The Ultimate Running Guide for Pensioners

 In Health, pensioners

The ultimate running guide for pensioners has been a challenge. It was motivated by an article in The Times. Somehow, it was all about us, the oldies, and somehow not. Cutting cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s was us, the price of the trainers was not. The latter highlighted the Asics Metaride, a road running shoe that cost £225 (see photo). Apparently, studies show that this shoe can improve your running style by 20%. It is designed to tip the body forward into a good running position. The trouble is, I seem to spend my entire run tipping forward. At my age, it’s an Asics Uprightride trainer that I need.

The Range of Age

This represents the problem. When The Times quote studies at Loughborough University and about top ultramarathon runners, you realise their interest lies with kids; those under the age of 50 years. Those of us over 70 and still running, or wanting to run, are simply not understood. Likewise, the NHS’s couch to 5k app promises to transform you into a 5km runner. That involves 3 runs a week for 9 weeks. Bluntly, that is just too optimistic for older runners and must be treated with scepticism.

Social Trash

Neither does anybody tell you how people stare at old runners. It’s because your body has none of the flow, the litheness, the co-ordination, of youth. It looks like a prone body, somehow inflated upright but only for a limited period. That limited period looks about to end in the next second; yet it keeps going. Older people often glare and ignore you. Worse, some speak, even saying things like, “that looks like hard work” or “are you sure you are enjoying that?” The older runner is, as they used to say, a threat to established values. Respectable old people should sit down and quietly die of inactivity.

Training & Shoes

My training technique is simple – don’t run before you can walk. The running starts after you can walk at 4 miles an hour. Then, on a minimum two mile walk, run for 100 paces and then walk again. Steadily increase these runs and when they exceed half the walk, you are ready. Walk the first half as a warm-up, then run the second half in one session. Now call yourself a runner. Before you start, buy some good trainers, preferably at a sports shop where they will do a gait analysis. If you ask for a gait analysis, they will be impressed. You need to pay £60 – £100 for a good pair. Road shoes have smoothish soles and the most comfort. Trail shoes, for rough paths, have knobbly soles and less shock absorption. And buy a good running bra.

The Ultimate Running Guide for Pensioners

For certain, if you run and enjoy it, you will become motivated. By then, you will understand that short, faster runs, are really beneficial, especially if up hills. So to, is stretching and exercising for strength. Then you will find that stodgy food and big meals don’t suit you. A good fibrous diet will creep up followed by deep sleep. Now, you are replicating my pagan ancestor Zuri and her Stone Age lifestyle. Who said we cannot learn from the past?

ps. Ignore the fact that Stone Age people died before they were 40. There were other reasons for that and I know of a good book on this subject.

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