I used to buy into that. Now I don’t. You shouldn’t either, because it’s probably just self limiting bullshit.
Last year I posted a personal best time on Mount Washington. Three minutes faster than I rode it in 2008. Those five years look and feel like a long time, and in that time, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get back to where I was. In 2008, I didn’t have a kid, I slept whenever I wanted to, I rode whenever and wherever I felt like. In 2013, everything had changed. And somehow, in spite of not feeling like I danced up the mountain like I did back then, I destroyed my PR. That shouldn’t make a lot of sense, since you’re supposed to be getting slower as time marches on. Especially when you only ride a fraction as much as you used to.
Two days ago I ran the 2 mile Shamrock Shuffle that takes place downtown. The course is a pretty simple loop with a hill at each end of the loop. I ran the net downhill first mile in 7:46, and the net uphill second mile in 7:19. An average pace of 7:33, I am extremely confident that I could have maintained that average in an actual 5k and finished in at least 22:30.
|Somebody looks tiiiiiiiiiired!|
Almost ten years ago, I ran every day in a structured program for three months trying to improve my 5k time, which culminated in a 22:54. This year I’ve gotten back into running again after a long time off, and have run for the past 3 months. But I only run once per week for about four miles. That should make even less sense than last year’s personal best on Washington.
Fuck getting old. Specificity just works.
Last summer, before my PR ride, I had already been up Mt. Washington twice in the span of six weeks. I had never done that before. I guessed that I would benefit from the adaptation and it worked, even if the rest of my training was lacking. Which it did.
This year, while running very little, the running I am doing is up-tempo. Not as hard as I can run, but it is typically not comfortable. Hard enough that at least half the time I go out, I think about quitting. Was it easier before? Unequivocal yes. Am I faster now? Somehow yes.
I only work out three times a week. Some combination of runs or rides, maybe all of one and none of the other. One day always devoted to lifting weights; only upper body because my legs get pissed off as it is switching back and forth between running and riding. I don’t do core right now because I’m lazy.
I’m not going up the big hill this year, and I feel like it will be one of those years where I’ll wish I was. That’s the way it goes!
Anyway, you are getting older. But you’re probably not getting slower. You’re just doing the wrong things.
If what you’re doing isn’t working anymore, change. It seems to work with most things except cyclocross, which you will just always be bad at.