Thinking of running? Worried your ageing limbs won’t cope? Veteran runner and author Jerry Lockspeiser gives his tips on how to have the best running experience, whether you are just starting out or like Jerry setting personal best marathon records in your 60s.
Five ways to have the best running experience, whatever your age or ability.
1. CAN I RUN? ME?
Yes, yes, you can. I was 55 when I started running. I ran my Marathon personal best time in 3 hours 26 minutes age 65. Many people filled with self-doubt put one foot forward and never look back. Your age, shape and speed don’t matter.
TOP TIP: Running starts in the mind. Making the commitment is key.
2. DOES IT MATTER WHAT I WEAR?
A T-shirt or sweatshirt, shorts or leggings, a pair of comfortable trainers, and a decent sports bra for women are fine to try out running. If you decide to run regularly good quality, correctly fitting shoes are essential. A specialist running shop will check your gait and recommend the right type for you.
TOP TIP: Choose lightweight breathable sports tops that ‘wick’ sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton which absorbs sweat and gets heavy.
3. DO I NEED TO STRETCH AND WARM UP BEFORE I RUN?
Definitely. Running puts extra strain on many parts of the body, and if they are not prepared, they may go on strike. Injuries can result. A brisk walk or light jog before running is a good start.
TOP TIP: It is equally important to stretch and warm down at the end.
4. HOW FAST, FAR AND OFTEN SHOULD I RUN?
This depends on your level of fitness. If you have not been undertaking any sport or exercise, take it easy and increase distance, speed, and frequency very gradually. This allows your body to adapt well, and it’s a great feeling to do a little bit more each time. It is wise not to increase distance by more than 10% each week.
TOP TIP: Regular, gradual increments two, three or four times a week help mental and physical progression more than a single weekly blast.
5. SHOULD I SET A GOAL?
Knowing what we are trying to achieve can help motivation, whether jogging 100 metres or running a marathon. It doesn’t matter how small the goal is, it’s your goal. When you have achieved it, you can set a new one. Sensible and achievable progression works best for goals, not mad leaps. The Couch to 5k programme is great for complete beginners.
TOP TIP: Joining a running club can help you progress. They are super friendly and cater for all ages and abilities.
Jerry Lockspeiser is the co-author of a new book ‘RUNNING STORIES featuring inspiring stories from runners in their 50s, 60’s, 70’s, and in one case, 90’s. Jerry is 67 and along with co-author Andrew Roberts (68) is a member of the Serpentine Running Club in London and continues to shame the rest of us with his athletic performances. 100% of revenue from sales of the book is being donated to The Running Charity who work with homeless young people in the UK.
Amongst the stories are Anne Dockery who took up running in her 50’s after being diagnosed with a serious lung condition and went on to win a Gold medal for GB in her 70’s; Roger Sawtell who did his first parkrun 5k aged 93 and ‘is hooked’; and Vic Shirley who did not run at all for 60 years between the ages of 15 and 75 then set a new British Mile record for the 75+ age group.
The book is available for £8.99 everywhere people buy books including Amazon, Waterstones, Hive and Blackwell’s and to order from all local bookshops. The eBook is £5.99 on Amazon.