As we age our muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons…… okay, our whole body🏃🏽♂️ are more prone to nagging and sometimes serious injuries. And when those injuries occur, they require longer recovery time to get back to action.
I know that opening refrain can be quite a bummer 🤷🏽♂️… Stay injury free and motivated with these tips.
You have a lot to gain when you start running – but it is important to avoid injuries.
So you want to “get out there” and start running! 👍🏼
Maybe you haven’t ran since you were sixteen. Maybe you just went out to jog just a bit here and there but never got serious and consistent. That does not mean that you can not become a runner after your fortieth birthday 🎂.
“Everyone is a runner. Some people have not yet discovered it. For everyone, it is never too late. ‘
There are some things to look out for when you start running after your fortieth, it is not the same as when you were twenty. There is a risk of problems with your hamstrings, knees, achilles, feet, and other; sometimes chronically nagging; injuries. So make sure that you are well prepared, so that you remain injury-free and motivated:
1. Be Cautious
First, the good news. If you run regularly, you can prevent age-related health problems better than if you were just walking. For example, running helps fight against osteoporosis. Running can be good for your blood pressure because of the load on your cardiovascular system.
Consult with your doctor before you get started. Everyone who starts out as a 40-year-old after a period of inactivity needs to check with their doctor before getting too serious. I know that sounds ridiculous because just a few (ahem…. decades ago) you were playing on the playground. A number of health problems can be exacerbated by sudden intense forms of exercise, in the worse case scenario… heart problems.
2. You do not need an expensive sports watch
Many experienced runners love gadgets and gadgets. Everything is available, from GPS watches, wireless headphones to compression stockings for the arms and legs. As a starting runner you can suffice with a number of basic things. Go to the running shop where an experienced salesperson can help you make the right choice. With aging you are more likely to experience painful foot injuries such as calluses or plantar fasciitis. The experts at your local running shop can examine your feet and running form and choose the right shoes for you.
Women should also look for a supportive sports bra. A running specialist can help you with that too.
Also, you need good socks, which wick away the sweat and are form-fitting to prevent blisters.
*But don’t go overboard with getting too much stuff…. allow yourself the time to experience if you like running before you spend a lot of money on equipment that you might not use.
3. Start Slow and Relaxed
If you have not been running for ten years, it does not matter how fit and competitive you used to be. You have to build it back up patiently and slowly. Two miles might be a bit too far if you are just starting out. It is not bad at all to do less at first. Start really calmly, for example with a 5 minutes of moderate or slow paced running at a time (at least to start with).
For example, you can do it like this:
First, walk alone. If walking for half an hour is easy, you can mingle in pieces of running in it. Divide that walk into 10 pieces of 3 minutes. Walk hard for the first 30 seconds and continue for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. You repeat that 9 times. Try to do that three times a week. Feels good, then increase your running time to one minute in the next week. In this way, extend your workout every 1-2 weeks until you can run for 30 minutes non-stop.
4. Let up off the back gas when it feels heavy
You may have suspected that it will be difficult to get in shape. Probably it is even heavier than you thought. If it is very difficult, then it is a sign that you might try to build up too quickly. It is always better to lay off the gas a bit. That will not only help you keep injuries out, but it will also keep you motivated. You should not get reluctance to train because you think the program is so heavy.
You do not have to walk fast to make progress. Monitor your speed with the talk test: you have to be able to talk quietly during training without gasping for breath. If that is not the case, reduce your speed so that you can walk more comfortably.
5. Be nice to your body
The aging body needs more time to recover, that is simply a fact. A person of 20 years old is not awake from a little muscle pain or a small injury, but after 40 it can be something that keeps you on the sidelines for a week (or more).
With that in mind, it is important not to run hard on consecutive days. If you just start running three times a week is more than enough. Take at least one rest day after each running day. If you want to train more often, it is better to add strength training to your program. Or go cycling, swimming, or use a cardio machine in a fitness center. With this type of alternative training you increase your endurance without the heavier load of running.
It is also important to do a warm-up and cooling-down. Cold muscles are more sensitive to injuries than warm ones. You can warm up the muscles with a few minutes of walking or a quiet jog. This helps prevent overuse injuries and reduces the risk of problems with knees, hamstrings and calves, which you can be particularly sensitive to as you get a little older.
If you want to stretch, do so after you’ve been running.
6. Running is about more than just fitness
Running can help to reduce stress, especially when you go out with running buddies. You can encourage each other to train, and in the long run jointly participate in running events. You can gradually make more and more friends that become running buddies.
7. Do not compare yourself with other runners
It is difficult to sail your own course, with all those pictures on facebook of happy, finishing runners, and all those trainings of your friends on Strava. But do not compare your performance with that of your friends, especially if they already have a lot more mileage. Stay with your feelings, walk your own pace and go for a walk as they keep on walking. There are runners with all kinds of different speeds, levels, backgrounds, ages and body types.
Finally, you do it for fun, for your health, and not for the Olympic Games.
8. Focus on your gains
Starting with running requires patience and perseverance. It is normal for your initial enthusiasm to decrease somewhat, if you find that your condition improves less quickly than you thought. Think of a feasible goal (participating in a 5 kilometer run for example in 12 weeks) and keep that in mind. Your goal does not necessarily have to be a running performance.
You can also focus on making you feel healthier and happier.
Remember why this new habit is good for you.
Men and women in their forties often keep many balls in the air. Running is an efficient, easy, and satisfying way to be outside and active a few times a week, spending time with friends and having time for yourself.
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