How to start running at 50 and over, you have to introduce consistency, resilience to get the best from your running, either just from feeling great or the satisfaction of getting faster.
Yes, you can get faster in your 50s 🙂
In this article, I look at the factors that will either make running easier or ultimately harder for you as older runners.
I also give some tips and strategy that go beyond just putting a training plan on this page and say right off you go and run.
Outlined in this article are the strategies I think to reduce the risk of injuries and build your fitness and strength so that you really begin to enjoy your running.
In A Hurry?
How To Start Running At 50. Some Key Points
Age ain’t just a number… But It Isn’t The End Either.
People are always talking about age, just being a number that as you get older, you know, that it isn’t just a number. Things have changed; your body has changed. It isn’t the same as when you were 23-33 -43 or beyond. So there are changes. However, it isn’t the end that society often makes it out to be society tends to make ageing into this zero end game sum thing where things will only worsen.
Now, in some ways, that’s true. Ultimately, as a runner, you will get slower, ultimately as a runner. You aren’t going to be the same at 50 As you were at 30, and you won’t be the same at 60 As you were at 40. However, somewhere in between that, there is a way to progress. Suppose you’re willing to adapt. If you’re willing to accept the age that you are, be at 50 or older. However, be willing to adapt your running to become a better runner in your 50s and beyond.
Begin With The End In Mind
So, one of the first things you need to do is look at what your running goals are here. Yes, you have to accept that probably if you’re 50 or older, you’re not going to be the marathon, world record holder or the new 100-metre sprint champion.
However, within that, you’ve got to look at what your goal is at the moment. Now, I can tell you as a runner, your goals will change whenever you achieve a goal. I can guarantee you; another one will pop up. But if you’re looking at beginning to run, just set yourself a goal. For now, you can work towards one that seems attainable and has enough challenge to it so that you feel really great about what you’ve done when you achieve it.
Where Are You Now?
The next stage is to look at where you are now; what level of fitness are you at now?
- Have you done any running?
- Have you done any running in the past?
- Are you overweight?
Look at all the factors that can either help you or hinder you. We’re going to look at it.,nutrition, at some point, what is your diet like? Could it be better?
Now, looking at all these things. We’re not looking at these things to beat ourselves up over; we’re just looking at a perfect, clear, accurate starting point so that we know where we are now.
You also will know where you want to go. And that is the beginning of the map. To get started running when you’re 50 years old and older.
Your Running Gear Isn’t The Most Important Thing… These Things Are
Increase Your Effort Gradually
Whatever you decide to do as a new runner, increasing your effort gradually is key. It doesn’t matter if you put on your running stuff, running shoes, and just going down to the end of the road and back. It also doesn’t matter if you run, and sometimes walk, running and walking can be a tremendous way to start building up your aerobic base because this is the thing.
You’ve got to allow your body to adapt to running.
Suppose you’ve never run before. You need to introduce your body to the whole idea of running. So by taking it easy, you enable your body to start to recognise that.
Hang on a moment; this person actually wants to run.
It also allows your muscles to adapt to running. As I say, if you’re struggling to run, utilise run-walking, or even initially take a step right the way back, and do some walks, initially it will really depend on the level of fitness that you have when you start running at 50 or older.
With increasing, whatever effort you have gradually will definitely pay dividends versus going out too hard, too fast, initially, having loads of aches and pains, and then being really, Really resistant about going out again.
Don’t Forget about Stretching and Strength Training.
Adding in some strength training will be really good as well. Now, strength training doesn’t always have to mean that you utilise things like weights. You can utilise body strength training or utilise bands as some form of resistance without having to lift any weights.
Obviously, your fitness level will determine how much strength training you can or can’t do on a general level; utilising some level of strength training is really beneficial because as we age, our natural strength tends to reduce quite dramatically. And if you wish to run, Having that having muscular strength and flexibility is key.
Remember, if you’ve not run for a certain amount of time or maybe you’ve never run, you haven’t done any strength training. You need to wake your body up to these changes slowly and carefully because the more of a shock it is to your body, the more likely you will get injured.
This is not to say that you cannot achieve your goals; you can. One of the great benefits of running at an older age is the increase in muscular strength in aerobic capacity and balance, which many people start to lose the ability to stay on two feet.
