The phrase “age is just a number” may well mean you don’t approach your training any differently from a psychological point of view but as we age the physical side inevitably catches up. So, maybe the answer is coupling this “glass half full” mindset with the right physical regime to then let us enjoy our running for as long as possible.
I have been guilty of some bad habits in recent years and as we look towards 2023 I thought I’d share my thoughts, especially after watching this excellent video from James Dunne, that really hit home this point now that I’ve reached 60.
I’ve attached the video from James and in many ways you could stop reading now. Why read on ? Well I’ve been running for over thirty years so if nothing else I have some experience to draw on, even if I haven’t got the expertise like James.
Naturally I’ve asked for his permission to include the video in my blog. This five minute production offers you a lesson in good habits that are worth their weight in gold. You might already incorporate his advice in your training but I know I took away changes for mine that will stand me in good stead.
For as long as I can remember my non running friends have pointed out that it’s quicker to catch the bus than run ten miles, that I’ll end up with bad knees or even that once you reach a certain age there’s no need to exercise. We take this kind of banter on the chin because running and exercise are lifestyle choices that undoubtedly make a difference to both our physical and mental health.
In short, we know that our future health has had its foundations laid and that the years of building blocks we’ve built up through exercise will pay dividends.
A recent men’s health forum MOT suggested the following figures. Eat your 5 a day of fruit and veg, be active 150 minutes a week, drink 14 or less units of alcohol a week and work on having a 36 inch or less waist line. Currently I tick all of these boxes but as we age it does become more challenging. Apologies for not having a similar ladies chart but you get the general idea.
What keeps us striving to improve or maintain our form over the years ? Naturally every race is a competition but ultimately you are always running against yourself. The general public has had Mr Motivator or Joe Wicks to keep them energised, in running it tends to be our fellow runners, being involved with the wider running community and personal goals.
In recent years I have definitely developed an old mans shuffle, sprinting is out due to blood pressure so consistency needs to be my watch word. The shuffle is partly due to the long distance trail running that I prefer as opposed to speedy 10K’s.
Do I factor in enough strength work ? No. Historically I’ve always had power in my legs and my quads go all the way back to living at the top of a hill in Devon which meant repeated elevation until I bought a moped at sixteen but now, more than ever, the strength work that I haven’t been paying attention to is finding me out injuries wise.
Secondly, once an injury has been resolved I’m guilty of trying to catch up too soon and guess what happens, without the necessary recovery and strength I get caught out again. This loop of frustration needs breaking.
With 2023 on the horizon my goals are clear, “use it or loose it”, strength, recovery and consistency plus some cross training for good measure. Watch the video, maybe twice and draw the inspiration that I have had to set the road / trails ahead of you for years to come. Make the most of your running, after all if you look after your legs, your legs will look after you.
Thanks for reading