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Transitioning to faster running age 50

By David Blackman

From Chapter 12: Managing your Transition


David blogged his experiences and we used them to refine the second edition of the book, especially the chapter on transitioning. David's blog

Personal story—Transition works

David Blackman is a runner with Southampton Athletic Club (UK). After reading the first edition of Older Yet Faster he, with the help of his coach John Tilt, changed his technique. This is his experience in his own words:

‘Patience is absolutely essential, and the more carefully you progress, the fewer potential problems you will be exposed to, and the greater the rewards will be. For best results, I recommend that you suspend your racing program or chasing those personal records for a few months, and start running slowly to get that gait nailed. Exactly how many months this takes depends on how drastic a change you are making. For me, I had 37 years of very bad over-striding to undo, so I found that the back-to-basics, slower-paced phase [Early Days stage] took about nine months, followed by another four months of easing on the speed [Muscle Rebuilding stage].

For long periods I was questioning the potential for success! But, for those runners requiring less dramatic changes, you may find you have successfully changed your basic style in two or three months, and added new speed by the time you reach four or five months. In one sentence: Start slow, be patient; later, ease on the speed gently’.

For David, big improvements started to happen after 15 months [Reaping the Benefits stage]:

‘Four days after my fiftieth birthday, and 15 months after starting the Bateman–Jones journey [OYF Running], I equalled my 5 kilometre personal best/personal record from almost ten years earlier (16:37). In the same month, I also ran within 20 seconds of my 10 mile personal best/personal record (58:04), which I set in 1990 at the age of 23.’

Three years after starting his transition, David is still improving. At the age of 51, on 11 March 2018, he ran a lifetime best 800 metres in 2:07.64.

All atricles

The cure for weak glutes


What foot-strike is best?


How can I run faster?


Transitioning to faster running age 50


Why do I trip over when I run?


Over-striding: Have you been told to do shorter, faster steps?


Why do I bruise my toenails?


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