Instead, you may need to look for clever ways to hold onto your speed without doing more speed training. One option is to bump up the amount of strength training you do. Strength supports speed, and while strength typically begins to slide at the same age as strength, research has shown that middle-age men and women can tolerate and benefit from a fairly large amount of strength training.
Another way to defend your speed against age without trying to do more speed work is to replace taxing traditional "speed" workouts like 400-meter intervals, which actually don't train raw speed but instead increase fatigue resistance at faster submaximal speeds, with less taxing workouts that really do train raw speed, such as repeated 10-second sprints up a steep incline (the incline helps prevent muscle strains).
Yet another thing you might do to defend your speed against the encroachments of age is to include at least a small amount of speed work in your training year-round instead of overlooking that component of your overall running fitness much of the year, as many runners do.
More: Run Fast With Strides
Take Your Diet to The Next Level
At some point in their journeys, most runners begin to accumulate body fat despite continuing to train and eat as they always have. Here is another unfortunate effect of aging. Fortunately, you can counteract it by increasing the overall quality of your diet. I use a system that ranks food types by quality as defined by their effect on body composition. The 10 types are, in descending order of quality:
- nuts and seeds
- fish and lean meats
- whole grains
- refined grains
- fatty meats
- fried foods
To improve your diet quality and your body composition, track how often you eat each type of food, and shift your diet toward the high-quality end of the scale. None of these food types needs to be eliminated; just try to eat more veggies than fruits, more fruits than nuts and seeds, and so forth. Foods of the last four types should have no more than a marginal place in your diet.
Like the other tips I've discussed, this one won't stop time altogether but it will help you run faster than you ever expected after your 40th birthday.race.