>Running 101>Old Runner Returning
I am 69, a sprinter in my youth with speed, but even then a very slow runner at anything over 220 yards. I jogged for many years with a half marathon my longest distance and a weekly average between 20 and 35 miles depending on the year. I stopped running 20 years ago due to injury and walked and swam instead. I had successful PT a while back and learned I can run again. I just started last week with an alternating slow jogging/walk routine.
I am extremely slow but just yesterday slogged 2.5 miles nonstop, as my personal best for this point in time. I have a few questions.
1. As expected I am thrilled that I can run again, albeit very slowly and for a short distance. I cannot wait for each day's run (slog) and feel able to increase each day but I have read about old folks doing too much, too far, too fast, too soon and I do not want an injury to set me back. I have a decent base for walking as I was hiking 3-4 hours in high heat and humidity before starting to run.
Since I am going extremely slow and feel no fatigue, do I really need a rest day every week?
2. Do people still use Shoe Goo? I have not seen any reference to it while reading various things on line?
3. I used to just jog in any old clothes but I bought my self some true running shorts, socks and shirt and a Garmin 35 Forerunner. Maybe it is just in my mind but I feel much better running in them compared to my old gym clothes and I love using the Garmin. I am thinking of getting a singlet but I think I will look silly. Do those things also make you feel better when running?
4. I read you can eat before running but never did before. I used to think that was not a good idea. Is it safe to eat some light fruit, like melon or blue berries before running?
Please excuse so many questions. Any info will be appreciated.
Nice job and welcome back to running.
1. I am one to exercise caution when getting back to the POUNDING of running. You feel good now but your body needs adjustment time. I certainly would walk or cross train at least every 3rd day. I also am a believer in doing a similar load of running 3 weeks in a row, increase, repeat vs increasing every week. There is no rush for you. Give yourself a year to get fit. I also would not recommend any faster running or speedwork for months.
2. If you need Shoe Goo you need new shoes. Shoes are very important.
3. The Garmin is great. It is the technology age. Singlets aren't for me but run in whatever makes you feel good. No rules here.
4. For general training runs, there is no need to eat. Don't just eat because you think you should. Any runs 90 min plus, you can consider eating or gels. Do what makes you feel best.
Be patient, be smart and progress. You also may want to consider doing some resistance training and core work. I also do feel a bike, row or whatever once or twice per week in place of running is a good thing to shock body and work some other muscles. Unless you plan on running marathons, come up with a plan you can sustain. If you run 5 days per week you are way ahead of the game for a 69 year old.
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Welcome back! I'm also an older guy, who made a successful return. Oh how things change from youth to old bones! After pounding the pavement for a little more than a year, I found cross training really helps, so I ride my bike, lift weights, and swim now too. A little variety keeps all the opposing muscles happy, and injury free. I don't run 7 days a week, usually just 4 or 5. But I do something everyday. I usually spend most of my weekend time on my bike. Maybe old fashioned, but I eat a bowl of oatmeal every morning before heading out to run or whatever. If I don't, I run out of gas later in my workouts, especially on a long run day. I also still use Shoe-Goo a lot. I get it at ACE Hardware. I wear the outer side of my tread really fast, and it's noticeable by 100 miles. If I let it go, my shoes start feeling lopsided between 200-300 miles. A little Shoe-Goo and I can make a pair of shoes feel good, and stay level, for up to 1000 miles. I've even had a couple pairs of Hokas make it over 2000 miles. Us old guys, doing the geezer-shuffle, wear shoes out differently, and have different needs, than the young pups running on air at 5 minute miles. I LOVE the new tech material these days, and the modern singlets feel great, cool, and look good. I run in them, or go shirtless.
I'm also on Athlinks and Strava
Thank you very much guys. That is very good advice and very much appreciated.
Hi there, it's nice to hear of other old runners!
I am 71 and run no more than 3 times a week to avoid getting nagging overuse injuries. The older you get the longer it takes to heal.
I started running about 25 years ago, just trying to go 18 then 20 then 25 then up to 30 minutes or so without stopping. I did this for my health and fitness and felt good doing it for years.
Then when about 65 yrs old I discovered how to eat clean and lose weight. My weight tumbled from 190 to 155 in 3 months and has stayed there ever since within a few pounds. I lost the weight by eating less, not the running. When I lost the weight my half hour runs were becoming too easy and in order to get the same buzz I ran longer. Running became an important hobby that I was good at for my age and I tried races doing well in half marathons and 10k.
