Older runners

Bob Davidson, 70 years young

Bob Davidson, 70 years young

Running is an excellent sport for people as they get older.  As we shall see, it provides significant benefits which can offset the effects of ageing.  Some people take up running so that they can keep fit and trim when they no longer feel able to participate in contact sports such as football and rugby.  (More than half the runners in the New York City Marathon are over forty.)

The effects of ageing

From the 30s onwards, a number of physical changes take place in the average person’s body.  Aerobic capacity decreases, muscle mass reduces, muscle elasticity reduces, lung elasticity declines, bone density reduces, the metabolism slows, body fat increases and the immune system becomes weaker.

These changes will have an adverse impact on running performance. The fall in aerobic capacity, reduced stride length, reduced leg strength, and reduced ability to store energy all contribute to deterioration in performance.  In general, it is thought that running speeds over any distance deteriorate by about 1% a year from a peak at some point in the 30s; and we appear to lose aerobic capacity at about 9-10% a decade.

However, older runners can continue to perform extraordinary athletic feats.  Canadian athlete Ed Whitlock ran a marathon in 2:54:48 at the age of 73.  Carlos Lopes set the world marathon record at the age of 38.   Hal Higdon, marathon runner and writer, at the age of 52 ran a 10km in 31:08 and a marathon in 2:29:27.

“Age brings problems; it also brings solutions. For every disadvantage there is an advantage. For every measurable loss there is an immeasurable gain.”

George Sheehan
“Personal Best” 1989

The benefits of running for older people

The health benefits of running are broadly the same for older people as for everybody else. They include reductions in the risks of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer; reduced depression and anxiety; weight control; improved bones, muscles and joints; improved mobility and coordination, and a psychological sense of well-being.  What is especially important for older people is that the risk of developing these conditions grows as you get older, so the benefits of running are increased.    It is especially important for older people that running can improve muscle strength, coordination and bone density, all reducing the risk of falling and fracturing bones, and so increasing the prospects for living independently.[i]

Age categories

One of the reasons for the running boom in the last twenty years has been the growing use of age categories and prizes in many running events, which has enabled older runners to compete in races and have the opportunity to compare themselves with others in their age groups.

Age grading

Another way to adjust athletes’ performances with age has come with the introduction of age-grading tables.  These were developed by the World Association of Veteran Athletes, the world governing body for track and field, long distance running and race walking for veteran athletes.  The tables were first published in 1989.

You can calculate your own age-grading on the Running For Fitness website and you can also calculate the times you would need to achieve for a particular age-graded threshold.

The tables work by recording the world record performance for each age (interpolated where necessary) at each distance, for men and women.  For example, the world record for a 53 year old woman running a 10km is 35:41.  So if a 53 year old woman finishes a 10km in 47:35, she has an age-graded performance of 75% (which is 35:41 divided by 47:35).

The use of age-grading tables has allowed older runners to compete on more even terms with younger generations.  In many running clubs today, the age-graded champion earns as much, if not more, recognition as the outright (non-age adjusted) winner of the event.

Age grading can be used to compare performances across different ages and sexes; track your own performance over time; identify your best events; set goals for current and future years; and identify your best ever performance.  It can also be used as a predictor of how you might perform in races, based on your age-graded performance in a race of a different distance.

How to start running as an older person

There is no such thing as someone who is too old to start running.   Running helps to slow down the effects of ageing, improves the health, fitness and mobility of older people, and improves psychological health.

Anyone over the age of fifty should get a check-up by a doctor before they begin any programme of physical exercise (see Chapter 2 for other indications of when it is necessary to get an all-clear from a doctor).  In older people, the doctor will be particularly checking for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, to ensure that you can run safely.

Apart from getting a check‑up from a doctor, the advice for a new older runner is basically the same as for everyone else, and set out in detail in Chapter 2.  The main priorities are to build up slowly, and set yourself demanding but achievable goals.

Tips for older runners

The decline in performance with age is not preordained.  For example, the rate of decline of aerobic capacity can be halved to about 5% a decade, or even less, with the right training.

Here are some ways to manage the effects of ageing:

  • cut back the mileage, but increase your training quality (there is nothing to stop you from continuing to do fast speed work on the track – this is how Hal Higdon continued his remarkable performances);
  • take more rest days between sessions, and avoid overtraining;
  • increase the variety of your aerobic training, for example by aqua-running, cycling, swimming, and skiing;
  • warm up carefully before running, and stretch afterwards, to protect muscles which are less elastic and more prone to injury than they were when you were younger;
  • increase your weight training, to compensate for the decline in muscle mass which you would otherwise experience.

[i] Report of the US Surgeon General Physical Activity and Health, 1996

609 Responses to Older runners

  • Peter Cocker:

    I started running with Hastings Runners 3 years ago at 66. I did get to 23 miles per week but have dropped this to about 15 this year and still did a pb at 10km of 50.53 I think that runners World Mag should offer more articles for older runners to prevent us from asuming that the magazine is for us too! It is not. The training articles are really for younger runners and may damage older runners. Your article here for suggestions for older runners is excellent.

    I use your age related site regularly and have recommended it to others thanks a lot.

    • Walter Lorentsen:

      I agree with your comment that the training in various runners magazines categorizes older runners as late 40′s, 50′s, I want to seen some recommendations for those of us who are 70 and 80. I’m 83 and really would like to see some guidelines for my age. It would be great to see Ed Whitlock (sp?) training schedule, he is a phenomonen

      • Bestonk Dooley:

        Here’s a big guideline: Don’t do it! All that banging away on the pavement will dedtroy what’s left of the cartilage in you knees and you’ll be on the fast track for Osteoarthrits- bone rubbing against bone-chronic pain. One day you will ascend or descend stairs and you will notice your knee caps feel sore . But by the time this happens it’s already too late , the cartilage is irrevocably eroding.Cartilage does not reproduce! Inevitabally you will be disabled. You will require serious, expensive, painful, long recovery knee replacement surgery. You’ll can join our club: Old runners in the doctor’s waiting room waiting two hours to see the great man we are making rich. Get a bicycle or something.

        • i love sleep:

          I do community care assessments and most of my clients are over 60. I have not yet come across someone with arthritis/knee replacements because they ran. Believe me, I see lots of people with knee / hip/ elbow/ you name it replacements. Most of them have knee problems because they have been overweight for many years. I tend to find that those who were fitter are more robust- on the rare occasions I meet them they are either in their 90′s before needing assistance, or are coping with significant disablement better than most…….I personally am going to keep running and cycling as long as possible….

          • Leonard:

            Thank you. I’m only 59 and have been thinking about starting a running routine. Many years ago, I was a regular runner, but lifestyle changes and age stopped me from running. The last thing that I needed to read was someone say don’t start running. I know how good I once felt, both physically and mentally.

            Best wishes,
            Leonard

          • Islwyn road runner:

            What is he or she on about ,at the young age of 62 still run 25miles plus per week resting heart rate of 48 .I still see my friends in the local beer bellied and always complaining about their health.
            Get a bike!! ,the last 2 runs i did passed to mounting bikes flat on their backs waiting for ambulaces to arrive.
            Running is tough but you learn to listen to your body and theres nothing like hitting that finishing line and the buzz you get even for us oldies .
            I have a half marathon in 3 weeks and still capable of getting a 1hr 50 ,can’t wait so get off your bike and start running.

          • bill stevenson:

            I’ve been fit my whole life, running, coaching track, basketball and volleyball, reffing soccer…and my knees are gone on the inner sides as I am bow-legged. Now you know of one 60-year-old person, NOT overweight, who wishes he could still run, argh!!

          • Elaine from Idaho:

            Love your response though this is older. I didn’t start running until I was 60 years of age..I am not 68 and have rand three half marathons. Everyone I know with knee problems have these problems from being overweight and doing absolutely no exercise. Most of my friends cannot touch their toes….cannot bend over etc…not from too much exercise, too little. They’ll be in the doctor’s office a lot quicker than any of us exercising. So I will keep running, going to the gym, doing zumba all of which I enjoy.

        • Astrid Wingard:

          There are way more fat inactive people hanging around with osteoarthritis than active folks. You just have to be smart and keep great form. Stop moving and you really stop moving and find your self a fat blob blocking the grocery isles in your Amigo cart!

          • SAVANNA RAIN:

            no kidding! i have been active most of my life as young women i taught aerobics loved to run and always rode my bike being active has always been apart of my life. on on1/11 2011 i broke my ankle i never broke a bone in my life
            it was very painful to say the least and cause me a deep depression i have never experienced not like that anyway
            i stopped all activity and even when i felt like going out for a long walk at the beach or riding my bike that is how
            much this effected me but alot of good came out of this well even with the weight gain , i am 54 years old now and after this incident not as motivated but encouraged to read all your success in keeping active i am looking forward to riding my bike again and getting healthy by the grace of God and believe me he is my strength and help in all of this but i am so happy to have found this web sight and encouraged to get started right away God bless you all

        • Andy:

          Bestonk: You’re a cheery soul, aren’t you?

          I’m 52 and started running about a year ago when the arrival of a third small one made it even more difficult to fit in decent cycle rides (or still less trips to the mountains). The great thing about running is wherever I’m working, whatever the weather, however much the kids keep us up at night, it’s always possible to get out 3 or 4 times a week. And it costs very little for some shoes, clothes and a watch/HRM.

          I started from not much by way of progress, did a 5km last month, doing a 10km at the end of May, a 1/2 in October and (maybe) the Paris Marathon next April.

          I enjoy my life and doing something active is part of that.

          Carpe Diem would be my advice to Mr B Dooley

          • Miranda:

            Andy, I like your approach to the sport of running and also have a couple of “maybe’s” lined up once I feel up to it again and if not then it’s not the end of the world. I’ve been active my entire life playing hockey, squash and cycling but only started running longer distances (10 – 42km) from age 42. Now 10 years hence I’ve discovered that the only way I’ll be able to continue running injury free is to alternate my training days with cycling. This revelation has only just dawned on me since I have been injury prone since I started running. Whilst running longer distances may seem like a natural progression it’s not for everyone which is why I think the age graded calculator is misleading. I recently ran a 44 minute 10km but there’s no way I can do a sub 3h30 marathon, not that it really matters. Enjoy your new found fitness.

          • Debra Burnette:

            I agree!!! I’m 53 and don’t want to think that I already have restrictions….what kind of life is that?

          • John:

            Well done Andy your positive attitude is inspiring – I loathe others knocking people for trying to improve their well-being and give running a go. Good luck for the future and hope you make the Paris Marathon in April.

          • paula:

            Thanks for this comment, made my day. I have been playing tennis and running for about 30 years now and my knees are awesome. A non active friend of mine recently had both hips replaced and she is only a few years older than I am . Running is the best, I love it.

        • Darrell:

          I know a LOT of people with joint issues and NONE of them were runners, I question why anyone would try to discourage older people from running, You would really rather see an 80+ year old on a bike? Lets see do they ride down the busy street they may live on, or do they fasten it to their car and take it to a trail, or maybe on the bus. Running is simple, put on your running shoes and go outside and run at what ever speed you feel like. I was just in a 10K race, and the last 2 people to come in were 80+. and they did awesome, and were happy and healthy..

          • Aura:

            Can anyone help? When I run or walk over a mile I get severe shin splints. This even happened in my late 30′s when I was in good shape. I Am now 58 and just put on 15 lbs. in a yr. how can I start a program? I am a female

        • Mike:

          I am 85 and run everyday at rubberized tracks at my local schools. I also wear the best running shoes and running socks that are thick. My legs and knees dont hurt at all. I do not ever run on cement or other hard surfaces that wil destroy my legs and joints. Check out the tracks at your local schools.

        • Lady Croom:

          Nonsense! I started running at age 60 and now, at 62.5, am running my first organized race (5K) next weekend! Yes, my older joints feel a bit stiff and sore after a hard workout, but I will give it up only when I can no longer get my running shoes on! Running has changed my life — I can actually say SAVED my life. My orthopedic doc advised me to run like hell!

          • Burdrob:

            I am 61 years young and I have been power walking forever and then I started race walking. Last August I had to have bypass surgery, a surprise to not only me but my heart surgeon. Genetics got me, but because I was physically fit I was race walking in the Baltimore Marathon in 7 weeks after my surgery! I did a 5K in 40 minutes and it was not my best time, but after 7 bypasses I was happy to be there racing! I am starting to mix running with my race walking and improving all the time. I love to be out there and being active. I run in Vibrams and they are the most comfortable shoes to run in. My doctor encourages me to KEEP Up the Great Work!

          • francis:

            Fab.lady croom.i have just last week started to walk.at 60 I was a bit affrade but having read your comment I no longer am and I will continue in my indevers..thank you

          • judee o'leary:

            Good on you, not too many people I know would be doing that. I’m 61yrs old, do a fair bit of cycling and brisk walking 80-100klms per week, and just recently decided to get back into running. Bit of an effort, but a HRM sure helps and keeping a log gives me a game. My times are slowish, my heart rate is good, my breathing hard at times, but I do so love a game and a challenge. I do triathlons with friends, but I do the cycle bit, because I seem to be pretty good at that. But running you can do anywhere, anytime and it’s good for you. We’ll see how my non-exercising friends are in 20 years time, compared to me. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong, but so far not. From three years of cycling have grown a better pair of legs and a butt!

        • Brian:

          I am 66 and I quit running outside on hard pavement. I now run on a treadmill at a local gym. My joint pain is gone. Some of my freinds have had to have knee joint replacements because they ran on hard pavement. Now they can’t run at all.

          • Darrell:

            If you have joint problems than avoiding hard surface running makes sense, if joint problems are not an issue than I do not believe running will hurt you. There are far more coach potatoes having knee replacements than runners.

        • Edward B Eichenlaub Jr:

          Your advice is far from correct. I’ve been running for 33 years now, started at 49 and am now 82. I run about 30 MPW and have no ill effects. Running correctly will not cause any of your predicted effects. Just don’t be a heal stricker.

          • Earl Ruter:

            I have been running since 1978 am now 58 years young..No pains no aches just pure delight to run and see the fall foilage…Still running between 50and 75 miles a week at a 7:30 pace….So to all those runners out there keep on pickin them up and putting them down…

          • Elaine from Idaho:

            I agree with you…totally. I have good running shoes, good running socks and I hope to run until I’m 90. I forgot to mention earlier I take no prescription drugs so for 68 years of age, I’m proud and blessed. I am trying to improve my time when running and it’s working. I admire any runner and older runners rock! Sure beats sitting on the couch..:)

        • Jim Gardentip:

          I’m 56 and started running for the first time in life with enjoyment 1 1/2 years ago. In preparation for a long physical vacation, I started walking around the block which is 1/2 mile – I live in a city. I got bored. So I started to run. At first I could only go about 3 houses and couldn’t breathe. I finished the distance in poor shape. I knew this was just what I needed. Four times a week, I worked on my progress until I could finally run the WHOLE 1/2 mile without stopping. I know you’re laughing (and these days I am too). But it got me hooked. My mind was set free from depressing thoughts and I began to dream. Slowly and eventually I added more distance with more stamina. Now I run about a 12 min. mile and approx 35 miles a month. Not a one of my friends, neighbors or relatives (abt my age) exercise, let alone run. I’m very proud of myself because I never thought I could run, esp. at my age. This is to encourage some one who doesn’t believe they can do it. The hardest part is getting out the door. If I can do it, trust me, you can too. Even if you can only run two houses and walk the rest, it’s the beginning of something you will be very proud of. You did it!

          • Margaret:

            I am 59 years old and although I was quite good at running when I was young I had not done any running for more than 20 years. Then I broke my leg in December 2010 (tib/fib) and realised that I might have missed out on doing exercise forever! I also had to start my regime slowly; walking quickly for half an hour or more for a couple of weeks at first. Then I started to jog for a few minutes each time. The times of jogging slowly increased until I could do this without stopping for 15 mins. Alongside the exercise I resolved to lose a stone (14lbs) in weight. This process took 4 months but I was eventually able to run a mile in 10 08 and 5K in 34 mins. I now run 3 times a week; I have to be aware of the limitations on my leg which does sometimes ache a little but feel extremely proud of my achievements. Anyone who wants to start running can achieve this with patience and determination; I know it can be done!

          • Sara:

            I, too, just started running about a year ago. I read the book, “Born To Run”, realizing running was natural for humans for millions of years. I was inspired. I couldn’t run 1/4 mile! At 68, with a pinned hip from a previous fracture, , previous arthroscopy of a knee and asthma, I started running, running and walking in my neighborhood. A month later I did a 1 mile fun run, and a month after that a 5 k. I am running the 5k’s in about 42 minutes with a goal to break 40 minutes. Not only am I enjoying running in local runs, but members of my family have joined me. We have designed our own family tee shirt, “Bee Runners” , the logo designed by a grandson. Everyone is working on doing a personal best, with ages ranging from 10 to 68! Yes, if I can do it , anyone can do it! For me the reward has been, improved physical health, family fun that is going to have far reaching benefits, education through reading and learning more on conditioning and diet needs with exercise, and joy and sense of accomplishment that can only be experienced, not explained.
            Sara

          • Pammi:

            I am so inspired by reading your comment Jim….I am looking for inspiration as I have only started running last week
            and today was the 4th time I went running. I am 58 and medium built, I have started running about 1/2 mile…with
            great difficulty. I get huffed and puffed and run out of breath very quickly, and after running for the 2nd 3rd time I am wondering whether I will see an improvement or is it going to be this difficult all the time. I want to carry on and improve my overall health and stamina of course….which at the moment is about 10%..

          • Heather:

            I am 47 and want to begin running. I have never run before but Jim you have inspired me to try running a few houses at a time and walking the rest. What exercises do you do for warm up and cool down?? any?

          • Linda Nichols:

            I was so happy to read your comments on beginning to run. I, too, can hardly run 3 houses without getting winded. I am 64 and have never been a runner so began slowly in January to work up to a 5k with my daughter in May. I thought I was making pretty good progress as I was able to run at a slow pace 10-12 minutes on the treadmill. I don’t know what has happened but can’t seem to go very far outdoors without feeling like I have already run a mile and it has only been 3-4 houses!! You have encouraged me to keep on trying. Thx.

          • Judi:

            I started running five years ago after gastric bypass surgery. I am 51 now. I started running very slow, following the couch to 5k program. i entered my first 5k- scared but excited within two months of starting. I finished and that was all that mattered to me. i kept running because i felt so good about myself. I kept making new mileage goals and every time i made my goal i felt so accomplished. i ran my first 1/2 marathon after one year; run/walking the way Jeff Galloway teaches. I ran my first marathon (only crazy people do those, right?), in my second year. I have run three marathons now. I don’t know if i’ll run anymore marathons because i usually end up hurt, but i still love running. I run now for different goals, rebuilding after some months off after my last marathon. When i can’t run, I feel anxious, edgy and depressed. Running releases so many good feel good hormones. It’s addicting. Just be careful. Don’t try to do more than you can, take time to build up distance and time goals. Enjoy every run!

          • Sue Weston:

            Thank you for uour encouragement………… yes it is good to start and begin at a rate that is comfortable and God made these bodies of ours so wonderfullly we just have to be respectful and not lose sight of our goal to be healthy,

          • paula:

            LOVE your story. Well done to you.

          • kathy:

            This made me laugh. I’m 67 and just starting to walk/run. I LOVE the part about running 3 houses. I actually think that’s a great way to increase your time. I’m going to try it! Thank you Jim for the laugh and the inspiration!!!

        • Leslie Edwin:

          Do not listen to this advise. It’s rubbish. The exact opposite is true. I had all cartilage removed from both knees in my 20s due to rugby injuries ( I’m 58 now ) Depressed and overweight I started running at 33 and attained a marathon pb 5 years later of 2h48. Sure in the beginning my knees hurt a lot with other all sorts of aches and pains but after about 6 months it began to go away and never returned. My knee X rays show 3rd degree tracking ( bone on bone ) but I run and am COMPLETLY pain free. Most knee replacement surgery is a waste and is hugely painful. more painful then running ever will be, All could be resolved if the patient lost 50 lbs and started running. Because of work I only manage these days to run on av 60 miles PER MONTH but that is a 10 k every 3 days and I find that sufficient to stay in shape.( 50 min for 10k ) I keep my weight between 165-170 lbs and make sure it stays in that range. I drink 10 glasses of water p/ day ( ok so I pee a lot ) so go out and buy a pair of good running shoes from a running store that employs real runners and hit the road. Start slowly . Day 1, Measure a 3 k route from your house ( 1.5 ks out 1.5ks back )
          Trott 200m slowly .then walk 200 m. Do this for the entire 3 ks. Do this 4 x per week. Within 2 months youbwill be trotting the entire 3 ks.your weight will plummet. When you feel good enough increase to 4 ks then to 5 after 6 months. Congratulations you are now a runner.do not be put off by aches and pains. This is normal and they will go away and they are far less painful than knee replacement will ever be. When you start and it hurts do not give up.the pain will get less as you run. Obviously pay attention to injuries. ( twisted ankle etc ) and stop running until better.have ice in the refrigerator ready to ice your knees or any other place were it hurts for 5 minutes immediatly after the run. Ice liberally throughout the day.remember running is NEVER easy. it’s hard work. But you work hard for an hour so that youbwill feel great forbthe next 48. Always remember that.

          • Richard:

            AMEN! In fact, Stanford University Med School has been tracking and comparing 500 older runners and a similar group of couch potatoes for 20 years. Stanford’s Dr. James Fries and his colleagues published a paper in the August, 2010 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showing running was not associated with greater rates of osteoarthritis in their elderly runners. Runners also do not require more total knee replacements than nonrunners, Fries said. The study showed a 16 year delay in the onset of age-related disability, and showed reduced incidents of early death from cancer,neurological disease, infections and other causes. Take a look at http://www.restartretirement.com/2011/04/28/running-as-a-senior-is-it-really-beneficial/ for more info.

          • Becky Fletcher:

            Thanks for the advice Leslie. I am 60 years old, need to lose weight, and just signed up for a 10 mile run in October. I’ve never been a runner, but find myself needing to lose weight and get into shape. I am a nurse who sits in front of a computer all day. ( I also am doing online courses for my BSN degree).A couple of the younger nurses on the floor encouraged me to sign up. I have never been a runner, but have been able to accomplish the Breast Cancer 3Day, 60 mile walks 3 times in the past. So, I’m sure I can do this (I hope), just needed advice on how to get started. I think your plan makes sense. Thanks for sharing!!

          • Richard:

            Becky:

            You are doing the right thing. I started walking a year ago this past January, and lost 20 pounds this past year. Yes, I started limiting my intake of food, but I ate what I wanted to and stopped eating so much, and between that and the walking, the results were pretty good, but I could never break the threshold into running. I would get started and fall flat on my face, so to speak. I figured running would not be for me.

            A month ago, the gang here talked me into investigating the Jeff Galloway walk/run method. I started the program, and miracles of miracles, I am running and showing great progress! And the best thing is, when I stepped on the scales this morning, I found I have lost another 11 pounds since starting the walk/run program a month ago!. Another 5 pounds and I will be under 200 pounds first the first time in, oh, I don’t know, 40 years? You’re a nurse, you know the drill, just don’t do anything stupid and you will be fine.

            Knock ;em dead!

          • Mike:

            Great article Leslie I am 60 and back running again its a great feeling

        • Pete:

          I do agree with Bestonk, yet also disagree in some ways. For some people are lucky and have great joints at an older age, yet most of us do have historic damage to our bodies at an older age. The problem is how will we know if we don’t try?
          My advice as a past sportsman and still an active gym, swimming and walker would be to take up walking first, see how the body reacts when you have built up to 5 to 10 miles. There will be less pounding on the joints yet they will tell you give you feed back as to what condition they are in. Walk, swim, cycle even go to the gym as less damage will happen to someone over the age of 50. By the way I have osteoarthritis in my feet, knees and hips yet kept walking for the last 20 years.

        • Dick Kurschner:

          I am 74 and still love running,and I had more knee problems 25years ago than I do now. Most of my friends have never run, and seems like most of them do have knee problems or have had knee replacements. I agree with George Foreman ,that we don’t wear out but that we do rust out.
          so I’ll keep plodding along,
          Dick.

          • Dennis McKaskey:

            While giving first aid to someone in the middle of the freeway in Atlanta in 1991, I was struck by a car going 60 mph. I have been rebuilding arms and legs again for 22 years. My return to running was a disaster… until I too, read “Born To Run”. That book gave me hope that there was hope for painless running. About 8 months ago I started to practice “Chi running”. All I can say is that I am having fun again while running painlessly, and with a great deal less effort. I actually get excited for the next running day to arrive. I am running Tue, Thur and Sat and loved being able to participate in my first trail race in two decades just last week. I encourage anyone with self doubts to take it carefully and know that you can be successful.

          • Nelly:

            I have recently started running at 64. I ran in my 40′s and even completed a marathon but stopped for no real reason. I have tried many other forms of exercise but realized that the only one I really enjoy is running. It is so encouraging to read about older runners who are thumbing their noses at all the people who say this or that will happen – anything could happen but so what the important thing is to make the most of the life you have. I would much rather wreck my knees running than tripping over my feet looking for the remote control!

        • Pattykate:

          I am almost 64.. I have been a runner since age 33… I have slowed now and can only jog about 3 1/2 miles in an hour.. but I still DO it.. also I have atrial fibrillation.. I don’t agree with you… You shd do whatever you like.. everyone ages differently.. I look much younger than most women my age… and I feel great.. I do have arthritis in my neck, which the jogging helps!!!

        • sonya browne:

          I agree with Mr. Dooly.
          Running ruined my low back, and I was only in my forties, had only run a few times. Now decades later in very good overall health, but low back still a problem. Have some arthritis elsewhere, too, but not much. Could have done so much more in my old age had I just not run. No one is built perfectly, and running emphasizes every imperfection. We are not cheetahs. Walk, don’t run.

          • Richard:

            Well, Sonya, I am glad that you were able to find an excuse. Excuses are an important part of life.

          • Darrell:

            Sonya, I have no idea who told you such foolishness. If a person has back issues running may or may not make it worse, BUT IT WILL NOT cause a problem to a healthy back.

          • Did you check for:

            1. Lack of Vitamin C? This runner who’s been running for 42 years has NO bacvk problems, in part, because of regular Vitamin C Usage. If you haven’t taken vitamin C, you’re (probably) making a big mistake. Also, my posture is always good and this helps preserve lower-back integrity and strength. (If you want my information on vitamin C/lower back pain from my recent book, I’ll e-mail it to you at your request.)

            2. Poor running form?

            3. Running on hard surfaces?

            By the way, how are you to get in shape by walking? It can be done, but it’s difficult walking slower than 8-12 minutes per mile.

            Twenty-eight marathons AND NO back problems.

            Tom, Nutritionist

        • Kathryn Sajdak:

          This is true. Speaking as one who has not treated my knees kindly, and who has resumed a running regimen after a hiatus of 28 years at age 68, I can tell you that running on pavement regularly can destroy remaining cartilage. My doctor advised against it. However, there are ample training opportunities on tracks, sand paths, beaches, and treadmills, which are a lot more forgiving on the knees. Knock on wood, I have had no problem so far, and am doing my next 5K in two weeks!

          • Richard:

            Kathryn: I just don’t buy that hard surfaces are that bad on reasonably healthy knees IF you wear good, properly fitted shoes. A good pair of shoes has so much cushion built in that insulates you from the hard surface. Recent studies from Stanford University, Boston College, among others, support the notion that it is inactivity, not activity that destroys joints.

            As for what doctors tell you, remember that at one time doctors recommended smoking cigarettes to help patients relax and to aid in digestion..

          • JNL:

            Yes, if you have good footwear and good technique, the surface doesn’t matter and running will not cause joint problems. In fact it is the opposite.

        • Linda:

          Sorry to disagree Bestonk, but I’ve read that you can’t ruin good knees. If you are prone to bad knees, you are going to have trouble no matter what. If you are blessed with good knees, no amount of running (the proper way) will ruin them.

        • alistair:

          The evidence does not support your argument Dooley

        • Bernard:

          Thanks and I understand what you are talking about. I had exactly the same problem…
          I thought I knew it all…
          I bought a running shoe which did not have the heavy heel….very flat,,, and my problem with my knees ( gradually) went away. I love running and have been very careful. I am 67 and run three times a week for sixty to ninety minutes…but, always, listen to my body ( I don’t know why we say listen, whe n actually it’s a feeling…).
          The off -dats I do sit 50 ups, swing some 10 pound hand weihgts for my upper body/core….nothing too overdone.

          I run S L O W and it works for me…..

          I could not care less about obsession with speed/times…I don’t care-running really helps me feel “fit” for my age…calms me down…gives me that 60 to 90 minutes “private time”….

          Wish you luck with your knee problems.
          Bernard

        • JIm:

          Run on trails – much less stress on the knee ! You sound just like my doctor who told me 20 years ago not to ever run again – Glad I never listened to him as I feel better than ever. The trick as you get older is to take a day off between runs and give your body time to recover properly if you’re having issues.

