So here I am, 48-years old, more than ten years into regular running. I am a recreational runner, for sure. But in Sweden a recreational runner typically means someone who jogs a couple of times a week and don't get me wrong, there's is absolutely nothing wrong about that, but its probable or at least possible that many of them aren't even enjoying it. Hence I like to call myself a runner because to me, if there ever was something that distinguishes a runner from a "jogger, it's not about pace or the number of miles - it's about whether they actually enjoy running or not.
In addition I like to refer to myself as a determined or maybe devoted runner, a runner wanting something more than just go our for the regular run at their regular pace a couple of times a week. Performance has for a long time been at the heart of my running, although nowadays I would say the aim is performance and relaxation in a 50/50 mixture. I have enjoyed trying to accomplish certain results whether it be running a sub40 10k, a sub90 half or a sub3-hour marathon, something I have accomplished seven times by now, and in addition I have thoroughly enjoyed the planning of it all and how to get there without increasing my mileage that much. Since several years, my mileage has been very stable around 50 km (35 miles) per week. Sometimes I log 80 km/50 miles per week if I squeeze in a long run in the weekend but there's also a number of weeks where my mileage is around 40 km per week so when a year comes to a close I often find myself with a total mileage that sums up to about 50 km per week. This seems to be the mileage that I fit into my daily life with family, four kids and work without too much hazzle, and still enjoy running.
I am a reasonable fast runner, at least compared to the average runner and especially the average runner in my age group and also considering how "little" I run (something I will come back to).
Here are my PR's:
1500m: 4:50 (2018
3000m 10:33 (2015)
5000m: 17:40 (2013)
10000m: 36:44 (2014)
21,1 km: 1:21:24 (2014
42,2 km 2:50:43 (2014)
You'll notice that it's been a few years now since I had the chance to update any of these and therefore they're less relevant. Or are they? Looking at more recent races I actually haven't slowed down that much. This season I have ran a 1:23 half and a 2:53 marathon, it's been quite a while since I raced a fast 10k but I think my current capacity in the 10k which I by the way consider my worst distance, is in the low 38 minute range.
So, what I can say is that I have yet to see a deterioration from age alone, and that is very inspiring for me as a 48-year old runner. This is illustrated below looking at all my half marathons (n=16) going back to 2007.
Speaking about how "little" I run the reaction to this is typically one of the following; speaking to other runners the reaction is typically "that's really not much! When you're that fast why don't you increase your mileage to reach your ful potential?". The reaction when talking to non-runners is of course the opposite;"that's a lot". Well it really isn't, sure I have four kids, a house and a full time job but I manage to get in about five hours of running per week, something most if not all of us could do no matter what our lives look like. The accomplishment, the "talent" if you like, is perhaps the persistence and determination, wanting to do this weak after weak, year after year. My mileage is very very consistent. I am very rarely injured, selldom sick to an extent that I cannot run. As we all know, the difficulty is not to start to run, the difficulty is to continue. I also live in Sweden and although we have four distinct seasons that are all very different and to some extent, lovely, running in Sweden in the late fall in november through the entire winter does require a substantial dose of grit and mental strength, not to mention an efficient running jacket that keeps me dry, a warm base layer and metal-studded running shoes.
So here I am about to wrap up another year of running, maybe a half marathon left to race this season and about 400 more kilometers or so to run, next season is still a blank page, there are early thoughts about races and goals but experience has taught me that I might wait quite a while yet before deciding anything. Life has a tendency to happen no matter premature, detailed planning. This time of year it's nice the take a break from the performance aspect of running. Just relax, enjoying the colours of nature or perhaps using the head lamp for a mesmerising, adventurous run in pitch-black forest.
I'll stop there for now. I'll try to show some perserverance not only when it comes to running but also in this experiment of writing in english, to see if I enjoy it and to see if some new readers make their way to this distant corner of the web. There are more than a thousand previous post here to read, they do however require you're proficient in Swedish.
If you enjoyed reading this, or didn't for that matter, you're very welcome to leave a comment or ask me a question. That would encourage me to keep writing about my running and about running in general. These are exciting times to be a runner and running has brought so many positive things into my life during the last ten years. I have no intentions to stop running although I realise the reason why I run may vary over time as it has done in the past and will probably continue to do going forward!