Balanced Living for Creatives

Balanced Living for Creatives

October 3, 2013

Running, Over Age 50

Jimmy Carter Jogging
I used to run when I was in my 20s, 30s, and 40s. Then as the aches of getting older kicked in I slacked off. I always used to say to myself, "Use it or lose it." Because I have slacked off for so many years in a row, I have lost that easy conditioning. Now I want to get it back. 
     If you are like me and taking up running after age 50, the first thing to consider (besides asking your doctor, if you have health issues) is that you need to take it slow. Running slow is a good thing. Building up mileage or time slowly is a good thing. It will allow your heart and lung conditioning to keep pace with your muscle conditioning of legs and body. Slow is good. And running every other day allows time between runs to recover.
     I find it best to keep a comfortable easy pace. For me that is very slow, even slower than someone who is walking at a good clip. It's healthy to take it that slow, but it also has the added benefit of being easy on my motivation--I don't mind getting out there to run when I know it is easy and feels good.
     The important part of early training is to do the running regularly and make it a habit. Remember the saying 21 days to a habit? If you can keep up your runs for three weeks straight, it becomes a habit and that means you are less likely to lose motivation because its always harder to break a habit than to build one. Run slow, run easy, keep it fun and pleasant for those first three weeks.
     If you are training for a race or a fund-raising run, like a 5k, it would be easier to begin that training after those first three weeks. You will have a level of cardio-fitness built up. And the habit you've set is a good framework for beginning to build up the length or time of your runs.
     If you are like me, you are running to stay healthy and moving. I am not training for high mileage and and race speeds. I approach my running like I would do walking meditation. My big goals are to work towards good posture, breathing deeply, and relaxing my body. I count breaths or find markers that remind me to relax, just like I describe in the article I wrote for my website, SimpleTens, Muscle Relaxation of the Head and Back. I check in, scan my body, and relax everything. It feels good, I finish with good posture, and I want to keep running regularly.

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