No matter what you may think, the power to clock those miles and kilometres is deep inside you. Running enthusiast Tara Imerson explains how even you (yes, you) can use the power of running to your advantage.
I firmly believe that for women – especially those over the age of 45 – running is a basic fitness skill that will lead to a plethora of other health benefits. When I speak to groups of women, whether they be made up of fitness enthusiasts, those new to fitness, or those who haven’t given exercise a second thought, I often get the same response: “But I’m not a runner.” Discouraging to hear, yes, but defining what a runner truly is can be different for everyone. No matter what, I always stress that being able to run one kilometre straight without breaks is a skill that every person should have – and be proud to have. Why? Let me break it down for you.
THE LIFE ROADS YOU TRAVEL
Many recreational activities, from playing racquet sports, to pick-up games of baseball, to kicking the ball around the park with your children, to simply following your kids around, require a basic level of running. After all, who wants to get left out because they cannot keep up? The beauty of running is that it is an activity that can be done anytime, anywhere – in a group for support and camaraderie, or solo in your down time – and there is little financial investment beyond a good pair of shoes. Combined with a good eating plan that provides sufficient carbs for fuel with a balanced amount of protein and fat, running can be an excellent way to either help you maintain weight or shed extra pounds. It’s cyclical – weight loss aids running and running aids weight loss. It is truly a win-win situation!
A RUNNING LEGACY
So, let’s talk about the 40- plus female runner. You’ll notice that over the past few years this demographic has seen a huge boost within regional, national, and even international races. On a personal level, the bonuses you will reap are far greater than the feeling you’ll get crossing the finish line. Lifelong friendships will be made with women – and men – who are in the same ambitious stage of life. Many of the people you will encounter will be through the time-consuming childcare stage, set in their careers, and with enough free time to maintain a leisurely quality of life – quite possibly similar to where you are now. Even if you’ve never run a race before there is absolutely nothing to be intimidated about. I have trained multiple clients for events, from their first 5K to the Boston Marathon. Each December my clients and I travel to sunny Barbados to extend our running season. There we take part in Run Barbados, a marathon series that includes a 5K walk, 5K and 10K runs, and half (21.1 km) and full (42.2 km) marathons. Whether you decide on Barbados or another international locale, a destination run
is a great reward for your hard training. Registering for a race sets a finite goal for you to work toward and makes your training a reality. You do not just show up and race; you cannot cram training. Choose your goal and work backwards from the date, following a program that enough time to ensure your success.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR VICTORY
Before you get started, invest in a good set of running shoes. If you can, get fitted by a professional at a running store. Discuss with them your current ability and what your distance goal is, and share which type of terrain you are running – a flat road, the varied hills of a park, or a bumpy, rough trail. Follow these tips as you set up your personal training routine:
- Start gradually. Train no more or less than two to three times per week to avoid burning out.
- Focus on time and not distance. Tackle a 30-minute walk/run program to ease you into it. Start with a short warm-up and end with a brief cooldown, stretching all major muscle groups.
From there, start recording your distance and add one to two minutes each week until you reach your distance goal. Does this sound totally doable?
You betcha! To keep positive and stay on course, do not:
- Worry about your pace time in the beginning.
PHOTOS BY CHRIS V. LINTON (@CHRISVLINTON)