        • gerald guest:

          You would make a great coach.

        • J. Von Behren:

          Indeed, cartilage has no blood vessels, and is nourished through osmosis, but it is incorrect that cartilage doesn’t regenerate, but this only happens during deep sleep via the growth hormone. So, get enough sleep every night.

        • WILLIAM TALUC:

          Sorry…I’m 70 years old and have been running for over 35 years….my knees, and hips, are doing great…never had an injury and other than my system ( aching muscles ) taking a bit longer to recover after a run.

          Even if some day I develop the issues you mention, I would never regret all of the enjoyment I’ve received from running and the feeling of freedom it has given me….not to mention a great cardio vascular system….anytime I take a stress test, the doctors tell me that if I died in the next 5 years or so, it won’t be from a heart attack.

          Like to write more, but I’m going for my after Thanksgiving run this morning…I’ll try to keep it under 10 miles…but you know how infectious a good run can be.

          Mr Bill

        • JNL:

          This is written by someone who is NOT a runner and is repeating an urban legend. I started running again at age 55 and my experience is quite the opposite. Where I had knee and hip soreness before, that has gone away because my muscle strength has increased so that my joints have better muscle support. If you do a little research, take a gradual approach, stretch, combine strength training, and use good footwear there are great benefits to health, mind and body. I run 10 k five times a week and my joints and body have never felt better . . . Oh yeah, and that’s after I had a heart attack!

          • Elaine from Idaho:

            You are awesome! I love your attitude. I ran a half marathon with my daughter and granddaughter…they were so proud and needless to say, so was I. I am running 12 miles tomorrow and will be running a half marathon on April 13th in Nevada. I love this web site. I just happened to come across it and the inspiration is amazing.

      • richard waller:

        I would like to know how I compare to other runners, this helps. I’m 70 years old and I ran my first marathon in 4hours and 52 minutes, I felt great. Didn’t start running until I turned 60.

    • I also commend you for talking about older runners and what we need to be aware of, using a definition of older as 60+ instead of 40+. I have had to learn all of this by trial and error after starting long distance training for the first time at 63. All my well-meaning running friends and experienced trainers just have no idea about the increased need for recovery. And it is very difficult to find answers to questions about treating overuse injuries and biomechanical difficulties. Typically, the response is that at my age I shouldn’t expect to be able to run. I finally figured it all out for myself, using some good advice buried deep within various Internet postings. After several half marathons, my brother and I completed the NYC Marathon this past year, our first marathon and an absolutely unbelievable experience. Thank you for paying attention to running at this stage of life.

      • Carol Narsutis:

        Hi Jane – I am going to attempt my first half marathon next October due to the enthusiasm for a “girl trip” with my two daughters, who both run. I am currently not a runner, but in excellent health at age 61. You said you learned to train via trial and error. Could you give me some advice on a training schedule, how to start, how much, how often? What might be a reasonable time per mile goal for me?
        Thanks,
        Carol

        • Hi Carol. Sorry, I just realized that there were reply comments on this comment thread. Personally, I end up taking nearly any of the standard beginner or intermediate training schedules you can find online and then paring them back to 3 days per week. The most important one is the slow long distance one, usually on a Saturday or Sunday. The other two are a shorter easy run (at a speed where you could chat if you were with someone), and stopping to walk for a minute at regular intervals (building up to 10 run/1 walk when you are ready), and one shorter run each week that pushes you to run faster for part of the time or run/walk up hills. I found that adding more than this became counterproductive, making me more prone to injury. Slow and steady will get you to the finish line. What a great event to do with your daughters. My husband and I – and my brother – just did a half marathon with one of our sons, his first! Needless to say, he beat us handily!

          Good luck, Jane

      • ROBBIE BROUGHTON:

        Hi Jane, thanks so much for this posting. I haven’t run for a long time but I’ve decided to do a 10km at the end of June and it’s not easy to find a training schedule suitable for a 60 year old woman. I’m so pleased that you mentioned the increased time required for recovery because I think in the past I’ve expected too much of myself, overtrained and then crashed. I’d appreciate any tips and training advice you can give. You’re an inspiration!

        • Darrell:

          I am 58 and started running 4 months ago, I follow the Jeff Galloway system, at this point I run 4 min and walk 1 min.. using this sytem I just ran my first 10K race 61minutes 59 seconds, very pleased and looking forward to next race. I have to say many people in the race were using the same system….

          • Helen Stigant:

            I’ve been running for 12 years, ran my first marathon at age 49 and am still running at 61. Just completed a half marathon in February in 2:25. I use Galloway’s running program and it’s been the best way go. I run 5/1 and have PR doing so. Keep running!

            Helen

          • Dean:

            After 30 years of serious walking, 4+miles daily, I have decided to start running but for a special reason; I want to get my preteen granddaughter who is very fit, but hates team sports, into running. I am a bit worried about my back–had spinal surgery 11years ago, so want to take it easy. Glad to learn of the Galloway system.

        • Hi Robbie. Sorry not have replied when you posted; I just realized that there were follow-up comments in this thread. I guess the main thing I’ve learned is not to push too hard, to pare down published, recommended training programs to no more than three days per week, with the long run being the important one, and to pay more attention if I start to hurt! I know my brother often only has time to run once a week because he is away on business a lot, and he sometimes does better by just having run his long slow run on the weekend. Obviously, building a foundation is important, but oversoing it has caused me more problems than underdoing it! I hope it is going well for you.
          p.s. I have to admit that I am not always that good at paying attention when I start to hurt. :)

      • mary mcevoy:

        thank you so much for your comments about older runners. i am 57 years old and have been runningfor 7 years. i am very slow 15 minute miles. i want get faster but am so fed up with people either telling me not to bother or giving me advice for an 18 year old. having read your comments i dont feel like im delusional.
        thanks againmary

        • julie:

          Hi Mary if you want to run you run!! please ignore all comments if they are not helpful. See if you can find a small ladies club which is not affiliated i have and the other ladies gave lots of encouragement (or start one yourself) I am 55yrs began running at 54yrs and this year i tore ligaments n tendons from the pubic bone riding my bike have had plantar ficituis and also became aneamic but still kept going. I have done a couple 10k and have just completed the great north run 1/2 mqrathon 2hrs 7 mins very proud. Please be carefull though and eat properley destroying red blood cells (lack of iron) through running is more common in women check out spatone. Carry on

  • Mike Palfrey:

    I am 47 years old and use to run 3-4 times per week for many years running half marathons and anywhere upto 15 miles. I had a major lower back operation in 2002 and have not managed to recapture my enthusiasm for the running game, through recovering from the operation and work comittments. However, I have recently started to get a little more exicited about starting back with my running. Do you have any advice for me.

  • I started running aged 54 – way back in 1986. Now, aged 78, I’m still running, still racing, still winning the odd prize in my age category after 24 years and 33,000 miles. It’s the best decision I ever made.
    There ought to be a Forum for us older runners to compare notes and offer tips to each other.

    • chris baldwin:

      I’d love to find such a forum. I restarted running 2 yrs ago at 54after decades of sloth. maybe I’m unrealistic but I’m a little discouraged at how slowly I’m improving. Heart/Lungs are not the problem; it’s leg muscles. I can cycle fairly well & push as much weight as when I was young but I can’t seem to get past 4 miles running despite a year of assorted training regimens??? It seems like a stupid question to me, but I am really stuck.

      • David M:

        Chris,

        I started running at 50, about three years ago. I do the Galloway approach, run a few minutes ( say 3-4 ) then walk one, then start the process again. This enables short periods of leg recovery. I completed two marathons this year doing this, both in the five hour time frame. Best of luck!

        • Hope:

          This page has been very encouraging. I started running two years ago at 47. It has been discouraging to read articles on marathons that are geared for people who are fast. I run because I enjoy it. I’m not fast, am not after a PR, I do it because I love it; it is my own little getaway from life. I would like to run a marathon, even though I only run a 15 min mile. If I speed up or go more than every other day running, my knees feel like they’re going to fall off.

          I found comments on this site very helpful and gives me the encouragement to continue running.

      • Rob Croft:

        Chris, I took up running at over 50 and was stuck – enjoying runs up to about 5 miles. When I was off with a couple of slipped discs I read Chi Running and, picking up some of the ideas in there, I have found getting into longer distances relatively straight forward – upping the distances gradually and not changing too many things at once. I completed a 3:42 marathon this year – just – but that had me putting an extra 4 miles onto my top distance – over 10% increase – and that was hard – and broke one of the cardinal rules – increase at no more than 10%.

      • rick:

        I have been running since i was about thirty and I am 53 now.I have noticed my times going down 6 yrs ago at age 47 i ran the 5k in about 23 mins and now I struggle to get under 28 mins.ALSO i WAS NEVER ONE FOR LONG RACES.10k is as long as i have done.I run about 5 days a week.Taking days off when my legs need a rest.Some days I do three miles and some days 5 miles.5 miles for me is about as far as I can goeven though running for 23 plus years.Legs get tired and I get really slow.I am 6ft tall and weigh about 187 lbs.I would probably be able to go farther if I weighed 160 to 165 but I dont care to be that thin.What is your wt to ht.That could be an option for you.You might try taking off ten lbs and see if that helps

      • Chalmers Clark:

        OK, Running Fox, Chris, David et al., let’s do it!

        I’m in my 68th year and trying to make a come back. I try lots of different things. Some work some don’t. Strebgth seems to be crucial here as well and regularity (w/out obsession and overtraining).

        We could start a Google Blog too. Ideas?

    • Cyd:

      I am 58, and have started running again. Found this article, and your post. Very encouraging. Keep up the good work!

      • sedona0358:

        Thank you for the information on this post. I began running just his past November and will be 59 in September. I’m going to run my first offical 5K this weekend and looking forward to my first half.

    • Bestonk Dooley:

      If your knees aren’t ruined after all that, you are a very lucky, lucky guy

      • anthon:

        When I was in my 30s I thought I would never run again, what with slipped discs, back pain and the rest. I started running occasionally aged 55, but I feared damaging my knees so I stopped. Now age 57 I’ve started again, building up the distances gradually and doing some weight training. My knees have never felt better. This week I ran 20k for the first time in my life with no ill effects. One thing I’ve learned: you really need to warm up and rest properly. If you do that your joints will get stronger.

      • stephen walsh:

        Hi Iam 55 been runing 30 years run 4 times aweek with 2 nights of curcuits had no proplems with joints.Had some good races since being 55 had asecond in feb in a 9 mile cross country with 86 people behind me .Listen to your body if it says go for arun go for arun.

    • Pattykate:

      GREAT!!! That is so wonderful… I am only 64 but I still do it… 3.5 miles in an hour. I will never give up!

  • louise schweitzer:

    It’s lovely to hear news and comments for us bus-pass runners: I’m a 65 year young runner, regularly competing in Park Run, 10km races and the odd half marathon, even wrestling with the Beachy Head Horror once a year. There aren’t quite enough of us yet – I agree with Runningfox above, and he’s obviously amazing, but he’s a bloke. Let’s hear it from the girls! Louise Schweitzer. ps. I’m almost always first in my age group for the triathlon because I’m the ONLY one in it, so winning is just a matter of hanging on. Poor marshals.

    • Renee Hawkyard:

      I am a newby… 65 yr old. any suggestions for my training schedule for my upcoming first 5 K on January 22, 2012?

      • Phyllis Karsten:

        Dec 29 is a little late to start a training schedule. But that said here is my take on your upcoming New Years day 5K:

        Take saturday off – give your body a chance to recover fro whatever training you have done.
        Use this race as an opportunity to have a good time out in the fresh air with like minded (crazy) people.
        Do the best you can do and don’t worry about whether your training was adequate – have fun!
        If you are in a 65 and older category, watch out for ones like me who aim to blow away the youngsters of 65. (I am 86 years will be 87 next month)

        I started 5Ks a year ago because my metabolism was slowing down and my clothes wouldn’t fit anymore. Due to double hip replacements, it is not recommended that I do any running, so I just walk as fast as my legs will let me go. I have had a great time competing against myself. I usually come in 2nd or 3rd in women over 70 5K races. I won one age graded 5K and actually won in a 5K with the oldest category for women at over 60! I speed-walked about 90% and jogged about 10%.

        When you reach my age, you get a little put off by reading articles for the “older” athletes in the 50 – 60 age range. Those are just youngsters. I’d like to see a focus on really older runners. They can start off by suggesting ways to compensate for replaced joints.

        • Bestonk Dooley:

          Sounds like you want to wear out the replacement hips too. You’ll be in the hospital again.

          • Donna Pugin:

            Are you always this miserable? I think its fantastic that older people enjoy life to its fullest, who are you to say that running is bad? Would you rather have them in hospital for other health related issues, such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension?

          • QiDoc10:

            Bestonk have you noticed that you’re the only one here sounding the alarm against running? Apparently it isn’t as bad as you make it out to be as there are far more testimonials here about the benefits of running than those cautioning against it. Maybe you should try it!

    • ROBBIE BROUGHTON:

      Please keep posting. I love reading these inspirational comments.

      • ROBBIE BROUGHTON:

        Sorry Bestonk but I don’t find YOUR comments inspirational or helpful but I guess that’s not your purpose.

  • Grim Reaper:

    I was a county athlete in my youth, and I’ve discovered that my problem as a 57 year old trying to get back into running is that I expect too much of my creaking body. After a number of false starts, including 2 painful achilles episodes, I have now started using a treadmill, on the basis that I can control the speed, and not get carried away. I think the softer running surface helps as well. I’m surprised that even after a long layoff I can manage 45 minutes of continuous running, albeit slow, and limited by my need to be somewhere else rather than my lungs or legs giving up!
    I agree with the other comments about there being very few internet resources for the older runner. We are not just slower than our younger counterparts, but have different problems to contend with.

    • Dave:

      I’m 56, and I find the tread mill to be easier on my joints than running outside, although I do miss the summer running season a bit by staying indoors. I agree, we do need to have some additional information for older runners.

    • ROBBIE BROUGHTON:

      I’m glad you mentioned the treadmill – that’s what I’ve restarted my running on, and like you, I’m surprised that I’m able to run for 20 mins without too much effort although the shins have told me to have a couple of days off. I think I need to run one day then have a couple of either walking or cycling days before running again.

  • don faulkner:

    Wonderful readuing your information. I’m doing Brighton marathon this April. I am 70 years old tomorrow 7th March.

    Yesterdai I managed 20 miles in 3.35. But the first 12 miles was through very hilly undulating country back roads. So perhaps the time was better that the actual time of 3.35?

    Can you suggest how I should now proceed with training for Hastings Half in 2 weeks time, then for the Brighton marathon please.

    I would be grateful for your guidenec.

    I have been training 3 times per week to avoid the dangers of over training. My weeksly mileage has therefore not been high i.e. around 20 – 25. But I’ve been doing alternate sessions i aqua running, cycling and recentl;y dumbeel to strengthe my arms.

    Best wishes,

    Please reply,

    Don Faualkner

  • [...] Older runners | Running for FitnessThe effects of ageing … From the 30s onwards, a number of physical changes take place in the average person’s body.  Aerobic capacity decreases, muscle mass reduces, muscle elasticity reduces, lung elasticity declines, bone density reduces, the metabolism slows, body fat increases and … The fall in aerobic capacity, [...]

  • John Matthews:

    I do agree that age grading in races is a great incentive for older runners. Frequently I look at the past years results when choosing a race to see if they include a V70 class or beyond, wide ranges are now help.
    I started late, 3 years ago at 69 following rectum removal due to cancer. I found that I quickly got up to a respectable pace, all the way up to marathon 5:05 in the first year but then the rate of improvement slowed. However now at 72 I’m starting to see improvements in shorter events 5k 26:30 and still decreasing probably because I have moved to an area where we have a parkrun. One thing I have valued greatly is the friendliness of the bulk of runners and the respect and encouragement that younger runners have given me.
    One of the best things I have ever done.

  • Ossie Arif:

    What a wonderful sport running is!

    I made a decision to get my health back in order after 3 heart ablations due to irregular heart beat problems.
    I took early retirement from work at the age of 55 in 2010 which gave me the opportunity to train correctly and not rush my training.

    Having been an athlete of the 80’s era running sub 29’50 minutes 10k and 2 hours 16 for a marathon it was always going to be difficult to slow my training down and mix it up a bit.

    When I started back I was mixing my sessions between x-trainer, weights, core strength, some yoga and walk/jog sessions. This helped build my muscle strength and get my flexibility back and loose some weight.
    I did this for about 3 months from January 2011 to April, in April I started running without walking and after about 4 weeks I ran one of the park run events recording a time of 21’13. This gave me the motivation to increase my workload and add one track session in a week. 3 weeks later I ran the Park Run again and this time recorded a time of 20’20.

    I’m very hopeful and my training suggest that I will go well under 20 minutes for 5k, I know that even at the age of 55 I can still record good times below 19 minutes and possibly 18 minutes. That’s the challenge. I know I will try my hardest to get there, even if I don’t, I will be great fun trying and it keeps me healthy.

    The most important thing us older runners can do is to listen to our bodies, take more recovery, warm up well before sessions and stretch after. Do not ignore doing weights and core strength work using your own body as resistance. By this I mean doing lateral plank and normal plank, press ups and sit ups. Your diet is very important drop the junk food or grazing foods, always think of the healthy option. I don’t want to be a bore but reduce your alcohol intake or stop drinking completely. I know my body does not tolerate alcohol, it never used to and there is no reason to believe it can handle it now.

    Happy running!

    • tom bridges:

      [ am almost 73 and was just recentlt training with the CPTC team for a new world record attempt in the 4x800. two of the team members are the former hecord holders. my track repeats for 200-300 meters were at a 4.6 mm pace. 34-35 seconds for 200 meters with only about 1.5 min rest.
      tom bridges
      t

  • I am 53, I run 115km per week and hope to run very close to 34min for 10km, in April 2012. If you believe you can still run quick, you will.

  • austen scott:

    Hello,
    I’m 68 years old, started running last November and slowly andas per the last week I run 12 miles in 2.40. Question! There is an upcoming rice event coming up on 12/3/11 “Run at the Rock”; which event (the 7 mile or the 14 mile) should be most appropriate as my first rice?
    Sincerely
    Thank for your feedback

  • I am 71 years young and have been running since age 45 . I’ve completed 28 marathons including 10 Boston Marathons. At age 65 my best 1/2 marathon was 1:49. Yesterday I finished a 1/2 marathon in 2:44. I am definitely not satisfied with that time(I walked a lot) and am determined to pick up my training. Any suggestions for a training plan for my age? Has anyone tried Run Less Run Faster? I would appreciate some feedback. Thank you so much.

    • Wayne King:

      I have read the book “Run Less Run Faster”. As a person / runner who has run college cross country and road races for years, and has had several coaches, I found the books training workouts / methods (“3 plus 2″ program) useful and it does work for me. Not only are the workouts workable and I can see progress. The book also gave me a sense of its okay to do whatever I can do and its okay. The book refreshed my passion for running again. You can modify the workouts to fit your needs. I recommend this book to anyone who wants or needs to run but cant do high mileage or doesn’t have the time to train like they “use” to.

      • robert colville:

        just a thanks for the tip on run less run faster.i’m 78 ran 10k and marathons in my 50s. but fell off in my 60s. getting back has been a bear,but saw this site in my wandering and your comment on the run less run faster it has been a great help.

    • I am brisk walking and running since I was 40m the day I cane to know that I have diabetes. I am 65 now. I do not know how many miles I run but it is not less than 45 mints

      , I use my mobile phone as a stop watch. The same distance I keep on improving To day it is 37 mints . Some lazy old men tell me that I will die if I run like that. I reply can there be a better death. RUN.. RUN.. AND FORGET THE DOCTOR

      • George Trelawney:

        I loved your comment … ‘can there be a better death. RUN.. RUN.. AND FORGET THE DOCTOR’… I love running too… and have the same opinion… :-)

    • Regina:

      Noreen, I am a 77 year old female runner. If you find any web sites, magazines, articles, etc. that are geared toward the older (70 plus) runner, please let me know!! I am struggling with very slow times and have to walk at times. Any help would be appreciated.
      Regina

  • Yikes we all sound so old! I enjoy running because it is still something I can do…having said that I just started ramping up the least 2 months with the goal of finsihing the http://www.peterboroughymca.org/marathon/ at the end of February. I feel very luky to still be able to run and truly believe that the whole idea of preparing for retirement fanancially is pintless if you don’t prepare for it physically…sadly too many people take care of the money but forget to take care of themselves – bravo to all oy uold runners – money without heath is nothing – health without money is actualy doable.

  • Ginny Bess:

    I am 62 and have been running since I was in my late 20′s. I have never been speedy, but now find myself extremely slow. I have been running longer distances the past 3 years, have run 10 half marathons and one full. Finished my last half in 2:58, so I am slow, but no matter what I do I cannot seem to get the pace up much. I need to resign myself to this fact, but I have been posting on an Over 40 forum in Runners World, which I love, but I am beginning to feel very inadequate as they are running much faster and longer distances than I, as most of them are in their 40′s and early 50′s. One positive, I am starting to win AG awards, as I am the only one in my AG!!!

    Ginny

  • Vic:

    At the age of 65 I just started running – 4 months ago. Having a long history of moderate weight training, I recently decided to jog/run to help lose a bit of weight around my waist. Quickly got hooked and now having trouble holding back on my intensity. I have been following Higdon and Galloways new/intermediate runners charts.

    I notice my heart rate is almost always around 150 – 165 which is at the peak of my age group, as I understand it. I was very disappointed yesterday, when I got extremely tired at about 10 mile mark and had to walk a lot to finish, ending with a time of 2:41:59.

    My goal was to run a HM distance to see how I might do in an upcoming HM race. Boy, those charts which are supposed to predict various race times when correlating other race times are sure off! Guess they are not for us older guys. My thoughts about maybe doing a full marathon next year went out the window after that rude wake up.

    Then I read these comments by you guys and I realize I may just be expecting too much of myself and I might have gotten too caught up in my “performance” expectations. I certainly wasn’t doing much age factoring in my projections. So, now I’m thinking I’ll just keep plugging along and do the best I can at my comparative advanced age. Thanks guys, I am glad I found this forum.

    Vic

  • Babs:

    I,m 67 and have only run as a youngster playing hockey! Have now decided to have a go as I feel I need to keep moving, even though I walk every day with my dog and I still work. Any tips and do’s and dont’s would be useful

    Babs

  • Ginny Bess:

    Vic, Yes I have just lowered my expectations these days. If I run too hard I get a lot of aches and pains (which didn’t happen in my younger years). I try not to get too discouraged because at least I am still out there running and competing within my age group! I want so much to run a half in 2:45, but I am thinking it is not in the cards for me. I didn’t even start running long distances until age 58. Not the best age to start increasing mileage and expecting a faster pace.

    Ginny

    • Katherine:

      I have just found this website and am happy to see comments from women over 65 who continue to run. I am 67 and ran a lot in my 30s,less in my 40s and even less in my 50s. I came back to running about 3 years ago and am chagrined by how much slower I am. There aren’t any women in my age range that I can find to train with. I was up to 20 miles a week and have recently dipped back to 10 because of an unrelated injury. I also strength train twice a week and do Pilates once a week. I continue to work full-time. I love running and hope to do it for decades, but it would be great to hear about other women’s experiences.

      • Phyllis Karsten:

        Hello Katherine – You came back to running at age 64, which is considered close to “retirement age”. So you are definitely in the seniors category. However, it looks like you did some running all along. My activity profile was more like Wayne’s – did some hiking, trained Border Collie sheep dogs, and puttered around in the garden, but never did any program of fitness. Way back in High School and College, played on all sport activities. I did a lot of recreational bicycling trips, but never competitively, no training. However I’ve always enjoyed being challenged.

        Fast forward to last year (at age 86) when a year’s worth of adjustments to my eating habits didn’t take off a single pound, I decided I needed to move more. I discovered this great ap for my smart phone that uses a GPS to track my distance and time. I could compete against myself on a walk around my neighborhood. I posted a couple of the results from the ap onto Facebook where a friend saw them and encouraged me to do a 5K run/walk. I came in third in the Over 70 woman’s catagory, and now I’m hooked.

        I don’t grumble about how slow I’ve become – maybe its because I don’t have a record that I need to live up to. I just look at my first 5 K event where I just barely came in under an hour, and compare that with my New Years 5 K run where I came in at 46:33 and celebrate my improvement.

        I look forward to maybe doing a 10 K later this year. But I will be realistic about how doable that will be. In which case I’ll stick with blowing away the 70 year old competition as that is the highest age group in most of the local races. Due to the artificial hip joints, I do mainly speed walking, with less than 10% jogging.

        I try to get in two or three tours of my neighborhood each week. I don’t have a training partner, but use that GPS ap to give me feedback on how I’m doing on this 3 1/2 mile neighborhood route, which includes a good mile and a half of gradual uphill.

  • Wayne:

    I found this site while searching for “average” or “typical” times for a 58 year old male beginning runner. This type of data is nearly impossible to find. So here are some specific statistics for me.

    I am 58, male,6 foot. I have never been running since I graduated from high school, 1971. In 2009 I weighed 220. I dropped that to 182 recently, but I am back up to 197. I was probably 190 when I walked the race.

    I do some backpacking, one or two trips a year, usually 20 miles round trip with a 40 pound pack, starting uphill at 8,000 feet elevation. I do normal maintenance around the house. Otherwise I do not get any exercise at all.

    I would not say that I am a couch potato, but pretty close.

    I did my only race last fall. I did the 10k walk/run, which finished on home plate at AT&T park in San Francisco.

    My time was 1 hour 25 minutes. I would have been able to have a conversation at my pace. As far as I can tell, my pace was consistent the entire time and I am pretty sure I could have held that pace for twice that distance before my legs would begin to ache.

    I was wearing mid height back packing boots, jeans, and a T shirt. I drank no water during my walk.

    I walked the entire time. So my brisk walking pace is about 4 mph.

    My 30 year old daughter, at 5 foot 4, had to jog most of the time to keep up with me. She was out of breath so she gave up. She goes to the gym once a week.

    Recently, I tried alternating between jogging and walking and it slowed me down. I was so out of breath from the jogging.

    I found it very interesting to be walking past some of the joggers in the race.

    From my limited research, a 10k in 1:25 is not bad for a 58 year old beginner.

    Theoretically, if I could hold that pace, I could walk a half marathon in about 3 hours. It is tempting to try walking a half marathon, just to see what my pace would be. I might go over to the local high school one of these days to find out.

    I have to add that I walk at lunch time at least twice a week. In my business casual clothes and dress shoes I consistently cover 2.07 miles in 35 minutes.

    I thought about taking up running and entering some other events, but, due to time constraints, other than my noon walk, I can only take the time to do “training” level running 3 times a month. I doubt that would have much of a change.

  • Mikem:

    Congrats to all of us! The older the better!
    I am only 63 and started running about 8 years ago after decades of only swimming.
    I did my first full marathon this year (an embarrassing 5:04) and LOVE to run.
    I am in the midst of training for my second one in two months and enjoy the challenge.
    I find it helps tremendously to run with others – outdoors. I find myself running much faster than I think capable and coping better than i thought possible.
    What we might lack in muscle, we gain in determination. It is now or never!
    I listen to the creaks in my bones every morning and say ” yes, I know, but not today”. We will have plenty of time for rest “tomorrow”. Somewhere around the 6th kilometer, the creaks disappear.
    Go Baby Boomers Go!

  • Katherine:

    Thank you Phyllis.
    I enjoyed hearing about your excitement about your relatively new road work! Amazing. What is the ap called on your smart phone? Does it give you anything besides distance? Is it Google maps? I am not as interested in races at this time. I would like to increase my distance in a sane way – like 1 mile a week. I enjoy running in the cold weather. I feel like I can breathe deeper. It is just encouraging to see that other senior women are out there.

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    The smart phone ap is called Cardio Trainer. It tracks your route on a map and shows the time splits every mile. While you are running it shows a read out with Time, Distance, Calories, and Pace. There is another page where you can review you stats that also includes the number of steps taken and total climb. Another page has a graph of your speed over the time of your run. This is sort of useful in letting you see if you have been keeping a consistent pace. After you finish your run and save the information there is a display of your history where you can compare your various workouts.

    I like to hold the cell phone in my hand as I’m going so I can check to see my pace. I don’t pay any attention to the calories as that is an estimate based on your input of weight and the GPS data about distance and total climb. I think that if you exercise, the calories will take care of themselves.

    At the time I downloaded (uploaded?) mine, CardioTrainer was only available on Android phones, but they indicated they were working on making it available on iPhones.

    Right now I’m stuck inside waiting for a repair man to come and get my washer door to unlock. It rained a little last night and today is a nice brisk, cloudy day – idea for working up a nice sweat. – Just one of life’s smaller frustrations.

