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