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5 Things Aging Runners Need To Do In Your 50s, 60s, and Beyond

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By Andy Jones-Wilkins
CTS Ultrarunning Coach

When I turned 50 I felt like an old man, just like that. While I know “age is just a number” there was something about the Big 5-0 that felt a bit different. Put bluntly, it felt to me that after 50 I was on the downhill side of life.

So, after being depressed about this realization for a little bit, I began noodling around with thoughts of what in my life gives me pleasure and how I can takes those things and find ways to maintain or enhance them in this stage of life. And, of course, running was close to the top of my list. It is certainly one of the most pleasurable parts of my daily existence and so, as both a runner and a running coach, I began to reflect on what things are most important to the aging runner. And, in the process, I came up with five key tips to keep running happily into old age. Here they are:

Start Runs Slowly

At my age, gone are the days when I could just roll out of bed every morning, jump into my running clothes, and bust out out sub-7 minute miles right off my doorstep. Now, I spend the first creaky 10 minutes or so of every run making sure everything still works, getting blood streaming out to the extremities, and cranking up the heart rate to a somewhat sustainable level. As such, it’s important to not stress about the laborious nature of those first few miles, but rather to embrace them as part of the process and allow them to be a gateway into something better during the second part of the run.

Take More Easy Days

Many younger runners have, over the years, practiced the hard/easy training pattern on a weekly and monthly basis. And for much of my running life, I did the same. However, with age I have gravitated toward a hard/easy/easy cycle. Simply put, it seems the extra easy day between hard efforts allows the hard efforts to actually be hard rather than just another attempt at a slog when I really should be going easy. Having quality hard efforts also builds confidence, so even though I have fewer of them these days I find I get more bang for my buck out of them.

Build Up Over Months, Not Weeks

Though we are getting older, many of us still have long term goals, whether they are big summer 100-mile races, an elusive loop we’ve always wanted to complete, or simply coming to the starting line of the local 50K as fit as possible. In my experience the older athlete needs more time to build to a peak than a younger one. A fitness level that may have taken 8 weeks to achieve in our 30’s may now take 16-20 weeks to achieve. I like to think I’ve traded in my old sports car for a large diesel truck. It simply takes longer to crank up the old engine than it used to.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Your Younger Self

It’s inevitable. At some point, you’ll realize you can’t run a sub-20 minute 5K anymore. In fact, it may be a struggle to run a sub-30. And guess what, that’s just fine! Rather than being demoralized by the phenomenon of slowing down with age, either live in the moment and be content with the runner you are now, or flip that comparison on its head and be proud of your experience and all the things you know now that you didn’t know then.

Revel in the Fact You’re Still Running

As we come to grip with the fact we are slowing down physically, we must remember we are not slowing down cognitively. As such, it’s important to put our brains to good use and continue to train the mind. One simple way to do this is to remain positive, optimistic and hopeful; not just about running, but about life. And the best way to do that is to give ourselves a daily reminder that it is a gift we can still run at all and running is a gift that should be nurtured, savored, and celebrated.

And there you have it, five tips to keep running into the Golden Years. Hopefully, you can use these tips to help stay motivated and fresh even as Father Time marches on.

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Comments 72

  1. Being a fitness specialist at a wellness & spa center in Australia, I can easily relate this blog with many of my customers. I personally guide many of them about daily routine and at least try to be busy with some physical activities. It is must to follow a strict diet with a proper plan to stay fit once you cross your 40’s.

  2. While I ran one Ultra in my younger years (age 31) I didn’t pick back up on them until after the age of 50. At 61 now, I’ve run more than 70, with a number of DNF’s in that group. What I would add to this list and discussion is to push yourself, keep pushing yourself, by doing things that are at, or beyond, your limits. Don’t be afraid to fail, to miss a cutoff, to give it all in the pursuit of a goal even if the outcome is uncertain. In fact, that is the one bit of advice I would give beyond all others.

  3. “When I turned 50 I felt like an old man, just like that.”

    Oh good, it’s not just me…. 🙂 So much of what you wrote is what I’m experiencing. I definitely noticed running get much harder after turning the 5-0 corner. A few year later and now it’s sometimes a chore just to get started but I know things’ll feel better after I do. When I was younger my competitive side definitely showed up on event day and the race’s outcome was the goal. Now I really like just being out on the trails and experiencing the day with the other runners and volunteers.