  • Mary:

    I am inspired by every person who has commented on this thread. I am only 47, but was told by an orthopedic doctor, who I saw for knee pain that keeps developing whenever I try to get back into running, that I should find another way to stay fit. He said that “old people aren’t meant to run.” He actually said something like I should go to a marathon and see how few seniors are participating. My 50 year-old husband was told the same thing by another ortho doc.

    I ran a couple of slow marathons, and a dozen or so halfs in my early 40s. I want to get back to it. I don’t care about time. My father ran fast marathons and tris into his 60s and is getting back into it in his mid 70s.

    IMy point here is that there are medical doctors out there trying to dissuade wanna-be senior runners. I would like to see where these docs are getting their information. What are the real facts about running and age?

    • Robbie Broughton:

      Doctors are a funny lot. Mine told me the exact opposite – that despite being overweight, I could start running immediately. I’m 60. Yes, my knees are sometimes painful but he says to run through it. And it works. The more I exercise, the less they hurt and overall, the better I feel.

      • QiDoc10:

        Thanks for your post, Robbie … I came here looking for some support for this ridiculous idea that I have that at age 60 I can start running. I was actually expecting to find that it wasn’t really recommended but much to my surprise I find just the opposite! Thanks to all of you that have posted inspiring stories of running as an elder. I’ve only done two runs, the first one was horrible for days after the second not so bad but my knee has been incredibly painful since and I’ve been afraid to try again. At this point I’m only running about once a week, biking once a week and bowling once or twice a week after being a couch potato grad student for the last 5 years. So I’m wondering if I’m babying it too much and I should run even if it’s painful or let it heal between runs. Monday is my run day and I’m not sure if I should try it or not. I really want to do this!! I’m using the C25K app on my phone and I haven’t been able to get all the way through my first day. I’m trying to take it easy and not over do but even stopping when I feel I should I really hurt for days after.

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    I had to do a little educating of my orthopedist a couple of years ago. I wanted to find out why my mew hips ached so much. His response was, “Oh, you’re doing fine. You should see how some of my other patients your age are doing.”

    That made me so mad. I informed him that I was NOT one of his other patients of my age. He lists himself as a sports physician and I expect him to treat me as one of his sports patients, not one of his geriatric patients. We now have a better relationship.

    Like false teeth or new lenses to treat cataracts, artificial joints are not perfect substitutes for “original factory equipment”. And if they wear out, there is a limited number of times that they can be redone. So I have heeded the advise not to do too much running. I find that about 10% running in a 5K event, plus my super speed walking,will bring me in at the top of the Women over 70 age group.

    So those of you who are noticing knee or other body problems that take longer to heal – take time to make sure they are sound before subjecting them to the stress of going full tilt. Make your body hold up as long as possible.. Some day you might have to modify your style or your expectations, but keep challenging yourself. Remember that at the age of this group age, we are elite athletes.

  • Ginny Bess:

    Phyllis, I like the term “elite athletes”! I have been getting a little down on myself the past couple of years because I run so darn slowly, but at age 62 I am still out there and planning on doing a few half marathons this season also.

    As to the other poster about how many of us are there out there? There are quite a few still in the larger half marathons that I run in the age group 60-64, I have been placing in the upper third, so I guess I should feel pretty good. I have been experiencing some hip pain lately though, so I need to get that checked out, hope it is nothing serious.

    Ginny

  • Katherine:

    How long have you been running Ginny Bess?

  • Katherine:

    I am also running a lot slower than my earlier years and it really helps to know there are others out there finding this to be true. Keep up the training though. You inspire me to run farther.

  • Ginny Bess:

    Katherine

    I have been running about 35 years. I never did longer distances until the last 4 years. I have done 10 half marathons now and 1 marathon.

  • Vic:

    Well, I did finish my half marathon. According to those calculators that give an estimate on other races when you plug in numbers or races you have done, I should have run a Half Marathon in 2:15. My actual time was 02:21:28 and I think that’s okay, since I just started running last September.
    As Mike posted earlier, what we lack in muscle we gain in determination . I will continue to run and hope to be able to improve on that time.
    “GO GEEZERS!”

  • ginny Bess:

    Oh my gosh, I think that is a great time! The fastest I have run a half is 2:54, but I was never very speedy, I have no allusions as to doing any better than that in the future. Good job!

    ginny

  • Ron Ayre:

    Hi All,
    I have just discovered this site; it is a great resource for us older runners, whether new to the sport or old hands.
    I am 70 years old and have been a runner since age 15, so I have a lot of miles on my bones, at least 65,000 by my count.
    No serious injuries so far and still able to run every day, logging about 2000 miles a year.
    I am very interested in hearing how other runners of a similar age are doing; what kind of training you are doing; enthusiasm for racing etc.
    I will follow this site and hope to hear opinions from all sides.

  • Vic:

    Thanks Ginny, for the nice words, and Ron that’s great on your long time running!
    It seems many of us are looking for like minded runners and especially “older” runners. Well, I just found a great website that I joined a few weeks ago. They have all kinds of support and advice for runners and athletes of all ages.
    They were all so supportive when I did my recent Half Marathon, I felt like a rock star. Seems they love us geezers. LOL.
    Anyway, it’s http://www.sparkpeople.com if you are interested. my name is BOILHAM on that blog. You can see my blog about my HM if you are interested, or just go there and visit without joining. If you join, ask me to be a “friend”. Regards, Vic

  • Richard:

    Great string for a novice 60 something runner like myself. I started on a treadmill 3 months ago and couldn’t run 1/2 mile despite endlessly hiking in the hills. Running is just different than walking! But I slowly got hooked and found the distances got easier and easier. Now with 3 miles getting easier Both on the treadmill and outside am hoping to run a slow half marathon in may and am going to stretch the mileage each week. Any words of advice would be great.

    • Ron Ayre:

      Richard,
      Your ambition to run the 1/2Marathon is most commendable; and is doable if things go exactly as planned.
      If your race is at the end of May you have at most 13 weeks to prepare. You need to get your once a week long run up to a minimum of 11 miles by at least 2 weeks before the race.
      Week 1 3mls
      2 4
      3 4
      4 5
      5 5
      6 7
      7 7
      8 9
      9 9
      10 10
      11 11
      12 9
      13 1/2M
      If this is possible for you, then the 1/2M can be achieved.
      If not, then you should plan for a 1/2M some 1 to 2 months later in the year.
      Let us know how you feel about this plan

      RonA

  • Ginny:

    Good for you! I ran my first marathon 2 weeks before my 60th birthday!

    Only advice I have is don’t try to increase mileage too quickly. A 1/2 marathon in May might be a bit ambitious, but if you don’t overdo you can do it! Are you following a training plan for the half marathon? It is a good idea to do that. I followed a plan on runnersworld.com for my halfs and my full…it is free. Good luck.

    Ginny

  • I love this site. I started running longer distances (HMs and in Nov my first marathon, the NYC) 2 1.2 years ago at age 63. It seems like we have all found the same answers, but on our own. The articles for “older runners” are mostly for people over 40, and usually for 40 year olds who have been running seriously for decades already. And doctors rarely are supportive of helping people our age be vigorously active. It is better to go to sports physios. There is no doubt I cannot follow a typical training program as laid out by, say, the Running Room, but I can follow my own modified version and enjoy the results. I just wish trainers and the medical profession understood this. Wait until they get to be 60+!

    Jane

    • Terri Angell:

      I have so enjoyed reading the comments on this site. I feel that our experiences not only inspire eachother, but can answer questions about training and health. Sure there is a lot of medical advice, but real experiences are the best! I started running at age 40. I was thrilled when I did my first 5k and 9 years later I won my first Ultra marathon (40 miler). My son and I signed up together. He won the whole event and I won the entire women’s division. I still feel like a beginner though. I am learning how to train as I get older and love to read about the accomplishments and successes of others. Honestly, I struggle with aches every morning. I did a 50 mile ultra in the fall that completely wiped me out for months. I did it having mono. It was hard to get back into training. Not only that, but I have asthma. Dang!! I keep moving forward and don’t want to give it up. Seldom do I have an “easy” run. It’s hard work with excellent pay offs.

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Although my orthopedist advertises himself as a “Sports Medicine” specialist, he treats me like I’m one of his geriatric patients ready for the rest home. If I ask what I can do because my replacement hips hurt, he says, “Oh, your’e doing just fine. You should see how my other patients your age are doing.” I tell him that I’m NOT one of his other patients my age! After several of these kinds of go-rounds, I think he understands me better. But you have to work to get your doctor educated.

    I am working on a training program in Active.com that is for a group called DIVAS. Mine is for training for a 10K walk. I am not planning to do that distance, but for 8K. So far this is the only training program that doesn’t start out walking and end up running. Due to not wanting to wear out my artifical hips, I want to keep running to a minimum. What is nice about this program is that you can modify the workouts and still record them. This way I have the log of what I have accomplished with the suggestions of what makes sense for each day.

  • Vic:

    Richard, don’t make the mistake I made, and overtrain. I strained my knee a bit when I started, but have since recovered. Didn’t read up enough and was running every day.

    Now I’ve found that at our age (65 for me) we need to rest every other day. Most novice programs have you training a bit more than is practical for those over 60, in my opinion. Furthermore, I would recommend that you alternate running and walking to build up both speed and endurance safely, while lowering the possibility of injury. Do a google search for Jeff Galloway training method and that should help you out.

  • Yvonne:

    I have been exercising all of my adult life. I ran for many years and then started weight lifting and different aerobic activities to spice it up. I stopped exercising for about a year because of a family buisness that i took over. During that time i gained a whopping 35 pounds. What was i thinking. So i started back with a little here and a little there, but not enough. So i decided a year ago i have to do something, somi did, well in July 2011 I pulled a periformis muscle. OMG, I was so upset after all that hard work with my business. Now what? So I have been doing everything to get over this injury. I’m not there yet but close. I want to start running, will I ever be able to run again?

    • john:

      I also had a periformis pull last july. Took one week off,cycled for 2 weeks, did stretches from inernet specific to injury,got a massage and ran lightly for a few weeks. In 6 weeks totally over pull. Go on line to find aprogram to follow. can do light running during recovery.

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    I got started in the 5K events because a friend noticed that I was a fast walker and encouraged me to entree an event. Of curse just jumping in without building up to it, can bring an injury – for me it was a torn knee ligament. The course of physical therapy had me working to build up, not just the knee support muscles, but the abs and gluteus. The therapist also felt that due to two hip replacements that I should not do running. The hips are at the expected life of 10- 15 years, and I should not put the impact of running on them.

    I did a lot of protest that I’d never be able to make good times, but she talked me into giving power walking a reasonable try. On my first 5K race on November 2010, I just barely came in under an hour. But now I can do 43 minutes with less than 10% running. So instead of worrying about whether you’ll ever be able to run, focus on building on what you can do and work to improve that. In time you may get the supporting muscles strong enough to gradually add in running.

    As for my hips – like my car mechanic says of my 10 year old car – good for another 100,000 miles.

  • Ol:

    I’m happy to find this blog. I’m 61 and have been running for 30+ years (sometimes with 4-5 yrs. of “off” periods, but picked it up full time about 3 yrs. ago). Have completed 3 1/2marathons in the last year and have another one coming up next week. Nice to read that there are other women (and men) in my age bracket who are doing the same. I belong to a local running club with 100+members and I’m the only female in my 60s. My son has encouraged me to train for a marathon and I am contemplating it… did that 30 years ago and know I didn’t train well. It was a painful experience. My running buddies and I didn’t even have a training plan. We just ran! Anyway, glad to know I’m not alone. Sometimes the comments from others makes me feel like I’m some sort of freak for wanting to run at my age.

  • Nancy:

    Great to find this site! You are all encouraging each other and staying vibrant and alive through our so-called “declining” years. I am 71 and started running 2 years ago. I hated it at first because I was so sluggish, but the more I do it, the better it gets. My dog and I go running for about 30 min 3 times a week. This spring I hope to add more time and work up for a 10K. I enjoy racing in 5K’s and usually win in the 70+ category… sometimes because I am the only female runner in that age group. Tomorrow I am joining a group for the first time. We’ll see how that goes!

  • Ginny:

    Nice to see more of us are joining here! A few negative comments this week, but usually we are very positive.

    OL…I have been running 30+ years also, ran my first marathon 2 weeks before my 60th birthday. I did train well and very slowly, I finished the marathon, but I was very slow, but I did finish! I have done 12 half marathons in the past 4 years, not sure I will ever do another marathon, maybe. The training is very time consuming since I am so darn slow. Don’t even think like you are a freak for running at this age, I think it’s great, and like Nancy commented, we start to win age group awards simply because we have toughed it out at our age!

    Ginny

  • Nancy:

    I ran with a group of women this morning. We ranged in age from mid 30′s to 71. We ran along roads… some ran 8 miles and I think I ran almost 5! I am excited that I could run longer, even tho slow! I had a mental limit of 30 minutes, but it really wasn’t hard to keep going for about an hour. It was encouraging to run with others… maybe I’ll do it again! One lady at 66 wants to qualify for the Boston Marathon… good for her!

  • Ron Ayre:

    Great to hear about all the “old” runners still hitting the roads/trails. Running has all positive attributes, and each to his/her own level of capabilities and expectations. Disregard the nay-sayers.
    2012 is a new year with new ambitions, from completing a 5K to running a marathon; encouragement to everyone for a terrific year!
    For myself, my first race of the year was “Miles for Music” 20K in New Jersey on Sunday 3/11/12. I ran 1hr 33min 28sec to win the 70-74 yr age group,- so a good start to begin the year.
    Hope to hear from others about racing or running.

  • Ginny:

    You can do a marathon! I have only done one and it was right before I turned 60! My time was 6:45, so very slow, but I did it!!! I have never been a fast runner..

    Ginny

  • Vic:

    Ron, You are an animal, and an inspiration to me. Congrats on your terrific time in the 20K!!!
    Ginny congrats on finishing the marathon. Never too slow, you are way faster than the couch potatoes!
    As for me, I continue to surprise myself. I ran another HM and shaved almost 13 minutes off my previous time. I finished the “Swamp House Half Marathon” with 2:08:57 and came in 2nd in my AG which had 9 participants. If we older runners train correctly we can do better than we imagine. I am now again considering a full marathon sometimes next year.
    Love the enthusiasm of this group.

  • Ginny:

    Don’t know if I will do another marathon, but I am planning on 3 half marathons this season….the first in May in Cleveland..

    Ginny

  • mary c:

    I am so happy I found this thread. I am a 62 year old female who has been a runner/triathlete for the last 20+ years. I love to race and compete. I am slow but when I turned 50 i started placing in my age group and it was so exciting. About a year ago i developed a pain in my groin. I went to regular ortho and he treated me for a muscle pull or strain. I kept ongoing and even trained for an Iron Man here in Texas which i completed last May. I continued to race all summer and then one day in early Oct, I was limping and it hurt to walk let alone run….4 docs, 3 injections, several visits to therapy and after a trip to New York City last week to visit my daughter whereby I was reduced to cab and bus rides, I have finally screamed “uncle” and have scheduled total hip replacement for April 9. I am grieving the fact that I can no longer run more than anything else. I enjoy the swim and the cycle but it is nothing like what running does for me. I know that this is major surgery and I will need to take care of my new joint. I am nervous for the surgery. I also feel old and always have prided myself in feeling so young and being able to do so much for my age. It is the most humbling thing I have been through. I need encouragement and hope. I love reading about all of you “older” runners/athletes – so inspiring. I am looking forward to not being in pain anymore and walking like a normal person let alone running. I hope I can run a little. I hope to eventually do sprint tris and maybe fast walking the 3 mi runs. I wanted to cross my last finish line at age 70 and I had hoped to do one more Iron Man.
    Mary C

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    I can give you some encouragement – I am 87 and possess two artificial hips (and an artificial big toe joint). No, your competing days are not over. I am basing this prediction on the fact that other than one or more worn out joints, you are in good health. You wouldn’t be able to compete in triathletes if you weren’t.

    Give the surgery ample time to heal, and follow your Doctor’s orders – team up with a good physical therapist who will bring you along at the best pace – not allowing you to get smart and overdo. I have had my “new ” hips for 14 years, which is the usual life expectancy for normally active individuals. I did not do any running one most of this time as my interests were into hiking, gardening, and training sheep dogs. I just started about two years ago when I got a GPS so I could track 2 mile walks around my neighborhood. I started competing against myself. A friend noted my times, and encouraged me to enter a local 5K run/walk. I placed third in the female over 70 age group, and was hooked. I still compete against myself in these events and have steadily improved my times.

    I have been having a blast doing these races. I’ve gotten a number of blue ribbons in the 70+ age group, and a couple of medals for winning the 80 and over – but those are by virtue of outliving my competition as I was the only one in that group.

    By a fluke, I got entered in the 5K Racewalk in the California Senior Games at Stanford University a couple of weeks ago. Again I won my over 85 group by being the only one. But it doesn’t matter, I have qualified for the Nationals next year. As this is a technical way of moving, I’ve decided to really learn how to do it. I have just registered for a Racewalking clinic to be held in Portland in July. For me, the race walk makes a lot of sense as it is a much lower impact sport and it will give me more years on my “100,000 mile” hips. And it really is competitive – Right now I can outwalk some of the joggers in the 5 K races.

    You may not be able to achieve one more Iron Man, but you certainly can plan to cross many finish lines at age 70+.

    • Phyllis
      I got my new hip on April 9th. I am recovering nicely. I had the anterior approach so no muscles or tendons were cut which is easier to recover from but still realize I have bone that was sawed and pounded on so I am taking it slow and smart. I am using a cane and trying to walk 30 min a day – slowly, concentrating not to limp. I go back to my high school counselor job on May 1. I did ask when I can swim and cycle again and the PA told me to have patience and allow the bone to heal. Swimming/kicking could cause swelling if the bone is not healed and of course, I want the incision to heal completely before I get into any water. I will start PT next week when I can drive again. I was very encouraged by your message. I am going to buy a race walking book. I could not really find a clinic around the Houston area. Do you have suggestions on race walking? I can walk a 15 min mile – slow but would like to bring that down if possible. If I do the Houston Marathon next Jan by walking I have to finish it in 6 hours. Thanks again. Mary C

      • Phyllis Karsten:

        I’m sorry I didn’t get back to answer this sooner. There is a race walk clinic in Austin coming up. Here’s the link:

        http://www.racewalking.org/clinics.htm

        I’ve joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team In Training. They have training for all sorts of competitions, including full marathon and half marathon. In both of these you can train for walking or running. You get personal coaching and are a member of a team, so you have a group of like minded people to train with you. There is a hitch. In exchange for this professional coaching, you have to fulfill a fundraising commitment. I feel it is well worth it, and it allows me to give something back to the world for allowing me to have such good health at my age.

        Good luck on finding a training program that fits.

        Phyllis

      • Phyllis Karsten:

        Mary
        How are you coming along after about five months post new hip? I hope your physical therapist keeps your goals in line with your healing. be patient through this process so you don’t damage yourself. From my 87 year old vantage point, you have lots of time. You can use this rest period to concentrate on core muscle development.

        My Team In Training is over 3/4 completed for a half marathon in October. Yesterday my walking companion and I did 12.5 miles. This was the team’s peak distance – we will now taper off so we are rested and at peak condition for the event. You mentioned doing a 15 min. mile. We are about the fastest in our group and thought we were doing well to hold a pace of 17 min. mile for the distance.

        Although it was a dumb thing to do I power walked a 10 K this morning. My average pace held steady at about 14.24 for the six.two miles. I have done nothing but nap out a day for the rest of the day – i’ll take an easy 1/2 to 1 mile stroll this evening. I’ll take a hot tub soak, eat dinner, and watch the ball game before heading off to bed. I don’t expect any significant soreness tomorrow. I would not have done this event, but I had registered for it before I joined the Team InTraining and just couldn’t let the challenge slide.

        Remember you have 20 or more good years before you catch up with me age-wise. So give yourself plenty of quality recovery.

        PhyllisK

  • Joan:

    I just found this site as well and am so excited to have a place to compare notes and gather information and advice. I am 55 and will be running my first hm in May. I have been feeling a little down about my pace while training but after reading this blog am reminded it really is “about the journey” . My pace is fine! I’m running and I’m healthy and I’m having fun! Thanks everyone :)

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Good attitude, Joan!

    Run the good race!

  • Ron Ayre:

    I am interested in what amount of training everyone is doing to be able to run up to half marathon distance.
    how much running each week, distance of long run, any speed sessions, etc
    I look forward to some responses

    RonA

    • Olline:

      Ron, I’m no expert, bit I’ve finished 4 1/2 marathons in the last year. My son is an avid runner and reassured me that it was that one long run every week that was necessary. I ran 3-4 times a week @ 4 miles during the week but did the long one on weekends. Started with 6 miles and added a mile or less every week until I did a 12 miler. The week before the 1/2 I ran 2 – 3 milers. No injuries, no pain. I’m pretty slow though and finished in 2 1/2 hours. I think it’s that one long run that’s important- but just add distance slowly @10 % a week. Good luck and have fun. Olline

    • Graham Gibbs:

      Ron,
      like Olline, I’ve found that the key to doing the distance is increasing distance or pace gradually. The 10% rule is not a bad rule of thumb – and don’t increase distance and pace at the same time. Now 63, I took up running six years ago as a way of staying fit for mountain climbing and got to enjoy it for its own sake. I started doing a longer run once a week moving from 6 miles to 7, to 8 etc. each week. Now, most weeks I run the HM distance on a Saturday with shorter runs on other days to make about 30 miles per week. In addition to not increasing distance/speed too fast, another bit of advice for older runners is to make sure you take plenty of days off, without running. The body needs time to recover from activity and more so as we get older. I’ve just read Little and McGuff’s book, Body by Science (on the biology of high intensity training – HIT), and they suggest at least 5 days rest after HIT. Running is not so severe as HIT, especially if you are not pushing the pace, but several days off a week (e.g. every other day) is recommended.

      I’ve had a few minor injuries, including an inflamed achilles tendon probably caused by trying hills too soon and too fast when I took up running. After a couple of months of rest, I made sure I only ran on the flat until I was fitter and it never recurred. I find a good set of stretches, especially after a long run, help recovery and stop me feeling stiff the rest of the day. A few reps of squats after a run have staved off a repeat of runner’s knee (which I got many years ago from too much mountain climbing!) There is quite a lot of debate about the usefulness of stretches, especially before running, but once warmed up (i.e. at the end of a run) I find they help recovery.

      As for timing, I’m not in your league, Ron, my time for 13.1 miles (approx. 21km) is about 2hrs to 2hrs 10 mins. But I’m now using Fartlek (interspersing fast/slow running) to try to improve my time. It is working, but very slowly. Also, as with some other writers here, I’m not averse to walking a bit in a long race if I’m really exhausted (such as when tackling a hill). It doesn’t seem to affect my overall time very much in the end.

      BTW, there is hope for us oldies. A remarkable piece of research that I heard about on a science radio programme a couple of years ago (I listened to the podcast while I was running) shows that resistance exercise can reverse the signs of ageing (such as muscle mass loss). It’s a bit technical, but the outcome is pretty clear. See: Melov et al. Resistance Exercise Reverses Aging in Human Skeletal Muscle

      Graham

      • Ron Ayre:

        These recent comments are really interesting to me.
        It does seem that the majority of older (60+) runners give the advice of not running every day, and adding some other form of exercise to their routine. I’m sure this has certain benefits for the body and for the mind.

        However, I have to say that at 70 years old I still run every day ( I miss only a few days per year) and run about 40 to45 miles each week. I have been doing this for a very long time (since I was 15 years old) so perhaps it is simply a matter of routine after all this time. I can say truthfully that my enthusiasm for running is as strong as ever it was, perhaps even more so as I age, the highlight of my day, every day, is to go for my run. This was a source of some contention in my family life, especially when my children were young, but now my wife is very happy to see me run each day, because of the benefits derived from good health at this age.
        I think that whatever works for each person is the best approach, the most important thing is keep it fresh and interesting.
        some people like to run with a group, while others like to run alone. I am a believer in racing to keep some edge at faster running, which I otherwise would not do.
        I am aware that there will come a day that for some reason I can no longer do what I do, but I intend that day to be a long time in the future yet. I look forward to hearing some details of the running habits of others in this forum.

  • Nancy:

    I just committed to sign up for a half marathon… in December! Meanwhile, I have a couple of 5K’s coming up April 7 and 14th… the first races since last August for me. The race on the 7th is to celebrate a friend’s 61st BD. She is still running strong and fast. A 53 year old is going with us and she is plenty fast too. Me, (at 71)I will just try to enjoy it as much as possible and listen to my new I-pod! The music does help me go along.
    I hope lots of you are getting out an enjoying this beautiful spring weather… aren’t we lucky to be able to do this?!

    (Ron, I wil be interested in the best way to prepare for that HM also!)
    (Phylilis, you rock!)

    Nan

  • Joan:

    I found a site called marathon rookie and have been following the schedule they put up for beginners. I have found it to be a great guide ,I’m on week five of the schedule.

  • Ginny:

    There are many free plans online…if you go to runnersworld.com and click on training, there is a link for Smart Coach, that is what I use….they have free plans and plans you have to pay for…I use the free. I will be running my 10th half in May, very slowly I may add, but that’s ok! I don’t worry too much about speed anymore. The previous poster was correct, the most important runs are those long runs, getting used to being on your feet for 2+ hours, of course less time for those of you who are speedier.

    Ginny

  • Nancy:

    Thanks for the tips,.. I will definitely check them out. I love reading about running… sometimes more than actually doing it!

  • Will:

    I have to say that I find all ( well nearly all) the comments above very inspiring, when I was in my twenties we had a woman in our running club who was in her sixties at the time she was considered a phenomonal now the running world is full of those in their sixties, seventies and upwards, which is great . I have had 3 operations over the years including a ( major!) prolapsed disc in my spine, on each occasion the detractors have lectured me against running , ( as if they medical experts! ) when I had been informed by the surgeons concerned that in all cases the damage was not related to running at all, indeed the spinal problem was down to too much time in the car. I am now 51 and have decided train “clever” in short ,take more rest days, and focus more time on cross training I use a Concept 2( rowing machine) which has helped no end and allowed me to take my mileage back up to 49 miles a week, 36 miles running and 9 miles on the rower. My targets are sub 18 mins for 5k , sub 37 mins for 10k, sub 1.20 for 1/2 marathon ( last race was 81.19 mins) and who knows sub 3 hours for the marathon! they are all acheivabel, a runner in my current club achieved 83.00 mins for the half marathon recently at 63. One last thought I remember running with a relative (who was in her sixties) in the U.S back in 1982 , she turned to me and said “you know why I run William ?” to which I replied “no” “because it makes me feel smug” well on top of the health benefits and also making you feel physically great, I can relate to that, push on everybody!

    • Graham Gibbs:

      Will,
      I’m impressed by these times and distances. I usually take just over 2hrs for the HM and I keep up about 30 miles a week. But I certainly agree with the comment made by your relative. I must admit to feeling smug when at work I dash up the stairs overtaking the huffing and puffing young students.

      But I do think there are other reasons for running. I make sure my longer runs are in interesting places e.g. along a local canal or (as I live near the Peak District) along the Pennine Way. I’m less concerned about speed and more interested in enjoying the scenery. Also, when I can, I make sure I get a run in when I’m visiting places or friends or even on holiday. Google maps and the Ordnance Survey website are great helps here in planning interesting runs from hotels, conferences etc.

      Good to hear that you are still able to run despite a back problem. I’ve got spondylolisthesis (following, I think, a mountaineering accident 12 years ago). So I have periods of suffering from backache and taking NSAIDs. But I find short runs (up to 6 miles) no problem and longer runs OK as long as I make sure to maintain good running stance. As I get tired I have a tendency to bend forward which is not good for the back. I’ve found some YouTube videos very helpful, for example: Good Form Running

      Graham

  • Trev:

    I ran a half marathon of 1:35 when I was 49. Since then (I am now 54) my running has been interrupted by illness and injury – in particular, I have had to have my gall bladder removed. The enforced lay offs have led to me putting on weight and although I now drag myself out for the occasional `four miler` or so, I think it is safe to say that my fitness levels have fallen!
    However, reading some of the comments on here is really rather inspiring. No matter what our age or running history we must continue to train. I know that I always feel much more energised after a run anyway. Let`s all keep going. Any further words of encouragement guys?

  • BROOKS:

    I am 60 years old and have decided to start back running. I used to run when i was much younger and played in all sports in high school. I weighed 155 lbs when i got married 37 years ago. I now weigh 255 lbs. Boy how the years have changed me. lol I can still walk at a pretty good pace for 4 miles. It takes me about an hour and 6 minutes to cover that distance. I thank you all for your coments and will take any advise you have to offer.

