Want to Run a 5k - 70 Years Old

by Karin
(Manasquan NJ USA)

I am not a runner but in excellent shape. Would like to do a 5k race. I'm female and 70 years old. I walk the treadmill at 4.5 miles an hour and do Pilates. I am 5'5 and weigh 130 lbs. How do I get there?

Answer by Dominique:

want to run a 5k 70 years old

Hi there,
Thank you for your question about running a 5k.

It sounds like you are keeping in shape with your walking and Pilates.

They are both great ways to stay healthy and happy.

With that background, running a 5k should absolutely be doable, even though you are not the youngest visitor to this website!

Four tips to get you going:
1. Start off cautiously
2. Creating a running program
3. Something about treadmill running
4. Race Day Advice - Have Fun!

See for further info below.

Start off Cautiously

want to run a 5k 70 years old
When you start to run, without a background in running, it is best to start off cautiously. That's why I often advocate for a run/walk approach.

Next time you jump on the treadmill, add in a short run. 30 seconds, 1 minute; whatever it is. Next time, add a few more short runs in between your walk, go a bit longer.

Slowly increase the time spent running.

And just go from there.

Now, please note, the running should not be exhausting! It needs to be a gentle jog, just that little bit faster than a brisk walk. That's fast enough when you are starting out.

Just slowly ramp up the speed until you find yourself no longer walking, but running!

You can always try to go a bit faster later. But slow and steady wins the race!

Creating Your Running Program

want to run a 5k 70 years old
You can create your own schedule. But, and yes, I am a tiny bit biased, I would highly recommend you use one of my Beginner Running Programs.

When preparing for a 5k, I would use Beginners Running Program 3. It takes you all the way to 30 minutes of non-stop running in 12 weeks. When you are able to run 30 minutes non-stop, you are possibly covering 5k, or getting reasonably close.

This program has had hundreds of happy users. And, even if you don't use it to the letter, study it for a while and see how it follows a very simple principle: a slow, but steady build-up in the time spent running.

Use this same approach, do your workouts consistently for the next three months and I'd be surprised if you wouldn't make significant improvement.

Maybe, given your age, it may take a little while longer than 12 weeks. That's ok. As long as you keep on building and slowly progressing to running a bit more. And then a bit more again!

Something about Treadmill Running

With regards to running on the treadmill: do keep in mind that treadmill running is a little easier than running on the road.

You don't have to propel yourself forward as much as you do when running on the road. So, it is a good idea to get used to a little bit of running on the road as well.

You do not need a lot of road running. But I would recommend doing a bit of it when you get closer to your 5k race, so you get a feel for the differences.

Race Day Advice - Have Fun!

want to run a 5k 70 years old

When running your 5k race, don't worry about your speed, or that others are faster and those kind of worries.

In the bigger "fun runs" there are always walkers, slow walkers etc. People of all walks of life sign up for these things. You have got the very fast young runners who run it in 13-18 minutes, to your average Joe (or Jane!) who runs it in 25-35 minutes, to the walkers who can take more than 60 minutes.

So, don't worry about being last, the great thing about joining in a race is that you are not so much competing with others, than that you are competing with yourself.

Oh, and as a final note, do keep in mind that when embarking on a more strenuous fitness regime a visit to a doctor for a general check-up is warranted.

Hope this helps.
Best of luck.
Kind regards,

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