70 Years Old - Want to Start Running

by Bob

I am 70 years of age. Started on one of your beginner programs am now in week2. 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,
Thanks for your question about running for beginners. Running is a great way to lose a bit of weight and build up fitness.

Now, one major caveat before I start: you have not run more than 50 yards in the last 40 years. That's a lot of time. When you start to do more exercise after such a long time period, I have to recommend you to go see your doctor. Get them to provide their medical opinion on your condition and how you should approach this.

Not knowing you or your medical condition I (and you) need to proceed with care.

Having said that, the beginner running programs on this website are set up with the utmost of care. I get people running by making it feasible. Start with 1 minute, then do 2. Then do 3, etc. Slowly but surely those programs get sedentary people or people like yourself runnning. When I say people like yourself, I mean people who are active, but who have not run for a long time.

And clearly, there is a lot of flexibility in how you can approach it. It sounds like the jump up from one minute to two minutes of running is too much at the moment. We can deal with this in two ways:

Firstly, you could just take more walking breaks. So if your schedule says something like 3 x 2 min run, 1 min walk, you could change it into 6 x 1 min run, 1 min walk. You still get your six minutes of running, but in an easier way.

Alternatively, you can increase your running by less than one minute increments. E.g. for the above example you could try 4 x 1.5 minutes run, 1 or 2 min walk. Or even 1 min 15 of running (5 times). Then maybe next time, try a minute and a half. Once you are a bit comfortable with that, build up to 1:45 min, then 2, and so on.

You can be the master of your own destiny here. Take it slowly, step by step and you will get there. It may take longer than 12 weeks to get to running 30 minutes non-stop, maybe even much longer, but it can be done.

Lastly, as a beginning runner, you need to keep in mind that the running needs to be at a very easy pace. Nine out of ten beginning runners, start off with running way too fast. They feel like running needs to be hard and at breakneck pace. Not correct. When you are starting to run, you need to start with a jog. A bit faster than a brisk walk. That's tough enough.

Later, when you are comfortable with running for longer periods of time, you can start considering speed a bit more.

All the best Bob, I am impressed with your commitment to start running at your young age.
Kind regards,

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