  • Ginny:

    Like Graham, I have noticed that I am not able to run day after day , I have to have a day off between runs. Off days I do weight training or biking usually. I have never stretched before or after my runs, maybe I have just been lucky, but never have had a serious injury or an injury that kept me from running for more than a few days. I have always been slow though, so maybe that is why I have been able to avoid injury. After a half marathon distance, I find soaking in cold water helps me tremendously, hard at first, but once you are used to the cold it isn’t bad and prevents stiffness, at least for me.

    ginny

    • Mame:

      I started running in a couch to 5k program 1 1/2 years ago at age 52. Never ran before. Did yoga off and on for few years but had been inactive for several years and gained a little weight. I just finished my second hm in 2:12. I am able to push myself during the race. Recovery is my issue. After running anything over 8+ miles, I have to nap for several hours and I might be exhausted all day. It is a level of exhaustion after any strenuous excerising. I have not heard anyone mention this. I run with several other older women, their times are slower and the don’t have the same recovery issue. I run 3x a week 15 miles on average. 3-5 miles 2x and one long run 6-12 miles each week.

      • Olline:

        I think 2:12 is a great time! I’m 61 and best time for my halfs is 2:30. I’m always tired after a run of 8+ miles. I know I’ll need a 2 hour nap. I enjoy that nap as much as the run. Keep up the good work- you’re doing great! Olline

      • Ron Ayre:

        Try a 4 week plan of 2x 4 miles and 1x 6 miles each week.
        At this point you can judge your recovery more objectively -perhaps your current long run is too much at 12 miles.
        If after the 4 week trial your recovery is going well, then you can slowly build up yor mileage in preparation for a half marathon race. Allow a minimum of 10 week build up to get your long run up to 11 miles.
        Hope this helps

  • Ginny:

    I never did run every day, so that is probably why I really cannot do it now, but get out there usually 4 times a week. The last few years I have been doing 3-4 half marathons per season. Having something to train for is what keeps me out there, otherwise I tend to get lazy! Hopefully, I can continue to run for years to come.

    Another thing I have noticed as I age, is that I can not jump out of bed, get dressed, go running. I need at least a half an hour to get this body moving properly! In my younger days I could just get up and go!

    ginny

  • Joan:

    Trev, the “occasional four-miler” is four more than 90% of the rest of the people our age are doing. Give yourself a pat on the back and get out there and do it again tomorrow! Before you know it you will be doing another 1/2 marathon, maybe not as fast as before, or who knows, maybe faster….have fun!

  • Nancy:

    Just checking in after running a beautiful 5K yesterday in Georgia. My time was 32.25 which I was happy with. No award, though, as there were only a 1st and 2nd place for everyone over 60! I find my biggest problem is my breathing… getting enough oxygen in.
    I am planning another race this coming weekend in SC… with family. My son is running a HM, I’m running a 5K, and my granddaughters (7 + 4) are running the mile… for the first time. Should be fun!

  • Sandra:

    Thank you! Why so pestimistic? I stumbled on to this site helping my daughter do some research and I am so encouraged and motivated. I would rather be sidelined from running than just sit on the sidelines doing nothing. I want to try! Any suggestions for shoes to help absorb the shock? I’ll be running/walking on pavement or concrete. Turning 65 this year.

    • Phyllis Karsten:

      I got some Brooks Pure cadence. They are like running with pillows tied to your feet – not clams like real pillow, just so cushy. I’m not sure how they will be on my feet for the longer distance of a half marathon, so far they work fine for 4 – 5 miles.

  • Ron Ayre:

    Springtime here in NJ. Good weather and lots of races to choose from
    I generally do not care for 5K races very much (too fast, too short) but I ran a 5K in Denville NJ on 4/7/12 and managed to win my 70-74 age group in 21m 48s.
    I do find it difficult to do much fast running in my daily training, so I do 5 miles of 1/2 ml repeats on my treadmill at 7.00 ml pace to give my body some exposure to fast running. I do this session once per week. All of my other daily runs (5 mls to 10 mls) are done at 9 min to 10 min pace. Anyone out there with experience of fast running have any comments or advice?

  • Nancy:

    Ron, your time for the 5K is amazing! I know you have run for many years, but after 70 to be able to clock that kind of time is remarkable. On Saturday, the overall winner in our North Georgia Spring Race, at age 20 and from Kenya, completed the race in 17 minutes and some seconds… I thought that was exceptional. I’m sure you always win in your age group… and beat many much younger. Good running!

  • Will:

    Hi Graham, T
    Thanks for the tip with regard to the Good Form Running website, I shall check it out. I found to my cost that form is one of those factors, ( along with core stability) that we runners tend to overlook with all too predictable consequences,( injury!). I can completely relate to the benefit of a run being varied, I think that if you are absorbed in maintaining your balance, jumping that branch, or getting round that mire, the miles seem to go by easily, and with the focus on your surroundings the tempo picks up as well, the long straight road can seem pretty dull by contrast. I live in the Cotswolds which is great,, but I envy you living near the peak district!
    On the subject of form I don’t know if you have noticed the same thing, but in our running club it has become a bit of a joke that you can recognise a runner up ahead of your, a long time before you can see who it is , just by their running style, or for that matter recognise them when they are coming up behind you, by the sound of their footfall. It would seem that everyone has a unique running style blueprint, some good ,and others make you wonder how they cover the miles!

    • Graham Gibbs:

      Will,
      Just run a half marathon in the Bath HM 2013. Despite being aware of good form when running when I looked at the photos I noticed I still drop my arms too much in front of me, even when sprinting at the end of the race. I guess being tired (which I was!) makes it hard to focus on form. But it’s clearly something I still need to work on.
      Also, for a few miles I followed, amongst thousands of others, a young women who had a very impressive running style. She was tall and quite thin but her running seemed to be without effort. It looked like she was just gliding along. Other runners, especially the men, running at the same speed, seemed to be thumping along or pushing themselves with great effort in comparison. So, you and your running club colleagues are right about recognizing someone from their running style.

  • Archie Arendse:

    I last run an ultramarathon in 1988 (The Two Oceans – Cape Town – South Africa) and have been reasonably inactive for over 2 decades. I will be turning 60 this year godwilling in December and circumstances forces me to study again hence my desire to start running again which in my opinion should assist my concentration levels with the studies.

  • Katherine:

    Congratulations Nancy. Great time.
    Katherine

  • Nancy:

    Thanks, Katherine for the encouragement. Just keep on keeping on…

    This weekend’s race in Columbia SC was easier than the one in north Georgia… not as many hills! My 61 year old friend ran the 5K in 29.11 and won in her age group. My time was 32.11, and I won in my age group, as there were no others! There were several hundred runners of all ages and over 1,000 in the HM. My son and his siter-in-law ran and did fine… The little girls had fun running 1/3 mile… not a whole mile as I had thought. It was a great family event.

  • Wow, such inspiration! Came across this site through a link in Park run and I’m so pleased to see comments from others like me who have discovered running in their 50′s and beyond. I’m 56 moderately fit after years of walking, cycling and playing netball and running has always seemed an exercise that was just beyond my capacity. However I’ve embarked on a program that is taking me slowing from the couch to 5km and the comments here have reinforced my determination to get that first 5km goal ticked off as soon as I can. Thank you all for the positive, sensible and inspiring comments.

  • Ginny:

    Carol,
    Go to runnersworld,com….click on training, and then smart coach, there is a plan you have to pay for and a free one, that is what I have used in the past, at least as a guide if you don’t follow their plan exactly! I only use the free plan. If you have any questions, post here again, I will try and help.

    Ginny

  • Ginny:

    I meant..www.runnersworld.com

  • Gina:

    I’m 56 and have been a runner for 26 years. I started running when my son was 5 and I needed to get some type of exercise in with the least time commitment. I plan to run until I can run no more, and I think I’m far from that. Running has kept me healthy for a long time and I have made a lot of great running friends through the years. I decided a long time ago that I want to be around for my family and friends as long as I can and running has been a part of my plan. My advice to anyone thinking about becoming a runner is to start. Start slow, be realistic and keep your eye on the goal, you won’t be disappointed.

  • Clare:

    I am 62 years old and have always used walking as my main form of exercise, primarily because running always was so difficult for me. Finally, about three years ago, I decided to give running a try since I felt that the walking really wasn’t giving me the workout I wanted. It has been a slow road for me, but last weekend I ran my first 5K with my two twenty something kids, and I couldn’t believe the sense of accomplishment I felt. Now my kids want me to go for a 10 K at the end of May. I’m game to try a training regime for that, but haven’t totally committed myself yet to running the race. Any tips for training or any other aspect of running a 10K?

  • Olline:

    Clare, It IS a great accomplishment! Since you have been running for three years I’m sure you could do the 10k. My only advice would be to add the distance slowly. You have @5 weeks so if you add a 1/2 mile every week to your longest run (3.5, then 4.0, then 4.5….) it would take you up to @6 miles by race day. I have learned that adding the distance slowly has really been beneficial. Bet your kids are proud of you!

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Robbie Broughton: I use two aps. to track distance, time, pace and routes. The first one I started with is CardioTrainer. (it is so far only available on Android devices).

    The other is called RunKeeper. Both aps have a voice that gives information as you go along. The RunKeeper gives more complete information every quarter mile, and I like the voice better. Both of them allow you to save to a web file and to post to FaceBoook or other social networks.

    I’ve tried a couple of interval timers, but they don’t work for me very well. I guess I am too independent to want to speed up or slow down to someone else’s time.

    While you are checking out aps, check out Cardiograph. it allows you to check you heart rate by putting a finger over your smart camera lens. Very simple to use. You don’t need to apply pressure, just lay your finger over the lens and hit the on/off button, when you have enough of a reading turn it off – that’s all.

    I’ve been out of circulation for almost 2 weeks with a horrendous cold – it seems like it’s been forever. Hopefully I’ll be ready to do some slow around the block stuff by tomorrow. If all goes well I may be in shape to participate in a 4 mile run/walk. (Notice I didn’t say “run”. ; )

    PhyllisK

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    An excellent starting place would be this web site:
    http://www.racewalking.org/
    It lists books on technique and clinics by Dave McGovern. He will be conducting the weekend event in Portland OR that I have registered for. I have his book “The Complete Guide to Marathon walking”.

    I also have “race walk Like a Champion” by Jeff Salvage, and “Walking Fast” by Therese Ikonoian. all three of these books cover the technique as well as training exercises, diet, injuries and list other resources. I also got the book on ChiWalking”, but this is focused on mainly walking for pleasure. It uses slightly different methods, which my or may not stand one in good form in a competitive race walk.

    So far I have only been in one actual race walk. My other events have been more “freestyle” – you choose w
    However you want to go, everything goes from full-out running to just a casual stroll. I try to walk as fast as i can for at least 80% of the distance with a few short runs tossed in when there are gentile down slopes. I have found two defecated race walk clubs that train not far from where I live. I hope to be able to join in one or the other.

    If before your surgery you could average 15min/mi for at least 5 K, you have an excellent foundation to build on after your rehab period – but don’t rush it. good luck!!

    Phyllis

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    I typed the previous post on my IPad, which likes to finish words for me, whether I want or not. Please read the sentence about race walking clubs as “I have found two dedicated race walking clubs”.

    I don’t see a way to edit my post once it has been posted. ; (

    Phyllis

  • Karen:

    Phyllis,

    It does not matter if you have typos. You are an inspiration to us all!!

  • mark menard:

    I’ve been running for 30 years , I started running marathons at 55, seven years ago My first was 4:17 my last one last year was4:12. I run 3 or4 times a week anywhere from 3,5 to 6.5 miles on dirt roads or trails at 6,700 ft. I usually finish in the top 3 in the Albuquerque marathon ,.not alot of us running. Everyone I see running anywhere and in any shape impresses me for being out there while others are sitting in the couch . I will run as long as I am able and always come home thankful that I can.

  • Ron Ayre:

    All,
    I have a half marathon coming up at the end of May here in NJ.
    Training is going well right now, and barring any injuries or other unforeseen circumstances I am hopeful for a quick time (for a 70 year old ). Weekly mileage is in the 40 to 45 range, with a long run of 12-13 mls.
    I am hoping for cool weather, as I do not do well in hot/humid conditions.
    Anyone else doing half marathons in the next few weeks?

  • karen:

    Ron, I ffnished my first one on April 22. It was sunny, it rained, it was windy and there were bridges. But I finished! I used the walk/run method. I was slow but I made it. You will too!!!

  • Ginny Bess:

    I am doing a Half on May 20th, Cleveland. Training going well, although I am so darn slow!

    Ginny

  • Nancy:

    Ginny, I am impressed with the fact that you have run so many half marathons. I wouldn’t worry about the time at all. I am impressed that you continue to finish strong. I’m sure you will do fine in the one coming up in May.

    I am currently in SC taking care of grandchildren while my daughter in law is out of the country. My running has been sporatic at best. Also, it is hot here except early in the morning… and that’s when I can’t go. I am signed up for a 5K this Sat, but may not make it.

    Best luck with your running!

  • Dennis:

    This is an interesting post. Thanks for all (most) of the comments.

    I am a 62 year old male who runs for both mental and physical health. I, too, have been running halfs (3 this year). Not a speedster by any stretch but got the idea tha I wanted to run a marathon and am registered for Chicago in October. Man, am I nervous. Even with 5 months to train, it’s gonna be a challenge. But hey I’m a runner. I eat challenge for breakfast.
    Good luck to all my senior ( I hate that word ) running friends. Run Strong!!

  • Joan:

    Just completed my first 1/2on Sunday, What a feeling!!! Prior to it, I kept saying to myself,”Just do your best and when it’s over you can go back to the old routine.” Well, that same night I was looking for the next one! It was such a great feeling of accomplishment! I want to make it a regular thing in my life from here on out !!!

  • Ginny:

    That’s what happens! They are addictive! Congratulations!

    Ginny

  • Kimmy:

    I am 50 and began running last fall, taking most of the winter off. I am running my first 5k this weekend. I am excited but nervous too. I feel like I run very heavy and would like to pick your brain on the “light” running.

    • Renee Hawkyard:

      I am 65 and began jog/walking December 2011. I have lost 28 lbs and feel soooooooooooo much better. My marathon running daughter has advised me that Brooks shoes are some of the best for support and design to improve our gaits. I finally bought at a store where they fitted my foot and observed my walk. Much better fit and different size and width than the service I received at another store where they retrieved my perceived size and handed me the box for me to do the rest.

      I have been advise to Jog lightly by posturing my body more forward from the torso up, pulling my stomach in tight and lifting my upper body, neck, head forward and in better alignment. By doing this I became aware of how much I HAD been losing my younger posture and toning by just slouching and letting my stomach relax. UGH! Another tip was to place my foot lightly rather than slamming it down as I jog. This helps my body feel lighter and a definite feeling of increased momentum. When I remember to do these things I move forward with much more ease and my lower back feels much better.

      I will be doing the San Francisco Bay to Breakers next weekend. A real Fun Experience! Hope to better my times from a few years ago when I was not training and only casually walked the course.

      Enjoy your adventure…

  • Wells:

    I’m 54 and I have been running since high school, but intermittently since around mid-20s. I’ve run a handful of Half marathons, and lots of 10k’s over the years. I once had a runners body…6′ and 165 lb. Now I’m built more like a truck, at around 225-232. Here’s what I can tell you. When I run and train consistently my weight drops to 205-210. I always cross train and do cals. My knees hurt when I don’t run! It’s true. I love working out period, but sometimes I just hit flat periods and they’re always longer than I want, but when I get back in the groove I love to train hard. I’d like to try to build my speed. I know it would burn off weight too. Here’s something I tried recently after 9 weeks of solid all-around training (running, swimming, jogging, push-ups, sit-ups, stretches)… 3 mile run followed immediately by a fairly powerful swim of at least 600-1,000 yards. It felt awesome and I burned almost a pound each workout. But I’ve had a lay-off of 6 weeks. Ouch. Should I run that Half tomorrow morning?! I was going to jog it but I think I should pass and train up again. Keep up the GREAT work everybody!

  • Nancy:

    Hi, everyone,

    I did a 5K yesterday and finished with my best time. (I have been running 2 years and am 71). Now I have another goal… to do better next time! The weather was cool and cloudy, so really perfect for running. Also the course was pretty flat, so I might not have those conditions next time… and we must remember those factors make a difference. Also, how we happen to feel on race day can impact our running.. At my age, some days are definitely better than others!

    Keep running and smiling, folks!

  • Renee Hawkyard:

    Congrats! Yes keep on running !

  • Ralph Riddick:

    Would like to run marathon when 80. Can you assist me in locating webb sites whose list Marathons having an
    80 and above, age group category.

  • Todd:

    I’ve been a runner since Kenneth Cooper’s ‘The New Aerobics’ came out in the 1960s. Never ran fast but got a lot of satisfaction from going distances: many marathons and two ultras. Now at age 69, I find I need to discard the ‘baggage’ of what I ‘usta do’ and go with what I am able to do. Two years ago, spinal stenosis became so bad that I could not walk more than a block without having to sit down. My legs just would not work! After L2 to L5 surgery (relieving pressure on nerves, an artificial disk, titanium screws, and fusion), rehab, and a year’s worth of walking only, I have begun to ‘run’ again’. It takes considerable mental and physical effort to get out on the track or road, but I’ve gotten up to 12 miles, although my everyday workout is about 3 miles. Most of my acquaintances (but not my surgeon, bless him!) discourage my running. Don’t be discouraged when circumstances present a setback! Do listen to your body, though, and don’t push through pain that gets worse. And knees .. no problem! One more year, and I’ll be in the 70 and up bracket! Cheers to all of us older folks!

  • Judy:

    It’s been great to read all your stories and I feel very encouraged by all the people who have started running at a later age. I always did like running but never tried distance running. Now, at age 66, I have taken up running and absolutely love it!

    I have a friend who is a marathon runner and he has been advising me as to the best running method and I have been running for a month now. On the first day I walked 15 minutes then ran at 1 minute, then walked another 15 minutes. I then increased to 2 minutes running the next running day. I walk/run every other day 3 times a week.

    Now I am running at 7 minutes comfortably (and still walking) and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. He generally increases the running time each week (if it feels comfortable) and walking can be as long as one likes.

    Also, I go to the gym once a week where we, as a group, do lots of strength and cardio work with an instructor. All good fun!

  • ginny:

    Well I ran the worst half marathon ever on Sunday! This was my 11th in the past 4 years. I ran Cleveland and started out really well, slow and steady for the first 4 miles, then tried to pick up the pace a little for the next 4, but my legs just felt like lead, knew I wasn’t going to do well, about mile 9 I almost through in the towel, but did not want to “Did not Finish”, so I kept going with a lot of walking! When I had the finish line in sight, I refused to walk, so I gathered up my strength and ran down the chute and over the finish line. A few minutes later I was sitting on the curb throwing up and shaking, ended up in the med tent with an IV…the most terrible leg cramps I have ever had, in both legs from tip of toes to groin. Guess I was a little dehydrated, it was hot, in the 80′s and the first time this season I have run in the heat because it hasn’t been that hot up here in northern Ohio. BUT…I did finish and I was 25 out of 66 for my age group. I will do it again! Next half is scheduled for August here in my home town. I don’t want to discourage anyone from longer distances at all. This is first time this has ever happened to me and I trained well, thought I hydrated enough, but it was just one of those days.

    Ginny

    • Ron Ayre:

      All,
      My halfM on May 20 did not happen.
      Training had gone wel,l but with one week to go something happened – I have no explanation – but my daily run became an exhausting slog, 5 miles in one hour and very tired at the end. So I decided not to run.
      I am continuing to run each day as easily as possible until I recover.

      Ginny, I am sorry your half turned out to be so difficult for you, but you displayed a great deal of determination in your resolve to finish. As with nearly all runners there will be situations like this occuring from time to time.
      As you state “it is just one of those days” – so do not dwell on it but look to the next race. Good luck and good running.

      Ron A

  • ginny:

    I meant “threw in the towel” I don’t like to misspell, LOL!

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Glad to see you are able to send this report! I can hardly imagine the pain of those cramps.

    I have signed up for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training Half Marathon in San Jose, CA in October. I have signed up for the walk. We get our first instruction in “walking” Thursday. I’m not sure if we will be expected to use proper race walking form throughout the HM – or if we feel up to it, if we can throw in some running or jogging. Either way the distance is daunting to me today, but hope by October I’ll be perfectly primed to complete. Because I’ve never done a HM before, it will be a personal best, no matter how I do.

  • Tommy:

    This is a wonderful thread. A lot of amazing people with a lot of amazing stories. Everybody who’s still able to run in their 50′s, 60′s and beyond must thank their lucky stars that they still can! Remember, everybody’s different and just because one person can run an amazing marathon time at 60 years old doesn’t mean we all can. Also, it’s just as an amazing accomplishment as someone finishing their first 5k. Remember things that work for one person might not work for another, we’re all different. But if we are still out plugging along, making that effort, that’s a victory in itself.
    I ran track in middle school, called Junior High at the time. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 18. I ran while I could until my late 20′s, then got married, had kids (twins), career, etc. and got away from running and my health suffered. My weight ballooned to 265, which would be ok if I was 7’2″, but I’m only 5’9″. (I said I wasn’t over-weight, just
    under tall) So back in 2003 I started whittling away at the weight with diet and exercise. Then I had another intestinal blockage and had to have the last third of my large intestines was removed in mid-2005. After recovery, I started working out again, trained and ran a 1/2 marathon in late 2006. I still have had issues to overcome. I had L4/L5 fused in late 2010, gained back 25lbs during that process. I couldn’t run for a 3 months before the surgery and 6 months after it. After that recovery, I did start working out and on the the elliptical in the gym and continued to train. Started running
    again last spring (2011) and badly strained my calf in a 5k race. Had a doctor check me out he said my knees, legs were in pretty good shape for a 54 year old and thought it was just an “injury”. He gave me some strengthening and balance exercises on bosu ball and let me go. I trained all winter with these exercises and started running again this in early
    March and slightly strained the same calf again. I then went to a podiatrist and got custom orthotics made and that really did the trick for me. I still have to be careful, I can’t run fast, but I can run outside.
    Orthotics may not work for everybody, but they will work for some people in some circumstances. Since then, I’ve gotten my weight down to 187 pounds I will be running in the local Memorial Day 10k on Monday. I am very grateful that I can still run because a lot of people can’t for all kinds of reasons.
    So if you’re still running, be thankful and enjoy it!

  • Nancy:

    Tommy . , You have had some real challenges and have overcome a lot. I hope you enjoy the race today. It is great that you can run a 10K. I am working on reaching that goal. You have a real can-do attitude that we all admire.

    Keep up the great work!

  • I am a 54 year old woman that started pushing myself to run faster on the treadmill at 50. I now run 2 miles in 15:05 minutes and sometimes faster. I find that pushing myself on the treadmill has given me more endurance to run outside. I now run 2 miles in doors, run 1 mile outdoors and walk for about 15 minutes, at least 4 times a week. I have a history of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure in my family, I have not experienced any of those conditions and I believe it’s because of the workouts. I do rest at least 3 days out of the week. Workouts have given me a better attitude over the years and I feel great, I’ll be 55 in no time and I trust will still be active.

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    HI All

    I have just completed my first week with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team In Training. I highly recommend this program to all who wonder if they are up to a half Marathon or even iron man or other high energy events.

    I was given the option of signing up for a half or full marathon, and the option of signing up for running or walking. I have chosen the HM Walking event, which will be held in San Jose in October (San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon). They say it is lots of fun with many bands playing along the route.

    On our first training, we were instructed in the race walking technique, not necessarily the exact style for judged events, but a way of walking so you can be most efficient over the 13.1 miles ahead. After we practiced on the track, we had some instruction in warm up and cool down stretches, so that we don’t end up with stiff or torn muscles.

    Saturday we walked on a local trail. We could choose to go the 2 mile loop, or continue on with the full marathon walkers and go 4 miles. We can train with the FM as long as it feels comfortable, and then drop back if need be. Although this was my first work out in about 6 weeks, the 4 miles went by easily. We ended up with a bagel breakfast spread put on by the team coaches.

    Yesterday we were back on the track at a local high school with warm ups, stretches and a relay type event that took us around the track 5 or 6 times. I’m sure that I did at least 5K altogether. We then were taught a number of core building exercises. We finished up with do-it-yourself tacos and a birthday cake.

    Tonight, and every night, I’ll do core exercises on the floor in front of the TV – watching my Giants try to win a game or two.

    Tomorrow it will be a Buddy Walk at a local park with someone on the team, but no special coaching. Saturday will be a coached trail walk.

    I’m listing all this so those who are interested in a personalized training program can get an idea of what the L&LS Team in Training is like. There is one hitch. In exchange for all this, you commit to a fundraising goal. I feel this is a small price to give back for my God given good health.

    Wish me luck on being able to say I finished a half marathon at age 87 – and for fulfilling my fundraising goal.

    Phyllis

  • Linae:

    This is a wonderful sight. I am 56 and just started running again after knee problems from my very first run and 5 k in Dec. I was doing my cardio on the elliptical since the knees have gotten better but found that my heart rte doesn’t get up there high enough so I started the ogling on treadmill and love it. I try not to worry think about injury I just do the best I can and onto use on. I run for 10 and then walk for 2 up to 45 min for now. Does anyone have any info on good books for beginning runners. Love this sight and thanks for all your input:-)

    • Graham Gibbs:

      Linae,
      I took up running at the same age as you (after a life of cycling, hill walking and mountain climbing) and found I could do it and that I enjoyed it. I did have some knee and Achilles tendon problems to begin with (too many inclines and hills, I think). But a period of rest and proper stretching and a few exercises (e.g. squats) after each run have stopped a recurrence in the last 7 years. I also cut down on the hills for a while.
      I followed Glover, Bob, Shepard, Jack and Florence Glover, Shelly-lynn (1996) The Runner’s Handbook. New York: Penguin Books. Covers about everything you could need, and I particularly liked the progressive way of starting to run (the run – walk – run approach) and the programmes for progress to longer distances.
      I also like: Galloway, Jeff (2006) Running Until You’re 100. Oxford: Meyer and Meyer Sport. Has some good ideas about improving speed as you get to be very senior.
      Graham

  • David Johns:

    I have to agree with a number of the comments on this blog. there is not enough information about running in old age.
    I am now 67 years of age and have been running for most of my life, even when involved in other sports I have always run to keep fit.
    I have run races from 1 mile to 80 miles but have realised that I am not as quick or have quite the fitness now to cover the huge distances I used too.
    At one time I was a fairly good club runner but being good was never really the incentive, just being able to run and enjoy the freedom of the countryside and feeling good was enough for me.
    I intend to keep running with my running partner, Cassie, a Border Collie, she gets as much pleasure as I do.

  • Richard:

    I am 59. After 40 years of relative inactivity, I joined the local community rec center in mid January, less than 5 months ago. At that time, my hips and knees were getting so bad that I had difficulty getting up and down the 7 or 8 steps between floors of my split level home. After sitting for even a few minutes, my limbs were so stiff and sore that I could barely stand up, Well, today, I am walking 5 miles a day, 5 days a week, and averaging 13 minutes a mile. I now avoid elevators and take steps without as much as a twinge. The stiffness is gone. I haven’t taken an Aleve for a couple of months now, and I have dropped a little over 20 pounds. When I started walking, I was exhausted for the rest of the day. Now, I am fully recharged by the time I drive back home.

    Next week, I am going to start running and see what happens. Going to start with a minute per day incorporated into my 5 mile walk, and gradually work up from there. Why not? Let’s see what happens.

  • Bill:

    I quit running outside on the concrete and ashphalt because it almost destroyed my leg and hip joints. I joined a Planet fitness gym for only $10 a month. I love it. It’s open 24 hrs a day. Its air conditioned and the fitness trainer is free. My pains all went away. I run on a treadmill thats alot better than hard concrete. I am 65. I run at the gym everyday. Don’t destroy your joints, join a gym.

  • Dennis:

    Well….I am glad that the treadmill has been the answer for you. Wish you years of happy running.

    However, to admonish all of us who are seniors ( I hate that word ) because we run outside on harder surfaces hardly seems fair.

    Life is huge, many options for many individuals. I am 62 and love running outside. The right shoes, orthotics for arch support and stretching after running have been the key for me, and I am just speaking for me.

    Run strong, seniors, on whatever surface suits you.

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    There is another option: walking. When my physical therapist told me I shouldn’t run any more, I was pretty unhappy until she told me that I’d be surprised by how fast I would be able to walk. Just keep a good posture and take short steps. I took her advise and now almost all my events are at least 80% fast walking. Recently I learned about Racewalking and will be attending a clinic this summer to learn from an olympic racewalker really how to do it.
    Now for you younger seniors (you’ll eventually get used to the term); it may get discouraging not to be in the top 1/3 of your age group, but just hang in there a few years. Now that I am in the 85 – 90 age group, I get golds without having to run because I’ve outlived my competition. But in races where the groups end at 70+ or even 60+ I place well with my speed walking. So if the legs are sending you bad messages, give walking a try. Keep a record of your times and complete against yourself.

