Started running at 40 - how good a runner could you be!

Hi readers, my name's Steve Boardman, my mates call me Boardfish. I started running last August just after turning 40. My wife entered a marathon and decided it wasn't for her because of the time constraints of training and bad knees so I took her place and love it. I completed the Chester Marathon in 4h15mins after 6 weeks of training.

Since then I've carried on running regularly and ran a half marathon in 1hr42 in Jan. It got me thinking I wish I'd started 20 years ago, but so what nothing I can do about that. So what about setting myself a challenge, how fast could I run a half marathon and full marathon if I took my running seriously, trained hard, the right nutrition, training plans, gym work, etc. Basically for someone starting running at 40 how fast could they become. It would be good to hear fellow runners advice, tips, feedback, their stories and experiences or anybody who wants to help me.

I love a challenge, I'm very determined and positive person so here goes, I'll stop waffling, I'm off for a run.

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Comments

  • Haha the response is overwhelming. Enjoyable 10k yesterday in exactly 48mins, very pleased with that after a small minor op (not in my legs thankfully) a couple of days ago that left me feeling very tired. My fastest mile during a run is 6:47 my 5k is 22:11 and my 10k is 46:44. Going to try and smash these times. 

  • Well first off to simply answer your question, have you heard of age grading yet? Might see it in various results, but basically it compares your time with that of someone the same sex and age as you who has achieved the best time at that distance. This way different people can compare themselves on that sort of a scale with others. heres a good calculator website for working that out. 

    http://www.runnersworld.com/tools/age-graded-calculator Quick bit of number typing got the half marathon time for your age just under 1h02mins. Good Luck with that image. Thats as fast as any male 40 year old has done the half.

    Most people on here probably have a different mindset though, in that, running (or any sport really) no matter what the age you started, is more about personal goals. For me doing my first half in a couple of weeks that doing sub 2hours, for others simply getting around might be the goal. For you, well you've sub 100mins to break first image, but after that i imagine you'd want to set your sights on sub 1:30 as an achievable longer term goal.

    Especially in running, it's you vs yourself. It's unlikely that you're going to set any new age grade records in any distance. Most of us come to terms with that finishing even in the top 10 of a single race, is unlikely (for others though, winning one might be an achievable goal). It's for you to set your own goals and targets, and strive to beat them, not really anyone else. You've got some great bench marks in a numbers of distances there, and as yeah you will smash them image. Basic things though, try not to do every training run as a race, you'll burn yourself out that way, and won't be achieving your full potential come race day. But you'll see plenty of advice on this forum along those lines. 

    Best of luck!

  • Thanks Peter, I am realistic, I will never break any age category times. I'm just really interested and fascinated about how fast could you eventually become for someone starting at 40. I've got my own goals in mind I'm  not really looking at anybody setting them for me at the end of the day like you say it's down to me.

    ive got a full marathon in April and half in May so it will be good to see how much I've improved after those races. Good luck with your half mate I hope you break your 2 hours, let us know how you get on.

    Hi Nick, I pushed myself on my 2 races so far image. My cricket teammates call me Boardfish probably because my surnames Boardman and i spend half my week in water as a swimming teacher hence the fish. 

  • It depends more on your genes than your age. But for the sake of comparison - I started at 40 and scored my pb's 4 years later (1hr 36 for a half and 45 mins for a 10k). Now 53 and doing 10ks in 47-48 and halfs in 1hr 45 to 50 depending on course. Generally about a third of the way down the field and about the same in my age category (and pissed off but also encouraged that several over 60s are usually a country mile ahead of me).

  • Martyn Rees started running at 40.

    I watched him run 24:30 for 5 miles when he turned 50 and last year ran 71 minutes for a HM at 60.

  • Your probably right Muttley re the genes, my resting pulse is 40 I'm hoping that's a good sign of my fitness. Good PB's them mate. It's great to hear other runners who started running late getting such good times it's so encouraging.