Take Time to Recover
I cannot stress enough; as a new older runner, you have to allow for
Their enthusiasm to run and sometimes their egos mean that they do not allow for a good
For example, I will only usually run a maximum of six days a week when I run. And I have one rest day a week. However, out of the six days I run, only two of those runs our high intensity runs.
The other four runs are all at a very easy pace, particularly the runs after my higher intensity runs are what I call recovery run, so they are very easy. And when I say easy. It means that when I’m running, I can easily hold a conversation with someone if I needed to.
When you’re running, initially, I would really say that you should be able to hold a conversation while you’re running easily for the first time. If you can’t do that, and you’re getting out of breath, then you even need to walk and run, so you get your breath back when you walk and then start running again until such times as you feel that you couldn’t talk while you run, then you start walking again.
Or if you’re getting very out of breath, start just by walking to build up your aerobic strength before you even start to run.
Because, in effect, you are always in some form of
So you have to be quite strong, leave your ego at the door when you go out running, and let your body guide you. Because the thing is, your body doesn’t recognise pace.
Your body only really recognises effort, so you can’t really go around comparing yourself to anybody else. The only thing you can do is the level of effort you feel when you start to do a thing.
In this case, running, and if that effort means that you’re too out of breath to talk. As I say, he’s really the walk and runs, or in the early stages, walk.
Improve Your Balance
Improving your balance is a key point that gets ignored quite a lot by runners in general, but definitely, as runners get older. Balance is not something that they stopped to think about. However, if you analyse what running is, it’s really running on one foot.
It may not look like that, but that’s basically what it is you’re moving from one foot to the other. You very rarely have both feet on the ground when you’re running. So, in effect, the whole running process is one of balance or creating a better balance.
As part of your training exercises, you can do increase the balance exercises that utilise your balancing on one foot.
Now obviously, this will come down to your level of fitness and ability at this point. However, utilising this can increase your ability to run. Still, it also improves your balance, generally, which is an amazing thing, outside of running because as people get older, generally, their balance degenerate.
This is why many people have fallen when they do get old, so the benefits of improving your balance go way beyond just running itself.
I’m also a big fan of minimalist shoes, as I will mention later, not so much for running in, but walking in and using them in your everyday life, because this means that you use your feet more naturally, which will also help improve your balance. And the way that you use your feet in your running as well.
Monitor Your Nutrition
Many people want to run in when they get older because they want to lose weight. But the thing is, you can’t outrun a bad lifestyle. What you do day to day will have a huge impact on your ability to run.
So, if you run, say for 30 minutes a day, but the rest of the day, you’re sedentary, you’re not moving about much, and your diet is full of processed foods. You’re eating more calories than you expend running, then the benefits of running are going to be pretty minimal.
However, if you start to eat less processed foods, more greens, and the meat you eat is of higher quality, plus you don’t eat more calories than you expend running.
Then you’re going to start to find that you’re going to control your weight when you run, you’re going to feel fitter, lighter, and you’re going to have a lot more energy; this is one of the things people find really crazy about running is, in lots of cases, you can run. And at the end of the day, actually feel like you have more energy.
Your Body Weight Makes A Difference.
Unfortunately, as we get older, many people start to put weight on in Western society; it’s just accepted that as you get older, You get fatter.
Now, whilst putting weight on definitely is easier as you get older as metabolism slows down. It’s not a certainty. Many people put weight on because they eat more calories but expend fewer calories because they move less.
This is often why people begin to start running because they want to expend those calories. You have to be aware that even though you’re expanding those calories running, Psychologically, there is a temptation to reward yourself for your running efforts.
This can often end up with you actually eating more calories, so I cannot stress enough that you have to really be aware of the calories going in and the calories going out.
My Fitness Pal app can be perfect for this, where you can log in, the number of calories that you are eating, and have a rough idea of the calories that you’re expanding long as you’re not exceeding the calories that you’re eating, you should be in a good place.
Just be aware of this because the less overweight you are when you run, the more benefits you will get from running.
Unfortunately, the more overweight you are, increasing the likelihood of injuries, dramatically in most cases because you are actually putting more strain on your muscles and your body in general.
Preparing for Your First Run
Preparing for your first run and run while you’re actually running.
1.Make sure you have a good pair of shoes.