  4. Humm….my partner is 61 years old and was an enthusiastic runner until about 5 years ago when her knees said enough. She cannot kneel. She has to be very careful when walking down hills. Some days are better than others. She is lucky that we can still walk uphill for about 10 miles but enjoys cycling now. As a former Consultant in a hospital, I do wonder whether the warning signs of joint damage are sufficiently well known. Artificial knees can be very good but clinical outcomes can be disappointing.
    And before you ask, yes, she was careful in her shoe choice.

  5. Good morning to all of you. I commend all your accomplishments. I mention my age, 86, only
    because it seems part of the general introduction. I can not say anyone should run, walk or ride.
    I have spinal stenosis and the body gave some instructions to choose from. One was to ride a
    bike and it was a blessing. Being associated with Carmichael Training and a wonderful coach has been part of the blessing. You all seem to be moving and that seems to be what counts.

    Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year.

  6. In general, I agree with you AJW. We need to accept the physical and physiological changes in our bodies as we age. And then we need to adjust how fast, how hard, and how often we pursue our passions. As you point out, the main thing is finding ways to continue to enjoy the things that bring us happiness and health. As with anything, if you find intrinsic value and joy in your athletic pursuits you will figure out how to stay with them.

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  8. I’m a relative youngster at age 52, but I’ve run 88 marathons and ultras (mostly ultras) in the last 3 years. I celebrated turning 50 by running 10 marathons in 10 days and a year later upped it to 10 x 50K in 10 days. I ran my first 100-mile race last year, two more this year and I’m still happily working up to harder races, new challenges. I’ve started doing my running club’s interval training sessions and have finally started strength training. My goal for next year (having spent the last 3 years rebuilding confidence and endurance after some non-running-related injuries) is to get faster at distances from marathon to 100-mile. I’m probably fitter now than I’ve ever been in my life – and I’ve always been fairly active. I realise that at some point I’ll get slower, but at the moment I’m taking inspiration from club members such as Keith Simpson (who posted earlier) and others older than me who are still running PBs, at distances variously from 5K to marathon (and in Keith’s case beyond).

  9. AJW, I can’t believe how many comments this post generated; this topic clearly hits a nerve! As a now 50-year-old, I agree with what you say. This line resonated especially, “it’s important to not stress about the laborious nature of those first few miles, but rather to embrace them as part of the process and allow them to be a gateway into something better during the second part of the run.” My first couple of miles — especially here living at 9000 feet high altitude — feel so difficult, I hike most of the way until the blood starts flowing, and I normally can’t really run until 2 – 3 miles into it. Keep up the good work.

  10. Want to find out why running in old age is good? Stop running. Very soon you’ll experience a diminution in quality of life. The chronic aches you get from running are a small price to pay for the health benefits you will forego if you quit running.

    When you’re twenty, running really doesn’t have that noticeable an effect on your health because, in youth, you are going to be healthy no matter what you do. You can eat what you want, and smoke and get drunk, and quickly recover. But in middle and old age it really does matter if you don’t exercise, or you eat too much. The natural resilience you had in youth, the sturdy resistance to illness and fatigue, is gone.

    So run, you codgers. It’ll save you a lot of grief. It’s like brushing your teeth.

    1. I am 60. Have been walking 3-4 km almost regularly but was never running. Few months back I started running 4 km daily and achieved this mark in 25 minutes. Then after continuous training of 2 months, at the advice of others, started taking a break now and then. Then my hip and ham started aching, forcing me to take longer breaks. I came to realize the importance of stretching. Now I think after 2 months of under-activity I m am once again ready for the running. Can you please tell me if it would again result in return of those aching experiences.

  11. These comments came just as a ring to the finger for me. I started running 14 years ago, I’m 64. Have run marathons and a couple of trails. And this year started to note and feel that I was too slow, and could not increase my pace. I’m healthy, except that this year had a problem on my low back that goes and come again. My doctor suggested to stop running al least for 6 months. Anyway I’m going to do this half marathon and see what happens.! I take the warm up advice, now I understand why. Also stretch enough and rest. Great tips and you’re right to thank for the gift of still be running and healthy. Thanks!!

  12. Started running after I retired early aged 60.
    Did my first marathon at 64 then 25 others (in alphabetical order of the marathon name, in different countries, in the next 3 and a half years.
    Then I ran 13 multi-day ultra-marathons in a year, then 4 50 milers and a handful of other ultras in the next year.
    This year, at 70 I have run my first 100 miles race finishing almost 4 hours inside the 30 hour cut-off.