  • Nancy:

    Hi, Y’all,

    I agree that there are other options to the treadmill, which I do not have or use. Running lightly on asphalt or concrete for short distances shouldn’t be a problem for most of us. Also, there are trails to try and tracks that are of spongy material. It is great to be outside, and fast walking works well too. Phyllis, you are wise beyond your years!

    Keep moving, folks!

  • ginny:

    I have to agree, Dennis. I almost always run outside, except when there is snow or ice and Ijust have never had any problems at all…I despise running on the treadmill, but to each his own, we are all different. I realize that I am fortunate to never have had any serious injuries…just the normal aches and pains now that I am in my 60′s! Keep on running!

    Ginny

  • Bill:

    I am a 65 year old retired man and I run everyday at my local Planet Fitness on an elavated treadmill. My running shoes last alot longer running on a treadmill than running outside on rough rough surface ashphalt or concrete. I also run on rubberized outside tracks at the local high school tracks. Running on hard concrete and ashphalt surfaces make my joints hurt too much. In the hot humid summer and cold winters I’d rather be in an air conditioned or heated gym thats open 24hrs a day with a free fitness trainer. For only $10 a month you can’t beat the price. Plus its much safer and you meet alot of nice people.

  • Nancy:

    Bill,
    you make the treadmill sound more interesting… If I could get a gym membership for $10/month I might be tempted! I’m sure the day will come when I will need to either walk or run on a machine. I’m definitely OK with it. I just like to be outdoors… and usually by myself except for my border collie companion. Whatever helps us keep moving, I am for.

  • Richard:

    Nancy:
    Check into the “Silver Sneakers” program. I don’t know much about it, but my understanding is that it provides free or subsidized gymn memberships via participating Medicare Advantage programs. Our local community rec center participates, as does the local YMCA.

  • Nancy:

    Thanks, Richard, that information may help a lot of us. I live in a small town, so doubt our gym has such a program, but will surely check.

  • Dennis:

    Good for you, Ginny! For us, outside is better but whatever works, WORKS. Running, walking, treadmill, who cares, we are moving and doing our best to stay healthy and motivated.

    Now to boast a bit: I ran the Navy 10 Nautical Miler (about 11.5 measured land miles) in Memphis, TN, yesterday and surprise of surprises came in 2nd in my age group at 1 hour and 45 minutes. Can’t expect that every time and it’s really not the point, is it? Although aspiring to run faster or longer is a good goal for me.

    Run Hard, Live Easy! (saw that on several shirts at the race and thought I would steal it for a motto).

    Dennis

    Great site, thanks for letting me participate.

  • Karen:

    Agree with Dennis and Ginny. BTW, I run outside and sometimes my knees hurt and sometimes not. There does not seem to a rhyme or reason. (so, I run, I run)

    Great time Dennis, congrats!

  • Ron Ayre:

    I run every day, and much prefer to run outdoors, mostly on the trails in my northern NJ town.
    However, I have a treadmill in my house for the days when running outside is not suitable or even possible for me.
    This way I am able to get my daily exercise no matter the weather, or daylight or whatever. This way works for me and allows me to run just about every day, perhaps missing only 5 or 6 days per year; and still able to run about 2000 miles per year at 70 years old.
    Good running to everyone!
    Ron

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    For some reason time goes much slower on the treadmill than when running outside. So I grabbed my little point and shoot and walked my 5K route snapping pictures of all the interesting things I see along the way. I even spotted details that I hadn’t noticed on my run/walks. The next time I used the treadmill I put my iPad up on the book holder and set it to play a slide show of my route. It made the time pass a little easier – I even was able to do more miles than usual. I played the slide show on the TM several time this winter.

    I don’t use headphones when I work out as I enjoy the sounds around me. I also like to mentally be reacting to what I see and to think thoughts, which having anything else in the background would distract – for me. But those pictures took me to my personal places.

    • Ron Ayre:

      Phyllis, I really like your idea of taking pictures of my runs and playing them on the Ipad; I will try do do that soon.
      I find running on a TM at a slow pace is really boring; but using a quicker pace requires some mental concentration which seems to make the time pass more quickly.
      I also use the TM to run some 1/2 ml intervals at a pace faster than I could run on the trails, which helps to keep my leg turn-over race ready.
      Of course there are times when an easy TM run of 5 miles or so is necessary, so on those occasions I have to endure some amount of boredom.
      Next week my wife and I will vacation on Cape Cod, so I will run the rails-to-trails, Nickerson Park and Cape Cod Canal trail.
      Good running to all!

  • Chez:

    I am 46 years old female and have struggled with bad back and knees for years with osteo arthiritis, asthma and more. The doctor prescribed pain killers and told me to avoid exercise. After taking advice from a physio, I have been running once or twice a week for 6 months now,I no longer take the painkillers and have run 10k in under an hour and half marathon in 2 hours. My quality of life and health has improved. I always wear knee supports and don’t overdo training. When I first started I couldn’t jog 100 metres so it has given me a real sense of achievement.

  • Joan:

    Chez, That is a great story! I wish more people could read this, so many people could have their lives changed in a positive manner if they would leave the drugs behind and get out for a run, whether it’s 100 meters or a 10 K! You go girl!!!

  • Vic:

    Came back here to read the newer posts. Good and inspiring stuff. Place me on the outdoor running list. While I understand the good points of a treadmill, it’s just not for me. I embrace the different comfort levels of outdoor running.

    For background: I am 65 years old, started running about 9 months ago, and will be running my first marathon in 6 months. I have a long time fitness training background, just new to running. I’ve run lots of 5k, 10ks and 2 HMs already with times just over 2 hrs. I’ve immersed myself in gathering information and train to remain uninjured and continue to grow as well as an oldster can.

    I was wondering if there is anyone reading this who has started running later in life and continued on to run a full marathon? Just trying to compare notes and see what I might expect during my first. I’ve posted this question elsewhere and have had a lot of encouragement, but no answer specific to my question. My understanding is that a full marathon is tougher than “twice as hard as a half marathon”. From my research on athlinks.com searching results of those over 60 years of age, I don’t find anyone who has finished a marathon who doesn’t have a long time running history, I mean a base of years of running behind them.

    Anyway, good luck to you all. Some really great stories here, and continue to run strong.

    Vic

  • Richard:

    Congratulations and good luck on your Marathon! As for numbers, I really think they are meaningless. We age at different rates, all eat differently, past drinking, smoking, activity (or inactivity) levels, the variables are endless. Just be the best you can be. The only person you have to try to beat is who you were yesterday! And you don’t have to out run the bear, you just have to out run the guy who is with you!

  • Bob:

    It’s interesting that this is the only section that has drawn active commentary.

    I can identify with many of you. Like Vic I started running a few months ago, although I had been walking, spinning, and participating in “boot camp” style workouts, which involve a fair amount of shorter runs for a few years. I’m s 68 year old male, and I am so slow they time me with a calendar. When I started the bootcamps a couple of years ago, I could not run 50 yards. Now I can hang in for at least 9 miles (my current long run distance). I have done several 5ks and 4 milers and a couple of 10ks, but I had to switch from a 15k to a 5k recently because I could not finish in the 2 hours required. It would have taken me between 2:05 and 2:15 – probably closer to 2:15. I am signed up for a marathon in the fall, and I intend to keep training pretty hard. I will damn well start it, and I know I will be able to cover the distance. The question is whether I can finish before they start picking up the stragglers.

    My favorite post was Phyllis’ comment to her doctor. I had a similar conversation with a physical therapist who was telling me all of the things that I was not supposed to do. I told her “I am an old guy, but I don’t have to act like one.”

  • Vic:

    Bob, So glad to here from you, and congratulations on your upcoming marathon. I hope I’m not telling you something you already know, but I would like to advise you it’s better to undertrain than overtrain for we senior citizens.

    I made a classic mistake of overtraining, and had a sore back and sore knees for weeks. Now, I am okay, and training hard but safely. Read as much as you can, and you will do fine.

    The training programs out there are just not for us, so we have to adapt them. You said you just started training a “few” months ago. I started about 9 months ago, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much speed and endurance you will gain as long as you train intelligently. Please keep in touch, I am interested in how you do.

    Vic

  • ginny:

    Vic,
    I gues I don’t gualify to answer because I have run for over 30 years, BUT never did longer distances until 4 years ago. I am 62 and ran my first marathon 2 years ago after running about 4 or 5 half marathons. I finished much slower than I thought I would, but I finished and it wasn’t like I was in agony or anything like that, just really slow. I am thinking of doing another, maybe one more. The training is what was hard for me….takes so much time and I had to slow down so much to run that many miles..it has taken me a while to get my speed up, if you can even call it “speed”. I really like the half marathon, have run 12 of them now.

    Ginny

  • ginny:

    Bob, you will finish the marathont before the “wagon” picks up the stragglers! That was my fear too, and I did it, just bearly, but I did it! I have kind of a funny story…my Dad who was 90 at the time I did the marathon, was so impressed that he called our local newspaper and told them about me. Believe it or not, the reporter called me, did an interview over the phone and there was a little article in the sports section the next day! Mainly , I think, because it was my first marathon and I ran it 2 weeks before my 60th birthday. My Dad passed away last summer, but it was neat to think he was that proud of his litle girl, even at the age of 60!

    Ginny

  • Karen:

    Ginny,

    If you want to have a competition so see who is the slowest of us all, I would probably win! I too have run for exercise for years but just started running races this year. I ran a 1/2 in April and plan to do one in the fall. Here is Florida it is too hot in the summer. I am slow, slow, slow!! I have tired to increase my speed just so I do not have to worry so much about getting “swept” during the 1/2!! I do feel really good and the races help keep me focused. I am so impressed than you ran a marathon. I am 61 now, and I really hope I can run one someday!!

  • Karen:

    Ginny,

    You sent the email about your Dad as I was writing one to you. I am so touched by the story about your Dad. Yeah Dads!! Mine is 85 and he too, is proud of his girls. (61 and 57)

  • Vic:

    Ginny, great story about you and your Dad. Slow or not, finishing a marathon is a magnificent feat at the age of 60. But, you know that. Cool about the newspaper story.

    I respect you folks who call yourselves slow runners and still get out there and have fun. I have many cyber friends on another website who are just like you, Ginny and Karen. I keep telling my DW “I am just going to go easy this race and just have fun”. I say that for 5Ks 10Ks, whatever. She just patiently smiles, acknowledging that we both know I will get swept away in the competition and go full out.

    I kind of envy those who can just have fun. Probably because as a kid I stunk at sports, and have found something I am moderately good at, I am trying to make up for past perceived failures. I do covet those age group awards, and go for them every time.

    That’s why I am concerned about the full marathon, I want to have a GOOD finish. I know, everyone advises, “just finish” and be proud, but I want to make a respectable finish. My grown kids and grandkids are so proud of me, I want to do well for them, too.

    Having said all that, I really enjoy running, and have “fun” during all my training runs. I love nature, the cold, the heat, the humidity, whatever. Down here in FL it’s fairly hot already, in the high 80s during my runs. But, I get to see hawks, cranes, squirrels, tortoises ducks and all kinds of wildlife during my runs. Lots of smiling faces and encouragement from other runners, and walkers too.

    I once got playfully heckled by the youngish ladies who were playing tennis at a local park. They probably got tired of hearing my huffing and puffing as I passed the tennis courts, and one of them yelled out “Run, Forest, Run”, as I passed by for the 3rd or 4th time. One of my favorite running memories. I never responded, but it made my day.

  • Ginny:

    Karen…well here goes….fast for me is an 11 minute mile. Now granted, I was never speedy, even in my late 20′s 9 minute mile was probably tops for me. Sometimes I get discouraged about my lack of speed, but mostly I am just thankful that I am still able to run virtually pain free in my 60′s! Maybe the slowness has something to do with that! I will go with that thought.

    Ginny

  • Karen:

    Ginny,
    Thank you for sharing your min/mile. My next door neighbor and I would kill for an 11 min/mile. We are down to about 12min/miles and our goal is 10. It took me 3.5 hours to finish the 1/2. However, it is still a great sense of accomplishment just to finish. This a.m. it took me 3 hours just to go 9 miles. With the heat and humidity, I did not push it!

  • Katherine:

    I ran in my 30′s through 50 and then took about 18 years off. I started running 5 Ks about 4 years ago. Last year, I thought I wanted to run a 10 miler so I trained a couple times a week and then increased my mileage on Sundays. I never ran the 10 miler. It was hot and humid that night and I ran the 5K instead. This year I would like to run a half-marathon in November when it’s cooler. I am up to 9 miles on Sunday ( I increase a mile/month) but the last mile and 1/2 feel brutal. Not breath or pain, just feeling at my total edge. I will continue to increase monthly, but does it get any better? I am 68. I hear so many of you doing half-marathons. I did them when I was 35-45, a marathon too. Increasing mileage didn’t feel this bad and I was running daily then.

  • Katherine:

    It’s not joint pain. It just feels like I wish I were home already. And I feel like it’s too hard and I’m done. But it’s always 1 1/2 miles from home even when I was at 5 or 6 miles. Before this I feel fine.

  • Karen:

    I do not know where you are but here in Fl it is so hot! My 9 miler in now divided so that I can stop by my house, get a drink of cold water, go to the restroom and maybe grab a gummy bear. It makes it much more bearable. I too find that I must add mileage very slowly. I do have aches and pains but have aches and pains if I do not run as well!!

  • ginny:

    Brian,
    I am 62 been running outside on the sidewalks and streets since my late 20′s and have no joint pain. Everyone is different. I am happy that you are able to run without pain on the treadmill. I am just glad I am still able to run outdoors.

    Ginny

  • ginny:

    Katherine,

    I am the say way! I feel really good for 6 miles or so and after that I am dragging. I have tried everything….starting out super slowly, having snacks along the way, I hydrate regularly. I don’t know the solution. I have run 12 halfs now though and most of the time I feel pretty good throughout the whole run. Have you tried run/walk? I have found that that helps and , believe it or not, it does not affect your pace as much as you think it would. I am trying to train myself to do this, but so many times I forget and just keep running until I am exhausted and then I walk, by then it is too late, LOL! I am still experimenting with it. I hate to think the problem is that I am just too old! That just can’t be the reason!!!! Having the half to shoot for, keeps getting me out there!

    Ginny

    • Darrell:

      Try the Jeff Galloway system ( walk/run) Your pace may even improve. I am a new 58 year old new runner, I was running 7k without walking. I read about Jeff Galloway and decided to give it a try. I ran 3 min, walked 1 min, when I completed the same 7k, the pace was faster than just running, and I felt much better. The key is you must not cheat and skip the first walks. I have completed two 10k races using the same system, ( I do skip the last 2 walks ) My 72 year old brother tried the same system on a 5k race and he beat last years time by 43 seconds. ( last year he ran the whole route )
      Google Jeff Galloway for more info, it really works !!!! Good Luck everyone !!

  • ginny:

    I have to say that I really enjoy this forum! I belong to another one on the Runners World site and I like that one too, but most of the ladies are in their 40′s and very, very speedy and I get a little discouraged. They are winning age groups and running 50K’s and 50 milers…way above my ability. Many of you are much speedier than I too, but I feel more comfortable here. Thanks!

    Ginny

  • Karen:

    I also run/walk. It changed my whole outlook. It made almost any distance seem doable. I can run a 5k the entire time but did not even attempt to run the 1/2 the entire time. I almost forgot everyone is not doing it that way!

  • Nancy:

    Hi, fellow runners,

    I ran a 5K this past Saturday and I was really wiped out afterwards. It was a pretty tough course with some long hills. I walked a bit up one of the hills. My time was my best: 30.54! I have been wanting to work up to a 10K and have signed up for a HM for December, but have felt discouraged by my slow recovery after just a 5K! I am going to check out the Jeff Galloway plan… thanks, Darrell!… Maybe that will work for my 71 year old body and mind. Thanks for all your tips and sharing. We need to keep on encouraging each other. Tomorrow I will run again… still resting today.

  • Bill from Shanghai:

    To all the folks just starting out,
    I am 54 male and have ran off and on for about 20 years. After watching my overall fitness level drop and my weight gain i decided about 6 months ago I wanted to start running again. Hard work at the beginning but made good progress with a walk/ run program and after realizing I could get farther and farther decided to set my goal on a marathon. People were asking “me why not start with a 1/2″ but that just seemed like a 1/2 a goal. On May 27th i finished the Ottawa Marathon at 5.25 hrs and felt great. 2 days after the run my legs felt like nothing happened which i atribute to not pushing it too hard and focusing on a) finishing and b) enjoying myself and having fun. I also attribute the lack of pain after the race to staying hydrated and following all the nutritional advice found on the web. The gel packs especially helped. I was so worried that I wouldn’t finish and that i would “crash” after 30K despite having achieved the 30K distance a month before the race…I am now back home and have registered for the Shanghai marathon Dec 2nd (anyone else out there thinking about Shanghai please let me know). I got the Digifit app for my iPhone and can now track all the details of my workouts which is especially fun and rewarding and would recommend this to everyone. My advice to someone starting out is take it easy, if you stick with it then your body adjusts. Have fun with it, dont take it too seriously. The benefits of running are significant mentally and physically, I fell better at 54 than i did at 44.

  • Bob:

    Vic and Ginny, Thank you for the encouragement. I wish I was as confident in (or less aapprehensive about) my ability to finish on time. Improvement tends to be slow, and I am nowhere near the times I would need to be running to finish on time. As I said, I will start and see how far I can make it. If nothing else it will help me to prepare for next year. Another year of preparation, i’m sure, will work wonders. I am already anticipating PR-ing all the courses where I raced so far this year.

    As for overtraining, I have a long history of overdoing things. The good news is that my body will tell me when I need to take a break. I am not too worried about running injuries unless I trip on a root or something. I am more concerned with unrelated injuries and personal/business issues interrupting my training.

    I can tell Katherne that the “I wish I was already home” days will happen, but there will be fewwer of them if you stick with it.

    Nancy, a few days recovery after the efort you apparently put into that 5k is normal. Try a little walking, cycling, spinning, or even better swimming to keep your legs moving.

    I have been experimenting with the Galloway method, Hal Higdon’s philosophy of walk when you want to, not when you need to seems more in tune with my lack of discipline, but it’s a little tricky interpreting “want to”. I will continue to experiment. The rest will be needed because Summer has arrived, and we will have more 90 degree days than 75 degree days at least until September.

  • Clare:

    Yesterday I completed my first 10K . I will be 63 on Tuesday, and I felt wonderful running in a group of 4500 (mainly 20 and 30 year old) runners in downtown Boston on a gorgeous morning. This is the second race that I entered along with my two children, who both were very concerned that their mother might beat them! Not much chance of that, but I did finish only 5 minutes behind my 28 year old daughter! I had trained for the race and felt pretty good throughout the race and enjoyed the beautiful course through the streets of Boston which was so peaceful minus the usual automobile traffic. I was wondering where all the female runners in my age category were hiding. Later I found out that there were only 18 runners in my age category in that race. What is that about? When I went to a family barbecue yesterday afternoon, everyone was telling me how great I look and were amazed that I had completed this challenge. Even though I am running for fitness and mental health, the validation from others who care about me was amazing and has inspired me to continue with my commitment to running. Also, I do believe I have inspired a couple of older family member to give running a try. What a great feeling that is! I won’t be chasing the half marathon yet. For this year, I will seek out another 10K or two. Maybe a half marathon in a year or so. This is a long post, but one more thing. Someone here mentioned the POSE method of running. I read that book and followed the author’s suggestions. I haven’t had more than minor aches after running, and I attribute that to the POSE techniques.

  • Ginny:

    Clare,

    Congratulations! Great job!

    I have found that there usually aren’t too many in our age groups. At a local half last year there were only 3 of us, so I won my AG!!! Yay!!! The older we get the more chance we having of winning awards, LOL!! Even at the larger events there aren’t too many of us…I think there were 33 in the Air Force Half marathon last year.

    I have not been doing well on my long runs lately, pooping out at like mile 6, so Sunday I tried Jeff Galloway’s run/walk and it worked so well!!! I am so happy. I ran 10 miles by walking one minute, running one minute and what a difference ! Plus my time was not any different then when I was running the whole thing, I think because I would have to slow down so much. I really was skeptical because I didn’t think I would like stopping/starting so many times, but it was fine.. hope it wasn’t just a fluke!

    Ginny

  • Roxy:

    In defense of treadmills – if it weren’t for them, I couldn’t run at all. April 3rd I purchased a nordictrack X9i after watching the late night informercial. Best decision I ever made! After knee surgery on both knees, the Doc informed me 10 years ago my running days were over – he said it so casually like it was no big deal. Friends would say “get a bike”, they just didn’t get it, when you love running there’s nothing that can replace it. It’s like telling someone who loves golf to play tennis – apples and oranges. Anyway, started walking on the TM and within a week, I was running again. Oh what a feeling! I was so happy it brought tears to my eyes, it was like a reunion with my best friend. I’ve signed up for the local “4 on the Fourth” (one week from tomorrow) and 2 5K’s in July. My strategy is to train on the TM and only race on pavement. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the TM!! I also started taking Glucosime/Chondroitin – I think it’s helping, that along with lots of stretching and the right fuel.
    Here’s to the silver sneaker club, this forum and you all rock! Slow and steady does it…

  • Ginny:

    Ran a 5K this morning before work! Race was a 8:30, I had to be at work at 10. I had signed up for this 5K months ago and then ended up having to work, but I figured I could do both. Needless to say, I had to leave immediately after the run, so a friend stuck around just to see if I would get an AG award, and I did! 3rd place! I am thinking there were probably only 3 of us in the AG, but that’s ok! An award is an award, right??? Great running in your 60′s!

    Ginny

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Congratulations – not just getting your award, but for putting your day together so successfully!

    Phyllis

  • neil:

    I’ve recently started run/fast walking in Hoka One One shoes. I can hardly feel the little rocks; in fact I’m not dodging some of the rough spots on the trail as much as I used to. Also somehow my legs don’t feel as trashed as they used to be. The shoes are pricey but at this point in my life, I don’t care. I stretch after each workout. I try to remember to stretch during the day also. I also try to avoid pavement if possible.

    I like elliptical machines better than treadmills. In both cases working with a heart rate monitor.
    I agree with many of the writers that it takes longer to recover.
    One thing is to stay hydrated – all of the time.
    I am a supporter of Jeff Galloway, especially his suggestions for pre-race preparation – electrolytes, water and food. I use Gu a lot (plain).

    I try to do something each day – run, gym, gardening, long walk, stretch. Still working with a passion at what I do.

    Some people may interested in Volkswalking – it is not expensive . Check out: http://www.walktexas.org/faqs.htm.

    Background: Run most of my life. Did 5 and 10k’s. 1st marathon 1983. 1st 50 miler at 60. 1st (and only finished 100 miler) at 63. Last ultra (Way to Cool 50k) at 70. Took out leg by falling down some stairs late 2006. Started fast walking in 2010 – 10k in 1:24. Now just starting to run again and will be 80 next month. Actually there are quite a few in the 70 and 80 age groups. (Had a couple of 80 year olds beat all the 70 year olds in a hilly 5 miler a couple of months ago).

    I just try to finish before everybody goes home.

  • Harald:

    My experience with longer distances in my age (54) is that when I quit running with shoes all joint problems were gone. It was difficult for my feet the first weeks but now – one year later – I can’t imagine to run again in running shoes. So if you problems with your joints try to run with socks only for a month on a treadmill and see how it is going. If you have progress (reduced problems) buy some barefoot running equipment and go out on the street.

  • Katherine:

    I just wanted to report that I just finished a 10 mile run for the first time since my 40s. I finished a run-walk last week, but felt like I just survived it. I turn 68 on Tuesday and it is a wonderful present to myself. Before the run I put out water at the 5 mi mark and the 61/2 mile mark. I used a Goo for the first time after a big hill. The last mile was very hard, but I did it and it feels great!!

  • Nancy:

    Katherine, You go girl! I am so impressed that you were able to run that far. I am trying to build up to a 10K, but don’t seem to be able or have time to run much longer than 40 minutes at a time. Maybe after summer company and family events I can get a little more serious about training. Anyway, congraulations on your awesome run!

  • Dennis:

    Super accomplishment!

    Does anyone out there have trouble with calf cramps, especially during long runs? If so, any suggestions on how to prevent? I live in Memphis, very hot, and preparing for Oct marathon (will be my 2nd, first was 33 years ago). Last 2 long runs ended with calf cramps. Ouch! And makes me wary that they may trouble me in Oct race.

  • Bob:

    Dennis,

    Conventional wisdom says warm-up properly, hydrate, take in electrolytes, and stretch. The links below are to articles that discuss calf cramps. It may also be less of a concern for your marathon in Oct. If Memphis weather is anythig like we have had for the past couple of weeks here in the DC area, cramps would not be unusual. I have skipped my long runs in the last couple of weeks. 3 miles is all I could manage in the heat. This coming week is supposed to be a little cooler, and I am expecting to get back to work.

    http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/what-are-cramps.shtml

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/344496-how-to-stop-calf-cramps/

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/3374-need-calf-cramps/

  • Richard:

    I have a similar problem with my left calf. Starting out slow and building up speed over the first mile or so is one solution I have found, but the “medicine” is rather hard to take, if you know what I mean. I get some relief by wrapping my calf in a moist heating pad before and after exercise, but not enough relief to “fix” the problem. When it gets bad enough I knock off for several days and that works for awhile, but, again, that’s medicine that is difficult to take.

  • Dennis:

    Richard, didn’t run for a week when it first occured. Helped, but you are right it’s hard medicine to swallow. Plus, I only have x # of weeks to prepare for Oct. and can’t afford to take any more weeks off. Then, too, can’t afford to really injure something and not be able to make the race. Tried new shoes, massage, ice, heat, etc. Just 62 year old legs screaming at me I guess.

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Dennis and Richard

    Have you been paying attention to your hydration? I used to get terrible “Charlies” at night. My orthopedist suggested I increase the amount of water I was drinking per day – the amount depending on the color of the urine.It should be light straw color. I have had very few cramps since making water intake a priority.

    There is an article on Active.com that covers not only water intake, but also electrolytes. There is also a link to a program where you can compute your sweating rate. This is important because it tells you how much per hour you need to drink to replace water loss. Check it out:

    http://search.active.com/search?f=articles&v=List&l=San+Jose%2C+CA%2C+US&k=hydration

    I tried the formula and determined I sweat a pound per mile if the weather is between 70 and 80 degrees. That means I should drink a pint per mile (water or sport drink).

    Hope this information will be helpful.

    Phyllis

  • thomas:

    Oh? I’m just turning 58 and I believe that if you are someone like me that never went overboard on taking care of health
    concerns that running can help keep you away from doctors altogether. The key is moderation and not getting competitive about it. Most runners are too competitive about it to suit my mind-set. I mean really, it took me 64 minutes to finish a 10K here in Holyoke, MA on Saint Patricks Day. Invariably some moron is sprinting the last 25 yards to beat another runner out
    by 1 step. I mean, if it took 64 minutes, who the hell cares about finishing one place higher when 2500 other runners finished ahead of you? Just go slow and steady. Focus on your breathing. In, out, nice and steady and your legs will more or less come along with you. The focus on breathing calms you and you can go quite a ways in a meditative state.
    Not always, but from time to time you get into that groove on a nice day. The mental benefits of clearing your squirrley
    head are just as great as the physical lift.
    Tom

  • Tom:

    In January, 2011 my wife and I shocked each other, both being intrigued by a newly formed Charity Team training for the Chicago Marathon. At 60 I had not run since high school track and my wife, 56, not at all. She had been an avid tennis player 20 years ago and we both enjoyed hiking in the mountains. We did a 9 week “pre-training” schedule followed by an 18 week marathon training schedule. Our goal was to finish and under the guidance of a great coach, Brendan Cournane, we did. She did a run / walk in 6:48 and I found some “ancient muscle memory” to manage a 4:14 or 98th out 468 in my 60-64 age group (the best did 3:03!) We both found it so positive on so many levels: health, memory, attitude, fun and camaraderie with runners half our age. She’s now training for a Fall half marathon and now 61, I am aiming for a sub – 4:00 Chicago Marathon.

    We both often heard from family and friends “you’ll ruin your knees” or back or hips or feet. We started very slowly, run 2 min, walk 1 min and very gradually added miles. After 2 months I switched to all run doing it 4 days a week. Again in 2012 I started very slowly in early March running 2 or 3 miles 3 times a week and gradually increasing to 4 days and 24 miles per week by the end of May. Since early June I have managed to run 5 days most weeks and mileage is in the mid-30′s. By Sept it will peak around 50 miles. Having the base and running knowledge has made all the difference in the world. Last year everything was new: why does this hurt? How do you exercise that? What are compression socks or gels or Glide? (The socks are incredible after a long run) My knees, etc. have never felt better. Running with 20 and 30 year olds I forget that I am twice their age, until I see another grey head and we share a knowing nod. Using a Heart Rate Monitor since nearly the beginning has been a great tool for fitness comparison and for seeing progress. It is fun to compare last year and this year and see a run with the same time and mileage, but a much reduced heart rate, or same heart rate and much faster.