Now, shoes is an article in itself. I would advise you to get your shoes fitted at a running store, at least for your first pair, until you really start to know what works for you. In the early stages, you’re going to be bombarded by marketing. And if you ask 10 runners about shoes, you will get 10 different opinions based on their experiences, which, let’s be honest, are absolutely personal to them and bias. All I would say is go into a store that does running gait analysis or shoe-fitting, go in, and chat with those people. As a rule of thumb, most of my shoes. I find it needs to be at least a half, if not one size bigger than I would wear in day to day shoes. If you get your shoes too tightly fitting, you’ll tend to find that you end up with bruised toes, but yet again, if you get them fitted professionally. They will take this into account.
2 Get a decent pair of socks.
When you buy shoes, as I’ve said, you can buy shorts, tops, all these things but if you get your socks in your shoes right, you’re well on your way.
3. Take into account the conditions when you’re running.
Particularly on your first run. If you happen to be very, very hot on that day, depending on how far you’re going, take some liquid with you so that you can replace any sweat and body salts that you’re losing, however. Also, be aware not to over drink; I know this is a confusing area of hydration for runners, particularly new runners. Many new runners get very anxious about drinking too little. And there have been situations where runners have drunk too much. All I would say is if the weather was sweltering. Take some liquid out with you. And if you’re going to be running for a very long time which I doubt would be the case if you’re new to running, you would need some liquid with you, but just be aware of the conditions.
Be prepared if it’s cold, make sure you’re well wrapped up, particularly if you know that you’re going to be running fairly slow, then you’re more likely to get cold, whilst you’re running.
4. Be realistic with your goals and be adaptable.
With your goals while running, so set a goal, but if you find that you’re struggling, then adapt. If you need to walk, then walk. Please remember that beginning your journey as a runner is a long term thing, and the more patient you are with yourself and your body, the more you will be rewarded, long term. So, go with a goal, but if you find that you’re struggling with it, adapt it.
5. When you return, warm down now.
You don’t have to do any massive stretching, and I tend to find many runners, new runners that do this. It doesn’t always work for them, so have a five-minute walk up and down. Perhaps you finish near your house, have a little walk up and down for five minutes, to let your body return to normal.
6. When you get to have some liquids and some food.
It’s unlikely that you’re going to need to top up with protein too heavily, though, if you were doing endurance running. This would be my advice within the first hour of running, but I think it’s going to be unlikely, so it’s just going to be a case of getting some liquids inside you and some food at some point.
And then finally, celebrate; it doesn’t matter if you are falling short of what you thought you would do if it were harder than you thought it was the end of the day, you’ve got out there, and you’ve done it.
And the main thing is to enable yourself to feel good about what you’ve done. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Don’t worry, what you thought you could do if you haven’t achieved it. The main thing is that you’ve begun. And the main thing that will make sure that you improve as a runner is consistency. And a lot of that consistency comes from motivation, and your enthusiasm for running will lead to motivation.
So the less you beat yourself up about runs that don’t go as well as you expected, the more likely you are to get out and consistently run.
Consistency Is Your Friend
Discover Your Motivation
People are always talking about motivation. Motivation to get out the door, motivation to be consistent with your running. I’d love to tell you that there was a magic wand that I could give you that you would always be motivated to run. I can tell you that motivation comes from the discipline that will never be a trendy statement.
But I can tell you as a lifelong runner; there are many times that I do not want to go out the door and run. But when I do, I nearly always feel better for it.
One of the techniques I use to get myself out the door is what I call inner negotiation.
So we all have these little voices sometimes in our head. You know the one that’s always telling you not to do a thing or less is, you shouldn’t be doing it, and then it’s telling you, you should 🙂
I often have a conversation in my head with that voice. For example, I would decide that I’m going out for a five-mile run or a 10-mile run.
Let’s say that voice in my head goes,
“But you don’t. I don’t want to go out for 10 miles run today; it’s wet, it’s cold.”
Now, initially, when that voice starts, I tell it I’m going to do it anyway and wait for the response. Sometimes that’s all I need. Sometimes, that’s it, I’m just lacing up my shoes, and I’m out the door.
But if I’m getting more resistance from that inner voice. Then I start on negotiation, I go.
“Well, if we went out for five miles instead of 10 miles, how would that sound.”
