Am I too old to run quicker?

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06/10/2012 at 20:00

I am a 38 year old women who after a 2 year break has recently started running again. I did my first 10k in 51 minutes but I would like to be able run under 40 minutes by April. In view of my age do you think this is a realistic time?

06/10/2012 at 20:05

way too little info.

depends on your level and amount of years running before the 2 year break.

depends on any injuries

depends when that 51min 10k was set, and off how much mileage/specific training

First thoughts are sub 40 sounds incredibly optimistic. But your answers to the earlier points may change that

06/10/2012 at 20:32

Thanks Stevie G

Been running for 5 years prior to this,No injury but had baby hence the 2 year break.

 Did my first 10k run 2 weeks ago. Normally do 2/ 3 5k runs and a 10k run  a week.

kittenkat    pirate
06/10/2012 at 20:34

Why are you fixating on age? The fitter you become, the faster you will run...

(Look, I made a poem )

06/10/2012 at 20:43

Cheryl, in that case, it's guaranteed you will get a lot faster, barring injury.

In the words a really fast guy told me when i said i ran 30miles a week and thought it was plenty, "you haven't even started training yet".

Convert that maximum 15 miles a week to a regular 30miles a week over a few months, and that 51 will disintegrate way into the sub 50s.

Forget sub 40 for now though. That'll take a lot of work.

Edited: 06/10/2012 at 20:44
06/10/2012 at 21:16
I'm 41 and have only been running for 18months. This year I have got my 10k time down from 50 mins in May to just under 45 mins in September. Not sure I'll ever get sub 40 but it does feel at the moment that there's still scope to go faster despite my age In the 10k I ran last week, 4 of the top 5 women were over 35.
06/10/2012 at 21:27

Been an on and off runner for about the last 15 years. Although I got reasonably fit before, and have completed 2 marathons I've never been disciplined enough to really train often enough or consistently enough. Turned 40 last October and decided that with my previous best of 40:44 for 10k it was time to beat the 40 min barrier. Started running last November after not doing much for a couple of years, and nothing for 6 months.

Took a while to build up, but eventually realised the only way it works for me is to go early morning - been running on ave 6 times a week since Feb. 10k in Jan, did 46 mins (big hill), In April 42:25. Completed a spur of the moment half mara in July in 1:33, and did a park run last month in 19:14, which predicts a 39:59 10k according to Mcmillan. Now I've just got to find the right race to bag it.


In my experience, no, you are not too old. Ed Whitlock ran under 40 mins for 10k to set the 75-79 age group record!!!!!

Dubai Dave    pirate
07/10/2012 at 06:39

Regardless of what age you start running you will get better. Train properly including speed work and the improvements can be dramatic, if you just plod around you will stagnate, you need to get out of your comfort zone.  To the OP 51 mins to 40 mins is a huge improvement, it has to be unlikely that you can make that jump by April but good luck.

07/10/2012 at 13:55

DUBAI DAVE - Hi, my sister has recently started teaching in Dubai (DESC)  Due to the heat she has mainly stuck to the treadmill. Anyway, she's a fast little runner & I am worried she'll not hydrate correctly when she goes out road running in the Dubai heat & she's signed up for the Dubai Half Marathon. Can you recommend a good place/club where she'll get some good advice / training ? Thank you.

Dubai Dave    pirate
07/10/2012 at 15:32

Lil If she is at DESC she should know Gavin who runs with our club the Mirdif  Milers, if not drop me a PM and I will give you my email and MOB No. 

07/10/2012 at 18:35

There are loads of 35-45 women at my club whose 10K times are 41-42 mins. There are a few who are training specifically to go sub 40. None of them have managed it yet and they're serious skinny whippets who seem to do nothing but run, talk about running and think about running. If I were you I'd aim for sub 45 first - a hard but probably achievable target. Then reassess and by then you should have a better idea of whether you've got the potential to go sub 40 and how much work it'll take.

To give you a vague idea of what's possible, I just turned 39 and though I'd been running for years, I'd never trained steadily till the start of 2012 when I joined my local club and started going out with them for interval sessions and tempo runs as well as building up slow miles for the marathons I'd entered. I wasn't training for 10K or even thinking too much about that distance, but my time went from a PB of 52 mins (set in 2007) to sub 50 in May, to 47:30 in August. I usually run less than 30 miles a week and I could still do with losing at least a stone. I suspect if I was prepared to be disciplined about my muffin-top and upping my mileage, I could go sub 45 fairly easily.

08/10/2012 at 11:23

I'm sure that 40 mins is achieveable, but may take longer than April. It will depend on how much you are training, and the level you were at previously. If you were significantly faster than your 51 mins previously, then you could expect to make significant progress very quickly, and then probably find the last bit more of a push.

08/10/2012 at 13:24
Cheryl Saddington wrote (see)

I am a 38 year old women who after a 2 year break has recently started running again. I did my first 10k in 51 minutes but I would like to be able run under 40 minutes by April. In view of my age do you think this is a realistic time?

The Runner's World "Age Grading" tool would give a score of 77.7% for a 38 yr old woman running 39:59.  They say that a score of:-

60% = Local Class

70% = Regional Class

80% = National Class.

So, if you believe that, then unless you were an exceptionally good runner before your break, then you are surely setting your goals too high. 

Incidentally, the tool shows that your recent 51minute time gets a creditable score of 60.9%


08/10/2012 at 15:41

Is that WAVA?

If so, I'd seriously challenge their definitions. I got a WAVA of just under 71% for my last 5k - 19:14 (40 year old male). I was pretty chuffed with that, but there is no way I would consider myself "regional class". I typically finish about 20% down the field (a bit higher in a parkrun), but I've never been anywhere near any kind of prize, even in very small races - either overall or in my age category. Surely someone who is regional class should be amongst the prizes in reasonably sized local events.

08/10/2012 at 18:58
Ditto what EC says...I got a WAVA in a 10k lat week of 70%. I was the 3rd woman in the 35-45 category but it wasn't a huge field and my time was only just under 45 mins. So no where near regional class (unfortunately!)
08/10/2012 at 19:45

In terms of the wava bands, it depends how you look at it.

Yes, on the face of it, 80% wouldn't have you national class as in, you'd be able to class yourself one of the best runners in the country.

But if you are 80%, you'd probably be in the top 2-3% of the vast majority of races that you enter in the country.

Exiled, if you're top 20%, then you can't label that average can you, that'd be 50%. It's more about overall finishing position/position in the country.Remember there are millions who run.

08/10/2012 at 22:39

I  think it's  extremely similar to the WAVA algorithm... maybe marginally different.  Just google 'age grading runners world' to find the tool that I was referring to.

I do think they could be more descriptive with their classifications - I agree it's open to a wide range of interpretations.

Anyway EC, is that 'claret' of the Burnley variety?

08/10/2012 at 22:45


after giving that extra little info

course you can do it - ( or at least i feel so )  train well and enjoy it

09/10/2012 at 00:05
Cheryl - I started when I was 45 and my first 10 k was 48 mins and since then I've just not been able to go under 40 mins. Saying that I did pb with 40.04 (78.51wava)on Sunday -so I'm almost there at 53. I've managed a 1.28 Half marathon and a 3.10 marathon. So anything is possible. Stick at it ,be patient, build up gradually do some races but don't stress out over them ,have fun and you'll be hooked like me.
Edited: 09/10/2012 at 00:08
09/10/2012 at 08:22

No, I suppose I wouldn't call myself average, but I'm defintiely not "regional class".

Yes, it is of the Burnley variety - at least we're providing good entertainment value at the moment despite our points total being somewhat disappointing!

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