As a once pretty competitive runner, it's not easy getting older and not being able to run as fast as I used to; I guess you could say I'm on the downward slope of the bell curve. But, getting older and slowing down is something all runners will eventually go through.
Yesterday was a beautiful cool morning as I set off on my run. The sun was shinning and I was felling good. I was around 9 miles into my run when three bikers were coming towards me on the opposite side of the road. As most runners probably know, you are typically going to get one of two responses from a biker: One, they will respond to your "hello" or gesture; Or two, they will keep their face straight forward and not acknowledge you. Well, the first biker acknowledged me (I don't remember if the other two did) and they went on past. I then heard one of the bikers say this or something close "That guy was hauling!" Wow, what a complement coming from a biker :). Even though I know I'm slowing down, it's good to know that to some, I still look like I'm hauling.
Slowing down is natural and going to happen. However, there are things that can help delay the speed at which our running slows and keep us "hauling" through the streets and hills of where we live. Intervals, fartleks, and tempo runs are key workouts to developing and maintaining speed. Intervals are typically done on a track and are repeats of certain distances in specific times with specific amounts of rest in between (ie. 4 x 400m in 75sec w/2min rest in between). Fartleks, or speed play, can be done on the track or road. Fartleks are specific amounts of time run at a specific effort with a specific amount of rest in between (ie. 5 x 2min at 80% effort with 1min rest/jog in between). Tempo runs are typically longer distances or time which can be run at 70 - 80% effort (ie. 5 miles at 75% effort). By adding in at least one of these three types of runs into your week, you will be able to gain speed, help maintain speed, and help slow the pace at which speed diminishes.
Let me know if you want help putting together a running schedule, specifically for you, to help gain, maintain, or lessen the decrease of speed.