Starting Over

by Ray
(Lumby B.C. Canada)

At one time I did a lot of running. Mostly the longer distances. I ran for about 48 years. Only a few marathons as I was a little slow so I moved up to the 50 and 100 mile races. I hurt myself and have not run for just over a year.

What is a save training plan for a 65 year old broken runner?

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Ray,
Thank you for your running question. Allow me to first applaud you for 48 years of running, including doing some ultramarathons.

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A safe training plan for anyone, regardless of age and background, would consist of the following elements (this is probably pretty familiar terrain for you, but a lot of beginning runners will benefit from this answer as well so allow me to provide a few links and give some extra explanations):

  • Mainly easy running

  • That means base building, lots of easy running at a conversational pace, the pace at which you'd be able to maintain a conversation.

  • Slow and sensible build-up of mileage

  • You must have been doing high amounts of mileage at some point in time when preparing for your marathons and ultramarathons. However when beginning again after a break, it is best to start up with very modest mileage and to slowly build up. Your muscles, your tendons, everything needs to be built up again. Read more here about increasing mileage safely.

  • Hard/easy approach

  • Apply a hard/easy approach. Alternate running with rest days or longer distances with shorter distances, but make sure you give your body a chance to recover from the stress you put it under.

  • Stretching and strengthening

  • After each run, make sure you do a group of important running stretches to cool down properly. Also consider some cross-training to strengthen the rest of your body.

    Considering you describe yourself as a "broken runner", and, although with fullest respect, your higher age, I would take it very easy initially and just make sure you become a happy runner again before you jump into racing. At any rate, keep your doctor in the loop of your plans.

    Running a marathon, although run by so many, is in principal not a healthy activity, I can only imagine what ultras do to the body!
    An interesting read is the book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running of which I put a book review online recently. The writer describes his ultra marathon, 62 miles, as well. It sounded scary. After that race he suffered from runner's blues for years and years!

    Anyway, I hope the general guidelines above help you to start your running again in a safe manner.
    Best of luck and take care.

    Kind regards,

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