I like to think of running as a ladder in a competitive sense.
When you run that first race you step foot on the ladder.
If you are competitive you may care to take a look up the ladder. Or if you are defensive you may wish to look down.
At the very top of the ladder you may see Kipchoge. An estimated VO2 max of just under 85ml/kg/min. Lactate threshold pace below 4:30/mile. Impressive. World leading. But you have to find your own place on the ladder and get going…
I stepped on the ladder just over 8yrs ago, running a parkrun in my pumas in 22:39. I stepped on the ladder out of shape and sore with a VO2 max estimated at 43ml/kg/min and a lactate threshold of approx 7:45/mile. I was 30 years old.
Fast forward to November 2019, at 38 years old, I had climbed up some rungs of the ladder.
It wasn’t a simple process. At times I went up some rungs and slipped and fell back down a few. But, determined, I kept on looking up and never down.
I may have tried to hold on to some people’s ankles hoping they would lift me up. I looked for help, hoping someone could drag me up the ladder.
But I realised running is a lonely sport. Fuck, I wouldn’t want it any other way. You have to find your own way.
So here I am.
My estimated VO2 Max has risen from 43ml/kg/min in Feb 2012 to just under 64ml/kg/min in Nov 2019. My lactate threshold has gone from 7:44/mile to 5:38/mile.
Having struggled in Feb 2012 to hold 7:17/mile for 5km I can now hold 5:34/mile for 10 miles.
I don’t have a crystal ball but I feel like I can do more. And, critically, enjoy more.
You see running is a ladder. Get on it, look up, never give up and see where you can go!