    Ric- 71 minute HM at 60 for Martyn Rees wow I'm just a youngster beginning then. 

     

  • Any of you guys done a Marathon- Muttley, Ric, Nick? Are you planning on running a marathon Peter? 

  • RicF wrote (see)

    Martyn Rees started running at 40.

    I watched him run 24:30 for 5 miles when he turned 50 and last year ran 71 minutes for a HM at 60.

     

     

     I was thinking of martyn rees.

     he started at 40....I wonder just how good he would have been if he started younger.......

    or maybe if he has started younger he couldn't have maintained it for 40 years.....and wouldn't have all the vet 50 and now vet 60 record times that he has..

  • I started at age 42 a couple of years ago. I have a vague notion of doing a sub 2:45 marathon and sub 1:20 HM. I say they are vague as I have a slightly  more realistic understanding of  the effort involvedimage

  • Maybe that's the key start at 40 and you legs haven't been battered from years of runningimage FRESH LEGS! 

  • Also-Ran they are amazing times mate. if I can get anywhere near them I'd be very happy. 

  • Hi,I started at running.at 44-4 years ago 10k time 38.34_half time 1.27.41-5k 18.35

    If you put the time in you can achieve,am doing London marathon in April  my first marathon.I think if you get the right coaching you can reach your goals,wouldn't worry about the age thing it's passed.do what you can now.life is too short.

    ENJOY YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS

     

  • Couldn't agree more Michael. Being positive is key for me. What's your goal for London? 

  • Started 42, now 46, PB last year Marathon 3:13, HM 1:29, 10K 40 min. Not raced any yet this but racing London and hoping for a good pb. Oh and along the way have run some 10+ ultras ranging from 50K to 90K.
    If you keep training you can look for anything from 3-5 years of improvement. You may need to train smarter as you get older but it's no bar to achieving some good times. Plenty of people on this forum in their 40s+ doing some great times

  • Well done Boardfish! I'm 43 & started just over 2 years ago as a new years resolution. Wish I had more time to train, being a lorry driver and doing 60 plus hours per week doesn't give you much scope. My average 10K time is 51 minutes.
  • Thanks Paul, it's great hearing from fellow runners who only started at 40. Good 10k time im sure that would go down if you had plenty of time to train. I'm lucky in my job where I do have a bit of free time most days to run. 

    Jeremy- top times are you going for under  3 hours for your marathon goal that would be amazing. 

  • Late to the conversation but started running at the age of 49  -  five years and ten halfs later I've managed to chip around 20 minutes off my very first time.  My half PB is still only 2.11 but I'm happy with it because it's faster than I did when I didn't do anything at all if you see what I mean  image  if I can get it to under 2.10 I'll be more than pleased!

  • Broardfish - agree with the others that genes/committment to training/racing experience/whether youre a slow/fast responder (to training stimulus) play a big part. But...I read somewhere that pure performance doesn't massively deteriorate with age when in comes to endurance events. However, the older we get, the harder it might be to recover or we may be more prone to injury etc which obviously can affect pure performance.

    I started running regularly at age 40 (5 years ago). I did a couple of half marathons, all of which were last minute entries with no focussed training. I decided to enter my first marathon in spring 2012 and did 3.59 after about 7 weeks of training.  I then decided to give it a bit more effort and the following year I knocked 20 minutes off my time by following a training plan and increasing the mileage slightly. I've had an injury the past few months but had I not been, I'm pretty sure I would be able to quicker still...in other words, around a 30 minute improvement on where I started at a couple of years ago. So my point is - there is definite potential for you to improve. Unfortunaltey no one can predict by how much you might improve by - far too many variables!

    Good luck though! image

     

  • hi Lilytoo you should be more than happy with your times, it looks like on this forum age doesn't seem to be a barrier to improving your times! 