    1. Wow! Amazing bio!
      Do you attribute your fitness and endurance to the fact that you didn’t start racing until “later in life”? What was your fitness/exercise routine during your working years?

    2. Keith, I see you did the South Downs Way 100 Miler? I’m turning 64 and looking for one in 2020 that’s age doable. Can you recommend it? Thanks!

    3. So inspiring!

      I am a 47 year old mother of two (7 and 9 years old). I started running after my first born at age 38.

      I always wished I had not waited so long to start running, because there is still so many places I want to go with it! My family is a priority right now, and i look forward to future adventures in running when I have more free time. In the back of my mind there is sometimes a nagging worry that I might be too old, when I will actually have the time to do these adventures!

      I just loved reading about what you are doing! So awesome!


    1. Thanks for your coment
      I’m 59 and I have been running
      For 40 years, and I have to say
      That I am grateful and thankful
      That I can still running with
      Literally no problems or pains,
      And yes, like you, I will keep
      Running until the end

  14. At 62, I’m out there or on the treadmill 4x/week, but there is no joy in Mudville. I used to do my treadmill runs in front of a window where I could view a bright glowing blue Tony Stark heart powering me from one fast 5k to (break for 2 minutes) a second. Now I watch myself in that same window and there is not bright glowing heart, not even a spark. My speedwork pace is what my 5K pace was just 5-6 years ago. That’s just tragic. No consolation from the fact that I can still put in the miles. Just sadness at the inevitable slide downhill.

  15. If I can make another comment, most of the posters on this thread have run marathons. I have never even dreamed of doing such a thing, and in fact I doubt if I have ever run a sub-six minute mile in my life. Running marathons has nothing to do with what most people would reasonably call physical fitness. People who run marathons are probably extremely strong to begin with and (in my opinion) more than a little compulsive.

    Running has served me well since I took it up at age 25. When I was in my thirties I commonly ran about twenty-five miles a week. Twice a year, I would run in 10k races that were open to all comers. I’m a man of average strength and health, and it turned out that aerobic running was the exercise that was right for me. I could do it reasonably competently, I enjoyed it and I certainly never thought of it as an obligation, or something I dreaded doing. (Which is how I thought of gym class in school.) I have run regularly for more than forty years, except for about four months when I couldn’t run because my knees wouldn’t support my weight. After my knees healed enough to run, I ran regularly again, even though the doctors I consulted told me never to run again.

    I don’t think running is for everybody. I doubt if endomorphs should run, and mesomorphs are probably better off weight-lifting. But for thin people, running is a very good thing.

    The aging process is real, and if you ignore it you’ll do yourself damage. At 67, my health goal (which I’ll concede is probably unattainable) is to have the take-it-for-granted health I enjoyed when I was fifteen. Remember how that was, before the gym teachers had got their hooks into you, when you just used your body any way you had to, and it worked, and nothing in it hurt, and you didn’t even care that much how it looked? That’s what I’d like, and running helps me to a fairly good simulacrum of it.

    Most people my age have at least one chronic health problem, for which they must take medication. I myself have sore, tired legs, but my heart and lungs and all my other innards are so healthy that I don’t ever think about them. I do believe that running can be credited for my healthy organs, and also blamed for my achy legs.

    1. I am 61, have run 5 marathons, but no more. Too many aches and pains. Just a fun 5K now and then but mostly just light and easy stuff. You don’t have to run marathons to say in good shape.

    2. I started running in my early 40’s, still running about 25 miles per week at 50 now. 2 times per week on treadmill and 2-3 times outdoors. I have built one out door day up to a ten miler, feel fine except my legs overall ache throughout my work days. I run those ten mile days on weekends. Beginning of work week my legs seem to ache the most. I have been wrapping my lower legs in ice packs to help. Any advice?

      1. Hi Marcie, I’m 57, started running at 49. My legs used to always ache until I started stretching. Now I try to do light stretching before a run and almost always after a run, especially long runs. Hamstrings, calves, glutes, and thighs. If they are a little sore, I massage with some moisturizer until they feel better. Not sitting down after a run seems to help too. I usually walk the dog after.

    3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts… restarted running at 55/56… finding it enjoyable for the most part and like you can’t picture the marathon as a part of my reality… however I’m working toward my 1st 1/2 marathon this December… I have similar goals, keep everything working to the end!

