If you’re age 50 or older and are thinking of training for a marathon, here are reasons to go for it!
Are you over age 50 and contemplating running a marathon for the very first time, but are reluctant to train due to “being too old”? There is great news for you.
Thus far, medical science has not come up with any reasons for why people over 50 should not train for a marathon.
Though everybody is an individual and needs to look at unique factors such as a propensity for shin splints from running, there is nothing about age, in and of itself, that precludes long-distance running participation. A major factor is proper training for a marathon.
“There is never a set age for anything; however, I do not recommend to start training for a marathon on your own if you are not an experienced runner,” says Jason Baynes, MD, a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon with Health East Medical Center in Englewood, NJ.
“You should have a trainer or join a running a club to ensure proper technique, stretching and cool-down.”
For the past 30 years in the New York Marathon, men over the age of 65 and women over the age of 45 have consistently improved their times.
There’s also been a significant increase in the number of participants over age 40 during this time period.
The over-40 crowd of male runners jumped from 36 percent of New York Marathon participants between 1980-1989 to 53 percent between 2000-2009. The figure for women was 24 percent to 40 percent.
These study findings are published in a 2011 AGE (official journal of the American Aging Association).
Performances (for the New York Marathon) in men younger than 65 and women younger than 45 have remained stable over the past two decades, while the most marked improvements in time are in the men’s 65-plus group, and in the women’s 45-plus.
With this kind of data, one has to wonder at what point does age truly become an excuse for shuffling around and leading a life replete with inertia.
You don’t have to train for a marathon to have superb cardiovascular fitness.
But if you’ve been thinking of marathon participation simply because it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, then there’s no reason to put this off due to your age.
If you’re over the age of 50 and have been thinking more and more about training for a marathon, it’s time to start looking seriously into this endeavor. A physician’s clearance should be your first step.
In addition to being an on-field physician for many high school football teams, Dr. Baynes has been a team physician for a wide array of professional and collegiate sports teams.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.