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Running Recovery Over 50.How To Out Run Aging For Longer.

Running recovery over 50 is a thing I’m very interested in as a 57-year-old runner. The analogy I often give people is this. When you were in your 20s, you could probably drink what you like, eat what you like and depending on certain genetic factors. Your body would cope with it. Your body would deal with the toxins, get them out, and you would be ready to go the next day.

Unfortunately, as you get older, your body doesn’t recover as quickly.

Now, this is not to say that you can’t recover well; you have to adapt what you do to suit the fact that you are now an older runner.

The example I like to give is, imagine ageing is like being in a boat, a sailing boat, and you’re sailing on the waters of life, and you’re going along, and of course, when you’re younger you have difficult times choppy times, but your boat stays afloat, because it’s new, it’s young if you’re 20 or 30.

But as you get older, that boat isn’t quite so stable. So when little storms come along. It’s more difficult to keep afloat. And there comes the point where many of the habits you have stored on this boat you have to decide, are you going to keep all those habits or let some go to make your boat more buoyant…

So, for example, eating certain foods you might have eaten your life hadn’t impacted your recovery when you were younger. But now that you’re in your 50s, they do.

Running Recovery Over 50

So, imagine that boat going along, and you’re hitting choppy waters, which in effect is life. You’ve got to decide then what stays in the boat. And what goes out of the boat to keep you afloat.

And this really is what this article is about, suggestions for things you want to keep in the boat that you want to keep using. And perhaps some suggestions for habits that you may want to either stop or definitely reduce doing.

Is Running Good For You After 50?

So is it good for you to run after you’re 50? Well, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might like.

The first thing to be aware of is if you have been pretty much a lifetime runner. Now, this is true of me. If you have been a lifetime runner, say in your 20s, 30s and 40s, there’s a good chance that your body has adapted to running. So basically, it’s the adage, if you don’t, use it you lose it. Well, if you’ve never used it, then you never know if you’ve lost it or not.:)

If you’ve never run, and you start running at 50, then, of course, you can still do it, but you’ve got to allow your body to adapt to the habit of running, particularly if perhaps say you’re overweight. So you then have to have a training regime that builds up slowly so that you avoid any potential injuries, but there’s no reason why somebody in their 50s Who’s never run could not begin running.

However, you’ve just got to make sure that you follow some of the tips in this article around recovery, and also make sure when you’re actually running that you start slow and easy and build up steadily to make sure that your body adapts to the changes that you’re asking of it.

I often say acceptance is not the same as giving up.

So, what I mean by that is if you’re looking to start running or start running again in your 50s, you have to accept that you are different from how you were probably in your 40s but definitely in your 30s and 20s.

Now deep down, many of us don’t really like to accept that we’ve changed. However, as I’ve said, this is not the same as giving up. Too many people in their 50s use their age to excuse not to do a thing because they’re too old.

The reality is, yes, you can run in your 50s. Yes, you can run to a very high standard. However, you will have to accept that you’re going to have to approach your running differently than if you’d started running in your 20s, your 30s, or even possibly your 40s as well.

Should a 50-year-old Run Every Day?

So, should a 50-year-old runner run every day? Well, it comes back to my earlier point. A lot of that will come down to how much running you’ve done up to your 50s; if you’ve been a regular runner, then you may well have the ability and the recovery to run pretty much every day.

However, as a general rule, I would say for most runners in their 50s, either beginners or runners who have run regularly throughout their life, the likelihood is that you’re going to need more recovery.

So, for example, my training regime is, I have Mondays as a rest day. Tuesdays, I do some speed session and strength at some point in the day, Wednesdays is an easy run Thursdays, is an easy run Fridays is a speed session/tempo run. And then, Saturdays is usually something either recovery run or another rest day, and then Sunday’s, I have my long run.

So that’s broadly my routine depending on what I’m actually training for. So, some people starting might only run 4 days. But the reality is, as an older runner, you’ve got to balance out two opposing opposites, which are one running every day will probably mean for many people that they wouldn’t recover well enough. And they would more likely face injury. However, the opposing opposite is, the more you can be consistent with your running as a 50-year-old runner or older, the better you’re generally going to get because the consistency and the regularity of your running will mean that you will improve.

