Physio demand is high due to NHS waiting Lists. Book Now

0121 270 6045

How to run faster and longer for over 50s?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024

Posted in Active Life | Posted by philevans

Are you running frequently but would like to increase your speed and distance of runs?

As we age, embracing the motto ‘move it or lose it’ becomes more crucial. Getting older doesn’t mean you have to slow down or give up on your running goals. Running is a fantastic way to maintain health, boost your energy levels, and keep your mind sharp well into your 50s and beyond. I’m here to share 7 expert tips and strategies to help you defy the ageing process and run faster and longer, no matter your age. 

Tip1: Importance of Proper Warm-up and Stretching

First things first: always start with a warm-up. This is especially important for older runners, as our muscles and joints need a little extra TLC. Warm-up exercises reduce the risk of injuries by boosting circulation and enhancing range of movement. Start with 5 to 10 minutes of light aerobic activity like brisk walking or cycling, followed by dynamic stretches such as leg swings and gentle lunges. Equally important is the cool-down phase, where stretching helps increase flexibility and aids in recovery, focusing on the hamstrings, calves and quads. Trust me, your legs will thank you later.

Tip 2: Building Endurance and Stamina

The key here is to take things slow and steady. Gradually increase the duration and distance of your running distance and time each week. Begin with a manageable duration, say 20 minutes, and extend this time by about 10% weekly. Don’t be afraid to incorporate interval training into your training as this can also enhance endurance and speed and keep things interesting. This involves alternating between high-intensity sprints and periods of walking or jogging, providing a balanced challenge that improves cardiovascular health. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can improve your stamina by following a structured training plan that includes a mix of long runs, speed work, and recovery days.

Tip 3: Strength training

This is crucial for runners of all ages but especially important for those over 50. Many people think that the key to becoming better runners is to log more miles. But let me tell you, strength training is absolutely essential, and skipping it is a big mistake. As we age, our muscle mass and bone density naturally starts to decline (sarcopenia). Running alone isn’t enough to combat sarcopenia and strengthen your muscles and bones. In fact, neglecting strength training can actually accelerate muscle loss and increase the risk of injuries. 

So, what should you be doing? Focus on exercises that target your legs, hips and trunk, such as squats, lunges and single-leg strengthening movements. Try to Incorporate these exercises several times a week, and you’ll soon start to notice a difference in your running efficiency and overall strength. Don’t be afraid to add light weights or resistance bands, which can further challenge your muscles. 

So don’t let sarcopenia slow you down. Make strength training a regular part of your routine, and watch as your running performance and overall health improve, especially if you’re over 50.

Tip 4: Running Form and Technique

When it comes to running form, the basics still apply, regardless of age, and are essential for running efficiency. Keep your head up, your shoulders relaxed, and your arms swinging gently at your sides. Focus on landing softly on the balls of your feet and ensure your arms swing at your sides. Steps should be light and quick, which will help joint impact and will improve speed. 

Tip 5: Nutrition and Hydration

None of the above matters if you’re not fueling your body with the right nutrients. Ensure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates. Timing your meals is also important – snack on easily digestible foods like bananas or energy bars before your run, and don’t forget to refuel with a mix of protein and carbs afterwards. Adequate hydration is also essential. Make sure you drink water throughout the day and consider electrolyte drinks for longer runs to replenish lost salts.  

Tip 6: Recovery and Injury Prevention

Recovery is as important as the run itself, especially for older runners. Rest days are essential for muscle repair and growth, and should be an integral part of any training regime. Listen to your body and take at least 2 rest days per week to prevent overuse injuries. Try some active recovery activities like yoga, or swimming to keep your muscles loose and your mind relaxed.  It’s also important to use proper running shoes that provide adequate support, replacing them every 300-500 miles. If you do feel an injury coming on, don’t push through the pain; take a break, seek help if needed, and come back stronger than ever. 

Tip 7: Mental Preparation and Motivation

Mental resilience is just as important as physical stamina in running. Setting achievable goals and celebrating achievements can greatly enhance motivation. Joining a running group or partnering with a friend can also provide the necessary encouragement and support to keep you moving forward. Setting realistic, specific, and measurable goals provides clear milestones and motivation. Remember, every run is a step in the right direction, no matter how small.

So there you have it – 7 top tips to running faster and longer for over 50s. Running in your 50s is not only possible but can be incredibly rewarding. With the right training plan, mindset, and a little bit of determination, you can

Absolutely! You can definitely increase your running speed after your 50s with the right training approach. Focus on consistent training, incorporating speed work like interval training, and strength training to help you become a faster runner. Good nutrition, adequate rest, and recovery are also key to improving performance and speed at any age.

Training for a 5k in your 50s should focus on gradually building endurance, incorporating strength training together with good nutrition and adequate recovery. Include a variety of workouts such as long slow runs, speed interval sessions, and perhaps one or two days of lighter activity or cross-training. Make sure to incorporate rest days to allow your body to recover and adapt. If you’re new or are returning to running, start with a mixture of walking and running, gradually increasing the running intervals as your fitness improves. If you need some motivation check out the couch to 5k programme.

The ideal frequency of running for a 50 year old depends on the individual fitness levels, goals, recovery needs and medical needs. Generally 3-4 days a week can be sufficient to build endurance and strength with rest days or cross-training activities in between. As your body adapts, you may be able to increase the frequency, but always prioritise quality over quantity and always listen to your body.

This depends on your current fitness levels, fitness goals, health status and personal preferences. If you’re new to exercise, brisk walking is a great way to build cardiovascular endurance and muscle tone, with a lower risk of injury, and prepares you for running. Many people find that a combination of both walking and running works best, but be sure to incorporate rest days and cross-training to prevent overuse injuries.

Absolutely! It’s never too late to start running, even if you’re in your 50s or older. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise programs, especially if you have underlying health conditions. Begin with shorter, less intense runs to allow your body to adapt to the new activity. With proper training, recovery and a positive attitude, you can enjoy the many benefits of running at any age.

Contact us

If you experience knee pain or discomfort before, whilst or after running, contact us on 0121 270 6045. Coming to see us early can prevent injury or help you start running when you didn’t think you could. Take advantage of our free consultation.


Also worth reading…