      🙂 ERS

    4. I started running about 8 months ago,I’m 58 yr old male,i ran some when real young and was pretty good,but after 4 yrs in military ,I didnt run until now,I really enjoy it and getting a little better ,no competition events ,just me and my music ,the therapy of running is what helps me deal,, thank you for the stories

  16. I’m 67, and I run a slow two miles about five times a week. This is a long way from my late 20s, when I ran six days a week without much in the way of discomfort, although I was never anything but a duffer when it came to things like 10k races.

    I ran into injuries when I was in my early 40s. These were the results of aggressive foolishness, which led me to attempt to outrun middle age, and I ended up spraining both knees. I declined surgery for those injuries (which was recommended by an orthopedic surgeon) and my knees have slowly healed and are now pain free. When I say “slowly” that is certainly the word, as the process to pain-free knees took seventeen years.

    I’m in good overall health for my age. I have young man’s blood pressure, and I’m not on any medications, which is rare in a Canadian my age. But I ache a little. Often the soles of my feet are numb. But I do enjoy running still, even if it is often just an old man’s shuffle.

    I do a few calisthenics. Push-ups, sit-ups, toe touches and deep knee bends. I never do these to the point of failure. At my age, if your body fails it may not recover.

    My big health tip for anyone is, don’t let your weight creep up on you. I have always been thin (I’m six foot four and I weigh about 175 pounds), but I do moderate my food intake to avoid growing a paunch. I am convinced (maybe whimsically) that this will aid in maintaining my health. But after 70 years, I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to run even at the light pace I can manage now, so I’m on borrowed time and I am mindful of that, and I enjoy the running capacity that still remains to me.

  17. Great tips. More discipline around rest and recovery is what I’m finding essential. Diet is increasingly more important. I’m 65 and do a Olympic distance triathlon each summer. I spend 4 months training and my diet gets equal attention during this time.

  18. I’m 74 now. I ran in H.S. and college, then only intermittently after that. At age 60 I began running in earnest. For the next 7 years or so, I set my ‘old age’ PR’s each year. But then, as I neared 70, I began running slower and slower. I usually win my Age Group in all races from 5k to Half-Marathon, but I’m running slower each year by about 30 seconds in the Half. And now, I’m even cutting back on my training, running only every other day and doing 100 crunches on my off-days. I don’t know if running only every other day is hurting me or not. But I have no desire anymore to run 5 days per week like I was. I guess I’ll find out this summer in my next Half. I’ve won the Top of Utah Half Marathon for my age group 5 years in a row now. But I’m worried this year. Does anyone have any advice for me on running every other day thing?

    1. my issue is whether training at our age really helps or hinders…..I need the rest and I run 2-3 marathons a year with an obligatory 1/2 in Indy, so my schedule is full. I’m finding the need to rest longer and longer between events….even mowing the lawn seems a chore. I suggest to pick 1 race to concentrate on a year and just do the others plus some training for the love of it….

      1. oh by the way….I’m 67…..75 marathons and 41 states…..Crater Lake and The Tunnel in Oregon and Washington in August 2019…….”remember that REST is part of training”

  19. Thanks for this article! At 64, the “slow-warmup” advice is definitely on target. After running the NY Marathon in 1977, I took 31 years off before running LA in 2008 and I’ve been running since.
    Running has been my therapy as a few years ago I was hit with all the symptoms of Meniere’s disease (a balance disorder). So I head out the door point my self down the road and if I don’t stop, I won’t tip over! But I thank God for what running has meant to me and the sanity it has given me battling vertigo and balance issues. To date, I have been a Clydesdale runner — over 220 lbs for most races — but I absolutely love just being out there and seeing what I can do. I try to train consistently but have had off on on periods over the past few years where I will take a month or so off. I’ve done 11 straight LA Marathons and would love to think I can break my Steamtown marathon PR of 4:21 but it’s getting harder and harder to get even close. So, knowing that I got in the lottery for NY Marathon for 2019, I have decided that — if I want to continue running marathons, I have to drop about 30 lbs. Don’t know how that will affect my time, but I know it will be a major plus for health if I manage diet and training. Regardless of how fast or slow I might be, I plan to keep running 1/2s and fulls for as long as I can – -and when I can’t run anymore, I’ll still try to get out there and do my best. Most of all, there is something mystical about pushing yourself to the limit and when you put your foot on the plate at the finish line, it’s worth it — and all the people I’ve met and places running has taken me to is a gift I will always cherish.

