Coming to Running: Building the Base

running at 40, 50, 60 ,70 years old!

What is training about? A proportion of training for everyone should concern ‘establishing a base’.

Just like a house, a running practice needs a firm foundation to help limit future problems. By ‘problems’ we mean injury. You are most likely to get injured when you are fatigued or when you have some unexpected stress on the body – for example from a slip or fall.

To battle fatigue you need to build-up endurance. To reduce the impact of unexpected stresses on the body you need a bit of extra strength.

So building up the base is quite simple.

Run regularly, a bit further each week to build up endurance.

Run at low intensity. Running hard and fast is not necessary. At low intensity, recovery is much quicker. Running at low intensity you are less likely to catch an injury. What is low intensity? I use heart rate as a measure. Zone 2 and 3 are OK. Sometimes I find my heartrate bumps up into zone 4, then I put on the breaks and walk a bit.

In fact walking is good – a stiff walk contributes nicely.

Do a few strength exercises.

You don’t need too much of this. The objective is not to build muscle mass that you have to carry around when you are running.

The purpose is to have stability in the hips and knees and core such that a trip will not cause too much damage. A bit of strength in the shoulders is good to. There are lots of options for exercise, 4 or 5 to address these areas is all that is required. Some repeats, a few times a week.

Recovery is key.

It is easy to believe that you must train harder as you get older. Otherwise how can you get results? The fact is, if you don’t recover between training sessions, your performance is likely to get worse in spite of spending more effort.

Speedy and effective recovery is the free gift that comes with a good base!

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