It’s not just a cliche, age is just a number and because of this I refuse to let it define me. When it comes to running, it’s never too late to start. I didn’t begin my journey into long distance running until I had leveled up (I refer to my age as a level-just embrace my delusions of awesomeness) to 29 and ran my first half marathon at 30 and my first full marathon and Tough Mudder at 31. My mentor and “running dad” was in his 50’s when he ran his first half and full marathon and he could leave me in the dust. At 60 he ran Boston.
I’m in my late 30’s now and I’m running faster than I have ever ran in my life. I’m crushing PR’s left and right and getting stronger and stronger each day. This could either be because I’m secretly growing stronger from a radioactive spider that’s given me super human strength or because hard work and dedication has paid off.
Starting At Level 30
Nearly a decade ago when I began my journey my father voiced his concerns to the extreme of saying I was too old and was going to kill myself. All these years later he STILL worries even though I’m in the best shape and most healthy I’ve ever been in my life. So many people told me I was crazy, going to fail, or shouldn’t begin my journey. Many of them, like good old Dad were just genuinely concerned. I chose to ignore them, do my own research and move forward. It was one of the best choices I ever made.
Managing The Discomfort of Leveling Up
Running can be hard on your body, but there’s a lot you can do to overcome the physical challenges presented. Joint pain is something that you develop as you age. You can’t evade the wear and tear or the toll your joints have taken, but you can nurture those hurts. Turmeric is a great natural option to battle the inflammation issues with joints. I went from being in a ton of discomfort after hard runs to literally feeling almost no joint pain at all.
Physiologically, we all begin to lose muscle mass at a rate of 1 percent per year beginning at age 28. The way we can counteract this is with strength training, which was something new for me. I’ve only even applied this in the last few years, but as I creep closer to level 40 I can feel how much I benefit from it. It’s not as easy to pick up weights as it was in my 20’s, but the payoff is certainly worth it.
When I’m overly sore, or my joints are suffering unusual aches I will give myself an unscheduled rest day. If I’m starting to feel burnt out I will adjust my schedule for the week and give myself more low key workouts and runs. Sometimes I’ll take an entire week off running and hit the elliptical so I’m still getting cardio, but it’s low impact. Listen to your body and honor it’s protests and always consult with a physician if any discomfort in any way persists.
Why Start Running When We’re Older?
There’s a camaraderie among runners. As different as we all are. Though our backgrounds, our ages, and our personalities are diverse there’s something that drives us to go out and push ourselves and our limits. I think there’s also also something attractive about it being singular activity. The community is great and group runs and support is motivational, but I think as we level up we tend to enjoy our own company and getting to know ourselves better. When we’re younger we tend to seek out groups and socializing more. As I’ve aged I’ve learned to love running by myself.
Aside from all the physical benefits you have developed this great opportunity to be alone with yourself more. When you are on mile 15 and it’s 80 degrees and humid you have never been more naked. There is no better opportunity for you discover parts of yourself you didn’t even know existed.
So….Level Up With Me…No Excuses
You are never too old to start running. Any time is a good time to start or even start over. Granted with age it may be more difficult to instigate a kick start and take a little longer to grow your strength, but the payoff’s and overall benefits are worth it.