“Oh yeah, that’s okay. I can live with five miles.”
” And when I get back. We can have a nice drink and a sandwich afterwards?”
” Yeah, sounds good.”
Now I know this sounds absolutely crazy.
In most cases, the thing that demotivates us is our inner voice, though most of the times, we’re not actually aware of that inner voice.
Becoming aware of that inner voice and actually using it to become more motivated can help you get out the door more easily.
And remember, the more you run, the more you have a back catalogue of discipline to lean on. So the more you run when the times come that you don’t want to run, you can remember times that you didn’t want to run, but how good you felt when you got back, and that will help discipline, get you out the door, more regularly and more consistently.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Your Younger Self Or Others.
A big problem I see with runners in general but particularly older runners, is they’re always comparing themselves with either what they used to be like or what other people are doing.
This is a very demotivational thing to do in most cases; you can’t go back in time, so you’re 50/60 or 70 years old. You can think about yourself when you were 20, but the reality is, you aren’t that person anymore.
There is no point comparing yourself to other people. People who are either younger than you or even people who may be the same age as you that may be better runners may have run consistently for more years than you comparing yourself to other people or your younger self is just going to demotivate yourself.
Look, set yourself up for success by looking at where you are now, where you want to go, and then keep track of your progress, and it doesn’t really matter how little the progress is; if you track it, then you will see it.
And then your comparison will be, not with someone else, or not with your younger self, but with yourself as you progress so that you can then make the comparison with yourself. A month ago, two months ago, three months ago, and see the progress that you’re making.
Ok Finally Running Shoes And Gear
Feet. Feet. Feet… So Important I Named This Heading 3 Times.
Okay, finally running shoes and gear.
I can’t stress how important your feet are. They’re so ignored. That is almost criminal in runners. We spend so much money on trainers, but we don’t actually stop to think about the things that are in the trainers.
A tip I would give you is to find a perfect pair of trainers to run in a pair that will support you and cushioning your feet because that’s what you’ll probably need as an older runner.
However, what I’d also suggest, is when you’re not running, is to be aware of what you’ve got on your feet, day to day, perhaps start wearing shoes that are more minimal so that your feet are putting shoes that have a wider toe area, and allow your feet to move more naturally.
Your feet have so many bones in your feet, as I think nearly as many as your hands, and they are the sensors you use when you run. I know many older runners couldn’t commit and probably shouldn’t commit to running in minimal barefoot shoes.
However, you can commit in many cases to wearing minimal shoes, day to day, that enable your foot movement to improve.
This will help you when you do run in your running shoes.
The next thing is, think of getting a good pair of socks. Socks really matter; in my opinion, everything above your socks is irrelevant. Yep, get yourself a nice pair of shorts are running top. A good running watch, all that stuff, but really if you can look after your feet. Your feet will look after you.
And I think, to finish this section, all I would say is really look into minimal footwear for day to day wear.
Try it and see how much your feet can or can’t move because that will have a high dependence on the type of trainers; you will need to adjust for any problems that you’ve got with your feet in the first place.
So What’s The Plan Stan?
So you’re probably thinking, I’ve read all this, and I haven’t heard anything yet about a running plan about how I’m going to do this running.
The reason for that is partly because I do not know what your goal is; I don’t know if you want to run 5k 10k Half Marathon, or ultimately the marathon.
And as I said earlier, whatever your goal is now is likely to change at some point. Anyway, the thing is running plans are rather like opinions. Everyone has one 🙂
There is no shortage of running plans.
The Map Is Not The Territory.
However, for as many running plans as there are, they are only a guide. There only a map and a map is not the territory. A map is literally a guide.
So really, whatever you decide to run, and whatever plan you have, you have to treat it almost paradoxically; on the one hand, You have to be consistent with the plan. However, on the other hand, you have to acknowledge and be aware that there will be times that you will have to adjust to the plan. Maybe the plan has you running too hard. Maybe, the plan is you running too easy.
But like I say, it’s a map is not the territory.
This is why, for some people, coaching is such a terrific investment because you then have the plan. Still, you also have somebody that can look at your running from an objective point of view and make adjustments to the plan, depending on the results you get from your running.
Strategy Versus Tactics.
