Running tips! People can't get enough of them. When you're over 50, though, you might have some other considerations. These tips will help.
Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise today. For most people, it is a complete love-or-hate relationship. Growing up, we find ourselves often running frequently - whether playing sports, running for fun, or even just playing in the backyard. However, as we get older we tend not to run as often. This certainly isn’t true for everyone - there are plenty of examples of eighty-plus-year-old people running half and even full marathons.
So what happens? Why do we stop running? For most of us, we simply get busy or don’t have a need to run anymore. One way to look at our bodies is with a kind of “use it or lose it” mentality - the idea that once we stop running, we almost lose the ability to start again. While this is certainly not true, it is true that running over fifty is easier if you have been running in your twenties, thirties, and forties. However, don’t be discouraged. If you are fifty-plus and looking to start running, you can do it! Now of course, if you have any serious health conditions or limitations please consult your doctor, but for the average fifty-plus individual it is possible.
Let’s look at some tips for two types of people. The first - you’d say you are pretty active, you’ve been running or exercising most of your life, and are simply starting to get older. The second - you are in your fifties and looking to start running for the first time in years, maybe decades.
Some Tips for the Active Person:
- Keep moving
First off - congrats. It is a big deal that you have stayed active all these years. That activity will certainly pay off as you age. If I could give you one single tip it would be to just keep going. The more active you stay the better off your overall health will be. Exercise is one of the most important ways to fight aging, disease, and improve your overall well-being.
- Find your sweet spot
Too often exercisers fall into one of two categories. The first is overtraining - doing too much too quickly. The second is under training. Now, luckily, you have decades of exercise experience so you have a good idea of how much your body can handle. As people age, they often just assume because they are getting older they shouldn’t do certain movements like squats or even running. You shouldn’t fall into that trap. You want to find the balance of continuing to challenge yourself without overdoing it and that looks different for each person.
Now the Soon-To-Be-Active Person:
- Start slow
The worst thing you can do as someone who has not run in a long time is just decide to go try and run a mile or worse, something longer. Our bodies are very resilient and adaptable, but they respond best to added volume over time. What this could practically look like for you - let’s say your goal is to run a 5k in 6 months as a 55-year-old man. I would use a couch to 5k plan like this one here. This plan may be slightly advanced so feel free to start even slower, but what this plan, and others similar to it, allows you to do is start with walking. For the true beginner, there is nothing wrong with only walking for a month or even two. You then alternate between walking and running until you build up the ability to run a 5k. This plan also has some resistance training involved which is especially important as you age.
Also, be sure to make sure your muscles and heart are warmed up before running. Doing some stretching and brisk walking will help here.
- Make recovery a priority
If you are feeling especially beat up or tired it is good to take a rest day. At a minimum, you should have one rest day during the week where the most you do is go for a walk. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water, eat high-quality, nutritious foods, and get plenty of sleep. All of these things will ensure your body is ready for your running workout.
Need some help with what to eat? Check out this week’s meal prep menu.
That’s about it! Remember when it comes to running, or any exercise for that matter, the most important thing is that you are doing it. Pick a plan you can be consistent with, start slow, and slowly build up over time. You probably won’t be as good as you like when you first start, but you will begin to surprise yourself with just how much better you can get.
Also, running is hard. That’s okay. It’s important to do things that are difficult. It improves our mental, emotional, and physical health. We are here cheering for you the whole way!
Feel free to reach out with any questions or leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.