50 Plus Fierce

3 Training Tips for Mature Runners and Walkers

group of people running in marathon

If you’re an older runner or a mature walker, you may be interested in a marathon, half-marathon, or other endurance event but you wonder if it’s a safe and smart goal. First and foremost, you need to know that the benefits of an active lifestyle for older adults are well-documented.

Fitness can improve bone health, help you manage body weight, promote cardiovascular and heart health, and even improve mental health. However, the needs of our bodies change after we reach certain milestones in age. Check in with your doctor, then check out these training recommendations to get started. 

Training for a Marathon After 50

When you’re 50+, there are three methods you can easily employ to get yourself back into running shape. These three training tips are simple, easy to remember, and can get you in the best shape of your life. The tips include:

  1. Smart training 
  2. Cross training 
  3. Complete training 

Used in conjunction, you’ll be making the most of listening to your body, using all of your muscle groups, and increasing mobility alongside flexibility while training for an event like the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.

What is Smart Training?

Although smart training is often confused with S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) training, each training type serves different purposes. In this context, smart training focuses on listening to your body as you train. 

Before starting your new exercise program, first, check in with your body for any lingering aches and pains, and then check in with your doctor before making a commitment to your new program. One way to train smart is to get an evaluation from a physical therapist before you take on a new regimen.

50+ Smart Training

Once you get the go-ahead, you can begin your training regimen. A good general recommendation is first to work towards the goal of 150-300 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise. This is when you can begin implementing the S.M.A.R.T. training methodology to accomplish short-term goals and eventually reach your long-term goal of running or walking in the marathon.

Remember, as you’re adjusting to this new training regimen, a proper warm-up and cooldown are essential to your body’s long-term health and wellness. 

What is Cross Training?

You may have heard a lot about cross-training in the mid-2000. Since its initial spurt in popularity, many people have noticed that it’s actually a hugely effective way of getting in marathon shape, especially for mature walkers and runners. 

The exercise methodology incorporates using different muscle groups than the main groups you’d be using in standard weight-lifting or cardio classes. Doing so can empower your workouts to complement each other to work all your major and minor muscle groups.

50+ Cross Training

The best exercise involves all muscle groups. Don’t just run or walk. Expand your horizons and try new and different ways to get in shape that empower the whole body. Go off-road with your training and take it to the pool, the tennis courts, or a hiking trail.

Incorporate new movements as your comfort in your traditional training grows. Just because you’re 50+ and comfortable in how you’ve worked out before doesn’t mean you can’t involve new movements to improve your form and exercise. 

What is Complete Training?

Complete training complements smart training and cross-training. During complete training, you ensure that your muscles have the increased flexibility and balance to take on new challenges. Just like warm-ups, cool-downs, and balances between cardio and strength, complete training ensures your body is holistically prepared for the challenges ahead.

50+ Complete Training

Complete training, when you’re 50+ should involve progressions just like every other exercise modality. Start small and use your smart training to build on the foundation of the balance and flexibility you already have. Can’t stand on one foot while brushing your teeth? Begin by setting your foot on a raised surface on the ground and decrease the weight on the surface.

Bringing it Together

Smart training, cross-training, and complete training complement each other to help individuals who are 50+ reach their fitness goals. However, you don’t have to put your regimen together alone if you have questions. You can find helpful training guidance at the Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center – where many of our marathon members get in race shape and learn how to train their bodies.

Ready to Race?

Read the article, made your plan, and ready to run in the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon? Register today!

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