So you have to balance out the two, and it really does come down to how well you’ve adapted to running, How much running you’ve done in the past, what types of injuries or not that you’ve had. What is your weight, like, at this moment? And what type of recovery do you normally find you have? And balance out all those factors to really decide how often per week you want to run.

But if in doubt, I would say, not going beyond five days a week would be great. And having two rest days in a week would definitely be a good place to start. And for really early adopters to running may even be three days and build up from there.

The whole goal is to be consistent and to be consistent. You have to try and avoid unnecessary injury. So, you know the goal should always be that.

So if it means running one less day that you get a better recovery, and that means that you can continue to be consistent through a month or a year, then that’s what you should do.

Do Older Runners Need More Rest

Do older runners need more rest? As mentioned in my last part of the article, the broad answer is yes, as I’ve mentioned. It will depend on how old you are, how fit you already are. And your genetics, but on a broad stroke, you’re going to need more rest to recover from your runs and making sure that that rest is in the right places in a week.

So, for example, doing a tempo run on a Tuesday, a more high-speed session. Then, in some cases, you will want on Wednesday, either a rest day or a very, very easy run on Wednesday. And then another easy run, perhaps on Thursday. If you had to speed session on Friday, then you’d either have a very easy run on a Saturday or another rest day. So, the placement of your rest days can also be crucial.

Resist Being Sedentary; You Are Always In Effect In Recovery.

One of the biggest tips that I can give you is that people get older, into their 50s and sometimes even 40s. We tend to become more sedentary.

This is much more easily done in this day and age where many of us work in offices or particularly after the COVID pandemic. We work from home. It’s so easy to go from one chair to another chair to another chair. And this means that when people do often do physical activity, they risk being more likely to be injured, and I see so many runners on Facebook groups saying they’re injured. Obviously, injury is part of running; it’s a high impact sport, and particularly as you’re older, you are more likely to get injured.

However, if you can imagine that you are basically sedentary, say, 85% of the time, you are moving the rest of the time. You can see that your body’s being suddenly being shocked into activity.

What I like to try and do is integrate activity into my daily routine.

Now, I accept it’s easier for me because I own a hairdressing salon. So by default, I’m standing up for most of the day. However, my desk in my salon is a stand-up desk, so as I’m writing this now, I am standing up at my computer. I live three and a half miles away from my hair salon. But I walk those three and a half miles to the salon. And then I have my working day. And then I run home in the evening, via various routes, which mean I either have from a three and a half-mile run to a seven-mile run. So you can see that by integrating those factors into your daily routine, you can get more movement into your day.

You might like to learn about my FREE recovery secrets e-book

Running Recovery Over 50-Keep Inflammation At Bay

As a 50 plus runner, if you understand what inflammation in your body does, I feel you are more likely to do the actions and habits that will help you recover from your runs more effectively.

What Inflammation Is

So what is inflammation of the body?

Well, inflammation is basically when your body is fighting against things that harm it. So that could be that you’re injured or have a toxin in the body or certain infections. So it’s your body’s mechanism of defence, and it releases these chemicals into the body to protect your body. This, in essence, is not a bad thing; you need inflammation in your body for the reasons that I’ve mentioned.

However, if the process doesn’t stop over a couple of hours, then this is deemed to be more is chronic inflammation. So, the response that you have actually carries on. Leaving your body in almost like a fight or flight state all the time. And this can harm the body.

My Unmedical Thoughts On Inflammation That Might Help

A rather unusual example of how I see inflammation might help you understand it in a more basic inflammation, like internal rust.

Now, in, as we get older. As things get older, metal things do rust, so you’re always going to have a certain amount of rust. The point is if you look after yourself. And if you look after it, it says something like a car. It doesn’t rust as much.

And this is what I’m talking about in this article.

If, however, you don’t look after your car, your vintage car. And it begins to rust. In the end, the rust will eat away the body of the car, and it will cease to be the same car. It won’t look the same. And more than likely, in the end, it wouldn’t drive the same. I even once had a car that was so rusty that I could look down from the driver’s seat and see the road below me. 🙂

So, you’re going to get some rust, as you get older, how much you have. You have some control over, not complete. Ageing is a process, and we all know that we do get older in the end if we’re lucky.

However, looking at it from the perspective of rust, doing things that reduce the amount of rust is a way of looking at the body’s inflammation.

