It must be true because at least once a week someone tells me that’s why they don’t run or that I need to find other sports because running over 50 will just kill my body.
I’ve often said my running plan involves more of running for many years and less of running for PR’s, which is why I want to put this story to rest once and for all!! After 13 years of running, I can certainly say many things feel different and I have to recover better, but I’m clearly not in the masters category just yet.
Hence I bring you…Coach Debbie.
You’re starting to see it more often at every race. Race Directors have to add new age group categories. Years ago, the oldest age group award went to someone 70+. Now, it’s not uncommon to see 85+. Of course, that leaves the 90 years olds competing against the youngsters.
How do these oldsters keep on running well into their 80s and beyond?
Is it luck? Genetics? Great form? The answer is probably a combination of these things. Whether or not you are designed to be a senior runner, there are some thing you can do to insure a long running life.
6 Tips to Keep Running Until You’re 90
Amanda:I’d say most of these apply to running at any age.
1. Cross Train.
A younger runner can often run five or six days a week without problem. As we age, the stresses of running, from the pounding as we make contact to the repetitive motion, can increase the risk of injury. Adding other forms of exercise is an excellent way to stay fit and stay healthy. Swimming and cycling are great alternatives because they are non-weight bearing, but other choices such as dancing, yoga, rowing, and Pilates are good too.
2. Strength Train.
Running is a great exercise, but to offset the imbalances that the running stride causes, prevent injuries, and to strengthen the upper body and core, some type of strength training should be a part of your fitness program.
Running as you age will be different. While some people can continue to run long distances and train for marathons, most will have better success with finding some moderation in their running. Everyone is different, so while one runner can stay healthy and uninjured running four days a week, others will have better success with two, three, or even one day a week.
The key is to find what works for you and accept that this is the runner you are now.4. Listen to your body.
If you want to keep on running well into your senior years, pay attention to your body right now. Small injuries frequently turn serious if they are ignored or if a runner chooses to “run through” them. Pay attention to the signals your body sends you. Frequent soreness means you need to cut back, injury means you need to take time off, and poor performance may signal that you just need to get some rest.
“My times continue to get slower and slower. And, therefore, the “me” that I am is different. But the me that I am has developed insights and wisdom that I did not have before. What I have lost I can afford to lose. What I have gained is something I cannot do without.” – George Sheehan
5. Enjoy your age group.
Face it, we are all going to slow down as we get older (though there are some ways to hold off the inevitable). That is why we have age group awards. Don’t worry if you can’t win the race anymore. Your target is that other old guy or gal running ahead of you.
6. Changing Feet.
Unless you are genetically blessed, you need to have a good pair of shoes that works for your stride and foot type and replace them at regular intervals. Feet change over time, so be sure to have your size and stride checked out by a running shoe professional every few years.
Follow these tips and you should have a long and healthy running life.
Amanda: Think all of this only applies to those who have been running? Nope!! One browse of the Internet will show you tons of people who started running over 50 once the kids left home or once they decided middle age wasn’t going to get the best of them. Be smart. Ask questions. Remember it’s supposed to be fun. Then wave when you pass me in the next race!
Debbie is a personal trainer, RRCA coach, and runner who will be running her 37th marathon this month. She writes about training and life at Coach Debbie Runs. As a 57 year old runner (married to a 66 year old runner) she understands how to stay healthy and injury free as an older athlete. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for motivational tips and insight.
Do you know any inspiring masters runners?
Do you aspire to be one?! (I do!!)
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Pictured up top is Denny (67) from Wintergarden Runners in FL. I met him and was thoroughly blown away by his speed, his kindness and his humility…he just does what he does! He is running a half this weekend and another full next month with no signs of stopping.