This Calculator Estimates How Much Slower You Will Run As You Age

As much as we try to fight or deny it, old age affects our running and athletic ability. By age 35, the rate of decline is so predictably linear that this calculator by a Yale economics professor shows how slowly you can expect to run the same distance as years past.

The calculator, createdby Ph.D. Ray Fair, can predict your performance in sprinting, long distance running and swimming, as well as, oddly enough, in chess. Select an event and include your best finish time and age when you are having the best time. The following is a table showing your estimated running time between 35 and 100 years old. According to Fair, you can maintain your maximum results until 35, and then thanks to Father Time, they get a little more sloppy.

Fair, who has many under 4-hour marathons behind him, told The New York Times that his calculator has helped runners cope with inevitable performance drops and better manage their expectations for their future running time. Of course, these numbers are just estimates based on factors that he published in an article found in Experimental Aging Research , but they are close to models in scientific research on athletic performance and aging.

An analysis published in the Journal of Exercise and Fitness Science shows that performance declines by about 1% each year due to decreased ability to excrete lactate , decreased VO2 max (your maximum ability to use oxygen primarily for aerobic work), muscle loss, and forces that can affect running speed and even subtle things like decreased appetite and big life responsibilities that interfere with training.

However, it still makes sense to keep running whenever and if possible. And if you’re passionate about running at your best, all that means is that you need to adjust your expectations, nutrition, and recovery to suit the realities of your aging body. There are instructions for adjusting your workout so you can still perform at your best at any age.

Aging in Sports and Chess | Ray Fair via The New York Times


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