Jacques in the 'All the world's a stage' speech (As you like it) describes the Seven Ages of Man. Where a person will become seven different characters throughout the course of their life. The seventh and final stage ends in oblivion, having commenced at stage 1 as a 'mewling and puking' infant.
Richard Askwith takes up this theme in his book Running Free, where he suggests that there are 'seven ages of the runner'. Although he is still defining stages 6 and 7. Perhaps because he hasn't reached them yet? Having said that, taking a cue from Shakespeare, then guessing stage seven shouldn't be too difficult.
The first stage, is also, fairly obvious. As we start our running journey as hesitant novices. From a personal view point I remember when I decided to start running and headed out on what I thought would be a 3 mile run which turned out to be little more than a mile and a half, and although I was not puking and mewling it did end in me lying prone on the kitchen floor as my body came to terms with what I had just put it through.
|My reason for taking up running - the first GNR (Stage 2?)|
For me, I am glad to say my third age has lasted the majority of my 'running life'. The third age is all about times and competition. It is about pushing yourself harder and achieving the best possible result. I admit, like many, I have continuously sought to prolong this third age. One such method being to sub-divide my goals and performances. Just look at how I have listed my pb's by age category at the side of this page, for example.
According to Richard Askwith the fourth stage is where you take on a monumental challenge before moving onto the 5th age where you stop chasing times, becomes less absorbed by the watch and simply enjoy what he calls 'slow running' - nothing to do with pace but just running for running's sake.
For lots of runners, after their peak there is nowhere else to go but down and as a result many never get beyond their third age.
Which begs the question, At what stage am I now?
Probably moving into the 4th age - although I have not set myself any monumental challenges - yet!
I don't think my goal of 100,000 miles before I am 65 quite meets the criteria but is probably heading that way.
Never the less it is something to ponder as I leave you to head out on a steady 6 miler - after all I have a half marathon to run next week.