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Starting running at age 57 - advice and encouragement please?

(43 Posts)
CrazyWater Fri 16-Sep-16 18:36:40

Hi everyone

I think of myself as a young 57 - 5'9" tall, 11st, size 12-14.
I swim for 30 mins 3 times a week, walk a lot, eat reasonably well, don't smoke, drink moderately.
I'd just like to be that bit fitter, that bit more toned and leaner - I've just got that little bit more solid round the middle lately.

My son is a runner and I'm impressed by his progress.
I've done - power walked - a Race for Life and wished I could have run it.

I would like to be able to run!!!
BUT at my age I am self conscious, I don't have any friends locally who would be interested in doing it with me, DP isn't interested either.
I don't want to join a group but I would quite like to do a Parkrun sometime - there are three local to me.

That's the background. I am now on holiday in the Canaries, so this morning WENT FOR A RUN.

I say run, it was part run, walk and jog for about 30 mins. I lived to tell the tale and felt great about myself.

I realise I need a better sports bra and to swap heavy trainers for proper running shoes.
I feel quite alone with all this though! Any advice from you more senior ladies out there please?

Is C25K the only way forward or have you used other plans?

Any motivation tips?

I haven't a fitbit but have an iPhone so could use an app.

Sorry this is long but am sure there's someone out there who could help.

Or please feel free to direct me to any MN threads you've found useful.

I plan to run again on Sunday.

Many thanks in advance


yeOldeTrout Fri 16-Sep-16 20:41:00

ooh fantastic you.
There are several running threads on MN (a general running one where people add up their joint miles) and another one for parkrun. Neither thread is for me... I'm a lone wolf grin. But secretly obsessed about running.

Would your son run with you, even if he's slow? My teen will run with me just because he fancies company, and there's no chance of competition.

CrazyWater Fri 16-Sep-16 22:52:59

Thanks for your kind reply - yes I think DS would run with me but he has recently moved away to start work. I am definitely a lone wolf too so will probably just have to work it out for myself. There are a couple of green spaces near my home where I could probably run - just don't want to put myself out there as such a novice on the main road where people might see me.
Has definitely done my self esteem a power of good getting out there this morning! Reminded my DH - many a good tune played on an old fiddle!

RunnyRattata Fri 16-Sep-16 22:56:32

Get trainers from a specialist shop where you can get an assistant to check how you run in them. Try to run on grass to protect your knees.

80sMum Fri 16-Sep-16 23:01:20

I am thinking about the effect that running might have on your knees, OP. Walking briskly can be just as beneficial health-wise as running, but with far less wear and tear to your joints. Be careful. Maybe it would be a good idea to have a bone scan before taking this up, just to check that everything is OK first?

PurpleWithRed Fri 16-Sep-16 23:12:59

I'm 58 (allegedly) and I run 5k about 3 times a week. I started 4 years ago and can't praise c25k highly enough. No joint problems at all.

Good running shoes a must and don't hesitate to,take them back if they're not right. Also a good bra! I listen to radio 4 podcasts when running and hate running with other people.

The only thing other people think when they see you running is "wow, she is running, good for her". grin

CrazyWater Fri 16-Sep-16 23:14:03

Good advice from you both there - thank you! Definitely need proper shoes so will sort out on return to UK.
A little more worried about my lower back than knees as I have had problems in the past, but thank you for flagging that up - in my head I'm still 27 of course!

SlipperyJack Fri 16-Sep-16 23:22:43

Definitely get good shoes, fitted by someone who knows what they're doing.

Whether c25k is for you will see on whether you like predetermined plans, I think. I started out just seeing if I could run between lampposts, and then walk to the next one, run to the one after that, etc. 3 years of slowish progress and I'm doing my first half marathon next month.

Parkrun is an excellent supportive environment for runners of all ages and abilities - there's bound to be one near you. (Last Saturday we had a first timer at ours in the VW - veteran women's - 70-74 age category. Never too late to start parkrun!) I'm a bit evangelical about it, as you may have guessed!

I'm also evangelical about seeing a sports physio for any niggles or aches. Your GP will just tell you to take painkillers and stop running. A good physio will address the underlying cause.

Good luck!

SlipperyJack Fri 16-Sep-16 23:23:54

Depend, not see - argh!

CrazyWater Fri 16-Sep-16 23:35:14

Thanks so much, really appreciate your advice. I do have a good physio - ex footballer who knows me well and he has encouraged me to try running in the past so will book an appointment when I get back.
Friend's husband is keen park runner and has said he would accompany me if I wanted to try it (his wife is happy with that BTW)

One question. - I'm not overweight but have always been a big girl in the sense of tall, big bust! I felt really "heavy" running today. Does it get easier once you have got into it? Do you eventually feel a bit lighter on your feet?
Sorry if I am cross posting, will try and keep up - off to bed shortly as I've had an active day.
Thanks again

ErrolTheDragon Fri 16-Sep-16 23:56:13

I'm 55 and attempt to run a bit on and off - doing c25k at the mo (wk 5) to see if I can get a bit less slow, but I think alternating walking and running, changing pace as feels apt is also fine (hey, isnt that 'fartlek'?)

I found running on pavements was really hurting one hip; a friend who is a serious long distance runner (has done 100k!!!) said running on rougher surfaces is better because you're not pounding exactly the same each step. So, a muddy grassy canal towpath suits me. I think I'd hate to do it in company. Being out in the fresh air alone is a good start to the day.

If you get back problems, you might want to consider finding a pilates class - I started one a year ago and find it good for strengthening core, improving posture etc - something like that might complement running quite well.

Re the feeling heavy - You'll probably find that proper running shoes and sports bra help that to some extent.

