How To Start Running at 50

Find a good pair   |   Join a community   |  Alternate running with walking   |  Consider cross-training   |  Find your rhythm   |  Introduce strength training   |  Have a coach

Are you thinking to start running but a small thought is telling you that you might be too old for it? Well, if that’s the case, your thoughts are wrong.

There are some who believe that running after a certain age is too hard on your joints or it’s too dangerous for your cardiovascular system, but for generally healthy individuals these are myths.

Before starting to exercise, make sure your body is capable of supporting the effort. Consult a doctor before you start running or prior to performing any type of exercise to rule out any possible underlying conditions that could prevent you from being able to exercise.

A regular health check-up never hurt anyone. This way you have peace of mind that your heart and body are healthy. Another positive outcome of doing a medical examination prior to starting running is the baseline results that would help you track your progress and see the improvements made.

How to Start Running for Seniors

How to start running at 50

Now, that we know the first step towards getting into running, we can start planning how to safely incorporate running into our lives.

1. Find a good pair of Running Shoes

See this as an investment in your health and wellbeing. Shoes are an important aspect of every runner’s life. Every time you hit the ground, the shoe is there to take the hit for you and absorb the impact as much as possible.

Look at the best running shoes for seniors.

Some shoes are better than others, that is why it is important as you age to invest in a better-quality pair of shoes. I recommend going into a running store to get fitted for them. The experts will analyze your stride and recommend the right pair for you.

2. Join a Running community.

Running in groups has many advantages. It gives you a schedule (the specific time when to meet for a run). It is safer than running alone. It makes running more fun. It builds friendships and can improve mental health.

Sometimes running alone might be more convenient or you don’t have a running community around you. That is fine too, but if you have the option to join a running community, I recommend joining it.

3. Alternate running with walking.

You might feel very enthusiastic that you finally went out there and started running, but do not overdo it. It is important to know your capabilities.

If you’ve never run before, you should start with 30-40 seconds of running followed by a few minutes of walking until you catch your breath. Increase the time of running steadily and slowly.

Your body will know when it’s able to sustain running for 10 minutes without any break. It might take you up to a few weeks to feel comfortable with running 10 minutes straight, but I would recommend that you start with two runs per week and increase every week with another run.

Don’t run two days in a row, at least not at first. Allow your heart and lungs to get acclimated to the effort prior to proceeding with longer, harder runs.

4. Consider cross-training.

If you still feel good after your scheduled days of running, you could add an additional day of cross-training (swimming, hiking, elliptical, biking, etc.) to your program.

The reason why cross-training is such a great accessory to our health is that it allows us to have active recovery days with lower intensity exercises. Running uses more of the lower body, but cross-training is working on total body conditioning.

5. Try to find your rhythm.

Staring easing into the run. The first few minutes into the run might not feel as pleasant as you hoped, don’t let that stop you from doing one more step and another one until you start feeling better, freer.

You might not know what your stride should feel like but try to pay attention to how your feet hit the ground and let your stride move as naturally as possible. After your stride feels good, take a moment to notice your posture.

Your upper body should slightly lean forward, holding your head upright and always looking ahead of you 10-15 feet. Your shoulders should remain relaxed.

Think of you feel tall and proud. After the posture is upright, bring your attention to your breathing. Breath through your nose and mouth.

Create a rhythm pattern with your run. Time your inhalation and exhalation with alternating steps. The idea behind finding your rhythm is to evenly distribute the stress created in your body during the run.

6. Introduce strength training.

Running is an amazing addition to a healthier, longer life, but strength training is the icing on the cake. Aging takes away some of your muscle mass, elasticity, balance, and stability.

Adding strength training into your routine could reduce muscular loss, and increase mobility, stability, and balance, plus many other positive health-related benefits.

Two times per week will be more than enough. Sometimes it might feel intimidating going to a gym or maybe it doesn’t make you feel comfortable.

Don’t let these reasons stay in your way of being a stronger, healthier version of yourself. There are other options you could consider.

You could hire a personal trainer to do the sessions at home, or you could join an online class, or my favorite, you could convince a friend to be your gym partner. There are many ways to add strengthening training into your routine, don’t limit yourself. Think of the benefits.

7. Consider having a coach.

If you have been running for a while but thinking to run a marathon or some longer events, it will be best to have a coach who supervises your training.

Preparing for a marathon can be overwhelming for your body and you want to make sure an expert is guiding you through this journey.

Benefits of Running for Seniors

In case you are not sure if you should start exercising or not, here are some benefits to help you decide.

  • Reduce risks of cancer;
  • Improve bone density;
  • Immediate reduce blood pressure;
  • Less inflammation;
  • Reduce cardiovascular disease;
  • Lessen the risk of depression;
  • Reduce risks of heart disease;
  • Reduce the risk of developing type 2 Diabetes;
  • Prevents falls;
  • Benefits for brain health (cognition; sleep; anxiety);

To summarize:
If you are someone over 50 who is determined to start running, consider:

  1. Consulting your doctor. Do medical examination prior to it.
  2. Getting fitted for a good pair of running shoes.
  3. Searching for a running community.
  4.  Starting with alternating running with walking.
  5. Considering cross-training.
  6. Finding your rhythm.
  7.  Introducing strength training into your routine
  8. . Hiring a coach.
  9. Learn more

I hope you’ll start to love running as much as I do! 😊

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