3 Ways to change up running as we age

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In less than a couple of years I’ll be turning 60. No matter how well you age, or how fit you stay as you age, things change. That’s life. You can deny it, do the same things you always did, and chances are you’ll end up sick or injured.

You can run and race your whole life — as long as you start to mix things up.

gwy 21 days back stretch pdf
Stay flexible with Yoga

Staying flexible
I actually mean that literally. We naturally stiffen up and lose flexibility (range of motion) and mobility (ease of motion) as we age — if we don’t do anything about it. This can lead to a shorter stride, and that can lead to a slower pace.

This is where Yoga comes in, naturally. Particularly Yin Yoga (my passion!). The longer holds in Yin Yoga may help us maintain — even improve — our flexibility and mobility over time. As long as you don’t go past your edge — then all you’ll do is potentially strain your muscles and/or joints.

My Yin Yoga playlist is here

Foam rolling becomes even more important as we age, too, for the same reason. Even if you’ve never foam rolled in your life, you may want to start doing it as you get older.

Not enough Oxygen
Our VO2max (our ability to process oxygen, which fuels our muscles) also tends to decrease with age. That’s part of what makes those shorter races so challenging as we age.

The good news is our declining VO2max doesn’t impact us as much in the longer distances. If you’ve been a 5k junkie your whole running career, your “golden years” might be the time to give distance running a try.

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Maybe rethink your running schedule

Recovery
If you read my blog for a while, you know that I’m always harping on recovery. See my post here to read many of my recovery posts. It gets more important as we age, because it simply takes us longer to recover from hard workouts.

It’s no longer a great idea to run every day — that’s an invitation for burn out, injury, or illness — maybe even all three!

Younger runners can do back to back runs — of course older runners can, too, but older runners will really benefit from a rest day in between runs. That doesn’t mean you have to be a couch potato when you’re not running. Cross training will really help you, but take it easy.

If you are running back to back days, it’s even more important to make sure that you’re not running hard two days in a row.

Instead of a 7 day training cycle, consider a 10 day training cycle. That gives you enough time to run and then take a rest day the next day (rest from running). That may mean that you run three times one week, then four times the next week.

Of course YMMV (your mileage may vary). If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you find yourself struggling with burnout, illnesses, or injuries — consider working out smarter, not harder. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Final thoughts
I started running later in life. Sometimes I feel that I missed out on what I could have achieved with running had I started younger, and other days I’m grateful because my body isn’t beat up by years of hard running.

I do want to keep running — and racing — the rest of my life. That means training smart and listening to my body.

Has your running changes as you’ve aged?

Do you feel as though you need more rest between runs as you’ve gotten older? 

Have you turned to new distances — or tried triathlons or trail running as you’ve gotten older? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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20 thoughts on “3 Ways to change up running as we age

  1. Great recommendations, Judy.
    I find I definitely need more rest days in between running than I used to. I also focus much more on stretching and foam rolling every day.
    I know quite a few people who started running later in life – and they all seem to be injured much less!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well I didn’t start running until I was 55.

    It has helped that I don’t train hard, keep a healthful weight and have an active lifestyle.

    I too hope to run for a long time. I’ve come to realize that if I can’t, I enjoy other social activities such as tennis, hiking, biking.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t start running until I was 30. Although I’ve been running for less than 10 years, I can already see how my running, and focus on running, has changed over time. I want to be able to run for many years to come so I’ve really switched my focus from long distance running to mid distance running. I hope that this switch, combined with strength training and cycling will keep my body happy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t start running until 15 years ago. I agree with your thoughts…I kind of regret all those lost years prior, but am thankful my body didn’t have all the extra wear and tear. I think the main change is that I’m doing a lot more cross training now than I did in years past. I don’t obsess over miles…weekly/monthly/yearly. And, as you probably know, I am not a slave to the Garmin. Maybe it was that 3-month sabbatical in 2017 (and now my current one), but I strongly believe in enjoying the mere act of running. Whether it’s in the heat of summer, the frozen tundra of winter, a long tough distance, or a short 1-miler…if we can’t find something to love (or at least, like) about our experiences, maybe we need a different sport.

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  5. Great post! I’ve been running since I was a kid (am now in my late 40’s). I feel like I’m a stronger runner now than I was in my 30’s. If I do the age-graded times, I’m definitely faster now. I do need more yoga than when I was younger and have to make sure I stretch after every run or I’ll tighten up more later.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been running (training/racing) for about 13 years now and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in what my body needs over the years. I find it so inspiring to read about runners who are older than me and continue to run, work out, and race for many years. It gives me hope that I will be able to do the same!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I started when I was 36 and I’ve only been running for 3.5 years. But I’ve really fallen in love with running and hope that I can continue to do it well into my 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. I think blogging and being on these link-ups has shown me just how possible that is. But as you say we also need to be responsive to our bodies’ changing needs as we get older.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It can definitely be hard to make time for recovery. I do find that even in the short span of time I’ve been running (roughly 10ish years) I need more recovery.

      Although that could also be due to the stress of the last few years . . .

      Like

  8. Great post, Judy! Has my running changed as I’ve aged? YES, big time! I used to run six days a week, then five, then four, and finally three. Now as I’m making my comeback I’m doing my run/walk intervals only twice a week and cross training on my bike to compliment it. Perhaps I’ll go back to running three days a week, perhaps not. My body will tell me if that’s too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I started running in my early 30s and while I was never “fast”, I did run faster before than now.

    Now I do more strength and cross training thanks to Peloton. I do hope to continue running for as long as I can.

    Thank you for linking up with us!

    Liked by 1 person

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