You don’t have to be young to enjoy running. There are plenty of people around the world who still enjoy running well into their 80s. That said, these people recognise that running at 60 isn’t the same as running at 20. By working with your body instead of against it, you can keep running at any age. And while you might want to compete for the challenge, the focus should be on completing the race without getting injured, rather than trying to shave seconds off your PB.
Running as you get older
Whether you are a veteran runner looking for tips to keep going well into old age, or someone looking to take up running later in life, we have some great advice for you. Read on to find out the top five things no one tells you about running as you get older.
1. Not everyone will support you
There will always be people in your life who want you to give up running. While these people might have your best intentions at heart, it’s important that you make decisions based on your own knowledge of your limits. And while you might not have the support of the people around you, there are online and real-life communities of people who will have boundless enthusiasm for your pursuit. While support can be powerful, at the end of the day, you need to listen to your own body instead of listening to the people around you.
2. Always warm up
If you want to avoid injury, warming up is vital. When you are younger, you might be able to launch into a 5km run right out of the door without warming up. As you get older, your muscles will need to stretch and warm up if you want to stay healthy. Walking lunges are a great way to engage your leg muscles and your core. You can also simply try alternating walking and running.
3. New to running? Walk first
If you’ve never run before, start by simply walking. Aim to walk for around 30 minutes every day, and alternate your pace so that your heart rate is slightly elevated for brief intervals. Once you are walking regularly, you can try working in some light jogging using a couch to 5k programme. However, it’s important to take any programme like this at your own pace. There’s no shame in staying on the week one training programme for a month.
4. Rest when you need to
When you’re younger, you might be able to safely push through any pain barriers and your body will be stronger for it. When you get older, you really have to listen to your body. If you feel like you need to stop, you should stop. And if you feel like you need a rest day, you should take a rest day. Running when you’re older is really about minimising your risk of injury, and listening to your body is the best way to do this.
5. Make peace with your pace
Younger athletes may be able to continually work towards a better PB. This is not the same for older runners. You might find that every race is a little bit slower than the last and it’s important that you make peace with this. Think of completing every race as the challenge, rather than focussing on your pace. If you do manage to improve your pace, this is a good sign, but it shouldn’t be your only goal. Running without getting injured should be your main priority.