Yesterday, on a wonderful, pleasant, cleansing long run on flat easy terrain in Charlestown, RI, my mind began to wander (wonder?) about weekly mileage. Although it doesn't/shouldn't matter as much as it appears to, we all strive for it, document it, attempt to hit goals, etc.
Right now, I'm 40 years old. The age does not bother me at all but I have noticed a marked decline in recovery times, flexibility (there are numbers below zero), times and paces. With that, I have come to the realization that I am happiest, without a doubt, at 50 to 60 miles per week. However those miles come, in whatever shape or form and at whatever speeds, shooting for that "slot" gives me the greatest psychological gains. To be sure, 60 miles is always better than 50; yet as long as I can consistently be at/about 55.0 mpw average, I'll be happy and right where I want to be.
This awareness, coupled with my ongoing education regarding inevitable physical decline and aging, I began to extrapolate about my future. As I ran around along the ocean and quiet side streets on my long run, I reasoned that if 50-60 is what I'll shoot for as a weekly mileage goal in my 40s, then it makes sense that I'll have to back off a bit in my 50s. That is, 40-50 miles per week would seem to be completely reasonable and perfectly acceptable for my mental fortitude. Again, as long as variety is the key for those runs, I should be happy.
But why stop there?
If 50-60 miles per week is for my 40s, and 40-50 mpw is the goal for my 50s.....
.....will I be happy running 30-40 miles per week in my 60s! Absolutely -- I'll be ecstatic! Keep it going! In my 70s, if I can run 20-30 miles per week I'll be happier than a pig in shit.
As my run neared its happy end, I felt tired but invigorated, as all long runs usually do for you. I couldn't help but project further -- 10-20 miles per week in my 80s? Is that possible? 10-15 miles per week at the age of 80? 81? 82? Is this feasible? One can only hope..
Do people run in their 90s? Will I even be alive then?
It won't be pretty. It won't be graceful. But hopefully it will be fun!