The Ageing Runner: Runners 40 / 50+ focus on adjustments in efficiency


As an athlete gets older, we need to be aware of how the body changes and the consequences this has for our sport. This is in no way intended to mean that we just have to accept aging as an excuse to slow down or stop performing. Absolutely not!

However, we need to start paying very close attention to what our body is telling us. And yes, at some point the body slows down. Some key pieces of advice can help you manage aging gracefully while hopefully staying healthy and active.

Start slowly

The first important piece of advice is to start slowly. Sure, at 21 you could just jump into a challenging track pyramid. It should be mentioned that not even teenagers should do this, as warming up is important for athletes of all ages. However, as you age, the consequences of not exercising become even more severe.

Remember, starting your workout slowly is a very important step that shouldn't be skipped. When starting a run, start slowly. The same applies to a change in the training programs. Resist the urge to jump in with both feet. It is worth taking the time to get your body used to a new fitness regimen or change in mileage.

Warm up consciously and carefully!

Aside from being slow to start out, you need to be extra careful when warming up. First, you should either walk briskly or jog very, very slowly. This must be followed by a dynamic warm-up, which can include exercises and / or movements to target specific muscle groups.

After that, you may need some static stretches to target specific areas that are particularly important to you. After these things, you should be ready to roll.

Honor your day off

Something that many people neglect is to honor the day of rest. Sure, when you're young, you can hammer and pound the sidewalk day after day, week after week. As you get older, this day of rest becomes even more important. Neglecting to rest (or two!) Days a week can often lead to injuries for older runners.

In addition, you should be careful to only rest as much as you should. Older runners, and the aging population in general, often develop sleep problems. Failure to get enough rest can lead to fatigue. This tiredness could lead to problems on the road. Getting enough sleep every night is important for general well-being and physical well-being.

Slower kilometer build-up

If you've been running for a long time, you probably know the 10% rule. The 10 percent rule is that you shouldn't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% per week. While this is an excellent rule of thumb, older runners sometimes need a slower build-up.


You may find that the 10% rule still works for you as you get older as a runner, but you may also need to climb more slowly. This can include your total weekly mileage as well as your longest run for each week.

This is another area of ​​awareness as you get older and keep walking.

Injuries take longer to heal

One of the most difficult things for most athletes is that injuries often take longer to heal as they age. This can be anything from a pull or strain to an actual injury. Experience has shown that the gnawing hamstring injury from my 30s flares up a lot more often than I reached my 50s.

Jeff Loeb"As I approached and turned 60, I found that it was much more difficult to shake off strains and strains and recover."

Honore MacCoy-Patty, a 56-year-old runner, says, “A few years ago I realized that 'dirt doesn't hurt' is a popular phrase for good reason. Trails tend to be much easier on the joints, and the varied terrain helps keep all of my muscles and tendons ready for most of what is thrown at them. Rest, rest and sleep are part of my training and now shorter doubles are safer for me than long runs, with the same benefits. I also make sure to take care of my body and choose back or skip a day of running if necessary. "

Be nice to yourself

Interestingly, not everyone expects to slow down just because they have reached a certain age group. They also don't feel like people should get out of the competition. The future runner Sarah Wiliarty finds the decline in participation among women in her age group frustrating and regrettable.

Sarah Wiliarty said: “One of the biggest problems is a lack of competition. The decline in both periods and participation in the 40s and 50s is dramatic. And sometimes it feels like when you're over 50 you should just be happy to be out there. "

The downside, however, is that some people simply slow down after a certain age. And if that is you, then you should be nice to yourself.

Debbie Peterson on running and agingDebbie Peterson

Debbie Peterson: I'm in my late 50s and I've noticed three things: recovery from injury is slower and not as complete, I need the slow warm-up at the beginning of my run even more than I used to, and cross-training, including strength, stretching, and yoga, is critical.

Expect a certain drop in performance

Most runners experience deterioration in performance as they age. Of course there are anomalies here. However, everyone comes to a point where they are going backwards in terms of speed and agility.

While some would counter this argument with a discussion of how they got much faster with age, I would ask whether they were that well educated in their younger years.

According to Strength Running, as runners get older, expect:

  • A decreased maximum heart rate
  • Decreased VO² Max
  • A general decrease in muscle mass
  • Increased body fat
  • Less muscle strength

Don't compare yourself to a younger you

You can drive yourself crazy comparing yourself to a younger version of yourself, so resist the urge. This is true regardless of whether you are talking about your speed, strength, or wrinkles.

Some things just apply as we get older, and inevitably they will come. It is a better choice to embrace this wiser, more experienced version of yourself!

Experience is important

Ana Moyka on running in old ageAna Moyka

When I was researching the subject, a runner had an interesting approach and mindset. Ana Moyka said, “At 49, I know there are many advantages and disadvantages to becoming an older runner. Maturity is definitely positive. As a runner, I've matured in sports. Not all maturity is equal to age. I am definitely running smarter. "

age is only a number

A former colleague and running mate of mine recently decided that she wanted to get into competitive bodybuilding. Just today she posted a photo that was taken a year ago. In this “before” picture she looked strong but “fluffy”. LeeAnn decided to do a full fitness 180 and write her own story.

LeeAnn MartinLeeAnn Martin

At 50, she is probably in the best shape of her life. You could try telling her that she "loses muscle" at her old age or that women "increase body fat" at her age, but I'm not sure she will believe you.

Author Pam Berg

The thought of parting I have for you is that age is just a number, although as a “mature” runner you need to be aware of many things. Sure I've slowed down. I have to warm up longer than when I was 30. But when the going gets tough, I just go out and enjoy the run.

Pink tutu and everything, even at 51 I still rock it and have fun. That's what it's about, my friends.


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