I’m in my late thirties and I’ve been sedentary all my life. Now that I’m getting a bit older, I want to lose around 10 lbs. and get a bit fitter. I work full time and I have two young children. Do you think I can still start running at this age despite my busy schedule?
Dear Arlene, You are never too old to start anything! That applies to just about everything in life…not just running. I started running at the ripe old age of 30. I fell in love with running because it was convenient (just go out and run), affordable (all you need are shoes), and efficient (I could get a good workout in just 30 minutes.) For you to start running, all it takes is proper time management and commitment to run at least 3x per week. You will be able to progress gradually and eventually become a stronger runner in time. Here are my top tips if you wish to get started with running:
- Get a good pair of running shoes. Your running shoes can make you or break you. A good pair will make you feel comfortable all throughout the run, but a bad pair can leave you with blisters, pain, or worse injury. Avoid falling for the best or most expensive looking shoe in town. There is never the best pair for everyone. There is only the perfect shoe for your foot type and, even that, may change through time. Drop by a running specialty store, get your feet analyzed, and buy a shoe that is appropriate for your needs.
- Focus on time, not distance. With all the races being held in the city, a common question among newbies is: When do I get to run my first 5k? The best way to start running is to do it gradually and focus on how long you are out there on the road rather than the distance you cover. For instance, for your first month, aim to run three times a week: twice on weekdays and once on the weekend. Target running 15 to 30 minutes on weekdays and 30 to 45 minutes on the weekend. Gradually increase this time as you progress. When you can run straight for an hour (which is around 8 to 10k depending on your speed), you can start focusing on distance or kilometers covered.
- Follow the 10% rule. This rule simply means that you should not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%. If you ran 20k last week, you should run a maximum of only 22k the week after. This will keep you safe from injury and allow you to progress at a good pace.
- Run with friends. I understand that some of you will really have to start your running journey alone, but, if you can ask a friend to begin running with you or, even better, an entire group, then you can keep track of each other and encourage each other to reach for your goals. To add, it makes the entire experience more enjoyable.
- Set a goal. I am often asked how I have kept myself motivated all these years. My not so little secret is that I register for races and plot out my training program months in advance. This way, I wake up each morning not even asking myself “Will I run today?” but with the question “How long will I run today?” because I know what it takes to reach my goal.
I do hope these tips help you as you embark on your running journey, Arlene! If you wish to ask for advice on running, triathlon, fitness, and wellness, feel free to post your questions below.