The above picture shows what my 30s have looked like in terms of running times. The dates at the bottom are slightly misleading (the last red dot in the left hand bunch should be for a race in March 2005); and this is is not a complete picture anyway (eg it excludes my most recent time in the July 2012 summer league 5 mile, which I’m rather proud of – more on that shortly). The big long gap requires explaining: it begins when I was injured, just two months before my eldest son was born.
These are age-graded times: if my race time for say 5k had remained constant over this period, you would see a line sloping slightly upwards (which in a sense this is): a record of maintaining similar times against the negative effects of ageing.
Many of the consistent club runners I know have a very different patter; with more races and a much clearer sense of progression (the greater the progression, the greater the incentive to keep running); the following is relatively typical:
(What I’d give for five years that looked like that…)
Finally, this a chance to reflect on my last competitive race – a 5 miler two weeks ago for the Mornington Chasers as part of the Summer League. I finished in about 38 minutes 20 (age graded = 58%) with splits as follows: 7.28, 7.32, 7.42, 7.37, 7.59. The race was rather more dramatic than it sounds. Over the last mile, I accelerated a lot, taking myself down to about 6 minutes 30 pace or maybe faster. It was a lot of fun, except that I tore a muscle in my right calf and had to walk the last 400 metres. I’m desperately hoping to run a similar distance (10k) today – slower, but without injuring myself. If you look back to the top graph, imagine an extra red dot, somewhere further to the southeast of the last one…