How long can the party last?

I think I’ve revealed before that I am a master’s runner (I’m 44) and have been running and doing triathlons for about 12-13 years now. Over the past year, I’ve had PRs at several distances–which leaves me asking the question: How much longer do I have to PR? I mean really, I’ve gotta think that after being at it for so long and being my age, I’m pretty much in a fight with Father Time at this point.

Some background–I’m pretty sure one of the reasons I’m hitting these PRs is because this is one of the first consistent periods of time where I have really focused on my running. When I first got started I was very triathlon focused. Then I had pregnancies, new babies, miscarriages, injuries, etc. All worth it, but at the same time serving as interruptions to what otherwise would have been a steady period of training. Finally, as of winter ’08-’09, I really buckled down and started focusing on my running. I still do a bit of swimming and cycling, but right now, that’s all pretty much to support my running.

So who knows how long I can ride this wave. I’m going to keep on giving it what I have and see what happens. I certainly have good examples to follow–several of my running partners are older and faster than me. I have a running friend who is around 60 and he’s still one very fast guy. He hit his marathon PR at 50. Amazing. I highly doubt that will be me, but one can hold out hope, right?

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  1. Big Daddy Diesel says

    I noticed that with my bike team, all the older men are uber fast and make it seem so effortless. I think, with experience, comes perfecting technique.

  2. Hannah says

    You rock. That is awesome you're doing so well. I think you hit the nail on the head…maybe the seasons you're able to consistantly train, you can make bigger improvements.

  3. Julie says

    Damn girl…for being 44 you look awesome!! I hope that I can look as good as you in four years:)

    If you go to my blog roll you should check out Renee's Ramblings. Renee is almost 50 and last year she PRd in almost every race possible! She is so fast:) You still have time…I promise!

  4. Genesis says

    wow, you're quite an inspiration to be running at such caliber as a master runner. im sure you have tons of time left.

  5. ShutUpandRun says

    It's a good question…I love the idea of continuing to PR as we get older!! I am 43 and a newer runner, so I am expecting lots of PRs since I don't have much to build on. I don't think cause you get older you can't keep the goals going…

  6. Tri Mommy says

    you've got a long time left… if my grandfather could re-roof his house at 83, you can keep on PR'ing at least until then!

  7. Laura says

    I think you've still got lots of time! I can't remember exactly but I think I read somewhere that long distances get better with age but short distances are better younger.. I might have got those muddled up but I think it was that. Either way you've got some good stuff coming up!

    plus 44 isn't old so don't worry!

  8. Johann says

    This is a very interesting topic. You are certainly doing great. I believe as long as the mind is willing the body will follow.

  9. Viper says

    Jim Fixx described a runner's arc as a 10-year span of constant improvement before declining. I'm sure with all those interruptions that you have plenty of time left to rock the PRs.

  10. Happy Feet 26.2 says

    I have been asking myself the EXACT same question and I am running a lot of racing thinking, if I pr, it could be my last one. I have been an "off and on" runner for many years, but since 2005 I have been working hard toward running goals and have made some great progress. At 40, (i'm 42 now) I had a goal to pr in all of the race distances. I did that, but since then have gone on to several other prs.

    I suppose let's just keep working hard, and see where we end up. I often wonder what I will do when I get to the end of the prs. We can figure it out later, because I still hope we have a few left in us.

  11. misszippy says

    Viper–I've heard that 10-yr. theory before. I'm hoping that with all my disruptions I still have a few to go!

    Julie and Beth–Seriously, you both look far younger than I would have guessed. Nice knowing there are a few of us older gals out here in bloggy land!

  12. PhishyPaul says

    My training partner will be turning 60 shortly and is trying to qualify for the Boston when we run the San Diego. It would be a PR for him and he moves up an age bracket. Lucky Him!

  13. Rad Runner says

    #1 Love the new layout, it was a surprise to the eyes.

    #2 heck yes! keep those PR's coming! As long as your havin fun! Let the good times roll!

  14. Ewa says

    Ed Whitlock ran sub 3hr marathon at 73 years old. Who knows what we are capable of doing? Maybe most of that aging stuff is in our minds. I hope it is as I am in the second half of MY century. :)

  15. Char says

    I've often wondered the same thing. I'd like to think that the effects of age can be delayed if I want it bad enough (yes I know I'm delusional) and I'm going to give it a good shot.

  16. KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) says

    I've been known to pick a part and analyze race results and based on what I have seen, some of the fastest females are between 35 and 55. the toughest age group seems to be the 40-44 and the 45-49 isn't too far behind. can't wait to see what kind of numbers you put up in the next 5-10 years…so don't stop blogging.

