How does a 50 year old train for a marathon

“while aging may make it harder to recover from extreme exertion, that doesn’t mean that, with the right training, you can’t tackle the distance for the first time after 50,” says jay bawcom, who has coached dozens of senior runners in the run smart project, an online program that pairs you with a running coach. assuming you get a clean bill of health, you’re perfectly safe to start training for your first marathon, so long as you do so deliberately, carefully, and with a promise to yourself to listen to whatever your body’s telling you throughout the process. if you’ve been fairly fit your whole life, your 50-year-old self will likely run your first marathon slower than you would have at 30. that’s ok. while it’s all highly individualized, aging can change hormones, metabolism, and other aspects of the body’s physiology that seriously hinder its ability to perform and recover, bawcom says. the race has a smaller field, making organization easier, and a fast, net downhill course. “heat also seems to impact runners more as they get older, and this can make training for early fall races a challenge since it means doing big miles during the peak of summer,” bawcom says.




to survive the marathon training cycle, work from either end of the spectrum—focus on shorter runs significantly faster than marathon pace and longer runs significantly slower than marathon pace, bawcom says. “i worked with an over-50 athlete who was extremely prone to injuries,” bawcom says, “and he managed to run under 2:50 by running two to three times a week and cycling the rest.” marathon training at any age is somewhat all-consuming. “healthy proteins and fats, foods with high-quality caloric content, and great hydration should all be part of the plan to keep you fueled.” and then there’s sleep. “when you’re trying to balance running with the rest of life’s demands, you often cut corners in rest and recovery, but that’s a big mistake.” according to bawcom, you’re often better off dropping a mile from your run—and, in doing so, reducing a bit of stress—than you are getting up when your body’s telling you to sleep a few minutes longer. to inspire active participation in the world outside through award-winning coverage of the sports, people, places, adventure, discoveries, health and fitness, gear and apparel, trends and events that make up an active lifestyle.

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