Oldies doing Marathons

Hi all,

I imagine this is a consistent question: how do those of us, er, 'more senior' runners gain some more speed?  I am 59 years old and train normally at a 5.47 km/hour pace.  Thing is, I cannot seem to run any faster, even when doing the occasional interval(s) or trying to speed up hills.  I read articles on speed work but I deduce they are written normally for younger folk than I.  In years gone past my Marathon PB was 3.52.  As I anticipate both the Edinburgh and then Dublin, I feel I'll be very thankful if I am around 4.15.

Any advice suitable for someone my age?

Of course, as I write this, I am conscious of the tragedy yesterday at Boston.  My obession with wanting a few more minutes off my time is rather insignificant.


  • Is that 5.47 mins per Km ? So roughly 10kmh ?

    So you train at that pace, and you will probably race at that pace ?

    Could you hold a conversation at that pace ? If you can't then you're running too fast. If you CAN hold a conversation then you can run faster in the marathon.

    Slow down most of your runs.

    Introduce one speed session a week. Maybe start off with 800m repeats. Run them fast. Walk to recover. Do six or so the first week, and then look at adding an extra rep every week.

    Maybe do them on the tready so you HAVE to run at that pace.

    Doing occasional intervals won't help you much - do them every week and work at improving them and you will get faster.

    Performance will decline with age, but if you improve your training on previous years - you should be able to more than compensate for age.

    The top finisher in your age group last year in London was 2.54 - so that shows you how fast you could be !image
  • Thanks for this helpful response, Cougie.  Er, yep, that should be 5.47mins/Km.  On the flats, most of the time, I could carry on a very, very stacato-like conversation image

    Yep, I see your point about more intentional and weekly intervals.  I think, in fact, I tend to do more fartleks than anything other specific intervals.

    2.54! Yikes!

  • Most of my runs are around 6mph - and I'm hoping to sneak under 3.15 in London again. A lot of people leave their best performances out training and aren't as quick in a race.
  • WardiWardi ✭✭✭

    Gavin.. agree with the advice so far.  If you haven't already tried them do a Parkrun very 2/3 weeks.  They force you to sustain a quick pace for 3m+ and don't half improve your speed.  Post injury I went from 21:50 last summer to sub 20 by the end of the year.  I'm 55 BTW.

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