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  21. I will be 53 in 3 months’ time, I have been running in my teens off and on, half marathons, full marathons. During this period I learnt that stretching is a must before and after, including yoga etc. It helps recovery and prevent injuries. In other words this pre- preparation (stretching) but sometimes overlooked, increasingly becomes the most import element of the jog as you get older. Mathematically, the time you spend doing stretching increases at an arithmetic progression rate as you get older. I am hoping to run into my 70s and possibly 80s. I mainly jog at a steady pace to keep fit, although I sometimes increase my speed when I see fellow joggers.

  22. Another thing to remember is that we all don’t age at the same rate. Just as in our younger days some are more gifted (bigger VO2, more RBC, more natural testosterone, etc.) and can run faster so too older athletes can be more gifted (the aging process takes place slower). I’m 59 and have gone from being in the top 5-10% of my age group to now being in the bottom 20% of my age group. I have gone from running dozens of marathons to having difficulty running 1/2 marathons. Like others have said it is good to still be running. I have adjusted my PR’s. For example this year I ran my fastest 10 Km at age 59. Cheers.

  23. Hmmmm, seems like you’re still a youngster (coming from a 62 year-old). And it seems like most of what you wrote is intuitive (?). But who knows. At 60 I realized I was never going to get faster than I am (competitive Nordic skiing, road biking, trail running, etc.) but that’s what is not important. What is important is 1) deriving joy from what you do; 2) doing what you can to be as good as you can be; and 3) passing it along to others.

  24. Jesse no reason at 50 you cannot run well and set some PRs…It has been said it takes 7-10 yrs for a endurance runner to mature regardless of the age they start…Ok I have some pretty good self proof…ran my 1st 5k age 42,5 yrs later ran my 5k pr 17:29 8 yrs later my best 10 miler 1:03 excatly 10 yrs I ran my best half 1:21:42,from there my speed kept decressing every year natural occurance,did manage a 1:28 half when I was 56,I then turned to Ultras,hey top gear was stripped but the low gears were working just fine,Ran a hundred miler in 08 age 58 no record but respectful I think,age 64 ran my Pr 50k 8 yrs after my first4:29…slowed down since but no one at any age keeps top form forever.

    1. That’s a nice sentiment .. but it’s not v realistic. Big cliffs happen regularly sprinkled throughout the forties .. and yea another one happened at 50. I doubt that makes me unusual. Too many headwinds to not be slowed : beyond the known ones of lower max heart-rate, lower v02max, lower tendon/muscle elasticity (and possibly strength though I’ve managed to keep most of that) – there is the longer recovery and the susceptibility to injuries. I went from four years injury free in mid forties to four years mostly injured.

  25. When I was in my early 70s, I knew from studying the results of large races that I would have a precipitous increase in running times in my mid-70s. Sure enough, it happened at age 75. When I was 70, I ran a 1:52 half marathon and a 1:21 10 miler. Now, at 77, I feel fortunate to beak 2:30 for a half or 1:50 for 10 miles. I agree that I should celbrate that I can still make it to the starting line and cross the finish line with a smile, but I sometimes regret the slowing.

  26. I retired this year aged 65. I used to trail run intermittently in my 40s but acquired two meniscal tears and so mostly was a regular swimmer. Started doing yoga aged 55, loved it, despite breaking my l kneecap (bowling) at 57, but when I retired I needed something to get me outdoors. So I started trail running again. Built up slowly, got a stress fracture nonetheless, so eased right back and just listen to my body. Knocked 12 minutes off my pb for 10k last weekend to get in under 60 minutes (I know it’s not v fast, but remember where I’m coming from here) Just had a great 16k mountain run and getting ready for my first 50km next month. Age isn’t a barrier, just a parameter. Will do this as long as I can, then probably resort to walking. Doing what I can and enjoying it. That, to me, seems to be the point.

    1. Follow up – can’t remember when I posted the above, but it must have been two years ago. DNF’d the 50 but did my second, easier route, The Serpent 50, in 7 hours, which I thought was ok. Did the Hong Kong Moontrekker 42Km in 7 hours also, and most recently finished 25th overall and first in my age category for the HK Summits 27km with 2500m of vertical in just over 5 hours. I find I vary, week to week, some weeks feel great, other weeks, too pooped to do much, I just listen to my body, try to enjoy it and am more modest in my expectations. But 2 years on, my VO2max has increased 6% and my Garmin tells me I’m in the to 20% of 20 year olds, which is probably not where I was when I was a 20 year old. Do what you can and enjoy.