For me at 71 it is important to take the time off until the inevitable injuries heal completely... such as tweaks to groin, plantar fasciitis, calf strains, hamstrings etc. Ankle tweaks, even mild ones, can take a month to heal so that you don't see swelling after a workout.
To avoid getting cramps be sure to hydrate well. I had severe calf spasms after my first half marathon during the first 10 minutes after finishing. The cure at the medical tent was to drink a couple 24oz bottles of endurance formula gatorade. The next half I ran the same thing happened to a lesser degree after the race. Now when I go for long runs I carry a water bottle with about 10 to 14 oz mixed of Jianas Brothers Oral Hydration Salts (a medical item for malaria or emergency dehydration) which provides the same potassium and sodium electrolytes as a couple bottles of endurance formula Gatorade. No more cramps! I just drink water at the aid stations.
I've found it important to replace the shoes I use for running every few hundred miles, and even rotate between several pair to avoid injuries. I've used shoe goo to reglue the sole outer starting to come apart at the heel edge of low mileage shoes...
I hope to continue to run through my seventies and I enjoy the training process to get the old body ready for a race. Since I only run a few times a week I try to make each run have a purpose. I try to run a little faster, longer, or challenging in some way in order to gain fitness and build a little more speed. I try to run a little out of my comfort zone in other words.
Strength training is important including core work. I get a lot of help from occasional sessions of walking lunges, hops, and bounding skips back and forth across an empty aerobics room where I live. Hopping can look goofy but it helps the glutes and upper hamstrings!
I eat oatmeal with blueberries or grapes and eggwhites sometimes with 1 whole egg and say avocado most mornings. But I would not run for a couple hours after eating that. Within say 1 hour or less before a run I limit food to more easily digestible stuff like half a plain bagel with maybe a little peanut butter and jelly. The only time I eat white bread, pretzels, sugary stuff is before a run... I try to eat high quality foods the rest of the time, which is not a chore but an acquired pleasure because it makes you feel so good.
Take it easy and find a balance that works for you when you're 70 or so. Good luck!
Thanks Reggie, are the exercises you mentioned the ones you do for your core or are there other exercises? I keep reading about the core but do not know specifically what to do about that. I guess I can just google it but are there core exercises specifically for runners?
On eating, I am on the Atkins diet and have lost 20lbs the last few months before hitting a plateau now, and most of the reading I have done about runners involves carbs, which I avoid, except for certain fruits. I hope I can eat more fruits if I do it before running and can burn it up quickly.
I always kept in shape except when recovering for injuries but never enjoyed anything as much as running and now that I am doing it again, albeit at an embarrassingly low level, I feel better than I have in many years. What a gift this sport is.
I look at all the other old guys I see who are unfortunate with their health and feel awfully blessed to be able to do this again.
A lot of good advice so far. The thing to do is go slow and steadily increase. There is nothing wrong doing a run/walk. You've kept in shape by doing the walking, swimming and hiking. Being slow is still better than those who are still sitting.
I wouldn't start running every day. I run 5 days a week, go for a long (25-30 miles) bike ride on the weekend and usually take a rest day. Mostly because of an early start for work. On the rest day I try to get in about 15 minutes of body weight exercises and a couple of sets with the weights. On the days I run, I go by a park where I do a set of pullups on the way out and a set of chinups on the way back.
Never heard of Shoe Goo so I learned something new. I'll never need it because if my shoes start coming apart, I get new ones. I have 4 pair I rotate through.
Like you, I run because it feels good and it helps with your health. And it's fun to compete in different races during the year. I don't use any electronics while running except my MP3 player for music. My body tells me how to run. Some days are faster or longer than others. Or I set out to run x number of miles. All my mileage is kept in an Excel spreadsheet. Run in whatever clothes feel good to you. I bought a couple of pair of running shorts from Road Runners here in the beginning. While in a Walmart, I saw what looked like running shorts for $5.00 each. So I bought five in different colors. I just mix them up with the different race T-shirts. Most are short sleeve but a couple are sleeveless
Since I run right after getting up in the morning I usually don't eat anything. Just some water or juice and out the door. During half training I usually take something like grapes and pop them in during the run.
