64 Years Old - Want to Increase My Running Speed

by Johny

I am a 64 years old male and never really ran in my younger days. Recently I have picked up running and speedwalking.

I participated in a half marathon last month and I could complete it in 2:16:56. This is without coaching or having much practice.

Also about 3-4 months ago I participated in a 10k race walking and could complete it in 1:12:32.

Now I want to increase my speed in both speed walking and marathon. Please give me some advice.

Johny


Answer by Dom:


running tips
Hi Johny,
Thanks for your question on how to improve your running and speed walking.

Well done on picking up running later in life. I hope you enjoy the sport for years to come.

My advice can be broken down into the following:

1. Set up a Structured Exercise Program
2. Consider Strength Training
3. Some Speed Walking Advice


So, there we go in a little more detail....

1. Set up a Structured Exercise Program



You indicate you have done not much structured training. You must have done a little though to be able to cover a half marathon in the time you did!

When you want to improve your running, setting up a structured running / exercise program is key.

Now, before I continue, I do need to stress that you need to assess your fitness and health before you embark on doing a whole lot more exercise. I am a guy online trying to give you some running tips, I do not know anything about your exercise and/or medical history. Confer with a medical professional to be safe, rather than sorry.



Having said that, you can get good improvement in your running performance by starting with three running sessions per week. You will want to focus on building your endurance. You can do this by increasing the distance or duration of your sessions over time.

Given you are also into speed walking, a combined run/walk approach could be useful.

Remember to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you get stronger. It is also important to listen to your body and take breaks when needed to avoid overtraining or injury.

Check out the following pages on how to build endurance:

Building Your Base

Increasing Mileage Safely

Beginner Running Programs - to have a look at run/walk programs

2. Consider Strength Training



As you get older, you lose muscle mass and strength. This already starts in our forties! And it accelerates in later years (70 and older).

It is part of life, it simply happens when you get older, but you can do a whole lot to slow this process down or reverse it through strength training and proper nutrition.

Have you ever done weights before? If so, then getting back to that would be great. If not, getting into some strength / resistance training through bodyweight exercises would be a good start. You will want to focus on a program that emphasises core and leg strength.

A website like Fitness Blender is a useful resource when you are starting out.

Alternatively, find a gym nearby and start working out there. If you do, I can highly recommend working with a Personal Trainer.

I do so as well. My PT explains the machines and how to lift the weights in a safe way and also pushes me to improve myself. I work with the PT once a week and I do one or two gym sessions by myself.

I think using specialists in areas where you are not a specialist yourself is always a good idea.

3. Some Speed Walking Advice



Now, I am not a speed walker, I am a running coach, so if you are serious about speed walking, trying to find somebody who can help you focus on good form would be a brilliant idea.

There must be videos online that explain proper speed walking technique, but nothing beats having one or two sessions with somebody who can watch you walk and provide cues on how to maintain good form.

In addition to speed walking technique, much of the advice provided above still holds. You will want to build up your endurance and add in strength training to become a better, stronger, fitter athlete. This will help in running, in speed walking, but also generally, in all aspects of life!



Hope the advice was helpful to you and hope to hear back from you when you have set some new Personal Bests!

All the best,
Dom


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