  27. One of the things I started to do as I passed the 60 mark was to focus much more attention of my heart rate, heart rate variability, and Strava freshness and fitness numbers as a way to measure what level of effort my body was ready for each morning. Individually, I have found it hard to trust any one number, but the combination of these resulting in a warning signal to slow down has been very useful. That, in turn has also allowed me to better understand days where I can really push myself.

  28. February 11th I turn 59 and have been running since 1980. Six road and one trail marathons, one road 50K ultra with 15:55 5k, 32:55 10k, and 1:16:00 half marathon bests. Today, trying to get even close to those times achieved in my 20’s in unrealistic. What is realistic is seeing what my 55-59 and 60-64 age group winning times are and using these as goals, if so motivated to being on the age group podiums like I am. I also am a huge believer is stretching and using intense runs cautiously only when my body feels good enough. I’ve never been one to strictly adhere to a structured training plan. I always loved Joan Benoit Samulson’s statement that within her first twenty steps out the door will determine how she will run. While I need more steps, depending upon how my first minutes go will determine whether this will be a slow HR Z2, temp, or intensity run. Listen to your body and embrace rest and eat well. Doing so will elongate your ability to continuous running.

  29. The responses referencing intensity and strength training would be better framed as reminders that we can benefit from Andy’s points by reviewing our training plans (including type, frequency and dose of intensity and strength training), with his thoughts in mind. The article and points regarding intensity and strength training aren’t mutually exclusive—I don’t read him to be addressing those specific points at all. Most of what Andy writes resonates with me, a 56-year old endurance athlete who has moved from being a sub-5 5000 meter and XC runner in his youth through decades of weight gain and loss of strength and CV fitness to return to train to run ultra distance. The CTS team I’ve worked with fully supports my 2-3x weekly strength training, as well as prescribing (at appropriate points in the training plan) interval training on track 2x weekly, along with tempo intervals on dirt, fartlek, hill repeats and steady state workouts. I doubt Andy is suggesting we lay back and adopt the easier path of using only LSD to train after 50. I get my share of workouts requiring an RPE of 9/10. Of course those referencing strength and intensity training are right—I agree that the importance of the strength, stability and pliometric training I do is indispensable to improved performance as is speed work. I also agree with Friel and Andy that, while guarding against falling into complacency and a fear of injury that leaves us doing only LSD is critical to both retarding the inevitable declines the same research referenced in comments demonstrates is associated with aging and to optimize performance, it pays to be smart. Putting a realistic and positive attitude around our training and competition plans will be appropriately protective and instructive when rehabbing back from injury and illness when they do occur. In my opinion, we won’t accomplish what we’re capable of as Masters (which includes Open podium appearances at some events), if we don’t embrace both the fact we’re capable of pushing ourselves much harder than easy miles represent as well as understanding when to apply some clutch and brake. Frankly, all Andy is doing is framing the findings of the IOC Medical Committee Meta-Analysis identifying training dosage sweet spots relative to injury/ illness risks and performance in the context of a particular variable—aging. That study applies to all athletes, including international elites in their prime.

  30. I appreciate the tips in this article and AJW is definitely an inspiration for his running/endurance feats. I started running at 45, completed a mountain ultra at 47 and will be 50 on Friday. I just came off my best race ever in December and am looking for ways to gain strength and endurance to do my first 50 miler later in the year. “50 t 50” has a nice ring to it. I feel like if I just had more time in the day/week to train that I could still improve my running by leaps and bounds. I get it that I can’t look at Dylan Bowman’s or Sage Canaday’s Strava activities and expect to hit the same kinds of workouts that they do but I do expect to get better with more experience, increased mental toughness and more consistent training miles under the belt.

  31. Wait til 70, all these apply even more now. need to stretch a lot & yogi helps.
    Just thankful that I can still run 10Ks. Most of my old running buddies are not running at all.
    If you can’t out run them, out last them.

  32. Agree. “start out slowly…live in the moment … it’s a gift we can still run”. Please. That advice could apply to anyone. Your problem is not age it’s an enormous inferiority complex that you are working out in public.

