This one’s for my running buddy

Everyone who runs should have a running buddy. It doesn’t need to be someone you run with often, although that works for lots of people. For me it’s the person you know you can talk to about running and they’ll never get tired of listening, because they get it. They have the same stories to tell, the same injuries to describe, the same disappointments to share, the same successes to relate, and, best of all, dreams of new destination runs to tempt you with. Your running buddy understands your love of running. Your running buddy understands how important it is to share running experiences. Your running buddy motivates you.

I’m a lucky one; I have two running buddies. And I’m extra lucky because one of them is very close at hand – he’s my husband! We have jogged this path together. But this post is for my other running buddy, my brother Phil. He’s a little farther afield, about 1400 kms (860 mi), or 33 marathons away (wow, how weird that 33 marathons doesn’t sound as far away as 1400 km!). But we have shared many destination runs together, both as a threesome and as a twosome. And it has been quite a ride – I mean run.

I happened to be doing a little google-based research on running in old age the other day and came across some information that I just had to share with others who are running in the “mature” stage of life. Or those who fear that they can only have fun running when they’re young and fast. Oh, please! I am hoping that the advice in this article will make my running buddy feel very good about himself and his personal accomplishments.

The article that pulled me in was published in March of 2015 in Runner’s World magazine, called Mastering Running As You Age. The thing about this article is that it assumes that people start young, as would-be hotshots, and then have to go through various stages of rude awakenings as they age and their bodies start to fail them. Speed and endurance aren’t quite what they once were. The article has descriptions and advice for coming to grips with each of the following stages:

Young Masters: 35-44

Middle Masters: 45-54

Climbing the Age Ranks: 55-64

Senior Masters: 65-74

Super Masters: 75+

The thing is, we didn’t start our long distance running “careers” until Phil was halfway through Climbing the Age Ranks, I was in my last year of that category, and my beloved husband was comfortably a Senior Master. Since then Phil and I have graduated to Senior Master and my husband has decided that someone called Super Master can confidently, if reluctantly, hang up his running shoes. And I’m hoping that the advice offered for Senior Masters gives my running buddy the perspective he needs to celebrate his accomplishments rather than regret the fact that he’s not getting faster. Phil, if you were getting faster, according to this article you’d be in the Guinness Book of World Records.

From the Runner’s World article:

Climbing the Age Ranks: 55-64

Even if you’ve had a relatively smooth path through your masters career so far, this is another time when you may need to revise expectations for racing and training. …

Priorities for a Masters Runner Climbing the Age Ranks

  • Learn to appreciate your successes, recognizing that your running years are limited.
  • Make allowances for every year of aging.
  • Become expert at monitoring your recovery; no single formula works for everyone.

Senior Masters: 65-74

Whatever evolutionary biologist Lieberman says about our distant ancestors, this is an age where simply lining up for the start of a race is something most peers would never attempt.

Priorities for a Senior Masters Runner

  • Find company: Join a club.
  • Lacking peers, define success on your own terms.
  • Make caution your top priority in training.
  • Get serious about regular weight training.


Good thing we didn’t know how enfeebled we were when we started. Think of all the fun we would have missed. 🙂

Happy birthday, Phil. Thanks for all the fun times … so far!!

NYC Marathon 2011

Chicago Marathon 2012

Ottawa Half Marathon 2012, a son joined us!

Toronto 10K 2013, lots of family joined us!

London Royal Parks Half Marathon 2014

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4 Responses to This one’s for my running buddy

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Jane I’d add that age-adjusted tables race tables are great for motivation – you suddenly feel less hopeless 🙂

    I’m not sure about the priorities for Senior Masters (which I’ve recently become. OK, company is something I’ve grown to like after years of running solo. But exercise caution and lift weights? Forget that, bad advice in my view.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Roy, and welcome to our friendly Senior Masters group! I definitely agree with the age-adjusted tables. They’re my go-to resource. I think of the caution part as not overdoing to the point of injury, because every year it takes far longer to recover, and I can imagine that some preventable injuries will lead people to just giving up. God forbid! Wrt weight training, I’m guessing that refers to cross-training and working on preventing muscle loss, which apparently starts happening when you reach this special group, or even sooner. That’s how I’m interpreting it. It’s so hot here this summer, I guess a sign of climate change, that I’ve been running at the gym (ugh), where my aging, shrinking muscles can get a good workout!

  2. Sheila Andrew says:

    I found family were good support. So were the others at the back of the pack!

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