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Running with Age

I began running when I was about 38. I'm much older now, but in my mind I'm still 38 and should be able to do all of the things I did at that younger age. However, in my body I'm older, and I'm finding out that running now is different than it was before. During my 40s and 50s I didn't notice much difference in my ability to run and my ability to recover from heavy runs. But, I do notice differences now. I need more time to recover from a heavy run, and I have to allow more time for my body to adjust to increases in my distance. Also, I'm discovering that consistently getting enough sleep in more important now than it was in my younger years. In order to get more rest, I'm only running four days per week, for a total of 30 - 33 miles per week.

Here is a great article on getting rest.


I still have the enjoyment from running that I had during my younger years, and I still look forward to my runs. Because of my experience in running, I have more "wisdom" about my running, and I'm more content to use time as part of my training. I have no (well, almost no) desire to push, push, push to quickly reach faster and longer runs, I'm content to slowly increase my distance and my speed.

I'm sure that we will each react differently to our running as we grow older. If we listen to our bodies, this aging shouldn't be a problem. Our bodies will tell us when we need more rest. I think the biggest challenge will be the mental part of running. Instead of pushing, pushing, pushing to faster and longer runs, we will have to overcome those urges and listen to and obey our bodies. Constantly running at the upper limits of ones ability leads to injury, and for older runners the threshold for injury is thinner and is more easily penetrated.

I'm finding out that growing old is a great time of life, not just in running but in all aspects of life. I've always enjoyed being Allen Leigh. Life is a grand adventure, and my older years are just new and exciting chapters in that adventure. My goals in running are to run a half-marathon under two hours when I'm in my 70s and to run a half-marathon at any pace at age 100 :) When my time to pass-on comes, I hope it is a stroke while I'm out running. I think that would be a great way to say good bye to this wonderful life and a great way to begin the next chapter of my grand adventure! Hmmm... maybe I'd better carry some ID with me.

Jeff Galloway has published a book called Running Until You're 100. I recommend it for details about running as you get older.

Food is important for runners of all ages. Here is a good article on tips for older runners.


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