This article is “scientific proof” of something we already know.
We are constantly told we lose speed as we get older, but our aerobic capacity does not decline as fast as our speed.
But what about anaerobic capacity?
The point of know this attrition is setting realistic goals in your “comeback” or participation in a long distance running event for charity, for example.
I feel the injury rates are higher for sprinters as we get older because of the intensities involved, as well as poor biomechanics, loss of flexibility, and lack of mobility. As well, some of us have extra body weight to deal with, in the form of adipose tissue (i.e. fat!)
If you are a private trainer or coach, you’ll probably have more clients wanting to run a 10K, half-marathon or marathon. Thus you’ll have more success with their results than coaching masters sprinters, for example. This also explains the participation numbers in long distance event, including ultra-marathons, compared to a Masters track meet!
At the end, you should just stick with your passion, whatever event you desire. You’ll have someone to compete against!
Here is the article’s abstract in Aging has greater impact on anaerobic versus aerobic power in trained masters :
This study measured the relative rates of change of the three human energy systems across a 30-year age range. A cross-section of highly trained masters cyclists (n = 156 males and 17 females; 35–64 years) were tested for maximal cycling performance. There were 50 (29%) track sprint cyclists and the remaining (71%) were predominantly road cycling specialists. A 10 s peak power test measured anaerobic power, a 30 s test measured anaerobic capacity, and a progressive test to volitional fatigue was used to determine peak aerobic power. Participants’ exercise patterns were recorded using a physical activity recall questionnaire.
Linear regression showed significant changes in anaerobic performance with aging. Peak anaerobic power (W · kg?1) declined at a rate (mean ± SEE) of 8.1 ± 4.1% per decade (P < 0.0001) and anaerobic capacity (kJ · kg?1) declined at 8.0 ± 3.3% per decade (P < 0.0001). Peak aerobic power [W · kg?1] did not change significantly with age [?1.8 ± 1.5% per decade (P = 0.218)]. This cross-sectional study showed performance of the two anaerobic energy systems declined significantly across the age spectrum with no change in aerobic capacity.