You’re as old as you feel. Life begins at 40. Age knows no bounds. Useful statements in the right context. Running is different. A realisation at the Sherman Cup cross country on Saturday that I am now thinking more about age category performance against the youth and speed of today’s competitors rather than overall position. Even at a recent park run I looked at the age grading percentage first!
I was eyeing up the competition before the start on Saturday to see where I would expect to finish in the v40 category, all being well. I knew a lad from Sunderland was in particularly good form and expected to be roughly around the same time. I finished less than 30 seconds behind him in 2nd (24th overall). I was really pleased with that and took it as a benchmark to build on. A great result for Morpeth male and female teams too.
I think I’m in decent shape at the moment having put in a period of consistent training with Morpeth and doing the odd race or Park Run. But the focus has definitely shifted. There is a point where you wake up and realise you’re not as competitive overall in big races and you adjust your outlook. In other words, face reality! On the flip side it can be used to my advantage. If I beat younger athletes they’ll be annoyed and if younger athletes beat me then I could turn around and say “well, you should! You’re younger!”
There is also the issue of recovery. It takes much longer these days after sessions and races. I wouldn’t dream of doing back to back races. Train smart and race smart and look after yourself.
I’m looking forward to the Gibside Fruitbowl this coming weekend, one of my favourite races.