70 Years Old - Want to Start Running

by Bob

70 years old want to start running

I am 70 years of age. Started on one of your beginner programs am now in Week 2. Really excited at the prospect of getting to run a 5k.

I play golf 3 times a week so ok with a good six mile walk. I want to improve my cardiovascular fitness and lose a bit of weight.

The brisk walking is fine, but I cannot manage to run for more than 1 minute without having to stop.

Recovery time seemed pretty good.

I think I will need some weeks of brisk walking and 1 minute runs before I can step it up to 2 minutes or more of running. Is that ok? And if so what would you suggest?

Is this normal for my age? It is probably 40 years since I last ran more than 50 yards.


Answer by Dominique:

Hi Bob,
I'm thrilled that you posed this question regarding my beginner running programs. Running is an excellent method to not only drop a few pounds but also improve your overall fitness.

I'll break my response down as follows:

1. Go see the doctor
2. Modify the beginner running programs
3. Stick to easy pace

Go See the Doctor

70 years old want to start running

Before we delve into the details, it's crucial to address an important aspect. You've mentioned that you haven't run beyond 50 yards in the last four decades. That's quite a stretch of time! Moving towards a more intensive exercise regimen after such a break does require some precautions.

My advice to you would be to consult with your doctor first.

Their professional opinion on your health condition and recommended approach would be paramount. Put simply, I don't know you and know nothing about your physical wellness, ailments or conditions, so both of us need to proceed with considered caution.

Modify the Beginner Running Programs

70 years old want to start running

Now, onto the running programs that you'll find on this site. The beginner running programs here are extremely carefully designed to make the process not just productive but also approachable.

I have done my best to ensure that the transition from sedentary or low-impact (like walking or golfing) activities to running is smooth and sustainable. We start off easy - perhaps with a minute of running, followed by a two-minute walk, then move on to two minutes of running, and so on. The principle is to convert users into runners progressively, with small increases in the run-walk ratio.

Just apply small increases over time consistently and before you know it, you'll be running 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes and beyond.

From what you've shared, it seems the boost from one minute to two minutes is proving a tad challenging. Indeed, a one-size-fits-all method doesn't work. We are all different. So let's explore two approaches to tackle this issue:

Break down the running into shorter chunks
One option is to insert more walking breaks into your routine. For instance, if your schedule says to run for 2 minutes and then walk for 1 minute, 3 times in succession, you could transform it to running for 1 minute and walking for 1 minute but do it 6 times. The sum of running minutes remains the same: six, but you are spreading them out in a more manageable fashion.

Build up by less than one minute increments
Secondly, you could consider increasing your running time in smaller increments. For the above scenario, you might be able to comfortably manage running for 1.5 minutes. Hence, you could amend the routine to 4 x 1.5 min run, with 1 or 2 min walk breaks. If that feels too ambitious, why not start with running for 1 min 15 seconds, repeat that 5 times, and then gradually work your way up to 1:30 min, 1:45 min, 2 min etc.

Remember, you're in control here. Give yourself the freedom to adjust the program based on your comfort and readiness; progressing ever so gently, finding the sweet spot that challenges you just enough without overwhelming you. Reaching a point where you can run non-stop for 30 minutes may take more than the projected 12 weeks - possibly significantly longer - but rest assured, every incremental stride gets you closer to your goal.

Stick to Easy Pace

70 years old want to start running

Lastly, an invaluable tip for beginner runners is the importance of adopting an easy pace. By far one of the most common mistakes beginners make, is that they start off way too fast. Not saying that is you, but I just wanted to make sure that you are sticking to easy pace. Start with a speed that's just a notch above a brisk walk - that will be challenging enough. Once you're comfortable with running for extended periods, you may then begin focusing more on your pace.

Here's to your impressive commitment at the age of 70, Bob! Keep up the spirit and remember, every step you take is one step closer to your goal. Continue to have big issues with the build-up of your running? Then consider checking out my running coaching service for more personal support.

All the best on this quest!
Wishing you all the best,

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