    You know I pooh poohed running for many years and thought a good friend that’s run 50+ marathons was a little off balance. Last summer I called him and jokingly accused him of holding out on me about how wonderful an experience running could be. It changes your view of yourself and makes you realize what is possible if you put your mind to it. Sounds like something we tell our kids. Besides crossing the finish line in the marathon, one of my most memorable experiences was a Saturday long run with 4 of us at the same pace. As we came around a hill a runner heading the opposite way called out “Good Morning Athletes!” I really liked the way that sounded.

  • Vic:

    Tom, thanks for sharing your marathon experience. You are an inspiration.

    I’m 65, and with 10 months running experience, I am training for my first marathon in November. I’ve made a few mistakes along the way, overtraining in the beginning, knee and back pains, some leg cramping after long runs. But, I’m learning and improving every day. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is: we older folks need much more recovery time than the popular training programs suggest. We must, most of us, alter the programs (Hal Higdon’s in my case) to suit our individual capabilities.

    You, Tom, have some great capabilities at the age of 60, as witnessed by your remarkable achievements thus far. Good luck in your Chicago Marathon sub 4:00 attempt.

    Keep in touch with this group, I’d like to know how you do.

    Vic

  • Liz:

    I’m veryhappyto have found this site for older runners who have such passion for running! Great advice too.

    I’m 63 and started running at 57′ I absolutely love it! Healthwise, benefits of running for me are that bone density in my hips has slightly improved and my blood pressure has gone down.

    I belong to a running club and also have a couple of running mates at work and from the club for mid-week runs. I get a lot of encouragement from my daughter and my husband (both triathletes).

    As well as a long slow run once a week (1.5-2hrs) I do 2-3 shorter and faster ones (up to an hour) during the week. I have done a 5km fun run once a week for two seasons with an average of 29 minutes and several 10 km races with a pb of 60 minutes and ,to my surprise, I’ve got placings in my age group in a few races.

    I never thought that I’d be able to do a half marathon but last year I took the plunge and did it in 2 hours 14 minutes. I’ve done 3 more since then with a pb of 2 hours 12 minutes. My next one is in October.

  • Skinny and tall:

    Hi all. I just found this site today, and I think it is great. I am 68 and have been walking a 5K pace of 16 minute/mile, but am looking to improve so that I can do long distances. No matter what I do I cannot gain weight, and can’t afford to lose anymore. I am 5’7″ and weigh in at 102 lbs. Can anyone suggest specific weight training that will help build muscle mass. I am basically quite healthy but have not been a runner since I was much younger, when I used to run everywhere. I have two daughters who run, and just found out that they are both going to run the Honolulu marathon in December(one has done it before and lives in HI). I know it is a big stretch but I would love to train for it and not tell them. Any suggestions – is this realistic for me? I can walk forever so I think if I start running it would be within reach, but I definitely need some guidance. Thanks. I think it would be a great surprise for them.

    • Phyllis Karsten:

      Hi Skinny and Tall

      I signed up for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team In Training. I am now about half way through training to walk the San Jose Rock & Roll half marathon in October. I had been doing about six 5K races a year for the past two years. Due to two hip replacements and a desire to keep my original knees, I try to restrict my races to mainly power walking. The LLS Team In Training has both a running and a walking program, so you can sign up according to your fitness level or your ambition. They bring you along, gradually increasing the speed and the distances. They give instruction in good form, proper hydration and warm-up and cool-down exercises.

      I’d suggest looking in to one of these team in training groups so you can surprise your daughters in Honolulu. There are several organizations that sponsor training as fund raising while providing good training programs. Yesterday our training took us for 5 miles at 16 mi/min. Every other Saturday we do a longer walk (6 to 10 miles at the present), and a shorter, faster walk. Several members of our team had never done any walking or running before they started. At your current pace, you would be in good company in our group.

      Good luck on doing (walk or run) a half or full marathon in Hawaii in December!

  • Alison Dennis:

    The great thing about starting to run in your 50s is that you have nowhere to go but up in fitness level (I’ll admit I’m blessed with good joints at almost 58). I find running on a treadmill to be a terrific barometer for my emotional health. Until making some changes in my life, I had to not run too long, or too fast, or my heart rate would bounce all over the place when I went back to walking – oscillating from the 50s to the 180s, like a yoyo. However, after disconnecting from a couple of relationships that were not healthy for me, my heart rate now stays in the 120s whether I am running fast, running long, or walking. My goal is to do my first 5k race for my 60th birthday.

  • Mike:

    I am 65 and the best thing I ever did for my health was to join a Planet Fitness gym where I have a free fitness trainer. Running outside is fine but it wasn’t doing enough to get my flabby body in shape. The gym has weight training machines where I can turn my flabby body into muscle. Since I joined the gym I no longer run outside in the hot humid air in the summer and the freezing cold in the winter. I work out different parts of my body everday and the only problem is that its become an addiction. Everyday when I wake up the first thing I think of is the gym. I want to excersise all the time now. It only costs me $10 a month and it’s open 24hrs. The big avantage to running on the treadmill is that I can elevate the treadmill up to 15% and monitor my heartrate on the screen. I can’t elevate the running surface outside. I used to think the gym was only for young people but I was wrong. We have both men and woman in my gym in there 80s. The only place I will ever run outside is on a rubberized track at one of my local schools which are open to the public 24hrs a day in my area. If you have a rubberized track in your area I strongly suggest you try is out once. They are free. and are super! I refuse to run on concrete or asphalt that is hard on my joints and destroys my expensive running shoes.

  • Cyd:

    Thanks for posting Mike and Allison. I cannot run outside due to severe nasal allergies. Have tried and tried countless times, but due to the windy conditions where I live, it is simply impossible. Have been considering a gym, and the treadmill. May do both!

  • Neil:

    Phyllis: Just figure on walking most of the course. There’s not much in the way of hills. When we did the HM, we went as a group of about 15 from El Dorado County. At that time there were about 28,000 runners – probably bigger today. Start hydrating the afternoon before. It took us about five minutes to get across the line. It’s not a run that you want to try to do your personal best. Frankly, I wouldn’t do it again but I don’t like crowds or pavement.

  • Bob:

    Skinny aTall

    According to Runners World, you should have time to train for a December marathon if you start about now. I don’t know if the HI marathon sells out, but if it does, you had better get signed up soon. You will have to improve your pace as well as distance. Personally I am still struggling with the pace part. Distance, so far, has not been a problem. Check out Jeff Galloway’s method and Hal Higdon’s comments. There are a lot of programs online for training for various distances. Runner’s World might be a good place to start.

    As for your weight problem check your local gyms and see if you can get a session with a personal trainer. Most of them can help you with diet and exercise plans for building muscle or at least point you in the right direction. Just be sure that the muscle building program doesn’t conflict with your running goals.

    Alison

    Why are you waiting? It sounds like you could handle a 5k now. Then you can worry about doing a really good time on your 60th.

    • Skinny and Tall:

      Bob, Thanks for the response. Actually, there is no limit for the HM; however, I did find out (should I not be ready) that they also have a 10K at the same time. I am getting most of my advice from my PT who is a marathoner. Every little bit helps.

  • Sherry Kennedy:

    Thanks for the tips. I am a 56 year old female, currently 15 pounds overweight, never considered athletic, work four 12 hour night shifts a week as a nurse and I just started the Couch to 5k program…currently on week two. Actually it’s week two for the third time! I could not run 30 seconds when I started and can barely do sixty seconds at a time now, but am progressing slowly. Warming up and stretching afterward – lifesavers…or should I say…shin savers.

    • Skinny and tall:

      Hi Sherry, Have you tried a regular walking program instead of running? I am 68 y.o. and, originally, began walking as part of my physical therapy program. At first I was told that I could walk for one, yes one minute a day, increasing as I felt stronger. Within a month I was walking three miles at 17 minutes per mile. I have shortened my time by two minutes per mile, and am slowly increasing my distance, as well as jogging while walking. My PT suggested walking on a high school track; they are everywhere, and add padding rather than walking on asphalt. Basically, I am walking once around the track on the outside lane for a warm up, and then walking the arcs and jogging/running the straight-aways. It gives you time to catch your breath, if you need. I am up to 12 laps which is about 3 miles and I increase my laps weekly. My time is now at 15 mm, and I am hoping to get it to 11 in the next two months, or so, in an effort to run/walk my first marathon in December. Stretching and strengthening are key for me to keep free of injury, but so far, so good. I tried the Couch to 5K, but it didn’t really work for me. Try different techniques ’til you find one that works best for you. You will be amazed at how fast you will progress. Good luck …..

    • teri:

      Sherry, 3 months ago, I had major surgery and am still in recovery. I started walking with absolutely no intention of running. After 2 months, I was so energized that I wondered if I could run. So, I just started alittle here and there. I couldn’t believe how good it made me feel.
      now just about 4 weeks from my start, i walk/run 4 miles, every other day. Unbelievably to me and my husband, I would like to do a 5k in a few months. This is so unlike me, I am a new person and I love it.

      I am 51 and always disliked exercising or going to a gym. I took the health scare as a second chance in life and I had always fantasized at being fit. It is becoming a reality and if I can do it, I certainly think just about anybody can do it.
      just go slow and it will happen.

  • Ginny:

    Did a local half marathon this Sunday and did good, for me anyway! After my bad experience in May in Cleveland I was a tad apprehensive, but I ended up with a time of 2:51, which is good for me. The fastest I have ever done a half is 2:50 and that was 4 years ago. My friend came down from Detroit and ran it with me and she helped so much!

    Ginny

  • Neil:

    Ginny:
    Good for you! 13:05 minute miles – not to shabby.

  • Karen:

    Congrats! Ginny. wonderful time!!!!

  • Ginny:

    Thank you! It was excellent time for me, but I would still like to break into the 12+ minute miles…we shall see, I have another half in October! What is kind of funny is that my friend is in the 45-49 age group, she finished right behind me ( she let me go ahead) she is a much faster runner than I, but she wanted to run with me…anyway, she won an age group award and I didn’t! There were 5 ladies in my AG and we all came in within a minute of each other, like all 5 of us came in in that one minute, unfortunatley I was off by a few seconds to place, but I was so happy with my time that I didn’t care a bit. This was a very small race as I am sure you dedeuced!

    Ginny

  • Neil:

    Sunday with my 50 year old daughter and my youngest son, 47, we did a 12 km run at the Run on the Sly. It’s basically one big hill climb (630 feet) and then a fairly easy return with one section a single track windy trail. There were 240 people in the race – 51 which were over 50 years old. This event has been going on since the 1990′s and was sold out this year. I ran/walked the distance this year about three minutes slower that I did last year – not in my plan. But it was neat to cross the finish line with the two “kids”.

    There are actually four races combined in this event. The 12 km, 1/2 marathon, 20 miler and a 50 k – with similar age participants.

    I again was first and last in my age group and received a neat large water bottle.

  • bk:

    Everyone’s body reacts differently to training. But in general, if you take good care of your body, have proper nutrition, get 7-8 hours sleep every night and avoid over-training you should be able to run well into your senior years. Make sure to do some weight training, core work, Yoga or Tai-Chi, cycling, swimming, etc.. Do some squats and lunges. And do lots of stretching. Get a foam roller. These things become much more important as we age. There are many ways to keep your muscles and joints healthy enough to run for life.

  • Betsy boo:

    Does anyone have problems with getting the runs on a run!!! can never run more than 20 minutes without having to go urgently. OK on country roads but has prevented me from running any races for fear of disaster. I am 61

    • Marshall:

      Dear Betsy boo:

      I am a 72 year old training for my 35th marathon, every year since 1978. I started having the same problem a few years ago. Empty out before going for a run. My doctor suggested glycerin suppositories. It works every time.

    • Todd Fonstad:

      Dear Betsy boo:

      I had the same problem which became a real concern while I was marathoning. My solution was to arise quite early on the day of the race, have a cup of coffee, and go for a very easy one to two mile jog. That ‘loosened’ things up pretty well. Then my doctor suggested I take Lomotil, which he prescribed. Taken before a run, it soothes the GI tract, and pretty well took care of cramping and diarrhea. Hope things work out for you (not a pun!).

      Todd

  • Stellamaz:

    Hello everyone! I love these comments; lets me know I’m not alone! :-) Briefly … I’m a 57-year-old lifelong endurance cyclist who always hated running. A broken foot five years ago (falling down my own stairs!) let me learn to enjoy being lazy. I got in the mindset that I was “getting too old for this athletic nonsense,” put on 30 pounds over that five years (after having been slender all my life) and for the first time in my life was officially overweight – not by much, but still … A 232 total cholesterol test and threat of meds from my doctor got me off my dead butt last winter. I started an indoor walking program and some weight training, learned how to eat correctly and over five months took those 30 pounds off. Decided to walk a 5k in June, which went really well but – to my great surprise – all of a sudden I decided to try running a little bit. Have been incorporating more and more of it into my walking, and have done two more 5ks since then, with another scheduled on September 8. I’ve done these with a 9/1 run/walk system, which so far has worked great for me. I only run every other day or every three days, and on the “off” days I walk, cycle or just rest. So far no injuries, and I’d like to keep it that way. (Just some minor aches and pains, not uncommon probably for my age and the fact that I do have some arthritis.) I’m still in shock that I’m actually running; not sure how I caught that bug but I’m glad I did because I’m loving it.

  • brian day:

    I am 66 and play squash regularly and once every couple of years have a go at a marathon and have stayed injury free
    many older squash players come on court with all sorts of bandages and knee, elbow, ankle supports but they seem to be the ones that refuse to rest when injured.
    I think learning to be gentle with ones body and easing off immediately one gets a niggle or feels unwell is the big secret to staying fit
    avoid any temptation to join a friend for a run or turn up at a race when not 100%
    you might miss a few days but you will still be there next year
    perhaps Bestonk has had a few injuries in his time
    I did my first ParkRun 5Km last Saturday in Norwich in 32m 50sec and was overtaken by several sub 9 year olds!
    It was amazing to see them enjoying themselves

  • Finn:

    Wow, what a great thread-can’t believe I read almost the whole thing.
    Thats how hungry I am to try and understand what to expect as an over 60 runner.
    The long distance runner can’t know any more lonliness than being over 60 and still running.

    I have been jog walking for several years but in the past year have been more focused on straight running.I run about every other day, usually for 60-90 minutes.Maybe it is the jog walking pattern in me , but I can’t seem to build the stamina to get past a straight 10 minute run( thats the peak I’ve built up to , starting at 3 minutes and adding an additional 2 minutes each time til I arrive at 10 ) Then I’m basically wiped out and can only run in small 2 minute spurts on the return home.I feel short of breath, and experience generalized muscular fatigue. Walking is not a problem but my body just won’t do more.I have noticed caffeine makes a difference(without it ,I really tire quickly) but I only use green tea.
    I don’t know who to ask about pushing through this.Also I’m running in the Az desert in the morning but still under an intense sun, hoping maybe cooler weather will provide a more workable environment.Any suggestions ? Should I accept this as my limit and just be happy to maintain or are there ways to increase my endurance?I’m basically healthy .I would like to run for an hour without fatigue,maybe do a half marathon someday.Does anyone think this is a doable goal for me?

  • Hilary Woof:

    I’m 52 and took up running about 6 months ago after a lifetime of non exercise except a recent bit of tennis and cycling. I like the Jeff Galloway method for older runners. Smaller steps, walk in long runs. I did my first 15k after 2 months in 1.39 which I was very happy with and did 5k the other day in 28m and am sure could go faster. So I am very happy with all that from scratch. Just discovered ParkRun which happens at the end of my garden, so looking forward to getting better.

    I recently got beaten at tennis by an 82 year old, which was a pain as I thought I wasn’t that bad, but delighted because it could be me beating some whippersnapper if I keep all this up!

  • Vic:

    Finn, it depends on so many things. How long have you been running, and trying to beat the 10 minute steady run?

    Yes, you certainly should be able to run longer than 10 minutes. Just keep up run/walking, make sure you drink a lot of water, and eat plenty of carbs as a regular part of your diet. Eat something before you go out running too, maybe an hour or so before. Take a rest day between runs, that’s so important as well.

    I just started a year ago, and I’m 65 yrs old. Have done a couple of half marathons already. Good luck, keep at it, you will get there.

  • Ron Ayre:

    Finn,
    To determine whether the intense sun is depleting you in 10 minutes, try to run on a treadmill in an air conditioned environment for the same 10 minutes or longer.

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Sara

    I like how you’ve gotten your family into this – even with “custom designed” T-shirts! Hurray for The Bee Runners!

    You’ve got a whole range of ages doing fun events together. Each of you can compete for your own personal record while supporting the rest of the family in achieving theirs. It’s not about who comes in first.

  • [...] running a marathon at my age but a quick Google search  showed me that there are people out there as old as 70 running marathons. Then there is the issue of my knees because the only injuries I ever get are to my knees – [...]

  • Todd Fonstad:

    Seven years ago, when I was 62, I was running the Paavo Nurmi Marathon, a very hilly course in wooded northern Wisconsin. About 8-10 miles from the end, I caught up with an older couple. The man was 84 years old! I beat them by no more than 5 minutes at the finish line!

    Like your knees, the effects of major back surgery two years ago are pushing my goal of doing another marathon into my 70s if I can get past the muscular-skeletal problems I am trying to overcome. Long, fast walks are about all I can do now.
    Keep on trying and don’t give up hope.

  • Bob:

    A few months ago I saw a post by Ginny that mentioned the Air Force Half Marathon. I Googled it and found that it was in Dayton, but there was a Navy/Air Force half marathon in DC in September. It was at a good time to act as a “tune up” and a check for the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of October. I decided to try it. The race was yesterday. Not fast but, I FINISHED!!!!!

    I had a little problem with dehydration because I was so slow (I did not finish last) that there was no water at the finish line. I finally found some water at the medical tent, but by then I was in trouble. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the emergency room receiving IV fluids and trying to convince the doctors that I had neither heart problems nor kidney problems. I only escaped when I promised to see my regular doctor this AM. Predictably, he said “You were dehydrated and you were probably low on sodium.” I had passed on salty snacks because there was nothing to drink. At any rate it was an adventure.

    I sent the race director what I hope was a polite complaint about the lack of water.

    I specifically asked my doctor if he was going to advise me not to run the marathon next month. His response was “No”. He did caution me that I might have to find another exercise because my knees might be a problem “at my age”. I hate that phrase. When I told him that my knees and hips are fine, he said “Running is the best exercise for you, keep it up.” I guess that removes any excuse.

    My time for the half marathon does not indicate that I can finish the marathon on time. The road races in this area all have maximum times. Right now I can do better than a 15 minute mile for a half marathon. The marathon is requiring a 14 minute per mile pace at the 17.5 mile (the Gauntlet) andthe or 20 mile (beat the bridge) marks. Another 2 hours is allowed for the last 10k. The good news for me is that the cooler weather seems to be helping. I PRed a 5k a week ago Saturday (after 2 failures on hot July days), and this week I was on a pace just beyond the 6 mile mark to PR my 10k time. BTW, based on that time, the predictor was within 30 seconds of my best guess at my finish time. We’ll see if that holds up when the results are posted. My 10 mile time was actually a little faster than predicted by the 6 mile time.

    I am going to coninue to train and I will run the marathon at the end of October, if only because I don’t have enough sense not to. The worst that is likely to happen is that I will be picked up as a straggler at the 15 mile mark or so. Even if I fail, the experience will help me to do well next year.

    After the marathon, I am looking forward to dialing back a bit on the mileage, preparing for a New Year’s Eve 4 miler, and picking up the pace again in January. No, I am not going to Disney World – I would if I could get away.

  • Steve:

    I have been a life long competetive runner doing my first marathon at age 19 and completing many marathon’s along the way to include a marathon and an ultra in 2011. At age 54 with 35 years of consistent competitive road and trail racing I am wondering how other runners with the same background are holding up.
    I remain competitive with completing six 5k’s this year (2012) all in the 18 minute time range. I continue to feel strong but the last few years do mix up my training with biking and cross country skiing.
    Anyone else able to relate to this? Have the same experience? I am curious about avid competitive runners that have been competitive over 30 years or close to it and how they are holding up.

    • Ron Ayre:

      Steve,
      I also am a long time runner, since the age of 15, and I am now 71.
      I run every day between 5 and 8 miles, with some runs up to 13 miles.
      I still compete in races up to 1/2 Marathon, but not as frequently as in prior years
      I do not have any injury problems in general, so I do not have any problems to run every day.
      My enthusiasm for running is still as strong now as it was over 50 years ago.
      I do not do any other form of exercise no swimming, no biking, no stretching. If I have one hour of time then this means one hour of running. I run on roads, trails and treadmill. Also most of my running is done alone.
      Very few of the runners I competed against 30 years ago here in northern New Jersey are still active, but there are some.
      Keep on running,
      Ron Ayre

  • Sherre:

    HI everyone. I’m currently training for the Jan 12, 2013 Disney Half Marathon. I’m 61 and when i was 50 I race walked the Alaska Midnight Sun Marathon. the Dallas Rock and Roll Half Marathon is in late March 2013. Am I asking for injury/trouble with my body if I run/walk the Dallas Half Marathon just about 10 weeks after completing Disney in January? I know I need to take it easy for about three weeks after the 1st half marathon — but how do I ramp up for the one in late March? So glad to find this site and that there are other alive folks that are young at heart and body even though they may be sporting a few more wrinkles. Looking forward to your suggestions and wisdom.
    Sherre

  • Bob:

    Wait till next year!! I hate it when reallity sets in. I could not make the numbers work, and I had a disastrous week last week. I had to make a decision to defer the marathon until next year or to try it. I could not find any logic that says do it.

    I will run the 10 Miler and the New Years Eve 4 Miler. I am considering a 5k or 10k in November or early December.

    I learned a lot this year, and I think I know what I have to do to accomplish what I have to accomplish.

  • Conrad:

    Great thread. So positive about the benefits of running. I am 52 and just started running. I got checked out first by the doctor and then did some research about starting running. Got a good pair of Nike running shoes and one of those sportsband so I can download my efforts. I feel like a new man already. Not worried about bettering my abilities, just feeling good makes it worthwhile!

  • Louis Carter:

    I started running when my daughter asked me to run in a school 5k at age 52. First time was over 30 min. Next year I did some practice and made it in 28 min at 53. Then I got serious and made a local 5K night race in 25.59. I got hooked and started running 3 to 4 times a week. I got my first 10k in 57 min and just finished my half in 2hr 11min 25 seconds at age 54.
    My next goal is Marathon but that will take time. I do worry at over training and I try to listen to my body. I bike when I can’t run. I was not heavy when I started by I now have some abs I have never seen before i my life. Run like you stole something!

  • Dave the Trotter:

    I’m 57 and I started running two years ago. My teenage daughter and I trained for a 5k race and did it in 31 minutes. Today, I can do it in 25 minutes, 34 seconds. Before this, I had a back injury (ruptured disc), that precluded running for any time period. For some reason, it no longer hurt.I did quite a bit of core training at the gym, but I still think it was somewhat of a miracle. Anyway, I worked up to 50 miles per week and participated in two half marathons recently, finishing one in two hours and seven minutes. After the first half marathon, I ran about four days later on a treadmill. Didn’t have any issues, however, I did a 5k a couple days after that. Boy, did my hip hurt!

    I had a half marathon two weeks later that I had signed up for months ago, and i really wanted to run it. I didn’t do any running at all and just let it heal. My time in the last one was about seven minutes slower than the first, but I was still pleased to run it pain free. I’m not doing any running for two weeks to let the legs heal up. I did learn that a concrete half marathon is tougher on the legs than blacktop. You wouldn’t think the difference would be much, but there is. Also, I’ve learned that I need to take a day off between runs. It seems like for me, about 30 miles per week, with a couple of days of walks with the wife and bike rides, tends to be the best way for me to run and feel good without much pain. Also, a few runs once in a while on grass or a gravel trail, seems to help the joints. I definitely have found the health benefits to be there, since my pulse is now around 50, and it helps me keep my weight under control. I was proud to say my daughter ran her first half marathon as well.

  • QiDoc10:

    Thank you all for posting and giving inspiration to someone just starting to run 6 weeks before my 60th birthday. I’m a couch potato as a result of studying for a grad degree for 5 years. Now I want to be healthy enough to put that degree to good use for a long time. I’ve done Qigong/TaiChi off and on for about 10 years but I’m feeling the need for something more cardio. My daughter-in-law introduced me to the app that she used C25K so I downloaded it on my phone (almost a year ago) I would look at it and really want to use it but was afraid I’d passed the age where it was advisable to start running. I see now that’s just not true!! I’ve only run twice but I feel so accomplished when I’m done and I can’t even complete Day 1 yet. I’m trying to stay within my own limits and started reading about the best way to be successful. So I have questions …

    When you run and then are really sore how long before you run again?
    When you have knee pain that makes you stop and then is really painful for days after … do you rest for a day and then run again or wait until it stops hurting?
    Am I just being too soft by not running when (I feel) I haven’t really recovered (sore and tired) from the previous run or do I just need to toughen up a bit and that will get better?

    I want to run twice a week and bike twice a week with the hope that by next summer I’ll be ready to run my first 5K. For someone as out of shape as I am does that seem unrealistic?

    I’m just so excited after finding this thread knowing that I’m not crazy to think I can do this at 60 and I’ve found support from other 60+ runners that were crazy enough to think they could do it and have!

  • Ernie:

    In January 2011, at the age of 51, with three kids ranging in age from 2 to 13, I stepped on the scale and found myself at 224 pounds..and tired.. I had always been able to lose weight relatively easy, but over the past several years, that had changed. I couldn’t run to the house next door and realized I needed to lose some weight prior to even attempting to run. Through the treadmill and stationary bike and walking the stairs at work and of course cutting food intake, over the next 14 months I lost about 20 pounds. At just over 200 lbs, I began hitting the street and still couldn’t run far, maybe 3 to 5 minutes, walk 3 to 5 and then do it again. My hips hurt, my back hurt and pretty much everywhere hurt. I kept at it and got my ten year old son out on his bike while I ran. Today I run between 12 and 16 miles a week and have reached a max distance of 5.5 miles, while my usual route is 4.3 miles. My fastest mile is just over 10 minutes and my sprint is just under 12 mph.. Some days it’s hard to get started but I push through it and at about mile 3 I feel great. I’m down 30 pounds and my lab work is all in the normal range. I didn’t want to start cholesterol meds.. I don’t “deprive” myself of anything, I just eat well most of the time and if I want a big burger, or dessert occasionally, I have it.. I hope to keep this up as long as I can.. No injuries, just the typical soreness that comes from any good workout and it’s usually gone the next day..I was never a runner and never thought I would be able to pick it up in my 50′s. What helped me was that I just came to a point where knew I didn’t need to win races, or be fast, I was just happy to be able to do what I could.. Taking the competitiveness out of it (ego) helped me move forward. Best of luck and just start, you’ll be amazed at the physical and mental benefits… I need to tie in strength training this year.

  • Richard:

    I have had almost no luck at running, but I am the best walker ever. Nothing fancy, just plain old walking. I am a 60 year old male, and I walk 5 miles, 5 times a week when I have the time. Time on the track is usually between 1 hour and an hour and 5 minutes. I have tried running, but my legs usually give out after a couple of laps, and I have tried one or two lap runs and building up from there, but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Doesn’t matter. Over the past 10 months I have lost 20 pounds, 4 inches on the waist, and now buy regular cut jeans instead of the “relaxed fit” jeans. I am capable of performing rather intense physical jobs at work when they need someone to fill in for a ” no show”. It’s so much fun to listen to the 20-something year old kids “bitch” to a 60 year old about how hard their job is! My point is: just do what you can do, don’t sweat over what you cannot do, and enjoy the numerous benefits from your efforts. I look better. I feel better. I feel better about myself. Walking up steps is no longer a problem for my lungs or my knees. I am soooooo much more flexible now. I sleep better. I take virtually no NSAID’s or indigestion pills any more because 99 per cent of the heartburn and the joint pain is gone.

    The only thing that holds people back is the lack of desire. Most of my friends are amazed by how much I have improved over the past 10 months of walking. But, when you try to get them to join you, their responses are predictable. “I don’t have the time”, when they are already spending a couple of hours a day napping because they are so out of shape. Or they “hurt too bad to do anything strenuous”, even though you have demonstrated to them that they can overcome their pain. Or they ” get a lot of exercise at work”. Or they “get their exercise when they walk the dog” for 5 minutes a day. Blah, blah, blah.

