#ExperimentOfOne – Goal Phase

It’s time to move forward with the #ExperimentOfOne referenced in last week’s post. You may want to glance back at that one but here are some additional details to set the stage as we move forward…

Much has been written about the physical changes we go through as we age. These are reality. However, I got to wondering how many of these limits are (while physiologically accurate) exacerbated by the mental barriers we establish as we age. One pondering lead to another and an #ExperimentOfOne was born.

I’ve been a runner most of my life. I started in high school and ran consistently for several years, picking it up again in my 30’s after an early career and family hiatus. Nobody would ever confuse me with an elite runner, but I was reasonably competitive at the next level down. Thanks to some OCD running journal habits and Athlinks records, it was relatively easy to track down my “Lifetime PRs” (Personal Records) at every major distance from the mile to the marathon. Here’s what I found:

Mile – 4:53… Two Mile – 11:01… 5K – 16:25… 10K – 32:58… Half Marathon – 1:16:20… Marathon – 2:47

The shorter distance PRs were set in my teens and early 20’s. The longer distance PRs in my 30’s. I’m now 50. How fun would it be to set out to see how close I could come to those lifetime PRs 20-30 years down the road? And, if reasonably successful, could that be a motivation to others who assume age is the primary limiter?

So we’re going to find out. No – I can’t turn back the clock. My muscles aren’t as fluid and they won’t recover from training sessions as fast. My resting HR has increased and my max HR has decreased. My VO2 Max has certainly come down over time. Those are all things I can’t control. But here are things I can control that maybe I wasn’t optimizing in my younger years:

  • Training strategy to include regular plyometrics and speed work
  • Nutrition and race day fueling
  • Strength training included in the mix
  • Body weight
  • Consistency of training
  • Pacing strategy
  • Focus

Can inclusion of those items allow me to come close to any of the lifetime PRs? There’s only one way to find out, but it’s sure going to be fun to try! I’ll try to provide a monthly update on progress and lessons learned that hopefully will be helpful – one way or another – to others who are pondering the same.


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