How Bad Do You Want It? Aging and Performance

June 23, 2022 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit LLC

Matt Fitzgerald, author of How Bad Do You Want It and 80/20 Running has written extensively on the physical and mental components of training. In fact, if you have not read How Bad Do You Want It, you should do yourself a favor. In a recent article for Runner’s Tribe he speaks about the longevity of athletic excellence and performance in the aging endurance athlete.

While CrossFit is a little too young to have a large collection of lifelong competitors, I think the sport will get there. Of the few who have been around the longest, Samantha Briggs is one of the most remarkable. At the age of 40, she was only 10 points away from qualifying for the CrossFit Games out of the Strength in Depth Semifinal with a performance that included a 27th place, 143 pound barbell complex. Outside of that event, she did not finish outside of the top 10 for the entire weekend.

When you consider a performance like this in isolation, it is impressive. When you consider it across a number of years, it’s remarkable. And to be clear, Briggs is only one example and not the only one performing at an elite level as they age up. Becca Voigt also comes to mind.

A lot of times people will chalk up performances like hers to good genetics or some other factor. But as Fitzgerald points out in his piece, the difference maker is probably that Briggs or other aging athletes assume nothing about their ability to perform. Genetics aside, to perform at your best as you age requires that you don’t assume you will slow down or your training capacity will decrease as you get older. You just keep chugging along as though you’re immune to the laws of nature that affect other aging athletes. Do that and see what happens.

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