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Marathons in later life.

Marathons in Mid- and Later-Life

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It’s Q&A Day at 10almonds!

Have a question or a request? You can always hit “reply” to any of our emails, or use the feedback widget at the bottom!

In cases where we’ve already covered something, we might link to what we wrote before, but will always be happy to revisit any of our topics again in the future too—there’s always more to say!

As ever: if the question/request can be answered briefly, we’ll do it here in our Q&A Thursday edition. If not, we’ll make a main feature of it shortly afterwards!

So, no question/request too big or small 😎

We had several requests pertaining to veganism, meatless mondays, and substitutions in recipes—so we’re going to cover those on a different day!

As for questions we’re answering today…

Q: Is there any data on immediate and long term effects of running marathons in one’s forties?

An interesting and very specific question! We didn’t find an overabundance of studies specifically for the short- and long-term effects of marathon-running in one’s 40s, but we did find a couple of relevant ones:

The first looked at marathon-runners of various ages, and found that…

  • there are virtually no relevant running time differences (p<0.01) per age in marathon finishers from 20 to 55 years
  • the majority of middle-aged and elderly athletes have training histories of less than seven years of running

From which they concluded:

❝The present findings strengthen the concept that considers aging as a biological process that can be considerably speeded up or slowed down by multiple lifestyle related factors.❞

See the study: Performance, training and lifestyle parameters of marathon runners aged 20–80 years: results of the PACE-study

The other looked specifically at the impact of running on cartilage, controlled for age (45 and under vs 46 and older) and activity level (marathon-runners vs sedentary people).

The study had the people, of various ages and habitual activity levels, run for 30 minutes, and measured their knee cartilage thickness (using MRI) before and after running.

They found that regardless of age or habitual activity level, running compressed the cartilage tissue to a similar extent. From this, it can be concluded that neither age nor marathon-running result in long-term changes to cartilage response to running.

Or in lay terms: there’s no reason that marathon-running at 40 should ruin your knees (unless you are doing something wrong).

That may or may not have been a concern you have, but it’s what the study looked at, so hey, it’s information.

Here’s the study: Functional cartilage MRI T2 mapping: evaluating the effect of age and training on knee cartilage response to running

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