  17. lizzie lee says

    Miss Zippy… Thanks for stopping by. I was thinking the same PR issue this weekend after the 12K I raced. I PR this distance when I was 42 (1:07:00). Now I am 53 and I doubt that Father Time will permit me PR for this one (I did 1:13:44 last Sun for 6 minutes difference). If I set, let's say, decades' PRs then I am improving because last year I did 1:15. So the real point is not to lose perspective of why we are doing what we are doing. We are out there, challenging ourselves in a way that requires courage, whether we PR or not…

    Thanks for the tip on the Lost Boys documentary. I will definitely check it out…

    with or without PR, keep running
    lizzie lee

  18. says

    When I was in classes to get my coaching certification they said that it's pretty standard across the board for any age, but when you are consistently training most people continue to improve for 8 years, then they peak or start to decline. So in theory, if someone was 20 or 50 it wouldn't matter… as long as they're training consistently they should improve for many years!

  19. Running and living says

    Forget about the theories! Have you read Dara Torres biography? If not, you should. She came back at 40 winning like crazy. Yes, that is swimming, and running may be different, but still. She talks a lot about how she does things differently now that she is "older", lots of core work, recovery work, etc. I think maybe take a look at your training and try to challenge your body in a new way. Brad Hudson, Run faster from 5K to Marathon talks a lot about this and how important is to change things around with each training cycle, so that your body is constantly challenged.

  20. Evolv Rose says

    I think you'll be fine – there's a 56-year-old around here that was the 1st female finisher last year in our local trail race…. just keep at it, and be good to yourself to keep those legs strong!

  21. Beth says

    Hold out the hope! You are doing great! It goes to show that consistent training means a lot and of course you are learning along the way.

  22. Cynthia O'H says

    I'm asking myself the same question. Even if I can't shave seconds and minutes off the different distances in the next few years, there is always the next division to look forward too. Who knows what may happen there?

  23. Sherri says

    I don't know? I think you are going to continue for the next 6 years, at least! Call me Pollyanna…but your a darn good runner. It may slow down as for how often you PR. You may not knock one out every time…but then again you might! I'm excited to follow along as your Rock the Running World!

  24. Emz says

    loving your posts.

    Loving the comment you left on 5 miles past empty … "And don't forget the marathoner's prayer: "lord if you'll pick them up, I'll put them back down!"



  25. Lisa says

    That is very cool that you are still getting PR's after running for that long. It gives me hope that I can still PR at my age. I figured I would have five years tops of improving like this, but maybe not?

    Don't you just love that they call us "masters?" It sounds so much better than "old." LOL.

  26. run with Jill says

    I'm inspired by you and hoping I will continue to get stronger/faster as I age. I think a lot for me has to do with a better mindset. I've gotten smarter about my training as I age :0

  27. Maryland Girl aka Michelle says

    Having seen 68 and 74 year old women doing triathlons – we've still got many good years left to PR or just have a damn good time out there!

  28. Tara says

    This is the first time that I have actually had a chance to focus on running too and I will also do my first tri this summer (maybe).

    I love how you keep getting PR's and getting stronger, etc as you age (44 is still SO young!). Makes me feel better about the fact that I started racing again at 35 after a 15 year break!

  29. Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) says

    I think it's awesome that you are continuing to improve the older you get! I hope it holds true for me too! :)

  30. LMC says

    Who knows how much time we have left for PRs. I am 44 and my theory is that since I'm not ready to stop trying, I'll just keep at it and see what happens. Sounds like you've got some PRs left in you for sure! So, just keep at it and enjoy the ride, or the run in our cases! Have a great week.

  31. Mel-2nd Chances says

    I love that running seems to be ageless, you can do it as long as the body holds up! :) Keep going strong!

  32. Meg says

    Love this post, I'm impressed with your years of running and tri's and your spunk to keep going. I'm inspired, thank you!

  33. Alison B., "Runbuggy" says

    If we believe we can PR at 40, 45, 50 or older, then I think we can. I'm 33 and I hope to continually get faster at the half and full marathon. I obviously have a limit – I'm not an Olympic runner – but I have faith I CAN get faster (although yesterday I had my doubts as I'm STILL sore from giving birth 6 months ago!!). Keep believing and you WILL!!

  34. The Happy Runner says

    I read an article on age in Runners World that speculated that non-elite runners who train well can expect to PR until about age 50.

    I hope that's the case. At 39, I was running faster than I ran at 34. Now, taking the preggo break, I'd love to come back in a year and start gunning for some PRs again!

  35. Dash says

    I wonder the same thing, I like that at 44, you are still PRing too! So, maybe it's more about consistency than about aging? Hopefully… 😉