So that inflammation becomes something more tangible than just the word, and I found this in a very weird way, really useful because literally because if I don’t look after myself as I get older…..

I eat the wrong things; I don’t get enough sleep, I get stressed, my body aches…..

And it does feel like I’m creaking, and that, in effect, I imagined perhaps getting a little bit more. RUSTY So, perhaps use that analogy if it helps you visualise the kind of impact that chronic inflammation can have on your recovery as a runner.

Why Does Knowing About Inflammation Important To Older Runners?

So why should you actually care about inflammation? Well, basically, as I’ve said, low-level inflammation is a thing that’s happening in the body when the body is dealing with toxins etc… However, this process is not constant.

The problem you’ve got is when it becomes chronic, so it just basically is constantly happening within your body. It’s in a constant state of alert.

So when that happens, that can have a negative impact on tissues in your body, which can lead to problems; way beyond this article, some research impacts things like cancer and asthma.

However, for the reasons we’re discussing today, which is recovery as you get older, the constant and chronic inflammation will mean that you will have underlying symptoms that mean that your recovery from things like running will be slower and less effective.

Signs Of Inflammation

So what are some of the signs of low-level chronic inflammation?

Things like difficulty concentrating, mouth sores, skin rashes, mood swings, constantly feeling tired, persistent aches and pains can be some of the key pointers towards that you may have some low-level inflammation.

What Can You Do About Inflammation?

So what can you do about inflammation? There are several things, and they’re pretty common sense really, they’re almost the reverse of what causes the inflammation in the first place. Pretty much what causes the inflammation is a low-grade diet and very low-grade exercise.

Now, if you’re a regular runner, you should be getting a reasonable amount of exercise. So the first place to really look at would be your diet; diet has become an absolute battleground these days. So I want to point out to you. What I consider pretty obvious when you look at your plate, what winning the plate wars for you?

Do you generally look on your plate whatever you eat, vegan or if you’re carnivore diet, or whatever you do, if you eat meat, is the meat of high quality, or is it junk food?

Does your plate always have a fair smattering of greens on it? Or don’t you ever hardly eat any vegetables.

Do you eat regularly fruit?

So, are you consuming mainly what I could call real food versus food that is junk made up? Basically, it’s not either grown in the ground or comes directly from an animal.

If that’s the case, then you’ve got to start looking at what you eat.

Are you making sure that you’re well-hydrated throughout the day so that you’re getting you’re flushing out toxins in your body?

I’ve obviously mentioned exercise, and as a runner, you should be doing a fair bit of exercise, but it’s worth pointing out that many runners are. Like I’ve mentioned earlier in this article are pretty sedentary the rest of the time, so it’s well worth making sure that you integrate good levels of movement throughout your day, and also make sure that as an older runner that you are looking at things like strength training because you will lose muscle mass, as you get older, due to muscle wastage.

Another area to look at is sleeping yet again. We all know that we probably should sleep more. But the facts are that most people throughout the western world do not get enough sleep, and they also don’t get enough quality sleep.

So become aware of how much sleep you’re getting. Are you getting that eight or nine-hour of sleep? Or are you like most people sleeping about six hours a night?

And also, what is your sleep hygiene like? Are you turning off electrical devices an hour before you go to sleep to make sure you get the quality of sleep that you require versus broken sleep throughout the night, which will mean that you may lay in bed for a certain amount of time? However, the time you’re actually asleep, can be a lot fewer people who’ve got devices that track their sleep are always quite shocked that the amount of time they spend in the bed versus the amount of time they actually get quality sleep can be significantly different?

Another area to look at is stress; in effect, inflammation is your body’s response to stress. So, when you’re looking at your life. We, all, of course, need stress the same as your body needs inflammation.

We all need some stress and challenges in our life, but the same as internal inflammation. If your external stress is constant, it causes problems for your body because your body is fighting that stress, every day and that’s going to cause problems.

So try to make time to take time out of your routine. Some people find meditation really effective. Sometimes it’s just a case of going for a short walk in your lunch hour at work; whatever it is, find a way to find the reset button that works for you.

is runners high a myth

I am a 57-year-old runner that is determined to give ageing a good run for its money :)
Running has given so much, from running 10Ks, marathons, and ten marathons in 10 days.
In this blog, I want to help other runners get better and get the secondary benefits of running: more energy, improved mood and functional fitness.

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