The old observation that men peak at 18 and women peak at 40 refers mainly to libido, but I’ll be damned if there isn’t more to it.
Four years ago I ran a half marathon, I just printed off a training schedule and got to training, and if you believe my performance evaluation from that year completed it in one hour and 58 minutes. No world records were in danger of being broken, but it was essentially just a task that I decided to do and went and did it.
Now…four years later, my boss’ boss asks who wants to run a half marathon, and I’m all like, “sure, it wasn’t hard at all last time” and sign up, pay the 70 dollar entrance fee, and print off the exact same training plan as last time. Except now it’s not just something I do, now it’s something that I struggle to do. Same plan, just four years separation.
So what’s harder? Well getting gains in terms of increasing speed, or lowering my heart rate at speed, takes much longer. Secondly, recovery definitely takes longer. Running now isn’t something I choose to do because it might be fun to run a half marathon in two months, running is now either a lifestyle choice or not.
So, how do I cope? Well, first up is sticking to the training plan and focusing hard on recovery. I also started an intermittent fasting regime to help boost human growth hormone release, and I asked my wife’s help to increase testosterone production. You can use your imagination as to what activity a husband would ask his wife’s assistance with to help with testosterone production, but here’s a hint, it rhymes with “ride the pastrami.”
And lastly, the most helpful thing is being honest with myself about my capabilities. Twenty years ago I was literally a young man in my physical peak, and now that isn’t me. The gray in the hair and long list of injuries are proof positive that there are plenty of miles on the chassis. So while I would be absolutely thrilled with a sub 2 hour half marathon, my current goal is around coming in under 2.5 hours, hopefully with about a nine minute per mile pace or less.
But still, gains are harder to make and keep, recovery takes longer and is more painful, and even nutrition has to be much more deliberate. It isn’t easy, but I guess that is what makes it worth doing.