Running is a lifelong sport. However, the “rules” of running do change slightly as you get older.
Here are Runner’s World’s top four tips for over-40s to extend your running life.
One thing typically all athletes, experts, and coaches agree on is getting adequate sleep for optimal performance. As you age, you need more recovery time between hard efforts for your body to properly repair.
Some masters elite athletes are reported to get 10-12 hours of sleep per night and sometimes a nap during the day. The result? Well, Olympian Magdalena Lewy Boulet, 42, just won the 100-Mile Western States (her first) on hard work and a great napping plan.
Runners literally pound on their bodies and need to repair the damage to properly rebuild the muscle tissue so it becomes stronger. Adequate sleep not only supplies that time but allows the mind to rest and recover as well.
As we age our level of thirst decreases, which can lead to insufficient fluid intake. Sweat rate also decreases with age, and kidney function is reduced. As a result, you’re more likely to become dehydrated.
Masters athletes should always start taking in adequate fluids in the 24 hours prior to training or racing and continue to hydrate during and after activity.
- Strength train
Many studies show that as we age we lose muscle mass if we are sedentary. These losses can be offset, however, with dedication to movement and strength training as shown in a recent study of masters athletes.
- Care less
Now let us explain. You shouldn’t be careless at anytime during your running career, but you can care less about pace, race location, gear, and clothing.
Think about how long you want to run. Is it just for this week? This month? This year? Or is it for many years to come? Once you figure out running is a lifelong journey that gives back what you put in 10-fold, you’ll make better decisions about running…and life.