It’s a funny old thing the ageing process. While we can fight it as much as possible we still sometimes need to accept it for what it is. As a continuation of my last blog and in the context of training for and racing Breca it was an interesting experience getting ready for that race.
As coaches we talk of consistency being one of the keys to success. I think as an ageing athlete having a consistent level of fitness means that if you decide to enter an event it is significantly easier to build from a solid base as opposed to starting from ground zero. That and also the health benefits of being a fit and healthy individual.
My normal base line fitness is that if you asked me to do a ½ Ironman with a couple of days’ notice then I would be able to get through the 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run in ok shape. The reason I mention this because in January I was nowhere near my normal level when I entered Breca and that highlighted how hard it was to rebuild fitness from ground zero.
At the end of the first 4 weeks of hard training I was pretty train wrecked and my wife asked if I was ok. I replied that as a coach the training load I had completed in the last four weeks would normally have been after 8-12 weeks building, not straight into it from very little training. Oh and add the fact that I am not twenty anymore. And that is one of the other aspects – you do need a bit more recovery as you age and sometimes experiencing it under pressure of training for an event is a brutal but gentle reminder that yes in fact we are not twenty anymore.
And the key is accepting that you are not quite as young as you were and recovery becomes a vital part of the process. For me the rest of that training block was more about managing my body and knowing when to push and when to ease up and let my body regroup. That may sound simple but I guess with age comes experience and it’s a case of actually applying that.
While I may never be as fast as I was when I was younger and the above photo was taken the challenges change and it is often more about other factors in a performance than times alone. Do not get me wrong as being competitive is still very important to me but often its secondary to having fun and enjoying the journey.
So accept that life is what it is, have fun, enjoy your sport and if you watched the world masters games have hope that we can still be going to events when we are 100 years young.