A Beginner’s Guide on How to Start Running at 50 or Older

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It is never too late to start exercising. Whether you were a runner in high school or have been a couch potato all your life, there’s no age limit for starting your running journey.

Understand that age may pose some limitations. However, you can create a healthy running plan to keep you going even after celebrating your 50th birthday. In this guide, we’ll go over exactly how to start running at 50 or older.

Is it Possible to Start Running at 50?

The first question most aging people ask is whether or not it is possible to start running at 50. The answer to this common question is yes. You can start running at any age, even without prior experience.

Many people start running after retirement and manage to run miles and marathons after months of training. There are many reasons you might choose to exercise at this age regularly. After all, studies show that exercising moderately is capable of reducing depression and anxiety.

Now that you know you can start running at any time, even after 50, read on to learn how.

How to Start Running at 50

Senior Couple Jogging in Park

To start running at 50, whether you want to lose weight or remain fit, you need a different plan from someone with youthful energy. Follow the steps below to run safely and smartly.

Consult Your Doctor

After you decide to start running, the first step is to consult your doctor. Get a full physical and figure out if you have any health conditions that can be aggravated by running.

Note whatever your doctor says about your current fitness level, as it will help you decide on a running routine. Once you are assured that you can run safely, get straight to planning.

Start Slowly

As a 50-year-old, you need to start running slowly. Don’t compare yourself to younger runners and set high standards for yourself. It may help to research the average figures for your age and use them as a yardstick. Also, you should not focus on hitting the average metrics. Rather, you should concentrate on your current form and get better.

Start by walking if you need to. Then, increase your pace to a jog until you can finally start running. You should also pay attention to the time and distance you are running. As someone who has just begun running at 50, you should start with 15 minutes or less.

Then, you can work on increasing the distance as you improve your running experience. Also, take regular 1-2 minute breaks and engage in light stretching to improve joint mobility.

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Get the Right Gear

You need to get the right gear. For your shoes, invest in a comfortable pair of trainers that will not give you blisters. You can get a size too big and then wear a thick, fluffy pair of socks to protect your feet.

Try a few pairs when buying your running shoes until you find the perfect match. After getting a good pair of shoes, you should buy proper running clothes if you don’t have anything suitable in your closet. Good running clothes are comfortable, fitted, and allow you to run without hindrance.

Have an ID Tag on You Always

Every runner needs an ID tag when running outdoors. This need is greater for people over 50 years old. Your ID tag should contain your name, home address, emergency contacts, and relevant health conditions. Wearing an ID tag while running will enable you to get help easily in case of an accident.

Walk Instead

Running properly involves knowing when to stop running and take a walk. Maximize your runs by taking five-minute walks in between periods of running. You can recover through those short walks before picking up the pace. Alternate jogging periods also allow you to pace yourself.

You can also consider speed-walking as one of your strategies.

Work With a Professional to Create a Training Plan

As a beginner, it helps to work with a professional when you are about to create a running routine. It could be a trainer from a gym near your home or someone from the running club you just joined. A personal running coach can help you create a training routine that will enable you to run safely without injury and improve your abilities over time.

Eat Healthy

You need enough fuel before putting your body through the strain of running. You can engage the services of a food nutritionist to create a meal plan for you. If you are over 50, you’re at an age where you need to be conscious of the food you eat as much as the type of exercise you do. Stay away from greasy food or any food that can worsen an existing health issue you may have.

Allow Your Body to Recover

After every run, allow your body to recover. Beginner runners are advised to run every other day. Run one day and take the other to recover from the previous day’s strain. Then, you can run on the following day. After a while, you can increase the days you run up to five times per week. However, don’t overdo it. Take at least two days per week to rest. You can engage in low-impact activities like yoga, pilates, swimming, or strength building during your rest days.

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Engage in Cross Training

Running is good, but it’s not the only form of exercise. Try engaging in other activities that can make you a better runner. A classic example of cross-training is strength training. Every runner, no matter the age, needs to build their strength. Many runners opt for weight lifting and cross-training activities, but it’s definitely not required.

As an older runner, you can do simple exercise programs that help build your strength. Such exercises include squats, lunges, push-ups, planks, and so on. You should also look into good flexibility programs for runners. This will help you loosen up your muscle fibers and improve mobility.

Benefits of Running at 50 or Older

Senior Woman Running along Beach

Running all your life is an efficient way to keep yourself in good shape. However, this does not mean you cannot achieve the same level of physicality if you start in your 50s. Studies have shown that people who start running after age 50 can match the same activity level as those who have run all their lives. Here are some physical health benefits of running at 50 or older:

  • Builds up endurance
  • Extends lifespan
  • Decreases disability rates
  • Improves health

Risks of Running After 50

Many people are discouraged from running when they are older. They hear about the risks of getting injured and stay away due to fear. While these potential injuries are not fiction, they can be avoided in most situations.

What you have to do is understand how to avoid getting injured. With that said, here are some injury risks you may face as a runner who’s 50 years or older.

  • Runner’s knee
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendon sear
  • Stress fracture

Final Thoughts

It’s never too late to start running. Even at 50, you can pick up a good pair of running shoes and hit the track. You may not be able to reach the level of an elite runner or compete at the Olympics, but you can set realistic goals.

We hope this guide on how to start running at 50 or older has been helpful. Have fun running!

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