    You go to Wal Mart, and 10 per cent or so of the shoppers using the “go carts” are truly handicapped. The rest are merely tubs of goo who have given up on having a normal life and have chosen to lounge their way to oblivion. They have disappointed and cheated their spouses out of a normal relationship. They have denied their children, even their adult children, of a normal parent – child relationship by cheating themselves out of a normal life. They won’t be able to throw a baseball to their grandkids, or even bake cookies for them, or teach them life skills like changing the oil in their car, because they have chosen to make the sofa, and the knife and fork more important than their lives, their families, and their health.

  • Neil:

    Last weekend I did my first half marathon in about six or seven years. Because of a bone problem in my foot I’m pretty much reduced to walking the hills and the flats and sometimes running downhill. Because of sporadic training, I decided to walk and found that I wasn’t walking fast enough although I did walk by some of the “runners”. The race was the 4 Bridges half marathon in Folsom, Ca. It’s a great route and at the end you go across a old about 100 year plus bridge. I thougth I was the only one in my age group but I found out that another guy had entered and had beaten me by an hour. Felt pretty good when I got home but had sore hams for about three days. This is not a complaint because I knew better than to do the event poorly trained. Ah well, so much for the 80 age group. Anyway my time was 3:06 which is under a 15 minute mile. The other youngster did it in about 2:06. Always hate it when everybody has gone home when you come in.

    One of the things I noticed and was pleased was the number of heavy and large men and women – of all ages. This really didn’t use to happen – although about 15 years ago I remember a couple of women who were really heavy and doing extremely well. One was just really cheerful and happy to be out there and would usually make the cut offs. The other was very competitive and was really focused on beating the men. In these cases we’re talking ultras at about 50k and 50 mile distances. Even though they are long (all day) they are much easier on your body and are not crowded. Basically long cross country run/walks.

    One of the reasons I’m able(along with a number of others)to do these events is that I’m using “Hoka One One shoes”. I hardly feel the ground – but they are pricey.

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    I didn’t get any messages from this list since July – today I got a whole strong of them. Most messages seemed to be from 50 to 60 year old youngsters just starting out and wondering how to deal with limitations of endurance or aching joints. From my pedestal of 87 years, I say give it your best shot. Endurance may build slower than when you were younger, but after a year you will proudly look back at how far you have progressed. About those aching joints – treat them with respect. Sure you can have knee or hip replacements, but they are no longer as good as new.

    My PT recommended that I shouldn’t do any more running – my two hip replacements have passed the 15 year life expectancy and she didn’t think the next set of replacements would serve me as well as those. She suggested I learn racewakling. I took a Racewalking clinic with Dave McGovern, an Olympic coach, to learn the official technique. I also signed up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training to prepare to walk the San Jose Rock and Roll Half Marathon

    On Oct 6th, I fulfilled my two goals – 1. To be able to complete on my own two feet (no use of the sag wagon). 2. To complete within 3 and 3 1/2 hours. I not only completed, my time was 3:29:05 – just inside my goal time. I also won my Women Over 80 age group. There were two of us. Those who are wondering how long they can do these things, my competition was 85, and she came in right behind me.

    One of the posters back earlier this fall complained of severe dehydration issues. One of the things we were cautioned about in the Team in Training – bring your own water and electrolytes – don’t rely on there always being adequate hydration along the race. We were also advised to pick up a few of those salt packets at the fast food joint to use on those races where you will sweat a lot. Oh yes, bring some nourishment such that will provide protein as well as carbohydrates.

    So I learned a lot in this past year – how to race walk (I didn’t run a step on that half marathon). I learned about race nutrition, kexercise and stretching to prevent injuries, and I learned what great support and comraderie you get from being a part of a team.

    So I can sign off as

    Phyllis Half Marathoner 3:29:05, Age 87!

  • Olline:

    Phyllis- Honestly, YOU Rock!!!! I want to be just like you in 26 years!

  • Neil:

    Phyllis:

    Wow! You are almost in a league of your own! All of your advice is perfect – especially the salt. Whoever is advising you is right on. No goodies at the aid stations is really one of the serious problems for the back of the pack participants. Rely on yourself. Also if you do use the aide station electrolytes, make sure that it’s one that you have tried before. Sometimes one has some ups and downs during the longer events. You might want to quit. But don’t, because in about 10 minutes (sometimes) you have a whole different attitude. Google Helen Klein and Po Adams – ther are still are a couple of my heroes. Did you know there are 42k Volkswalks? I believe that the Portland Marathon is one – but there are other marathons that just have a separate start. My wife and I did Seatlle one year and started an hour before the runners. The only real reason that I wanted to do that event was because the participants went out on the floating bride and back.

    Bring epson salts for afterwards.

    • Phyllis Karsten:

      Olline – Thanks for the accolade. Sometimes I wonder if all the time I spend at this is a good use of my time, but then I rationalize that if I can be a role model for people to live their life to the fullest, then it’s a good thing for me to do. Then with the Team in Training I had to commit to raising funds for the Leukemia Society – I so was really paying back for my little spot here on earth.

      Niel – I have family that lives in Portland area, I’ll have to look into the Portland Marathon, although I’m not sure if that distance is doable for me yet. Eposon salts, yes! Nothing like a good soak in a hot tub afterward. – A shower just doesn’t cut it.

  • Ginny:

    Sheree….I am 63 and have run three half marathons in the past three months. I think you will be fine. Inbetween halfs I have my long run of the week only be about 8-10 miles and run only 3 times per week. I have found that I need a couple days of rest after a long run. I have been running for over 30 years, but never started doing the longer distances since 2008.

    Ginny

  • Vic:

    Wow, Phyllis you are an inspiration for sure! I agree with you that most anyone can improve their endurance. Steady, slow incremental increases will work. Just don’t overdue. It’s tricky finding the right balance between increasing endurance and getting injured, so go slowly.
    I just did my first marathon at the age of 65. I will be 66 in a couple of weeks, actually. I only started running one year ago, and have done the gradual increases. I did sustain some minor injuries, but did my research and learned how to train the right way. I had to put my ego aside, and take my time. But, I finished the marathon. Believe it or not, there were not a lot of runners in my AG and I won 3rd place in the Savannah Rock N Roll Marathon on November 3.
    Today, three days after the marathon, I feel fine and have no pain, blisters or problems whatsoever!
    You can do more than you think you can, just set your mind to it, and stay the course.
    Vic

  • Ped Zing:

    Running at 50 is crazy. Running at 70 is out of mind. What? run at 80? Common, I don’t have time for this kind of joke.
    That is what I truly believed until 50. Now I am 53 young man and started running at 50.
    My first two years were time to get to know the running. Got taste of its good and bad (injuries.)
    After learning the correct form and barefoot running techniques, I haven’t had injuries for a year.
    I took the speed factor out of my running equation and put longer distance in and it became more enjoyable.
    On each step my feet sense that I am alive, alive very well, more often with long runs.
    Life is good. Running makes it better, for sure.
    Running at 50 is good. Running at 70 is awesome. What? 80? You are the most beautiful and lucky one.

    I found this blog few days ago and it has been my most delightful time to spend on. During last 3 years of running, I have been wondering whether I will still be able to run in 70-some. Now that worry is gone for good. Thanks everyone for great stories and encouragements, and cheers to you all runners.

  • Sherre:

    Anybody else besides me going to Orlando in January for 2013 Walt Disney World® Half Marathon or marathon or goofy?

  • I began jogging in my mid fifties to knock a bit of weight off and get myself back into shape after four years of inactivity on the dole. I took to it like a duck to water so that now, 26 years later, I cannot imagine life without it. I was never coached and never had any structured training plan but won my age category in seven out of eight marathons including a couple of sub three hour ones in my sixties. Over the years I’ve headed the British rankings over various distances and even crept into the world rankings.
    Nowadays I get out three or four times a week, depending on the weather, running up to 24 miles in total. 95% of my running is off-road on fells, fields and riverbanks wearing fairly minimalist shoes. I’m still racing – up to 10 miles – and picking up the odd prize here and there. Since turning 80 last May I’ve run nine races and picked up prizes in all of them. Apart from a few falls and the odd broken bone I’ve stayed reasonably free of injuries and my joints feel better now than they did ten years ago. Life has been good to me!.

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Wow! Running Fox – You are in a class by yourself.

    I’ve signed up for the National Senior Games to be held in Cleveland this summer. I’ll do the 1500M and 5000M racewalk. It will be a great experience to compete with others close to my age group from across the country. Now I’ve got to get serious about building core strength as well as endurance, particularly in the shorter race, as that is more of a sprint and will take more stamina going full out than the 3K. (I know the 3K is considered by some to be a sprint, but in my experience it calls for a somewhat different type of effort than the 1500M.)

    Phyllis

    • From what I’ve been reading everyone on this Forum would agree that you’re very much in a class of your own too! 87 years old, two hip replacements and still doing ½ marathons! As Olline said, YOU ROCK!
      Like you, I should be getting around to building core strength to extend my running life too, but I’ve difficulty motivating myself to do such things on my own, even though I have weights at home. Maybe I’ll get down to the gym this winter. Having paid the fees I’ll insist on getting my money’s worth!
      At a recent Track & Field Championship I was intrigued to watch an over 80 man doing the 3000m racewalk. He finished in 28:24:09 and made it look so easy. Maybe that could be the way forward for me?
      Good luck with your training for Cleveland.

  • Nancy:

    Hi, Everyone,

    Love reading all the recent posts. Running Fox and Phyllis are definitely role models for all of us. Three years ago I started running, slowly! Now at 71, I am still jogging along and am planning to be part of a half marathon Dec 8 in SC.
    I have not trained for such a long distance, so will try to walk most of it. It will be great to be out in the balmy (I hope!) weather and seeing all these young people competing and enjoying themselves. If I’m able, I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Keep running!

    Nancy

  • Vic:

    One of the things I enjoy about this group is being a comparative youngster. And being able to say “you are an inspiration and a role model to me. I want to be just like you at your age”.

    Which is something I hear quite a bit from younger runners, who seem to think I have done well at my age of 66 (tomorrow). They think I’m a geezer, and I love them for it. Younger folks think 65 is ancient. LOL

    Phyllis and Running Fox, you guys are my inspiration!

    • Hi there Vic, welcome to the golden oldies Hall of Fame! Just read your Rock and Roll marathon report and am truly impressed by how you ran it so well after taking up running so late in life. I was ten years younger than you when I ran my first marathon. By the time I got to 65 I’d had enough of the long distance stuff – but I’m still running regularly and doing shorter races. Longest this year was 12 miles.
      Anyway, stick at it. As I say in my Blog – We don’t stop running because we get old, we get old because we stop running. Good luck!

  • Awkward Annie:

    Wonderful stories. Logged on for my park run time and ended up reading all your inspirational stories. Have been suffering a really stiff lower back in recent years and wondered if my running was a good idea. Have decided it is. There is nothing like lrunning on a frosty sunny morning in Warwickshire to make you feel young and free. I am a young 56, my time was 28 mins. Will visit this site regularly now. Let’s keep on moving!

  • Annie M:

    I love this site. Let me say that one more time with emphasis…..I LOVE this site!

    My husband and I are using the Jeff Galloway training system, and our first goals are a 5K, then 10K, then 1/2 M. Our long term goal is running until the day we leave this earth.

    Thirteen years ago a very large truck ran over my very small car. The last thing I remember before the impact was thinking, “if he doesn’t stop coming my legs are going to be cut off”. He didn’t stop coming. Two years of rehabilitation followed. Knees scoped, wrist operations, herniated disc, closed head injury. I recovered, but it took years.

    So here I am today, at the wonderful age of 58 (59 in January). My knees and neck and short term memory, are about the same as most people my age now. Ah age……it leaves no one behind!

    My daughter-in-love ran her first 1/2M a month ago. She had never been a runner before. But she is now. We have all watched her progess and her training and her perseverence. (Including her 2 yr. old, who has “Go Momma” as part of her permanent vocabulary!) My son is her biggest fan, and does double duty with the toddler while “Momma” is running. We are all so proud of her. Watching her accomplish her goals, has encouraged my husband and I to join her. Don’t think it will be too long before my son joins her.

    There is something contagious about running. Watching a loved one set a goal, patiently train, endure, and then watching them cross the finish line……don’t we all rejoice in the victory?

    Does it hurt a bit when I run? Yes. But no more than when I don’t run.

    Thanks to all who post here! I love reading your words of wisdom, stories of goals completed, and most of all your zest for MOVING.

    Good running to all!

    Annie

  • Bravo, Annie, what a great story! I too was inspired by my daughter-in-love (I like that!) who just wanted to drop some baby weight after our precious granddaughter was born and now looks fabulous. After a year of looking at the C25K app on my phone I finally decided to try and run. I’m turning 60 in a few days and have never run farther than the couch so it seemed a ridiculous notion that I could start actually running now. But then I found this site while looking for all the reasons not to and really started to believe it was possible. Then comes someone like you that has had to overcome serious injuries and still is out there doing it … you are amazing! I have no excuses left. I’m on week two after two months of tweaking (shoes and inserts and bras) trying to get comfortable and stay relatively pain/injury free but I’m doing it … slow and steady. Thank you for sharing your story! All the best to you!

    • Annie M:

      And bravo to you QiDoc10, for your decision to train! Please keep us all informed with your progress. Slow and steady for sure. You and I are basically at the same place with our “starting”. I like that!

      We just finished our first long run outdoors. (We do most of our training on our treadmill, due to the never ending wind in Texas. Thus, we have our hometown pollen, and pollen from cities within a 100 miles radius. Gads. Noses in Texas are severely challenged

      Happy early 60th birthday. 60 could be the best year of your life!

      I very much agree with your statement…….”and really started to believe it was possible”. I came to the same place in my thinking. Perhaps one of the most beneficial things about this entire process, is the change in my thinking.

      Best wishes to all!

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Nancy, Vic Annnie (2 of you), QiDoc10

    Hey Running Fox, How did we get to be competing at this age?

    I really don’t know. I woke up one morning and here I am all of 87 years old. Wow! I’ve enjoyed the ride so far. But sometimes I ask myself if this is a good use of my time. Then I meet younger folks (ages 30 and up) who say they want to be like me when they grow up, I realize that I am having some impact on my world.

    I thank God that I have this good health and can serve to inspire others.

    Thanks for all the compliments.

    For those wanting to conserve knees, etc – Try the racewalking – there is much less impact on the joints. Do a web search for “Racewalk” and you’ll find good sites with lots of technique information. Racewalking is to running as Butterfly stroke is to Freestyle swimming. Racewalking has a technical style that has to be observed in competition. Most road races are not specific for racewalkers, but when you get up into the age stratosphere your times will be competitive with others in your AG. I mostly racewalk with a few spurts of running tossed in. I walked the whole distance on my 1/2 Marathon. I look at the times posted on this list and could get discouraged, but then I realize most of you guys are almost half my age – my best 5K is 43 minutes, which is quite respectable in the 70+ age group.

    “Enjoy living life – don’t worry about the rest of them ” is a good motto

    Phyllis

    PS: Running Fox – you must live in a British country to have fells to run in. Am I right? Where do you hail from?

    • Phyllis, I hail from Yorkshire, England, and do most of my running in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. You should be able to access my octogenarian antics and see pictures of where I run by clicking on ‘Runningfox’ (at the head of this posting) – or otherwise go to: http://oldrunningfox.blogspot.co.uk
      This site is taking off really well now, something we older runners have wanted for years.

  • Karen:

    Go Annie!!

    My daughter (32) and I (61) just ran a 1/2 marathon together at the Space Coast Marathon in Cocoa, Florida. It was great. (Especially in retrospect.) Of course there was some pain along the way. However, there seemed to be some pain for almost everyone.

    A year ago, I was inspired to run this 1/2 by seeing others do this same race. I had never raced in a 1/2 and thought it was something I could never accomplish. I had only ran one 5k years ago. I trained for the 1/2 and ran another one this past April, but this one was the one I set my sights on. I agree with another writer that the main change was attitude. (My time is nothing to brag about and is not even competitive.)

    Keep it up! Your story is inspiring. (your writing is very entertaining and easy to read as well)

    Karen

    • Annie M:

      Well done Karen! Thank you for the encouraging words and sharing…… “your time is nothing to brag about and is not even competitive”. I truly cannot imagine doing anything more than simply completing the race. There was a time in my life when I was speedy, but I was in the seventh grade, HA! (Remember when all the boys were shorter than us and we could out run them all! Oh for the good old days.)

      Annie M

  • Ginny:

    Anne,

    So happy that you are well and now running! Quite an inspirational story.

    I haven’t posted in a while, but I ran my first half marathon at age 58 and have now run over 15 and one marathon! It is addictive! I am in sort of a slump right now, I do this every winter, I don’t stop running completely , but I get unmotivated. Thought I would come back here and get my mojo back.

    ginny

    • Annie M:

      Thank you Ginny! Thank you also for your previous posts; have read them all and you (as everyone who posts here) have been so instrumental in my decision to get with the program! I find it amazing that you started at 58, have done 14 1/2m and one marathon. My daughter-in-love also says it is addicting.

      MOJO……..get on back to Ginny!

      Annie M

  • Ginny:

    Anne, I have been running since my late 20′s, but just started doing the longer distances the past 4 years….wish I had started earlier, now I am really slow, but I am still out there.

    Ginny

  • Steve Huyghe:

    I began running approximately 30 to 40 miles a week in 1973. I now turn 63 next month. I still average about 25 to 30 miles a week and have ran on streets, golf courses, dirt roads, tracks and still do trail running. I have never had a knee or joint problem. I have taken a few falls but that was from my own clumsiness.

    If you stretch properly, eat right, keep your weight within a comfortable range I believe you can run as long as you keep up this routine with some light weight training to keep your muscles from slipping away.

    I am increasing my mileage as I age and not caring about my speed. And I intend on doing this along as the good Lord allows me to continue..

    Only hope there are others that realize the joy running can bring both mentally and physically.

  • Karen:

    Leonard,
    I hope you start running again soon and let all of us on this site know how you are doing. I agree with the other writers that the benefits seem to outweigh the risks! Also, the support I have gotten from this group is invaluable. Hope you find it the same. Good luck!!
    Karen

  • Annie M:

    Good morning or good evening whichever your time may be!

    Ran outside last Sunday, and thought all had gone well. Several hours later pain began first in my left knee, then in my right. The pain began rather slowlyl and ontinued to increase as the evening progressed. While kneeling on both knees, to work on a decoration on the Christmas tree, I could hear and feel a very unfamiliar crack and/or pop in or underneath the patella. Pain was instantaneous directly across the middle of the patella.

    Called my daughter-in-love, who is also a PT, and she advised resting the knee and icing for a week. Have been doing so.

    Yesterday the pain had increased so much, I searched for the crutches used after knee surgery in 1999. Made a phone call to the Orthopedic Surgeon’s office and spoke with the nurse about the symptons. She didn’t tell me anything I wasn’t already thinking.

    Will continue to rest the knees this weekend. If no improvement by Monday morning will call the Orthopedic Surgeon for an MRI.

    The moral to this story…………..absolutely none!

    Annie M reporting in!

    PS~~Worse come to worse, I am a heck of a swimmer and kayaker. Water is 20 feet from the house!

  • Annie M:

    PSS~~evidently the knee pain has caused my spelling to be rather bad, HA!

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    I hope whatever is killing your knee can be helped with that old standby RICE.

    Are you having floods near by? Or is there a nice recreational swimming/boating facility within 20 feet? If it’s a nice lake and you need to give that knee some good water therapy, you will have a challenge to master those skills. Challenges are what keeps one going.

    Phyllis

    PS: I’m a lousey speller, but can usually catch other’s errors. Haven’t found your’s yet, so the knee must not be too bad. ; )

    • Annie M:

      I hope RICE works too, Phyllis. Am so very much hoping it is not torn meniscus.

      No, we are not having floods nearby, but as I reread my post I could see why you might have thought so! The last time my knees felt like this, they required surgery. Should that be the case this time, I will have to reconsider whether running is a good option for me. I live 20 to 30 feet from a small lake, am a good swimmer and kayaker, and very little stress on the knees with both of those options.

      As always, your comments are gracious and full of wisdom Phyllis:)

    • ginny:

      Annie: Hope the knee pain is better! I am fortunate on not having knee problems ever. I shouldn’t have said that should I?

      Ginny

  • Richard:

    What are the odds of both knees being injured at the same time by running? Hopefully, this is just one of life’s little speed bumps, and you will be back up at ‘em in a few days. Keep us posted.

  • Marilee:

    I’m 70 and I run 5K’s my best time is 33 minutes fiat. I just bought a gps watch to help me train and reach my goal of under 30 minutes. I think I can do it. I feel great, no pain and I run 45 minutes four times a week. I am blessed and life is good!

  • Neil:

    If you can eventually get the pain out of your knees (been there – done that), seriously look at the Hoka One One shoes. I now have two pair and wear one pair for everyday use. One of my friends (who is quite heavy but is a good runner) about 60 years old, has three pairs and uses one pair each day. My son and his wife, in their fifties and serious runners wear the shoes.

    They are somewhat pricey – but the absence of pain is worth it. By the way, the shoes are somewhat dorky – but I don’t care.

  • ginny:

    marilee….very, very good! I am 63 and my fastest 5K the last year is 36:40….I am terribly slow, so for me, that was a good time. I am just not trying to get faster anymore, doesn’t seem to be in the stars for me to be speedy. Just trying to keep the mileage up. Doing a half marathon this coming Sunday in my town, the Santa Hustle. This is the first time they have held it here and it looks like fun! Hope the weather holds. It has been unusually warm here for Ohio, but it could turn on us at any moment.

    Ginny

  • Helen Clark:

    I teach older runners – Last year I trained an 85 year old lady to run – She ran an under 40 minute
    5k this year at 86! I also had two ladies in their mid fifties complete their first full marathon this fall. I am 60 myself and ran my first trail 50 k this year. So keep going, don’t worry about your time, and have fun!

  • Nancy:

    Helen, What a great thing to do to help older people learn to run again! I had a friend 10 years younger who talked me into trying it almost 4 years ago, and I am so glad… Dec 8 I ran a half marathon and won for my age group (over 70; I’m 71). It was hard, and my body hurt for a few days, but I’m glad I did it. I really am just happy to go run with my dog for 30 minutes 3X a week… I always feel better after, and I have been pretty healthy the past 4 years.

    Keep up the good work… everybody!

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    I’m pasting in a quote from a previous message. This quote was written by Helen in response to Wayne. After searching back a ways, I couldn’t find the original messages, so I’m just pasting this snippet in.:

    “I found this site while searching for “average” or “typical” times for a 58 year old male beginning runner. This type of data is nearly impossible to find. So here are some specific statistics for me. I am 58, male,6 foot. I have never been running since I graduated from high school, 1971. In 2009 [...]”

    I think others will find this information useful – or at least interesting. It answers the question of trying find out what a good pace woujd be for someone your own age group:

    http://www.heartbreakhill.org/age_graded.htm

    This website has an age graded calculator, so you can see how you stack up agains the top runners in your age group.

    http://www.eracewalk.com/CalcAgeg.htm

    This last site is part of a Racewalking site. I haven’t compared the two sites to see if there is a difference in the expectations for racewalkers, but you can compare and see. If any of you are having knee problems, and are thinking of hanging it up, check out racewalking. It’s its own type of challenge. I find that on some 5K races, I can out-pace the runners in the Over 70 age group. Give it a try.

    Phyllis

  • Annie M:

    Thank you so much for asking Helen, and hope you had a good Christmas holiday.

    Have done no running as per Ortho Drs. orders, and am on my last week of oral steroids. The right knee is much better; the left knee is still painful. Pain is centered in the middle of the patella. I may have caused the increase in pain by kneeling on wood floors, to help the 2 year old grandbaby play with toys from Santa. Her father chastised me for not being more careful with the knees! Who can resist a 2 year old angel of a grandchild who wants to play “tea” with her Grammy, albeit on the hard floors! (It probably didn’t help jumping on a new trampoline with the 9 yr old and 12 yr old granchildren, either.)

    Thank you again for asking.

    Wishing a Happy New Year and blessings for all throughout this coming year!

  • Ian S:

    Hi,
    I joined a running club in 1996 after I broke my collar bone skating. I used to run when I was younger and did a few triathlons and also masters swimming. Running is very different from swimming and cycling and I had a few injuries at first. I think that you need to give your body time to adjust to the weight bearing and not overdo it initially. ( I know that we all get a bit over enthusiastic at first when you see improvements in your times and distance traveled!). I ran on the road at first but changed to grass and trails when I felt a little bit of soreness in my knees. I did not force it and took rest days in between runs. I ran on the beach and did some small sand hills. I tried to set realistic goals and I believe it took me four years to reach my peak. I did a 5 KM PB at age 47. I am now 58 and although my times are getting slower, I am still running well and have very few injuries. I don’t do really long runs ( about 11 km max). I believe if you take a sensible approach and don’t listen to all the negative comments made by people who are non runners – you can achieve your goals- running is a wonderful sport

  • Andy:

    Happy New Year to all.

    Many thanks to Older Runners site which has provided us with valuable information. I am 56 y.o. male, 5ft 5″ and took up running since March this year. I have lost 10kgs and now weigh 70 kg (155lbs). I run an average of 50 km (30 miles) per week. No injuries so far and I hope to participate in HM & FM in the coming year.

    I would love to hear from older runners on how to overcome the gaunt look after losing the weight. Everything below the neck, on the outside and inside look and feel good but I just don’t like the way my face looks.

    My wife and friends commented that I look a lot older despite my slimmer body. I also do resistance exercises to build up some muscles on my upper body.

    Is there any way that I can make my face a little rounder? I love running but I don’t like my gaunt face.

    Looking forward to hear from you all and thanks.

  • I am 59 and have been running for 1 year. I have a similar problem, but have decided just to accept it. I use to have a round face with a very thick neck, now my face is thin and I have a chicken neck. and I can run further and faster than anyone who does not like it…

  • Annie M:

    Well done Andy!

    I read a blog last week from a woman that was having the same problem. She maintains a “thin” body weight, and discussed the “gaunt” face. The only solution she has found, was having cosmetic surgery. If I remember correctly it involved injections of fat. Hope this helps.

    Annie M

  • Andy:

    Thanks so much for the reply. Although inner beauty & strength is without a doubt crucial, facial presentation is also important to me. Looks like having both is not a runner’s choice. I might contemplate facial surgery if I cannot find other solutions. Just like women who put on make up, men need to look good too IMHO.

    There is a saying that “it is not how long you lived but how you lived those years”. As for me I want (and I believe all us runners) to run and live a long fruitful & meaningful life.

  • Lesley:

    Hi,
    I am 54 and I am looking to start to running in the hope that this will keep me young at heart. As a child I was naturally fit and could easily compete at most physical games (squash, running, etc.) but thats some 40 years ago. In the past 15 years I have put on weight and not looked after myself. – too much wine, food and being lazy. Its going to be a slow journey for me and one I am concerned that I cannot achieve having tried to ‘walk a lamp post run and lamp post’ – there was just no bounce! I don’t want to be one of those old runners that you see more or less shuffling with hunched shoulders. I hope that doesn’t sound unkind and having read it back I know it does – just wondering if anyone can advise how or if the spring in my step will ever come back. Please…….

    • Richard:

      “I don’t want to be one of those old runners that you see more or less shuffling with hunched shoulders.”

      Lesley, why is that important to you? Do you want the benefits of running or the respect and admiration of passers by who don”t know you, and couldn’t care less if you drop dead in the next 2 minutes?

      • Annie M:

        Lesley,

        I started running again with my husband 2 months ago. He is an extremely young 66 year old boy:) I am almost 59 and had become sedentary for a couple of years. He is one of those runners with a bounce to his gait. The last long run we did together I decided if he could bounce, so could I. I lengthened my stride, pushed my speed, added bounce to my gait and ended up sidelined for a month. 20 days of oral steroids, no running, and am now starting over.

        Many years ago (when I was running consistently) my daughter told me………”Mom, you aren’t running, you’re just doing a shuffle”. She was 25 at the time. She wasn’t being mean, she was just being young!

        I don’t care how I look anymore when I run, I just want to run. My hair is silver, and I wear it long, because I am proud of it. I intend to run my first competition with my silver hair blowing in the wind!

        Just run Lesley. You aren’t trying to impress anyone, you are making a life choice to be healthy and active!

    • Sonjie J:

      Lesley – I am 74 and I look pretty good running. I know this because I was featured in an article and there were pictures! However, when I finish my 5K runs on the treadmill and happen to pass a mirror I AM a bit shocked. Red-faced, dripping with sweat, I look pretty ragged. So what? I love running. Period. There’s nothing like a runner’s high and really, everyone will be looking at the 20-year-olds anyway!

  • Ron Ayre:

    Happy New Year to all older runners!
    hope 2013 brings all good things.
    2012 was not a bad year for me, now running for 56 years, at 71 years old.
    My goal of 2000 miles for the year was reached on Dec 29 which made me very happy.
    All my miles seem very slow now, but I am happy to be able to run every day and stay injury free.
    Good luck to everyone!
    Ron A

  • Nancy:

    H, Everyone, and happy 2013! May it be a good year for all of us.
    I continue to be inspired by you all and impressed by how you keep on going and going. Maybe our theme song for this year should be “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen… a little old, like us.

