Pace of change, change of pace

I would be interested to hear from other older but beyond-beginner runners about how long it took them to them to improve say 5 to 10 percent on the age graded tables once they had gone beyond that steep improvement curve that first year or so of running usually entails.

I'm particularly interested in other people who have started running for the first time in their forties and fifties and didn't have a sporty past lurking in the woodshed - or anywhere else come to that.

And as there are sleepless nights sat at the computer sacks full of marathon threads could we limit it to 5k 10k success stories please.

Miss Picky, or what?
(But not Miss Piggy. That's another story entirely...)


  • I'm 41 and started running last year after an 18yr break from any training after breaking my thigh. Me and the wife went to the gym to lose weight and after a few months I started jogging a bit and took it from there.

    I did my first 10K in March last year and did it in 52:45 but there followed the inevitable injuries from poor training and over running. After a 1:20 10miler in December I was off for 3 months with sciatica from weak core strength. I've trained hard all over and starting in March ran a series of race through to May bringing my Pb down to 47:45 on a XC course in the rain with gates to open. A couple of boiling hot hilly 10Ks failed to improve on that and my last race was a boiling hot dissappointment at 50:13.

    I've found that I'm lacking in endurance as I got faster . I can run faster but it takes more out than I can put in so I go into a cycle of declining quality. I need to get longer runs in - nothing less than 70mins . I only run twice a week , I use the gym and cycle the rest of the time.

    Longer runs then go faster over the longer runs that will give me better times over 10K and allow me to progress to halfs and beyond. I'm going to do the Trentham 10miler on 23rd - if I can get some long runs in - I need to set a 10mile benchmark now so I can improve on it by the winter.
  • Started running at 46 (3 mths off 47), absolutely no previous sport interest, am now 55 (2 mths off 56)

    although have always enjoyed swimming, never got beyond a bit of breast stroke

    In my late teens / 20s I started "trucking about", long walks

    quite liked cycling

    my best performance / distance is 10 miles (at 48) and Half marathon (at 55)

    I peaked in fitness in Autumn 1998 - about 16 mths after I started running (was training for a Duathlon which helped) then had injury problems for 3 years

    Since 2002 I have been getting myself back to previous (1998-99) fitness, depending on how much TRAINING I do ....

    I don't consider age a barrier and will therefore show an improvement in age-graded percentages depending on how much TRAINING I do ....

    PBs - pre-2005

    5K - 26:12 (1999)
    4 miles - 33:35 (1999)
    5 miles - 44:03 (1999)
    10K - 56:03 (2003) – didn’t run a 10K when I was fittest!
    10 miles - 1:24:58 (2nd 5-mile split - 42:05) (1998) my actual time - BUPA Great South Run - FLAT!
    Half-M - 1:55:07 (1998)
    Marathon - 4:29:54 (on 25-30 running miles pw) (2003)

    PBs - since 2005

    5K - no races
    4 miles - 35:14 (2004 – haven’t run one since)
    5 miles - 45:49 (2006 – hilly course!)
    10K - 53:49 (2005)
    10 miles - 1:32:00 (2006 - tougher course)
    Half-M - 1:55:14 (2005)
    Marathon - 4:28:24 (on 25-30 running miles pw) (2006)

    As each course is different how can these times be compared?

    I simply do not do enough training to reach my potential - so I assume I can still be doing PBs in TEN years time - if I do enough TRAINING!!!

    where can the detail of age grading be accessed?


  • Er ... obviously I've got 4-mile, 5-mile & 10-mile splits in the 10K / Half-M PBs that are better than the actual races over the same distances!!!

    4-mile split - 33:59 (2005)
    5-mile split - 42:39 (2005)
    10-mile split - 87:19 (2005)
  • DazTheSlugDazTheSlug ✭✭✭

    I started running 5 years ago at age 37, with ABSOLUTELY ZERO previous running experience.

    After 4 months I was running 3 miles in about 27mins (which is about 47% age-graded), and now (age 42) I am pushing 24mins (which is about 54%).

    I did have a bad knee-injury set me back, so I could've maybe been doing SLIGHTLY better by now <grrr>

    I'm still hopeful of cracking 40mins for 5 miles within the next year or two, which would be about 57%.

    Hope this helps :o)
  • Answer to question - how long did it take?

    In my case about 3 years without injury - from 60%, now 70% - previously I was around 60-62% with my best performance in 1998 (FV48) at 10 miles 1:24:58 - 65.22%

    Oct 2005 (FV55)

    10K PB 53:49 - 68.72%
    Half M 1:55:14 - 71.03%

    March 2006
    Marathon PB (29th marathon) 4:28:24 - 60.59% (can't fit enough training in for optimum performance! pleased it's 60% though!)

