Get Out of the House with a Friend (and How that Relates to Running!)

first 5k training over 40 Dec 18, 2017

Get out of the house. Put your phone down. Go see a show. Go have dinner. Sit at a coffee shop and discuss a book. Whatever it is, get out among people and TALK. It is amazing what you will discover.

I went with my daughters to see a bunch of our musician friends perform over the weekend. It was a beautiful show. They all have a crazy amount of talent, so the fact that it was INCREDIBLE was no surprise. Witnessing the banter, and the smiles, it was clear the musicians enjoyed what they were doing. 

The afternoon would have been a success--even if taking two hours to relax and be inspired by our friends' gifts was all we accomplished. On the way in, and before the show, we chatted with several people we know who were in the audience. (Tip #1: it is good to get out into the world -away from your screen- and see and talk with your friends. It's good for us to interact with people face-to-face! And, you get a depth of conversation you don't get with texting and social media!)

One conversation kept me thinking later that night, and it wasn't any big, earth-shattering discussion. This friend I hadn't seen in a while mentioned that she had planned to participate in the Booties and Burpees challenge, but that the month got away from her, and she missed it. (I sent her the link, and she's starting this week!)

She also mentioned that she still wanted to run a 5K. We've talked about that bucket list 5K for years. The last time she mentioned it, she had been running for a few weeks and got injured. Life happens... and she wasn't able to start back up. I get it. She's a busy mom, and we all know how tough it is to carve out time for our own activities and interests.

It wasn't that part of the conversation that had me thinking though. Next, she asked if I thought she could run. She's over 40, and like many of us, she is starting to feel the aches and pains that come with getting older. (Ugh. Did I just admit to getting older?! I like to think I'm young and cool, but my body tells me otherwise!) She's gained a little weight (Yep. I can relate. It is part of aging too.) Her body hurts a little more than it did. (Check. I feel ya.) And, she's still worried about that running-related injury. (Uh hu. It's a common concern.)

The question is... can someone start running when they are over 40? Or even over 45 or 50?

Absolutely! But, I think you need to go about it differently than you might have when you were in your 20s or 30s.  The quick version of this is that we don't need to run more to run later in life, but we do need to address the things that younger runners can sometimes get away with skipping.

1) Your body will require more rest. Instead of trying to run five or six days a week, consider running 3-4 days a week. Give your body time to recover. 

2) Take the time to warm up. Go through some warm up exercises and drills to prepare your body to run. I like a warm up that includes exercises for my ankles, hips and back. If your ankle doesn't have the full range of motion, you will feel that all the way up your kinetic chain... possibly in your knees, hips or back (and that lack of motion is a "good way" to get shin splints too.)

3) Start your program off with run/walk intervals. Count street lights or driveways or trees. And decide how many you will run before you take a walk break. Or set your running watch to intervals. Decide how long you will run or walk. Maybe starting out, you will alternate running for 30 seconds and walking for two minutes. As you progress, that ratio will eventually flip so you are running longer than you are walking. BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND TO YOUR BODY.

4) Take the time to work on strength, stability and core exercises. I like to have my clients practice standing on one foot for 30 seconds at a time. This is a great one to do while brushing your teeth, or while you are in line at the store. I also like squats, single leg deadlifts, banded side steps, push ups and burpees. See this video for some tips on balance and posture. And see this video for some core exercise ideas.

5) Take time to work on mobility and flexibility. At the end of your run, or later in the day while you're watching television or chatting with your family, stretch. Work on range of motion. And this is not just a "runner thing." This is "move better for a better quality of life thing. (This was my number one tip for getting through the joint and muscle pain associated with chemo. I did yoga and stretched for about 6-10 minutes several times a day.)

Yes! I believe anyone can run-no matter their age. Of course, you want to visit your doctor and make sure you do not have any health issues that will keep you from being safe! After that, the secret is in taking the time to do the things that will keep you active for life--whether you run or not! Rest, mobility work, strength and balance work, flexibility work, and a smart plan to get you to your goal happy and healthy!

If you want some guidance as you train for your first 5K or half marathon, I have a virtual run club that can help! You get new content and videos each week to walk you though the things you need to consider as you train. I go into more detail about the points above, and you get it in small doses so you have time to think about it and apply it to your training.

Circling back to getting out of the house... 

Take the time to get out of the house and to interact with people. Besides the feel-good vibes you will get from seeing a friend's smile as you talk, your conversations will go deeper. When life gets challenging, we can all benefit from connection.

Share your love.

Share your joy.

Share your passion.

Send your light out into the world.

You never know whose life you will influence - or who will change your life - if you hide behind a screen all the time.


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