I'm 66 and have been running for years. And I live in Mesa, Arizona so I really understand the heat part of running. By keeping at it and being steady you'll improve by being able to go farther and faster. Just take your time getting there. If you start pushing too hard, your body will let you know.
If you're interested, there is a User Group here called 50 and above 5K and Beyond where a few of us old timers hang out and discuss are running and other things.
Art in AZ
Thanks Art. Took me a while to find that user group but I have it now and look forward to reading the posts.
Since we're talking about Shoe-goo, I thought i would mention that it contains Toluene and i found it to have a very objectionable smell for weeks after being applied. I checked out it's health impacts and concluded that there's not enough known about it's possible carcinogenic effects to make me comfortable with it. At a minimum, for me, i stopped using it on shoes i wear all day long. And for my running shoes, i would keep those treated with it as having to be stored outside the house on the porch. Any shoes treated with Shoe Goo were not brought into the house at all.
Since it extends the use of running shoes so little, i stopped using it a long time ago.
Here's an excerpt from something i found on a Law firm's website that looked into Toleune:"What Are The Health Effects of Toluene?
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a division of the World Health Organization (WHO), has concluded that there is inadequate human evidence to determine the carcinogenicity of toluene. As such, IARC has determined that toluene is "not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity in humans." Similarly, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has determined that there is inadequate information to assess the possible carcinogenic effects of toluene. This does not mean that toluene does not cause cancer, only that it has not been proven in studies to date.
However, exposure to toluene may negatively affect kidney, liver, brain, heart, and nervous system functions. The organ primarily targeted by toluene toxicity for both short-term and long-term exposures is the central nervous system. Other areas commonly affected by toluene exposure include the immune system, kidneys and liver. These harmful effects can include:
- Cognitive Impairment
- Color vision Loss
- Hearing Loss
- Impaired Speech
- Cerebral Atrophy
- Cardiac Arrhythmia
- Congestion and Hemorrhage of the Lungs
- Tubular Kidney Necrosis
- Swollen Liver
- Necrosis of Myocardial Fibers
- Brain damage
Symptoms of toluene exposure include:
- Loss of Appetite
- Sleep Disturbances
- Difficulty Breathing
- Memory Loss
- Poor balance
- Loss of muscle control
Toluene exposure has also been linked to various developmental defects in children of women who were exposed to toluene while pregnant. These developmental defects include: central nervous system dysfunction; attention deficits; developmental delays; dysmorphism; temporary renal tubular acidosis; and craniofacial and limb abnormalities."
link to the full article: http://www.collinslaw.com/blog/2017/03/what-you-need-to-know-about-toluene.shtml
If you want the official word on toluene toxicity, search safety data sheet toluene. I did, and I am not concerned about the tiny amount of toluene in the amount of Shoe Goo that I put on my shoes.
My shoes wear on the outside heels enough that I apply Shoe Goo after about 200 miles. The shoes are usually good for about 3000 miles. I recently retired a pair of shoes at 2600 miles, not because they were worn out, but because my feet got too big for the shoes. I ran a marathon today in the "new" pair of shoes, with only 600 miles on them. No complaints from my feet, but I have special insoles.
Our bodies are all different. I do not have problems with muscles, joints, bones, or tendons. When I run too much, I just get real tired and have to back off for a couple days.
A good source if you want to do more than just easy jogging: Fast After 50, by Joe Friel. The training plans in that book are good for all adult athletes according to the author, when I asked him.
I'm 66, and at the stage of trying to not slow down too much too soon.
I also wear my shoes on the outside of the heel and that spot would be bare while the rest of the shoe was in fine shape. Shoe Goo was a big help and I hope I can continue to use it after reading all the toxicity info.
Grey, The exercises I mentioned are for glutes and the upper hamstring area in deep that are working when you push off. I was weak in that area a few years ago. I noticed this when I would be running for an hour and it would be sore when trying to hop up onto a curb from the street during the run for example. It would also become sore when sitting in car for more than an hour. The walking lunges and hops for about 50 feet back and forth across room cured this weakness. If you try a few sets I think you will be amazed at how tired and "worked" those often neglected muscles feel the next day! The core stuff just refers refers to say a 20 or 30 minute session of basic abdominal exercises and planks to strengthen stomach and back etc.