Mostly though - Have fun!

SENPARENT Sat 17-Sep-16 00:14:56

I've sent you a message CrazyWater

CrazyWater Sat 17-Sep-16 10:00:00

Thank you Errol again that's so helpful and encouraging. I did run on pavements yesterday but at home there's somewhere I can run which is more grassy wood land
I have done Pilates before and there are classes at the local authority gym and pool where I swim and where I have cheap over 55 membership.
Slippery you've made me think about whether I really want to run with someone as I am a bit of a loner and realise I don't want to rely on others - I guess if someone let me down it would be easy not to go out running that day.
I'm a R4 devotee and love my podcasts so that's another idea - probably need some better headphones that stay in my ears more than five minutes!

CrazyWater Sat 17-Sep-16 10:08:33

sorry am typing in my phone - it was Purple who mentioned R4 - thank you!

I did use lampposts yesterday to alternate walking and running. I was impressed with myself as I went twice round my chosen 'circuit' when I only thought I could do once.

My DS was impressed. I also have access to a bike here on holiday so might have a go on that now I've got this little fitness bug

Quick question - once you've got into a bit of a running routine, is it long before you start noticing improvements in your stamina and fitness/body shape?

mumofthemonsters808 Sat 17-Sep-16 10:12:17

Ive no advice, , but I just wanted to say, I think it's wonderful what you are doing, I take my hat off to you and know you are going to do very well.

GlowWine Sat 17-Sep-16 10:53:34

Wow you've made a great start. I too have used C25k it gives you a nice gradual progression from running small stretches as you do now to going the whole distance non-stop. Gradual in terms of increasing the strain you put on your joints and muscles, giving them time to build up and strengthen.
But you may find the beginning too easy already, I would skip/only do one of the first few weeks until you reach the level your already comfortably at.
And you improve, but will always have good and bad days - I still do after 6 years of regular running. Days when my legs feel like lead, days when I happily sprint the last bit...

CrazyWater Sat 17-Sep-16 11:06:28

Thanks so much! Just off out for the day now as I am on holiday but will come back to you later - your kind support and comments much appreciated!! Xx

SlipperyJack Sat 17-Sep-16 13:59:29

crazy, that's why parkrun is so good. It's a fixed Saturday morning run - once you've been a few times, found some folk to chat to etc, it becomes a weekly habit.

FreshHorizons Sat 17-Sep-16 14:08:38

Well done! I wish that we had park runs where I live.
I started aged 59yrs by doing a running course.
I did feel self conscious going out on my own but no one bothers.
I ran my first half marathon aged 62 yrs and am training for one now.
You do need proper shoes, they make all the difference.,
I always wonder why I am doing it for the first 5 mins but then start to enjoy it.
If I can do a half marathon anyone can! I was never sporty.
It is my limit- if I were younger I woukd try a marathon.

londonmummy1966 Sat 17-Sep-16 18:13:44

I'm nearly 50 and run 3 + times a week. In the past I have suffered a lot from injury but have recently started using run walk and find it easier and have been injury free ever since. The idea is that you run for a number of minutes and then walk for 30sec- minute and then repeat. This is kinder on your joints and makes you less tired as you use slightly different muscles when running and walking. I find I am no slower either. If you Google run walk it will take you to the page of a man called Jeff Gallway who has a lot of advice and an app.

Getting the right shoes is essential - go to a specialist running shop - Sweatshop are good - and they can analyse your gait and feet and come up with the right pair for you.

I have large boobs so a good sports bra is really important - Freya and Panache seem to be the most popular with larger ladies on the various chats.

CrazyWater Sat 17-Sep-16 20:14:17

Thanks again everyone, I'm so glad I posted.

I went in Sweatshop recently with my DS and was quite amazed by the amount of stuff they sold so will go back there after my hols and see about shoes and bra.

There are three parkruns I know of in different locations within a 10 mile radius of my home so I will consider that. Again it's a bit of an age thing - I do feel a bit silly and self conscious running in the first place having not really done it before and would need a massive surge of courage to turn up to a Parkrun on my own. But it's doable. I have done other slightly scary things!

At the moment I think the walk-run thing will suit me while I gather some confidence.

My legs are aching today so I hope that'll ease off - whatever happens I am going around the block again - twice if I possibly can.

Cheers to you all for the nice things you have said.

SlipperyJack Sat 17-Sep-16 20:37:44

crazy, where are your nearest parkruns? If they're not too far from me (Cambs) I'll come with you!

Or you could see if there are any buddies on the parkrun thread.

lljkk Sat 17-Sep-16 22:01:54

Since folk have mentioned both "run on grass" and "gait analysis"...
from what I understand, gait analysis only is worthwhile if you only/mostly run on smooth flat roads and pavements. If you mostly run on bumpy trails or uneven ground, then you want a neutral shoe. Because the ankle/leg needs to adjust for the constantly changing terrain, and a shoe that adjusts your footstrike by assuming mostly flat ground, won't let the foot have the flexibility to deal well with rough ground.

I could be wrong. I can't even find a link about this right now, but the logic made sense.

CrazyWater Sat 17-Sep-16 22:07:58

Understood, lljkk thank you that's useful, am quite looking forward to finding out what my gait is like!

Oh Slippery that would be fun but I am West Yorks based!!

CrazyWater Sat 17-Sep-16 22:12:46

FreshHorizons - meant to comment earlier - wow I am very impressed by your achievements - you give me hope! I was never much good at school sports being a bit of a swotty girl, yet I did quite like things like the 100 and 200 metres ( I have long legs!). I think you tended to get written off as being no good quite early which then set me up for life as no good at sport. Never too late though.

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