    I started running almost 4 years ago and this Dec I decided to try a half marathon. I was not really trained properly, but I finished in 2hours 30 min, 48 sec. Not fast, but good enough to win for my age group (70-75).

    I am happy running 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes or some days a little more. My dog goes with me and we both look forward to it. Let’s all keep it going for as long as we can. And, yes, I did fast walk part of the HM… and that’s a great way to keep moving too.

    Thank you all for being part of this group!

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Ron: 2000 miles! You must be ready for a lube job : )

    To all Happy new Years and many miles of running/walking. I completed a New Years 5K yesterday and placed 1st in the women over 70 age group. This group was age graded to level the field between the 70 year olds and those of us who are in 80s or more. The 2nd and 3rd place were in their early 70s – I didn’t feel too bad taking home a cute little trophy as according to the overall placements, they should have done better.

    They also gave an order for overall age graded. I placed 7th out of 100 in the Women’s overall age
    graded group! I have run this course before and have done better, but was impressed by how I stack up against the field when they estimate what my time would have been if I had been in my 20s. My 49:49 minutes would have been 21:34.

    Information about age graded results with an age graded results calculator. This is fun to experiment with:

    PhyllisK – 87 years until end of January.

    http://www.heartbreakhill.org/age_graded.htm

  • delia:

    I stared running last July following the NHS Couch to 5K program (UK). I have just turned 59 and run for 30 minutes 3 times a week. I have never felt better and intend keeping this up for ever!

  • Annie M:

    Orthopedic Doc has cleared me for returning to running using the Galloway Run/Walk Method!

    Completed a slow 2 mile walk on the treadmill, and no problems. It was excruciatingly slow, and I didn’t dare listen to any music by Adele! Her songs make me want to fly!

    I learned some things after my first attempt to train for a 5K, after being somewhat sedentary for a couple of years.

    1. Although I started off with what I considered to be a slow pace, it wasn’t nearly slow enough.
    2. I didn’t use the run/walk method.
    3. I didn’t realize how out of shape I had become.
    4. I am older. You would think that would have been an easy one to remember, but I don’t feel old. I am very limber due to
    years of modern dance and ballet. But limber and muscle/joint strength are not the same thing.

    Printed off a copy of his 5K/10K Training schedule. It may take me longer than 15 weeks, but I will get there. I also need to spend time strengthening my core. I don’t like that goal, but it is necessary.

    Best wishes to all!

  • Karen:

    Annie,

    Your resilience is inspiring! You appear to have learned so much about yourself and your ability and how to overcome hurdles! (literally)

    It looks to me like getting older is a learning process just like being an adolescent. It is just different. Acceptance of this stage of life seems to be an important key in making it work!! I just had to get one of those bikes that allows you to keep your feet on the ground when stopped! I never…….

    Anyway, thank you for your comments. Keep up the great work!!

    Karen

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Annie: so good to hear you have been cleared to go again!

    My Galloway “system” is upside down – I walk a mile, then rest by running 20 or 30 yards. I find that tossing in a few yards of running rests me on a 5K race, just like Galloway’s recommendation of walking to rest the running muscles. I run to rest my walking muscles.

    I did my local 5K Race To End World Hunger on New Year’s Day. I really had to push myself and did not do as we’ll as last year, but suspect it was because I had not fully recovered from donating blood 5 days previously. The Over 70 Age. group was age graded. The other two competeters were in their early 70s, so even with a slower time (49:49), I took home a cute little trophy. But there was another neat tid bit posted with the race results – They had a list of overall age graded results, and I placed 7th out of 100 finishers in the Women’s Overall Age Graded. Wow, right up there with the twenty and thirty year olds!

    Moral of this story – when you feel down on yourself about your times, go to an age graded calculator to see how you compare. You might be pleasantly surprised.

  • Annie M:

    Thank tou Karen and Phyllis. For fear I will forget later this month………Happy early Birthday Phyllis!

  • Suzanne M.:

    I just found this thread and I love it! I’m 67 yrs old and I started running at age 63, inspired by our new daughter-in-law who has run many marathons. (She inspired our son too and now they’ve run the NYC marathon twice together.) My first race was a “fun run” organized by a local running club the evening before a local marathon. I decided to join them, having no idea who they were. As it turned out, 2 celebrity runners joined the “fun run”: Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers. So my very first ever run was with an Olympic runner and a 4 time Boston Marathon winner! I ran it in 45 min. and when I finally finished, got my picture taken with them. Best day ever :D Since that evening, I’ve run 5Ks, 10Ks, 1/2 marathon & on a marathon relay team. In Jan 2011 I was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness & hospitalized. My doctor told me that although this was a very rare illness & there wasn’t much research on prognosis for patients my age, he said my prognosis was excellent because I was so physically fit. I returned to running 6 months later and ran a 13:15 mile pace. I continue to run 3-4x week; I try to work out with strength training 1-2x weekly as well. I continue to work full time and am as active as I was 10 years ago. I attribute this to running!

  • Bob:

    Happy New Year everyone.

    Thank you Phyllis for posting the link to the age graded calculator. My ego needed a boost about the time I saw it. I must admit that it only took me from truly awful to mediocre, but I am getting there.

    Annie, you are my knid of people. One thing that I am occasionally accused of is forgetting that I am not 14 years old. Trying new things and playing with the kids are my favorite activities. Being down for a month is a small price to pay, and it’s a lot better than not doing those things.

    To the guys with the gaunt faces: Grow a beard, if nothing else it will give you a new look, and it less expensive and less risky than cosmetic surgery.

    I finished the 10 Miler and a subsequent 10k with some improvement, but the holiday crush killed my weekly mileage, consequently a couple of 5ks and the New Year’s Eve 4 MIler were a little less successful than I would have liked. It just shows that I need to stay in training. I have started to build up again for a half marathon in March. We’ll see how it goes at the MLK day 10k, but it’s a trail run, and I am always a little slower on the trails.

    Some of the posts that talk about hearing negative comments from non-running friends are a mystery to me. The only reactions that I have gotten are congratulations, encouragement, and envy. I put a picture of the tailgate of my truck with 13.1 and ATM (Army 10 MIler) magnets in my Christmas card to friends and family with a comment that I was really trying for the marathon and did not make it – last year. A couple of nephews who are runners themselves passed on congratulations, my sister (10 years younger than me) went crazy. And, the only other feedback was from a friend who I haven’t seen in a while – his note basically said “Wow”. As for runners, some of the folks in my workout group and instructors at the rec center where I work out are runners. I find myself in conversations with them and they are talking to me as if I were a real runner – even though we both know that I could not keep them in sight for more than about 50 yards. That feels good.

    Everybody keep it up, if nothing else, it will keep us healthy.

  • Richard:

    Bob: About the negative comments, I’ve heard them all. I am 60, I am too old. I will destroy my knees. I will destroy my hips. I will have a heart attack. I will have a stroke. While I will admit that moving from “walker” to runner has been a lot more difficult for me than I anticipated, I still anticipate making it. The folks at the rec center are supportive, for now that is good enough. The rest will eat my dust soon.

    Your comment about the beard is a good one. Frankly, I would rather be gaunt-faced with a jaw line than pie-faced with no jaw. I am holding your beard suggestion as a trump card in case I need it! ;-)

    Last week I bought Jeff Galloway’s book, “Running: Getting Started”. A great read chock full of good information. I have made many mistakes, but those are now getting corrected.

  • Philippe:

    I am 56 and started jogging trails 4 years ago – now I am running 250+ miles every month, including at least one trail race every month. Last year I raced 8 short trails (18 – 38km), three marathons and three ultras – 55km, 80km and 170km – and finished in the top 5% overall of all. A great deal of personal satisfaction in being able to mentor younger runners who have the benefit of youth but the lack of life-experience, which is what is needed for the longer distance events. So, I would certainly encourge anyone over 50 to try trail running, as it combines the pleasure of being outdoors with fine cameraderie and physical firness – and I still enjoy my job as CEO in the food-industry and the usual rounds of receptions and work-functions. Trails give me an additional reason to enjoy life.

  • Andy:

    I can’t thank you all enough, REALLY! After finding this thread, I have NO excuse not to go out and keep fit by walking and running. You all made me realize that at 56, I have many active years left in me.

  • Ginny:

    I ran a HM, the Santa Hustle, on Dec 16th…did better than I anticipated since I had not kept up my mileage much since late October. it was a fun race!

    Winter has set in with a vengence here, so I have had to start going to the gym and running on the dreaded treadmill….It really takes the joy out of running for me, but I want to try and not become the slug that I usually become during the winter months! Winter and I do not get along well.

    I love this thread…keeps me motivated.

    Suzanne….what an inspiring story, I hope your health has improved…

    Ginny

  • Phyllis Karsten:

    Hi Ginny

    A while back I took a camera on my usual 5K walk around my neighborhood – snapped pictures of all the little details that I enjoy noticing around the loop. I loaded these pictures onto my iPad and stick it up in front of me on the treadmill. I set the slide show timing to approximate how fast I would actually go by the landmarks. Now I can peel off the miles indoors with my virtual neighborhood flipping by me. Not the same as outside, but much more enjoyable than staring at the blank wall.

    Phyllis

  • Annie M:

    So many comments today!

    Bob….14 is a wonderful age, is it not;) Our bodies grow older, but a young “heart” is timeless. Richard, Philippe, Andy and Phyliss thank you for posting. Ginny, well done, and I wish I could send some Texas weather to you. But, you would send it back next summer.

    I have a question for all of you and would sure appreciate responses. Have any of you had knee surgery on both knees? If so, how many times? As you all know my knees were injured years ago, from a large truck running over my small car. (I drive a large truck now. Have no idea if that is safer, but it FEELS safer.)

    Have called the Ortho Dr. again today, to order MRI’s on both knees. Was only able to walk at 2.5mph, on treadmill, 7.4 laps last week. This week can only walk 3 laps, at 2.5mph. The MRI’s will give me peace of mind, no matter the outcome.

    The first thing my Dr. asked me 2 months ago, was “is running a lifestyle for you”? I told him no, but it had been for many years prior to the accident and after I recovered.

    No distance walking/ running again today. But there will be KAYAKING! Just gotta go with what you got! There is a very young little cormorant I saw yesterday, and am hoping to see him again today!

    Good running to all!

  • Richard:

    Please share the results of your MRI’a when you get them.

  • Al Ray:

    I just found this site. I started training 7 weeks ago. I have been putting in 30 miles a week jog-walk with a long jog-walk of 5 miles. The past few weeks workouts seem to be getting more difficult. I will be 80 in a week. My goal is to compete at 800m to 5K in masters track and at 5k on the roads. Will anyone here direct me to a sensible training plan? What worked for me when I was 58does not appear to be working at 80. Thanks!

    • Richard:

      Congrats! Check out Jeff Galloway’s “Running: Getting Started” If that book is too basic, he has others as well for more advanced runners. Galloway starts you off slowly with a series of short runs with periods of walking in between, allowing your body to recover a bit in between. I have been trying to run for 6 months, and have continually hit walls that set me back. Galloway’s method has allowed me to advance more in a few sessions than I have in the past 6 months. Barnes and Noble stocks the book on their shelves so you can review it before you buy it. It’s a pretty easy read.

  • Wow!! Al congrats on your jog-walking and good luck with your upcoming event .. Looks like you maybe training to much. I would suggest cutting back to every 2nd day, or 3 times a week, rest days are as important as training days. If 5 miles is your long jog, than 2 or 3 mile shorter jogs twice a week will get you across that finish line… Good Luck !

  • Suzanne M.:

    Hello Ginny, Thank you for your kind concern re: my health. Yes I’m fine now, in remission, and will be on medication for the rest of my life. Very strange illness I never heard of, but I survived it mainly because I was in such strong physical shape that I was able to withstand the treatment. My doctor was shocked that I’m a runner, but now, 2 yrs later, he’s started running and we trade running stories at my check ups.

    I’m currently training for a half-marathon; I’ve noticed I need 2 days rest from a long run instead of my usual one day. But at 67, my legs are is great shape, no problems with joints, just a chronically weak ankle that I went to PT for last summer. There’s really nothing holding me back!

  • Annie M:

    Results of the MRI’s are in, and they show severe osteoarthritis under both knee caps. Am thankful surgery is not needed at this point. Have not spoken with my Dr. yet, only a nurse.

    I was 42 when the Schwans truck ran over my car. Ended up underneath the truck to my windshield, was dragged for a bit, and then swung around and slammed into the side of his truck. Herniated disc at c4, both knees hit the dash, wrists damaged and mild TBI. Knees had lots of meniscus damaged, tears, and cracks somewhere or another. I knew that arthritis might be a problem in the future.

    I won’t be running anymore. Is it painful to come to that realization, hell yes. Am I complaining about it, HELL NO! I HAVE my legs, and I wasn’t paralyzed!

    Life is so good and I am so incredibly blessed. I am healthy, have family and friends that I love, and love me back, and 4 pets who are members of my family. I can move, in countless ways, just not running.

    Got to get my knees back to “normal” right now. And if you don’t mind, I would like to cheer all of you on as you accomplish your many goals. I have become so very fond of all of you.

    The most pleasurable run I ever had was a few months before the accident. I was in the Dallas area visiting a friend. Woke up early and there was a gentle rain falling. It was a Saturday and the neighborhood was still asleep. Slipped on my running clothes and a jacket and was out the door. It was so quiet. Not a sound to be heard anywhere. Even the birds were silent. The temperature was perfect, the rain made everything feel magical, and for an hour or so I left the worries and the burdens and the bonds of this life and body, and was…… free. Just free. My body was in sync with everything around me, and it was good. It was very good. I am smiling even as I write these words. If ever there were people that understand what am I talking about, it is all of you here!

    Keep running, for as long as you can! I am cheering you on from the sidelines!

    Annie M checking in!

    • sherre:

      Wow, Annie, what an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m 61 and will be walking the Disney 1/2 marathon this Saturday in Orlando. Whether or not I finish I’m going to enjoy each step and be thankful for this season of my life. May God bless you as richly as you’ve blessed me.
      Sherre

  • Nancy:

    To Annie M:
    You must be a very wise, brave woman who appreciates the good health you have in spite of the horrendous accident you survived. And how beautifully you describe the joy and magic of running that we remember, enjoy, or are just discovering. Thank you for cheering us on as we try to stay active by moving forward. We all cherish youir insights.

    And may your enjoy good health and a full and meanignful life…

  • Nancy:

    To Annie M:
    You must be a very wise, brave woman who appreciates the good health you have in spite of the horrendous accident you survived. And how beautifully you describe the joy and magic of running that we remember, enjoy, or are just discovering. Thank you for cheering us on as we try to stay active by moving forward. We all cherish youir insights.

    And may your enjoy good health and a full and meaningful life…

  • Annie M:

    Vic………..cannot find you on sparkpeople.com. I am Annieelise and you can find me in kayaking.

    Thanks so much Nancy and Sherre!

    One door closes another one opens. Am in the beginning phase of researching kayak races, training, etc. The day I found out about the knees, I headed out in the kayak and pushed it as hard as I could. Probably a 10 mile ride. (Normally, I am taking pictures and simply enjoying the water and the birds.) It was a great workout. My first goal is to learn how to do rapids. That will require a VERY fit upper body and core. Am also going to do some research into swimming competitions. Will need to get a gym membership. Hope the YMCA has an olympic size pool!

    Found a kayaking forum on sparkpeople.com. Kayakers set similar goals as runners! Who knew?

    Phyllis…….thanks for never giving up and meeting every challenge you have encountered in life with a positive response. I have learned so much from you. I am hoping racewalking might still be another possibility for me.

    Blessings to all!

  • Vic:

    Annie M: Please look for ‘Boilham’ on sparkpeople, you will find me. I am in training for my second marathon right now. I did a half marathon last Sunday, and feel great. I took second place in my age group!
    At the age of 66 I must take walk breaks on my long training runs. I find it takes a long time to recovery from injury, so I need to rest a lot. Others my age recover quickly, so everyone must train the correct way for themselves.
    But, we all can get out there and walk. For anyone considering running as an older person, I sincerely think you will surprise yourself if you just get out there and try it. Just keep adding bits of running into your ‘walks’ and you will soon be doing your first 5k race.

  • Richard:

    Today I started week three of Jeff Galloway’s “Running: Getting Started” program. After a year of walking, and a year of failing at trying to run, I think soon I will be able to call myself a “runner”. Week three is 20 minutes of running 15 seconds, and walking 1 minute cycles, with 5 minutes of walking at the beginning and end of the session to warm up and cool down. I can certainly feel strength, and dare I say, endurance (?) starting to build in my legs, and I have dumped a little weight to boot. I feel like I have all I want by the end of the sessions, but by the next morning I am looking forward to the next day’s session.

    Annie M, I have you to thank for this. I have seen Jeff Galloway’s name thrown around before, but I always figured he was nothing but another “expert” with something to sell. Annie, when you said your doctor released you to return to running if you used the Galloway method, you piqued my interest. So I did a search, and found an hour video on You Tube of a presentation he gave to Google employees this past year. I was impressed by what he had to say, and that led to me buying the book. Here I am with 2 weeks under my belt, and feeling like I am getting stronger rather than feeling like I am hitting a wall. Simply amazing.

    • Annie M:

      Fantastic Richard, and thank you so much for letting me know I encouraged or helped in some small way! I reread your previous posts, and am so proud of all you are accomplishing.

      Please continue to give us updates. Well done!!!

  • Carla:

    Richard, I can vouch for the Galloway method. I started running last summer, at age 57 (now I’m 58), using some portions of the Galloway method. I don’t follow it strictly; the main things I do are incorporate some walking into almost all of my runs, and I never run two days in a row. My main goals – and reasons for using this method – are to have fun and not get injured. So far I have accomplished both. If I hadn’t read a couple of his books early on I’m sure I would have been injured several times by now. As it is, I was able to run eight 5k races between June and November, and I’ve worked up to being able to run a 10k on my own (but have not yet entered a 10k race.) I have really been enjoying it. I wouldn’t say I LOVE it, but I do love what it does for me …

  • eileen:

    Just come across this site, brilliant to see so many more mature people wanted to run, I have run for 28 yrs, I am now 67 and still racing all be it a lot slower, but it has been a wonderful time, I have run all over the country and have met so many nice people, I know all the physical benefits from running but for me just getting outside in the fresh air it is one of the best things for your head, you will always come home feeling so much happier then when you went out, so good luck and keep it up.

  • Tony:

    I have been running for 12 years. I’m 63 years old. Consistently i run 25 miles a week . 7 miles at the start of the week , 6 miles the following day. Rest day . 5, 4, 3 days the following days. I love to run. You should too if you want to run. Find the best running shoes that fit your feet. Listen to music. My 3 small mp3 has 4000 songs on it that i loaded. You can’t run specially at this age if you don’t enjoy it and have fun. I do 300 repition of leg presses 50 lbs weight. I also lift weight 5 times a week . Eat mostly vegetable, no pork , no beef , no soda. My diet low carbohydrate high protien. On my last regular medical check i requested my doctor to include the level of my testaserone for my blood test. I’ts still at the highest level. I have never felt constant numbness or pain on my joints or muscle. I’am at the best physical and mental aspects of my life. Good luck to everybody.

  • John Nettleton:

    I am 84 & have rum for 70+ years. Just over a year ago I developed Atrial Fibrillation which reduced me to gentle walkin and breathlessness doing nothing more than a bit of housework .My GP referred me to a cardiologist who prescribed warfarin (for rest of my life) plus cardioversion (electric shock to restore proper heartbeat). With GP’s approval I decided against this a gradually got fit enough to manage 5/7m at ‘conversational pace. My 110k time has gone up from c60m to c70m .. but lat least I csn keep going without the medication & the worry of maybe having to go to hospital if I cut myself whilst climbing over a stile. I do one ‘good run’ a week pplus 3/4 days with a good hill walk – which will include a bit of easy. jogging.

    Finishing an event is as good as a top ten place 50 yrs ago!

    • Ray Boswell:

      Hi John,
      I am 74 and have been running since I was 25.I was diagnosed with Atrial fibulation about 4 years ago but I do not have any real symptoms except for a slight interuption to my heart beat.It was suggested that I have warfarin and have cardioversion.My GP(who is also a heart specialist) told me he would rather me not going onto warfarin as my fibulation was well controlled and he could not see any reason to take the warfarin.My Running times have also gone up over the years from 4min km’ to 7:30Kms.But Iam getting older and am still fairly heavy at 95Kg’s.My running now is 1 club run a week And 5 days on the treadmill for a hour.But like you I keep on keeping on.Cheers

  • Neil:

    John:
    I am not going to comment on your decision – except that it’s great that you basically didn’t give up to the prevalence in our society of doing all things by drugs. (Just count the “drug” commercials on your local TV) But doing an “event attended” is great. I’ll bet that you are first and last in your age group.

    When people talk about our injuries or physical condition – I rather talk about what’s still good and working for me. Just tell them that there’s too many things bothering us to list – like maybe being “older”. I’m 80 and am only doing shorter trail runs. They always seem to be hill climbs – but I’m having fun and am not wiped out now like I used to be when I was doing 50k’s and 50 milers in my 60′s. These are 12k’s on dirt which seem to have become popular. Much smaller crowds – friendly and all supportive of each other – especially us in the back (and end) of the pack.
    I mention this before, but I’m wearing Hoka One One’s shoes now full time. Mostly almost walking on air and no little pebble feel and sore legs when I finish.

    Keep going – remember the fellow from San Luis Obispo who passed away at 95, possibly on a “training run.” Hope that both of us can make that far.

  • Terri Angell:

    I am training for a 100k. I am 51 years old. Young I know! I believe in running back to back long runs to prepare for the event. However, I am recovering from mono and I struggle with asthma. All my runs seem difficult. I guess I am looking for support and encouragement. I have had many successes and disappointments. I just want to keep going!!

  • Your body is trying to tell you something, you would be wise to listen. Running should be fun and enjoyable, when it isn’t than you should change something…

  • Neil:

    It takes a long time to recover from some of these illnesses. One of my son’s had mono and I think it set him back about a year. There are a number of ultrarunners that have asthma and somehow they’ve got some sort of secret as to how they keep going – but they do.

    As far as doing the ultras – it takes quite a while to get really into it – but once you are hooked it’s got you. It’s not just the running of these long runs but it’s the mental attitude that you bring with it. You’ve done your long runs and you have figured out what liquids you have to put into you and what food you have to keep eating – but the actual event can become a mental challenge. You are not running a 100K, but really running about a dozen 5 milers between aide stations. And it’s ok to walk – in fact you can walk the whole event and possibly come in ahead of someone!

    The goal is to finish – hopefully under the cut-off times.

    So the goal now is to get yourself as healthy as you can without doing any kind of long term damage. Your doctor can probably advise (caution) you with how much you can do. Hit the gym – get flexible. Light reps and maybe some sort of classes that involves jumping, dance steps, hopping, walking on all four’s, lot’s of crunchies and push up and regular stretching. Be sure that you know how to cross streams – don’t rock hop. You are probably already wet and really don’t care how dirty your going to get.

    Don’t run out of water – been there and done that and don’t understand why I don’t learn. Don’t try a new drink or food – it can ruin your day. (Did that only once).

    Take care of your feet and the spots that rub. Experiment with socks that don’t irritate your feet or keep slipping down. I’ve already mentioned my “new” Hoka One One” shoes on some other posts. I am certainly not a mininalist and wear these all the time now. When I bought my first pair in a running store in Boise, the salesman was kinda apolegitic because they looked so “different”. You know, funny green color, big footprint and really thick sole. Not the flashy racing shoes that he was really trying to sell. But they work and your legs are not trashed after a 20 mile training run.

    I did my first ultra at 60 something and was still doing them in my early 70′s until I trashed my knee falling down some stairs. A couple of years ago (78) I started run/walking again after REALLY missing the trails. My wife and I volunteer along with a few hundred other volunteer’s for WS each year and we see the 50 and 60 year olds coming through at Michigan Bluff aide station (mile 55). Some are in pretty bad shape and some of them have a smile a mile wide and having a ball. Some quit become of some perceived issue and talk to us – and sometimes having a regret for quitting so soon.

    It you are thinking about quitting one of these events; wait 10 minutes – your probably having a sugar high or low. It’s weird going through these mental exercises – but patience really helps. Big hills means putting your head down and keep going (same turnover rate – smaller steps – even if they are 6 inches.)

    Ultras are really thinking people races. Someone once commented that most ultarunners are college graduates. I’m not sure about that – but most ultras can be pretty solitary adventures.

    So don’t worry – you’ve got 20 plus years to enjoy the trails.

    Neil at 80 with still the passion for trails no matter how slow.

  • Terri Angell:

    Now that’s the kind of support I needed to hear Neil! Thank you so much for the advise. You get it! I have learned a lot already from crewing others on their 100 milers and running a few ultras. When the bumps come, it is nice to get encouragement from people who have been there. I’ve improved a lot since last May when I came down with mono. The asthma will continue to be a challenge I’m sure. I will print off your comment and refer to it. I run the Bryce Canyon 100k in May. One of my goals is to run WS 2014. I realize it is a lottery, but heck, why not me?
    Thanks again, Terri

  • Terri Angell:

    By the way Neil, you are my new hero!

  • Bob:

    I was about to post a message about how envious I am of those of you who love to run. I was a quart low on motivaton and another quart low on attitude. I was having trouble convincing myself that I really do want to run in 20 degree weather and that the treadmill is fun. But, yesterday as I was trudging into the Rec center to put in some time on the treadmill, I realized that it was 65 degrees and sunny. I went bact to my truck and got my hat and got rid of my sweat jacket. I then did five miles on partially paved trails. I suppose my attitude toward running is about the same as my attitude toward skiing, golf, and sailing. When the weather is good the running is good. Good weather was defined a little differently for skiing. Today was another good one for running. Tomorrow will be less so, but my legs will need a break. I am hoping that I am ready to do a treadmill work out by Friday and a “bundled up” long run by Sunday.

    John – I will comment on your decision on Warfarin — Good Call. Warfarin is nasty stuff. My wife was on it after surgery. If it (or any blood thinner) can be avoided, it’s a good idea to do so.

    Neil – Thanks for the tip on the short stride. I tried it on my runs the past 2 days and I was able to keep going on hills that I sometimes have to walk (have to being mostly in my head).

    Now if I can only improve my speed from embarassingly slow to pretty slow…

  • Dave M:

    Great to hear that you’ve taken on a 10 mile run. I was 55 years of age (male), and hadn’t run in several decades. However, for some reason, my bad back stabilized and could run again. I was a pretty consistent mountain biker, so the transition from biking to running wasn’t as bad as it might be for some people. Some comments:

    ~It took me 21 months to go from the “biking stage” to a 1/2 marathon at 2 hours, five minutes. The guide for “getting to a half a marathon in 13 weeks” is either for the 18 year group or the insane. The rule I’ve heard is double the time (minimum), for such programs for the over 50 age group, even if you’re in decent shape.

    ~Running is progressive. Try the 5k’s first, 10 ks’, and then a 10 miler. Just makes sense.

    ~Plan on about 25 miles per week of running. Of course, there are training programs that emphasize less time, but those are the runners who become walkers at the midpoint. Of course, they finish, get the medals, pictures, etc., but, did they really train properly? I’ll let you answer this question.

    ~The idea of “every other day” running, to me, is a great way to go. More than that, and, heh, surgery happens. Your can bike or do other cross training during your days off.

    ~A soft surface, such as a running track or trail, is great to run a good part of your mileage on.

    ~Start understanding how your body works as it pertains to salt, etc. I know at 10-15 miles, if I don’t properly hydrate, I get light headed. For some, it may be less. Try to get to know your body and go from there.

    ~Ten miles may be a laudable goal, but try the 5ks first. Nothing motivates like prior success.

    Good luck.

    Dave

  • Sonjie J:

    I started running a year ago at 73 and finished a 5K two months later at 43.4 minutes. I was thrilled, until I injured my hamstring doing something else and had to stop running for a few months. Finally found a great physical therapist who video taped my stride. We made some major adjustments and also plans to strengthen all the leg tendons/muscle groups. Plan to run again in the St. Paddy’s Day 5K and I’m aiming for an under 40 minute time. There are some scary fast women in the 70-75 age group here so I’ll probably come in last again. All the usual results have happened to me, too. Weight loss. Better mental health. Physical strength better. Now I’m working on speed and damn it, that is slow. I have to work for every second faster! Any ideas for increasing speed at my age? I have 4 rescue dogs to walk every day, so I limit my runs to 3.1 miles three times a week and do some biking inbetween. I train mostly on the treadmill in winter and really struggle as I up my speed. Keeping the incline at .5 – 1.0. Thanks to all who have posted before. I agree about the lack of information for us over 65!