Staying active is the most important thing for ongoing running success as we age. What you do when you’re not running is an important factor in whether you maintain your running. Keep moving in as many ways as possible! Here are a few suggestions.
Live a Physically Dynamic Lifestyle
Try adding either a 30+ min power walk or 20+ min slow, easy, relaxed, but short, quick-stepping jog to your routine at least 5 – 6 days per week. These activities will gently stress your lower body so it can cope with the high impact activity of running.
Run Fast Every Week
You’ve got to spend at least a little time every week running FASTER than you expect to run when racing. For best results, try the following as many times a week as possible:
During easy recovery runs, include short, playful bursts of faster running for 10 to 30 seconds – to preserve neuro-muscular quickness.
Do 4 – 5 striders before any speed work and after at least 1 – 2 other kinds of runs, every week. Striders are gentle accelerations of about 100-150 m paying attention to form and increasing cadence gradually before slowing to a stop.
Spend about 10-15 per cent of your total weekly volume running at, or faster than, current goal race pace.
Do run-specific strength work and/or weight training on legs, hips, core, and upper body.
Ask yourself ‘Over the past 2 – 3 years, what muscle groups or joints have given me the most grief, especially during high mileage, long runs or races?’ Try working on these specific areas during your weight training.
Run with the Right Crowd
Find like-minded people through clubs or word of mouth. It’s motivating to run with others.
For the past 20 years or so, I’ve done my weekend long runs with the same great group of ‘old farts’ who like me, have been running since our teens. I look forward to and treasure those runs for the personal connectivity and shared experience, as much as any physical benefits that accrue.
The more complete and well rounded a human being you are, the healthier you’ll be over time, and the more you’ll continue to improve…or at the very least, hold on to what you’ve got!