Want To Start Running At Age 50? Here’s everything you need to know
Exploring the world of running at the age of 50 opens up a realm of possibilities that many might overlook. Contrary to the notion that running is solely reserved for the youthful, it’s a venture rich in benefits for individuals of all ages. In fact, embracing running later in life can bring about profound physical and mental transformations, offering a pathway to improved health and well-being.
However, diving into running at 50 necessitates a thoughtful and tailored approach. It’s a journey that requires understanding the nuances and challenges unique to this stage of life. From considerations around joint health to the gradual cultivation of endurance and strength, there are specific strategies crafted to support older beginners in their pursuit of this invigorating activity.
In this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into the essentials of starting running at 50. Whether you’re a complete newcomer to the sport or someone returning to it after a hiatus, we’ll navigate crucial topics such as gear selection, structuring an effective training regimen, injury prevention tactics, and strategies for overcoming common hurdles. Armed with this knowledge and a proactive mindset, you’ll be poised to embark on a fulfilling journey towards enhanced health and vitality, defying age stereotypes with every stride.
Want To Start Running At Age 50?
1. Get checked out
- Definitely, this is the step that most of us probably skip over, but when you’re planning on changing your fitness routine, getting a checkup at the doctor’s office is a good place to start. This step ensures that you approach your new fitness endeavor with a solid understanding of your body’s current state and any potential risks or limitations you may need to consider. By consulting with a healthcare professional, whether it’s your trusted family doctor or a specialized sports medicine expert, you can gain valuable insights tailored to your unique health profile.
- This evaluation encompasses not only a physical examination but also a deep dive into your medical history, current medications, and any pre-existing conditions. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be equipped to make informed decisions about your running routine and mitigate any potential health concerns proactively. Additionally, for those returning to physical activity after a period of inactivity or dealing with specific health issues, a thorough medical assessment serves as a crucial foundation for building a safe and sustainable exercise plan. Ultimately, investing in this initial check-up sets the stage for a fulfilling and rewarding running journey, where your health and well-being remain the top priorities every step of the way.
2. Build up gradually
Once you’ve suited up in your running gear and set off onto the trail, don’t anticipate spending the entirety of your time especially if you’re new to running actually running. In fact, particularly if you’re carrying extra weight and haven’t yet built up your cardiovascular fitness, it’s advisable to start with walking before you progress to running quite literally.
When you feel ready to actually give running a go, follow Caputo’s lead and try implementing short running intervals into a walk. This gives your muscles and connective tissue time to adapt to the new load that you’re placing on them by picking up the pace.
When you are ready to change to running, take a cue from Gina Caputo and include short running intermissions into your walks. This method allows your muscles and connective tissues to acclimate to the increased workload associated with picking up the pace. In its place of attempting to leap from zero to running continuously for 30 minutes, which can be overwhelming, start by briskly walking and interspersing brief jogging intervals. Slowly increase the duration of these intervals over time, ensuring that your workout remains challenging yet enjoyable.
3. Forget about pace
When starting your running journey, it is crucial to forget about pace and focus on gradual progress and enjoyment instead. Particularly for beginners, fixating on speed can be counterproductive and demoralizing. Instead, prioritize building endurance, improving form, and developing consistency in your routine.
Embrace the concept of “slow and steady wins the race,” allowing yourself the time and space to gradually increase your running distance and duration without worrying about how fast you’re moving. By letting go of the pressure to perform at a certain pace, you can cultivate a more positive and sustainable relationship with running, ultimately laying a solid foundation for long-term success and enjoyment in the sport. Remember, every step forward, regardless of speed, brings you closer to your goals and enhances your overall fitness and well-being.
4. Consider surface
For those venturing into the realm of running for the first time, it’s easy to assume that the pavement outside your door is your only option or overlook the significance of different running surfaces. However, understanding the variations in surfaces can greatly impact your running experience and necessitate distinct gear choices. Gina Caputo, an advocate for trail running, attributes her injury-free journey to the softer terrain of trails.
“Also, as much as I love and advocate for trail running, I would recommend starting on a smooth, mostly flat surface such as a high school track or a bike path to avoid the risk of tripping and falling on natural objects such rocks and roots. Add the challenge of uphill running gradually as you make progress.”
If you’re starting out on the concrete, a pair of lightweight roads running shoes will be best, whereas once you move to trails you’ll want to seek out trail shoes with more protection and better grip.
5. Add strength exercise
While many may view running after 50 as a gamble due to the risk of soft tissue injuries like plantar fasciitis, patellar syndrome, and shin splints, Susan Kitchen, a seasoned registered dietitian, endurance athlete, and Ironman coach at Race Smart, proposes a different perspective. She advocates for a prudent approach to starting running later in life, asserting potential advantages for the health and resilience of tendons and ligaments.
It might seem as though introducing running to your routine is quite enough – do you really want to add weights too? A look at Caputo’s Instagram feed reveals her new love of running is easily surpassed by that of kettlebells, and adding strength training, whether that’s lifting weights or using resistance bands, is a sound approach to stabilizing your joints and combatting the effects of age.
Matt Hensley, the Coach and Founder of Boulder Underground, stresses the importance of prioritizing structural integrity, especially for those who are new to the activity. Ensuring the endurance of tendons, bones, and ligaments throughout the training process is essential. He underscores the necessity of adequate focus on both strength and nutrition.
Furthermore, Smith points out that consistent strength training can help alleviate the natural decline in muscle and bone density associated with aging. Moreover, running plays a role in enhancing bone density, complementing the benefits of strength training.