Skip to main content

Older marathoners lead by example

November 4, 2013

On November 3, more than 50,000 runners took to the streets of the Big Apple for the 43rd New York City Marathon. While one might assume the race is exclusively for younger athletes, that is certainly not the case. In fact, marathon officials say that approximately 12,000 runners over 50 - the oldest age 93 - registered for the 26.2 mile race. While seniors certainly don't have to complete a marathon to enjoy the benefits of healthy aging, they can take a few cues from older runners when looking for encouragement to stay active, The Huffington Post reported.

Any bit counts
Ken Rosen recently offered some advice to older runners, and he certainly knows a thing or two about pounding the pavement. The 61-year-old has run every New York City Marathon since 1979. He says older adults who are new to running should take things slowly and build up to a point where they feel comfortable.

"I don't see age as being any sort of barrier to running a marathon. ... If you can run two blocks, run two blocks," he told the new source. "Before you know it you'll be able to run three and then more. You just have to train properly and have the proper attitude."

Train smart
While there's nothing stopping seniors from running, they may want to change the way they train. For instance, experts recommend that older adults take more rest days in between when they run so they can give their muscles and joints more time to recover. Additionally, it's a smart idea to add more variety to one's workout routine. Rather than focusing on running alone, seniors should add in some other exercises like aqua aerobics, biking and swimming to reduce wear and tear, Running For Fitness suggests. 

Experts also recommend that older runners take more time to warm up before they go out for a jog, along with stretching once they've completed their run. Stretching afterward helps protect muscles from injury, which is especially important given that they tend to lose elasticity with age.