There was a light rain falling. Not bad enough to prevent running. Bad enough for a rain jacket. Jacket donned River, my Labrador running partner, and I headed to the trails behind my house just after daybreak.
Ten minutes later it was no longer raining lightly. It was pouring. The trails had turned into streams and River, she generally likes water, was bumping my leg to suggest we retreat. I took her recommendation.
Reaching home I was glad to have worn the rain jacket.
Years ago I ran to race. Not anymore. I may enter a 5K for fun but not necessarily to race it. It is hard not to race. I remind myself I run for fitness to support archery. In addition I ride a bike nearly everyday as well.
If you look over the USA Archery training plans for archery you’ll discover sections for fitness training. A weekly training plan template is available for USA Archery Coaches. The template does include ‘Cardio/Strength/Conditioning.’
A Level 4 coach and I were recently talking about Olympic archers. We were on the topic of age and archery. Archery isn’t as age dependent as other Olympic events such as anything in track and field. I’d mentioned, now that I am shooting a recurve, that I’d like to make a run at the 2024 Olympic Team.
He didn’t laugh and wasn’t put off by my age. All he said was, “If you do that, you’ll really have to be in shape.” I will be 69 when the 2024 Olympics are held in Paris. So, yes I will really have to be in good shape to make a run for the 2024 Team. The coach knew nothing about my training or past athletic endeavors.
When I look at other archers it is clear the younger archers appear leaner than the more mature archers. Still, it is rare to notice an archer that one might mistake for a triathlete. Rare but not absent.
Look at Olympic archers and you’ll find a larger group of fitter athletes. Archery, however, isn’t a sport limited to the 20 – 30 year of age group. You can find that age isn’t nearly the detrimental factor for fit archers. (1) You can also see that archery has decent odds, 1:162, to make the team. (2)
The oldest archer to compete in the Olympic games was Thomas Scott. (3) He represented the USA in the 1904 games. He was 71 years old at the time. Archery has come a long way since 1904, but I’d say it is all relative.
So, who’s to say that staying fit and shooting a lot of arrows is a false hope for someone 65 years old?
The rain did finally pause and I was able to get in some morning archery practice. At least until it started raining, again. I do often practice in the rain – just not during the morning archery practice. It didn’t rain during the afternoon’s practice.