Is It OK to Start Running After 50? My own running success story

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Is It OK to Start Running After 50? My own running success story

Starting a new physical activity at any age can be daunting, but it can feel especially challenging once you hit the big 5-0. The question “Is it OK to start running after 50?” often arises, met with concerns about health, stamina, and whether it’s simply too late. I’m here to tell you from personal experience: not only is it OK, but it can also be life-changing. Let me share my story and some insights that might inspire you to lace up those running shoes and hit the pavement.

My Early Relationship With Physical Activity

Growing up, I was never one for physical activity. In secondary school, my P.E. classes with Mrs. McMurrow were something I dreaded. I’d often “lose” my P.E. kit or conveniently forget parts of it just to avoid participating. The thought of P.E. felt like punishment, and I would have preferred doing almost anything else, including writing lines as a consequence for not being prepared.

Can you lose weight without exercise? Check out my full post in this.

Finding My Footing: The Start of My Running Journey

It wasn’t until I reached my 30s that I started to enjoy the gym. Even then, I couldn’t fathom why people would choose to run for fun, especially early in the morning or on weekends. However, everything changed on September 7, 2019, when I walked my first Parkrun in Deerpark, Virginia. That is all I intended on doing – walking the course. However, that moment marked the beginning of a journey that would eventually lead me to running my first 10k.

Is It OK to Start Running After 50

By December 2022, I had joined the 25-club milestone in Parkrun, and by July 2023, I reached the 50-club milestone. The community and encouragement from fellow park runners were instrumental in my progress. One December day in 2022, after a Parkrun, I mentioned my intention to run the 5k course by the same time next year. Rev Craig’s simple advice, “start now,” pushed me to begin running immediately.

The Benefits of Running: Physical and Mental Health

Running offers so many physical benefits, such as burning calories, improving cardiovascular health, and building muscle strength. However, for me the most significant advantage was the mental clarity it provided. Running allowed me to clear my mind and focus on the task at hand, providing a much-needed escape from daily worries and stresses.

As I lost 5 stone and kept it off over 20 years, a big benefit for me is the calorie-burning side of running. It is why I encourage my WeightMatters members to take up an active hobby. It can be hard to stick to a calorie deficit but by incorporating an activity like running into your lifestyle can mean burning a lot of calories in a short space of time. This allows us a bit of wiggle room with our diets.

Gaining Confidence and Building Community

As I continued running, I gained confidence in my abilities. I felt empowered to tackle other challenges in life, including running a successful weight loss business and inspiring others to believe in themselves. Even a hamstring injury couldn’t deter me; instead, it led me to discover new Parkrun communities that supported my recovery and encouraged me to keep going.

Is It OK to Start Running After 50

Joining a Running Club: A Game Changer

In December 2023, I joined the Moynalty AC running club after being encouraged by a fellow runner. The sense of community and structured training sessions every Monday night, regardless of the weather, kept me motivated. Running with others who shared my passion made the experience even more enjoyable.

Setting and Achieving Goals

Setting achievable goals is crucial in any fitness journey. I read that an above-average female runner could complete 5k in 30 minutes or less. This became my target as I was initially completing the course in about 45 minutes. With persistence and training, I gradually improved my time, eventually achieving a personal best of 26:27.

Embracing Longer Distances

With the support of my running buddies, I soon started looking towards longer distances. In April 2024, I participated in a 4-mile run organised by my club and completed it comfortably. This experience gave me the confidence to tackle a 10k in my hometown of Cootehill. The challenging course and the support from the running community made it a memorable achievement, and I was thrilled to finish in under an hour, even placing third in my age category.

Traveling and Running: Exploring New Places

One of the unexpected joys of running has been the opportunity to travel and participate in Parkruns across different locations. To date, I have completed 89 Parkruns in Ireland, the UK, and Wales, with 20 volunteering roles. Each Parkrun offers a unique experience and a chance to meet new people who share the same passion for running.

Answering the Question: Is It OK to Start Running After 50?

So, is it OK to start running after 50? Absolutely! Running after 50 can be incredibly rewarding, both physically and mentally. It’s never too late to start, and you don’t need to begin with running. Walking, joining a dance class, or playing tennis are all excellent ways to get moving and gradually build up your fitness.

Starting later in life, as I did, might come with its challenges, but the rewards far outweigh them. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Start Slow: Begin with walking or jogging short distances. Gradually increase your distance and pace as your fitness improves.
  2. Set Realistic Goals: Aim for achievable milestones. Whether it’s completing a 5k or running for a specific amount of time, having goals keeps you motivated.
  3. Find a Community: Join a running club or group. The support and encouragement from fellow runners can make a huge difference.
  4. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any signs of injury or fatigue. Rest and recovery are just as important as training.
  5. Enjoy the Journey: Focus on the positive aspects of running. Enjoy the mental clarity, the physical benefits, and the sense of accomplishment.
  6. If in doubt, visit your doctor first: If you are worried about your health or the impacts of running, see your doctor first.

Is it OK to start running after 45?

Is it OK to start running after 50?

Is it OK to start running after 60?

The answer to all of the above is it is never too late to start!

Conclusion: Embrace the Journey

Starting to run after 50 is not only OK, but it can also be one of the most rewarding decisions you make. My journey from hating physical activity to loving running has been transformative. It’s shown me that age is just a number and that with determination and support, anyone can achieve their fitness goals. Whether it’s running, walking, or any other form of exercise, find something you love and enjoy the journey. Remember, it’s never too late to start.

So, lace up those shoes, take that first step, and discover the joy of running after 50. If I can do it, so can you!

What is WeightMatters?

WeightMatters is an online weight loss programme based in Ireland, but as it’s done remotely, you can take part from anywhere! Jenny is available 24/7 to offer you support, join the WhatsApp WeightMatters community and join the weekly Live Zoom Meetings. Oh, and you’ll receive a recipe email, monthly challenges and newsletter emails. Sound good? Sign up now.

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