I think by now we all realize that with age we have to make some changes in our training.When we should do so differs from individual to individual.For myself,I noticed that beginning at age 45 I didn't recover as quickly from hard workouts and races as I once did. I'm sure everyone realizes that less intensity and more recovery time is necessary as we age.In the following, Frank Shorter talks about an aspect of ageing and training that isn't often brought up but is essential to recognize and deal with if we are to minimize the negative effects of getting older.The aspect he is referring to is the loss of muscle mass.
Frank says: "I think that athletes believe if they maintain the same body weight, they maintain the same conditioning.For instance,although my weight hasn't changed in 17 years,tests showed my body fat had gone up 4 percent. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you body fat goes up 4 percent and you weigh the same,there are many pounds of muscle that are no longer there. Based on that alone,I think logic would indicate that the more of that muscle one can maintain,or get back in my case,the more it will help.
Obviously,the loss of muscle mass will have a significant impact on your performance. That's why I do a 30 minute weight routine several times a week to build and maintain muscle."
Shorter then brings up this interesting point: "As you get older and still maintain the same daily goal as to how much training you'll do,you lock into a certain amount that you feel is a day's exercise.If you maintain that amount from age 30 to 45 and you've been losing muscle mass,in essence you've been slightly overtraining as you age. You're aiming to reach your daily quota but you've had less strength to do it.Consequently,you're going to be taxed more and obviously it will take you more time to recover."
If the above isn't an incentive to do regular weight training I don't know what is.For many,it's easy to tell yourself that lots of running will take care of everything but in truth it won't. I know that I often have to force myself to do the weight workouts but recognize that if I don't do them then I won't reap the full benefits of all the running I do.