Running After 40
[ Non-fiction : Health/ ]

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I have had a goal of running a marathon for a few years. I started training in earnest to run a marathon 3 years ago. I got up to running eight miles and then I suffered a major injury. I had bursitis in my left hip and I no longer could run.

For many people this would have meant switching to a less impacting form of cardio-vascular training, or perhaps becoming sedentary, but I have been a short distance (2-3 mile) runner for my whole life, so not running would remove a large portion of what I enjoy. This might seem strange to some people, but running produces a cathartic Zen-like state for me.

Sometimes I run with music on and other times I run with the sounds of nature. (I am lucky enough to live in a rural area where I can run the roads without much worry about traffic.) Even with music on, I still am in a trance of sorts; still aware of my surroundings, but on a different plane as well.

When I consulted with a doctor I was told that I should hang up my running shoes and perhaps get on a recumbent bike, so my hip was not agitated. I agreed with him, but knew sooner or later I would be running again. Every few months I would try running; just a mile or two. It was too much. The pain was still there.

Another year went by. A friend suggested I take supplements such as glucosamine to perhaps rebuild my bursa sack. I tried that, but still could not run. I did some research and found that most supplements and vitamins were not absorbed by the body, but merely passed through.

Another friend came to me and told me of a supplement company that had a high absorption rate. I tried their version of glucosamine and within a few weeks I was back to running. I started slowly, but am now up to eight mile runs. I am on a regular training schedule and will run my marathon in October. The main point of all of this is to say that you should not give up on your dreams. You can pursue them in some fashion or another. If I couldn't run, I would have entered a bicycle race or something else, but I strived and searched for a way to regain my quest.

Many people are into running or approach running as a simple way to get back in shape or keep in shape, but most make the mistake of starting out too fast. They recall the last time they ran and decide that a mile or two is a good place to start. They lace up the new running shoes and off they go. Your body takes issue with the sudden impact, and you are soon nursing blisters, a twisted ankle or worse.
As with any physical activity, you should first consult with your doctor before starting a running regiment. Once you have the okay to start, you need to ease into it. The benefits of a regular fitness plan are many, but in order to make it regular, you need to avoid the injuries which come with too quick a start in a program. Start out with three sessions a week and keep each session twenty to thirty minutes long. The first one should be walking only.
Your goal should be to be able to run two to three miles within three months. What we are doing here is getting our bodies used to the effort of getting out the door, so whether you are going a quarter mile or three miles, you want to stay with the time limit of thirty minutes. Your runs should also be spaced out over the week, with at least one day in between runs to allow your body a chance to recover.
For your first week, you should alternate walking and jogging for one minute each. If you find this to be too taxing you can walk for two minutes and jog for one. While you are walking you want to keep a brisk pace in order to keep your heart rate up for a good cardio-vascular workout.
On week two, add one minute of jogging and keep the walking time the same. For week three we are going to add one minute to the jogging time, but also double the walking time. Any time you feel that you are unable to increase the time, keep the same schedule. You are the best judge of how well your body is adapting to the new routine, but also remember that you want to improve your distance and not fall into a rut. For weeks four through twelve, see chart below.

Week# Jogging. Then Walking Total Time
1 1 minute 1 minute 20 minutes
2 2 minutes 1 minute 21 minutes
3 3 minutes 2 minutes 20 minutes
4 4 minutes 2 minutes 24 minutes
5 5 minutes 3 minutes 24 minutes
6 6 minutes 3 minutes 27 minutes
7 6 minutes 2 minutes 24 minutes
8 8 minutes 2 minutes 20 minutes
9 10 minutes 2 minutes 24 minutes
10 12 minutes 1 minute 26 minutes
11 14 minutes 1 minute 30 minutes
12 29 minutes 1 minute 30 minutes

Do not be overly concerned about the distance you are covering during your sessions and donít be splitting hairs about keeping your time exact. As long as you are alternating walking and jogging and keeping the times close to the chart time, you are fine. Increasing your speed can be a goal, if you want it to be, but certainly is not necessary while still getting used to a regular routine. Do not make the mistake of jumping ahead in the schedule. Remember slow and steady finishes the race.

If you have any questions on fitness or running, I will be happy to answer them. Write me or visit my main website
Thanks and enjoy your run.

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