Seniors Comments (0) |

Do runners slow down with age?

Age seems to slow down many runners, Nandini Reddy explores if its just age or are their other factors.

Young runners seem to be faster. Some believe that it is because younger runners use their leg muscles differently. But is it only age that causes this change in gait and running speed? While most of us accept this logic that as we age our speed would diminish there is little to prove that this true. Today senior marathoners are flooding the marathon corrals. They even clock better timings than their younger counterparts, so what then what is it that slows us down?

A study states that muscles can be reinvigorated to perform at peak levels at any age if the person follows the right type of strength training. As we grow older our aerobic capacity decreases and with each passing decade it reduces by a further 10%. So while an octagenarian runner might have better aerobic capacity than a sedentary 40-year-old, there is still an amount of training that needs to be done to ensure that the body is in tune.

Strengthen the Muscles

So what is it that really slows us down as we age. With regular exercise, aerobic capacity can be improved or maintained – so that means you can keep up your pace. There is evidence that shows that muscles in the lower legs age earlier than others. That means that without adequate care the muscles will start losing strength and subsequently lead to injury. The two most important muscles that should be focussed on are the ankle and calf muscles. If these muscles are not strong enough then the chances of Achilles tendon and calf injuries tend to increase.

Weight

Another reason why we tend to run slower is our weight. As we grow older our metabolism slows down and the ability to lose weight reduces. Fit people who eat slowly, include protein and vegetables in their meals and watch their junk food intake will not have this issue. But if you don’t watch your food quality and quantity then maintaining a healthy weight becomes an issue. Running when you are overweight comes with its own range of injuries.

Motivation

One of the biggest reasons people slow down as runners when they grow older is actually the lack of motivation. One starts to become more conscious and careful to avoid injury and in the process, they stop doing the exercises which would help them avoid those injuries. Changing your mindset is the best way to stay active at any age.

Take the time to smell the roses but keep running because age doesn’t slow you down only your mind does.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

 

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Training Comments (0) |

Recovery for Senior Runners

Senior runners often battle fatigue more often than their younger counterparts, so what kind of recovery can help, asks Nandini Reddy.

For any runner if the body is allowed ample rest and nutrition then it recovers more effectively. Older runners will experience greater damage to their muscles when they have finished a half or full marathon. The extended recovery time should be accounted for in the training itself.

The Rest Period

The rule of thumb for senior runners is 1 week of recovery for every 10k run. For a full marathon it is important to get a full 4 weeks of recovery with little or no strain on the body. The light recovery exercises can include stretches, body weight training and walking. If you have run a full or half marathon, try not to do any sort of exercise for the first week. After that you can start working on light exercises that utilize your body weight and are low intensity. After the recovery period is finished you can also consider adding weight training to ensure that your muscles are strengthened.

The Nutrition Factor

There can be no recovery without nutrition. In the early recovery phase, pay more attention to carbohydrates and proteins. These will help you recover faster as the glycogen is required for your muscles to rebuild and repair damage.

Sleep Factor

Sleep is an important recovery component and getting at least 6 hours of sleep is mandatory if you are in the recovery period. Your muscles have the maximum recovery while you sleep and your body recovery tends to slow down if you do not sleep well. So remember getting that shut eye might just be the one factor that you are missing in your recovery routine.

Use a Coach

Sometimes our ambition might get ahead of us so it is important to have a coach who can monitor progress and give suggestions of exercises and running schedules that are suitable for your age and body condition. Even if you have run world famous marathons, the idea is to re-adapt your training to your current body and age. So its important to have a coach or at least be part of group so that you get tips on recovery and training runs.

While these are broad guidelines to recovery for senior runners, you need to remember that you should always listen to your body. If you need more time than your running partner then take it. There is no wisdom in causing further damage because of inadequate recovery.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

Read more