    1. Dude, come on- that’s a rude and completely unproductive remark. And probably not true- but even if it were, so what? Even if he did have an inferiority complex (which again, I doubt he does) he has every right to write about it, and I have every right to be encouraged that people far more gifted and accomplished than I have struggles.

    2. It’s the love of running and the gift from God we can still do it . Always be thankful we can still run. Many cannot .give
      God the praise if you can

  33. As I’m entering my 40th year of triathlon competition and my 45th year of road racing, here are the keys I’ve found for master’s level runners:
    1. Consistency of Training: our body reacts positively to regular training as the “training effect” comes into play. This in turn creates the all-important muscle memory that we can rely on as we get older. As a certified coach I all to often encounter athletes that do not train regularly and wonder why they cannot perform close to what they did in the past.
    2. Interval Training with Intensity: at 68 I’ve been training with intervals since I started running in the early 70’s when the running boom hit the U.S. Now I run intervals 2 times/week (Tuesdays on the treadmill and Thursdays on straightaway neighborhood sidewalks) and have been able to maintain my speed over the last 8 years. If you do not practice running fast do not expect to run fast in competition. Your body will only produce what you’ve trained it to do.
    3. Functional Strength Training: this is probably the single most important factor in older competitors maintaining their running/fitness edge as they move on in years. Overall strength is rapidly lost as we age, so strengthen those key running muscles and don’t forget to stretch and stay loose.
    4. Weight Management: we have a natural tendancy to gain weight as we get older. What gives us the ill-founded logic to gain this weight since we’re actually not getting any toller? The faster runners are the leaner athletes; and yes there is a big correlation to body weight and speed in cycling and running.
    5. Active Rest: take a day off after hard days of training by doing light, high cadence cycling to keep your legs loose, yoga, or swimming followed by stretching and rolling.
    Final Thoughts: in my associations with age-group athletes over several decades I’ve found that there is a mentality of complacency that can sneak into our minds that becomes the biggest barrier to our success as older athletes. This can start with a nagging injury that is causing us frustration. Find out quickly what the cause is and get it rectified…and get back to training!

    1. This is a *great* comment: consistency, intervals (need that speed!), strength (if you use it you can keep it – but it wants to “run” away), and fix/deal with injuries aggressively and completely. It takes real attention to do so: maybe deep muscle massages, maybe significant PT – but keep after it.

  34. I don’t think he is discounting intensity or strength training, but instead referring to a general ethos to training in our older years when we are bound to find slower times and may get discouraged and want to hang up our shoes. Not sure what the “lazy fluff” you are referring to is, when he clearly talks about being able to train hard on your hard days.

  35. At 58 I feel stronger than ever, probably because I’m not as stressed as before even though I still have a full time career and train more consistently than in younger years. High intensity intervals, weight training and good nutrition are essential to keeping in shape (an untra runner and CTS athlete myself)
    Nice read. Thanks

  36. Great article! I have noticed many of these same things. I am not quite 50 yet but it does take me longer to warm my body up now & I have noticed a little extra rest time is needed between those highly focused intensity workouts. But what I love most about the article is that your sport makes you happy, not just the author, all of us.

  37. As a 61 year old Functional Ageing Specialist and triathlon coach high intensity sessions become more important as we get older in order to maintain VO2 max especially if the intention is to race endurance events such as Ironman. This article is contrary to current thinking.

  38. If you want to give good advice to athletes over 50 how about consulting the latest studies and start out with, ‘older athletes can still train/compete with intensity’ and ‘strength training is important as we age’ and not lazy fluff like “start out slowly…live in the moment … it’s a gift we can still run.”

    1. It’s a balance between enjoyment of a sport some of us have been doing for thirty to fifty years with achieving “alpha” goals which may or may not be important to all of us. Your attitude, which may, in fact work well for you, may be “ego driven nonsense” to others.

  39. This was very comforting to read. I’m 52 now, was a life long cyclist and, over the past three years, have worked to transform my body to being a runner. Something definitely changed after 50 and I can’t take my physical health for granted anymore. I’ve found that it’s necessary to pay more attention to details such as diet, consistency in year round training and self-care, but am grateful for more patience than I used to have in my younger years.

    I’ve also found that mobility plays a huge role in my body as to the comfort of running and even just getting out of bed. Yoga has become my new best friend and challenged my body to become stronger, especially from the core out. It made a huge difference in working toward the longer distances last year and completing R2R2R. After that I felt it was okay to now call myself a runner!

    Thanks for this article, it is much appreciated!

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