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QT: Getting Older and Racing Hard are Not Mutually Exclusive

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I don’t usually find myself ruminating on the questions that are posed in the monthly Q&A episodes.

Especially the questions about elite runners that Lewis tends to ask.

I’m convinced my man keeps asking these questions to try and get a reaction out of me, and I do my best every month to grind his gears by moving on quickly.

But I found myself going back to one of his questions from last month, and the more I thought about it the more convinced I became that I left a lot of meat on the bone.

Sounds like a problem we can solve, so let’s dig in. Read more

Not What It Once Was

Is Slowing Down as You Age Inevitable?

Many of the runners that I’ve met, both in real life and that I’ve talked to on the podcast, have expressed a desire to keep running for as long in life as possible.

Sure, they might slow down and may not run as far, but as long as they are able to go running on a semi-regular basis they are fine with going slower.

But that begs the question, is slowing down as you age inevitable?

Slowing Down as You Age is Only Logical

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to grasp the concept that at a certain point, age related decline is to be expected.

Cars break down more often as they get older.

Not What It Once Was

Not What It Once Was

Computers and smart phones definitely slow down after you’ve had them for a year or two.

So it only makes sense that the human body would as well. (Spoiler alert, we do slow down!)

Researchers in a recent study that was published in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise set out to try and explain why we slow down as we get older.

What Causes Runners to Slow Down as They Age?

It looks like there are too main causes for slowing down as you age, though they are definitely related.

One of the biggest findings of the study is that as runners age, their stride length shortens considerably. A shorter stride is one of the two major causes of decreased speed (the other being a slower cadence), and the older the participants in the study were the shorter their strides were.

The other main finding from this study showed that older runners actually pushed off of the ground with less force than their younger counterparts. Pushing off with less force is going to propel you a shorter distance (hello shorter stride length), so it’s pretty easy to see how a weaker push directly translates to slowing down.

But Is the Loss of Speed Inevitable?

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