  • Paskha - from your last post it looks like you found the agegrading tables. Unless of course you are just reporting back results as you received them.

    In case you haven't here's a link:

    Interesting reading. Obviously everyone can and will improve with the correct training. Pashka - you're obviously pretty focused - you reckon a ten percent improvement over 3 years? That's quite impressive. In my first 18 months of running I've gone from about 56% to 61% but on the year mark seemd to hover round 60 for quite a while. It's difficult to retain that same rate of improvement.

    I suppose I am just impatient...

    Different for each person of course, there are so many variables. And I think the age gradeds are harder for blokes cos more of you compete! Sorry guys!

    Mike and Daz - you've both had injury setbacks, and I would be surprised if there wasn't a lot more improvement in store. Mike - have you tried using a heart rate monitor. I find it really helps in building up endurance, as I'm one of those people who finds it hard to keep a steady pace.
  • I've not used a heart moniter preferring to try and just get those miles under my belt - the best results I've had has been from consistant planned training building the miles slowly.
  • sharkie - annual review for you
    over the past year (age 42 to 43) I have improved by:
    6.9% at 1 Mile (53.0 to 59.9)
    4.4% at 5k (54.1 to 58.5)
    2.4% at 10k (53.9 to 56.3)
    5.5% at HalfMara (46.1 to 51.6)

    I now have nearly 2 years of vaguely focused training behind me, so it will be interesting to see what happens over the next year...
  • left this year's annual review til calendar year end, so, to end 2008, I have improved by:

    2.8% at 1 Mile (59.9 to 62.7)
    0.6% at 5k (58.5 to 59.1)
    0.9% at 10k (56.3 to 57.2)
    2.2% at HalfMara (51.6 to 53.8)

    smaller gains this time round, mainly due to swapping a large proportion of my running to off-road/fell-racing shenanigans, which doesn't half put a crimp in your flat road times! image' />

    anyway, having re-educated my body to it's new norm, I'm expecting an increase in improvements for 2009... image' /> image' /> image' />

  • to better fall in line with Age Grading, easier if I just do by "Age Year", so slight delay this year til birthday (Jan.29th)

    so, improvements while aged 45:

    1.5% at 1 Mile (62.7 to 64.2)
    1.8% at 5k (59.1 to 60.9)
    2.4% at 10k (57.2 to 59.6)
    1.7% at 10 Miles (54.6 to 56.3) (pretty much don't bother with flat distances above 10M any more)

    almost entirely concentrating on off-road stuff now - just occasional "time-trials" at flat road distances, rather than specific targetted training, so actually q.pleased with the above slight improvements

    looking back to my first post on here back in July 2006, my 5k PB was about 54%, and I set my 2009 PB back in May, so that's roughly a 7% improvement in 3 years...
    (so far... image' /> )

  • Happy Birthday To Me! image' />

    improvements while aged 46:

    UNCHANGED at 1 Mile (64.2)
    1.1% at 5k (60.9 to 62.0)
    1.1% at 10k (59.6 to 60.7)
    2.8% at Half Mara (53.8 to 56.6)

    still mainly doing long/slow/hilly stuff
    don't even dare do short interval work anymore for fear of injury, so not much going on below 5k
    been doing more mileage generally of late, so expecting more slight 5k & 10k improvement, plus a big jump in Half-Mara AG, maybe coming more in line with shorter distances...

    Looking back to my first ever Half-Mara in March 2006 aged 42, my time of 2:15:03 equated to 46.4% AG
    and last November I clocked 1:54:27 aged 46, being 56.6% AG
    so that's just over a 10% improvement in 4 and a half years...

  • OK

    improvements while aged 47:

    3.9% at 5k (62.0 to 65.9)
    0.5% at 10k (60.7 to 61.2)
    0.9% at Half Mara (56.6 to 57.5)

    mega-concentration on long/slow/hilly stuff, so surprised to get any improvements at all really!

    Looking back to mid-2006 aged 42, my 5k PB equated to roughly 54% AG
    and last July I clocked 21:51 aged 47, being 65.9% AG
    so that's roughly a 12% improvement in 5 years...

  • aaand...

    improvements while aged 48:

    UNCHANGED at 5k (65.9)
    1.8% at 10k (61.2 to 62.3)
    3.3% at Half Mara (57.5 to 59.4)

    tried to improve at 5k, but unable to combine any increase in short speed with main focus of long/slow/hilly stuff

    but at Half-Mara that's 13% improvement in 7 years


  • only PB to improve aged 49 was:

    1% at 10k (62.3 to 63.3)

    which is 9% improvement in 8 years

    which basically shows that 10k was my best distance way back in 2006, and that 5k and Half-Mara times were "softer" (and so ripe for bigger improvements)

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