You often hear of so many tactics out there that you can use to get faster to get better times. But you just got to look at the overall strategy, and I can outline a comprehensive strategy here.
Be consistent, as I said earlier, if you want to run three days a week. But remember, you’ve got to add that’s got to be in line with whatever goal; you’ve got, if you want to run a marathon, probably running three days a week, won’t be enough.
But whatever you decide, based on your goals, be consistent, and consistency means that you can then start to build up that all-important, aerobic base that most people need in running if you’re going to run really further than 5k.
You’ve got to be resilient, or at least start to create a situation where you become more resilient, become
Also, more resilient as a runner so that you start to build up that aerobic base. Also, mentally resilient. You build up the mental strategies that get you out the door, which also makes you more consistent and means that you will more than likely keep going when that little voice in your brain tells you to stop.
As an older runner, You might not have considered speed, but speed when I mentioned speed. What I mean is the speed concerning yourself. Obviously, everyone’s going to be different as to what speed is to them.
But once you build up consistency with your running. And once you’ve built up a certain amount of resilience and strength, then you need to introduce some level of speed training so that you can get faster.
Now, obviously, I don’t know, as I said earlier, what your goals are. Speed training only really applies to runners looking to improve consistently as they get into their 50s and beyond.
If you want to get out and do some jogging, then really, you need to work more on your consistency and resiliency to move forward.
But these are the sorts of strategies that I would use whatever plan you’ve got, look at the plan, and look at how I will be consistent with this?
Am I going to be consistent with my diet?
Can I build in some strength training and a routine, which makes me more resilient physically and makes me more resilient mentally?
Does it introduce, at some point, some speed work so that you get the opportunity to become a faster runner, depending on your goals?
These are the sorts of things you’ve got to look at from a strategic perspective as a runner.
Conclusion How To Start Running At 50 And Beyond
I hope you really enjoyed this article on how to start running at 50 and beyond. And though it’s a long article, it actually doesn’t cover everything because no article can cover everything. After all, you are an individual. Every new runner will start at a different level; some runners will have been quite fit already and will adapt to running very quickly—some other runners who perhaps done less exercise., in recent years, it will take longer to adapt to running.
The goals you will have as runners will be very different. And as I said the right way through this article, even your goals now will change as you continue to run. Many of you now will be thinking, if only I could run 5k, But I guarantee that the moment you get past 5k, you will probably be looking to go further; that seems to be the way of the world with running.
So some of you may be arriving at this article to run 5k 10k a half marathon. Some of you may be even looking to run a marathon. So I’ve tried to make this guide as broad as possible, to kind of look at the broadest things that are gonna help you as quickly as possible.
As a new runner, I would really stress to you, depending on your fitness, do not underestimate run-walking or just walking to start with. This can be the difference between long term running as a hobby and something you try and never do again.
I cannot also stress the importance of nutrition as you get older. Nutrition is always important. However, when we’re younger, we can get away with a less nutritious diet, but as we get older, nutrition plays a bigger part in our day to day lives, throw into the mix the fact that you want to run as well. You cannot think of running as an excuse to have a bad diet because a bad diet will find you out even more quickly as an older runner than it would have done in your younger days.
I would also encourage you very strongly to look at some form of strength training. This really helps build the body to take the rigours of running more in its stride. And also, strength training for older people is generally excellent because we lose that strength in our bodies from our 40s onwards. So, having some form of strength training is beneficial, overall, to your life.
I would encourage you to look at some form of speed training within your training. I know the word speed can seem scary. I really mean that you start to run it more regularly, and you can run for a consistent time. It’s very easy for older runners to become paced utilising some form of speed training means that you have that variation in your running. It’s also perfect for your running form.
Of course, that will depend on your goals, but I think as you progress, it’s worth considering.
And finally, if you do not like running on your own, consider joining a running club; so many running clubs are so good at encouraging new runners.
You always find somebody of your level of running, and many clubs have training plans that you can follow, but also they can adjust depending on your ability.
As I said earlier, one of the problems with training plans off the internet is that they do not know how to fit or unfit. And also, they do not know, from week to week, how you’re feeling. Whatever plan you have. So please be aware of using it as a guide, but not as a Bible.
If you have any questions about this article, just put them in the comments, and I will get back to you as quickly as I can with a reply.
Enjoy your running.