  • Broardfish - agree with the others that genes/committment to training/racing experience/whether youre a slow/fast responder (to training stimulus) play a big part. But...I read somewhere that pure performance doesn't massively deteriorate with age when in comes to endurance events. However, the older we get, the harder it might be to recover or we may be more prone to injury etc which obviously can affect pure performance.

    I started running regularly at age 40 (5 years ago). I did a couple of half marathons, all of which were last minute entries with no focussed training. I decided to enter my first marathon in spring 2012 and did 3.59 after about 7 weeks of training.  I then decided to give it a bit more effort and the following year I knocked 20 minutes off my time by following a training plan and increasing the mileage slightly. I've had an injury the past few months but had I not been, I'm pretty sure I would be able to quicker still...in other words, around a 30 minute improvement on where I started at a couple of years ago. So my point is - there is definite potential for you to improve. Unfortunaltey no one can predict by how much you might improve by - far too many variables!

    Good luck though! image

  • Oh! - not sure why my post appeared twice! image

  • Thanks Shazmo, I feel myself improving all the time and touch wood I've been injury free(that's my biggest worry). That's the great unknown how much I or anyone can improve. I'll have a better idea after my Spring races. Hopefully will break 4 hours like yourself. hope your injury free soon it must be frustrating. 

  • I've found that apart from the painful shin splints in the first six months, I've been relatively injury free and put this down to what someone mentioned further up the thread, that my joints etc. haven't taken years of hammering, unlike my OH who has been an active sports person for over forty years and who seems to get injured every time the wind changes direction.  My working bits and pieces are fairly fresh and unused!

  • take a look at the 2013 age rankings on power of 10.  pick any distance and you will see some fast times by 40+ yr olds. 

  • Whenever I hear things about potential the thing that always sticks in my mind is a quote from RicF who said basically  - 3 months of solid training. Take your time after that. Then times by 0.86 and thats basically as fast as you'll go.

    No idea if thats true or not, maybe if hes reading this he can clarify it image

     

  • I think there's a detailed analysis in Noakes' Lore of Running to show that age records tend to be set by late starters to the sport, which suggests that no matter what age you start putting the work in, you can look forward to potentially significant improvement for years to come which will outweigh the ageing process (and from a health point of view, positively slow the process down, e.g. by slowing down loss of muscle mass, strengthening bones, etc.)

    From a personal point of view I started running regularly at 34, and every one of my PBs from 5,000m up to marathon have been set since I turned 40 in 2012. Hopefully still some more to come!

  • Some sensible thoughts on here.

    You have some times posted so far, all you can now do is improve/refine your training and diet and see how far you can go. Set yourself some goals both short term and longer term for various race distances - although I'd suggest 10k and HM and see what you can achieve.
    As Phil has said once you begin this running lark there will be a few years of improvement before it tapers off, but even then the rate of decline doesn't have to be that vast. (I'm 47 and my HM pb was set 9 years ago, was only 4 minutes off that last year)

    Always try to take something positive out of races, you might not pb but you would probably have learnt something. Marathons can be brutal (I've done enough to know) - weather, course, minor bugs can all throw the best laid plans out the window, so if the race doesn't go to plan try to rationalise it.

    Above all enjoy it. It gives me a boost when I do a big race (like the National XC) and there are hundreds of club runners much older than me still doing it, some as others have mentioned, in some quite stunning times. Most of us do not post those times but that doesn't stop us reaching our own (modest) goals.

    Best of luck

  • Hope to do London in 3 to 3.15.

     

     

  • The real Mr I wrote (see)

    Whenever I hear things about potential the thing that always sticks in my mind is a quote from RicF who said basically  - 3 months of solid training. Take your time after that. Then times by 0.86 and thats basically as fast as you'll go.

    No idea if thats true or not, maybe if hes reading this he can clarify it image  

    All very nice, but how would you define solid training?

    When I started 20miles a week felt solid, now mid 60s does...

    Try mid 60s starting out, and you won't last the 3 weeks.

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