to be no shortage of masters around where I live. What about young guys who show so much potential running 14-15 minutes 5k then disappear from athletics in their early 20s.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,050 ✭✭✭✭event


    MY BAD wrote: »
    There seems to be no shortage of masters around where I live. What about young guys who show so much potential running 14-15 minutes 5k then disappear from athletics in their early 20s.

    Bulmers and women usually take them :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,718 ✭✭✭4Ad


    I didn't start running til I was 45, fecking love it.
    I know if I started running early in life I would hardly be running now, I'd lose intrest..

    I have a question, ( probably a stupid one)
    Im 52 now but if I was in my prime 20-30 years of age, would I be much faster ?
    I know its hard to say..


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,182 ✭✭✭✭ILoveYourVibes


    I know a good few. Partic in the ultra running marlarky.

    My running club has lots of masters.


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    County Stats from around the country

    https://www.athleticsireland.ie/downloads/other/April_2020_County_Month_End.pdf

    Masters athletes represent 37% of overall membership (higher given non club demographics would generally be +35 so would add to these numbers)

    Trust me it might not seem like it but you are 6 times more likely to see something over 35 than you would someone between 20-35.. Most people generally are lost to the sport during the college/career/early family stage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    In terms of why people fall off there are a myriad of reasons

    Injuries -

    Many will attribute it to this and the old adage that running wrecks your knees. I think there are many, many older runners out there who have wrecked knees from running but I think its wrong to assume that running wrecks knees (confused yet). Training has not come on a whole lot in the last 40 years but recovery, nutrition etc has. There are plenty both now and back then who under recovered, hammered all their runs, drank pints after training/racing and ultimately paid the price. Simple fact is that there is little to no credible evidence into the action of running being the determining factor.

    Motivation

    The law of diminished returns. the longer you run the harder it is to make significant improvements (depending on your training) the logical step is train harder. At a point there recovery is influenced by age and you get to a stage where you can't increase training load within the confines of your ability to recover. It basically gets to a point where you are training harder to maintain at best. This directly challenges most runners competitive nature and as such they can't justify the cost/reward ratio. Can be very hard for people especially when they base their running solely on times as a metric of success. Some go to masters events and age group racing for positions. Others disassociate their previous running endeavors and reset the PB clocks.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 58 ✭✭Anbocmorrua


    4Ad wrote: »
    I didn't start running til I was 45, fecking love it.
    I know if I started running early in life I would hardly be running now, I'd lose intrest..

    I have a question, ( probably a stupid one)
    Im 52 now but if I was in my prime 20-30 years of age, would I be much faster ?
    I know its hard to say..

    It's a great question. If you're competitive now and well into the area of marginal gains then you could compare your age grade % with that of your younger theoretical self.

    I am of a similar age and had a 30 year+ hiatus. Back in the day I was an OK middle distance club runner and competitive enough to be able to see the backs of some future international level runners for a fair portion of the race. I'd like to think I'd have been able for a sub-15 parkrun but of course I will never know.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,659 ✭✭✭rovers_runner


    KSU wrote: »
    County Stats from around the country

    https://www.athleticsireland.ie/downloads/other/April_2020_County_Month_End.pdf

    Masters athletes represent 37% of overall membership (higher given non club demographics would generally be +35 so would add to these numbers)

    Trust me it might not seem like it but you are 6 times more likely to see something over 35 than you would someone between 20-35.. Most people generally are lost to the sport during the college/career/early family stage.


    Numbers seem way down in a few counties.
    Would that be due to timing of clubs annual registrations with AI and the lockdown?
    Or do registrations have to be in by a certain date across the board?


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    Numbers seem way down in a few counties.
    Would that be due to timing of clubs annual registrations with AI and the lockdown?
    Or do registrations have to be in by a certain date across the board?

    I think this is down to club registrations to be honest.

    Following these numbers they generally fall in line by the end of the year. Having said that I imagine they are probably down numbers for any clubs who aren't set up for online payment facilities as people don't have access to pay membership.


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