By Curt Davies
As your body begins to age, you may notice you aren’t as “able” to train as much as you were when you were in your 20s (or younger). That’s not to say you should quit running at all (quite the opposite, actually), but slight adjustments to your training pattern should be considered, especially as some of the physical attributes to your body begin to hinder, such as your aerobic capacity, metabolism slows, and your body fat increases.
These are a few of the different effects aging can have on your body, and is more evident with marathon runners. Not to worry: I’m going to help you see the light with your marathon running training, by providing you with some tips you can use to enhance your marathon running.
1. Take more rest days.
At this stage, I’m not sure if you like the sound of this idea or not. Nevertheless, it’s something I feel important, particularly as you get older. Let’s face it: you’re not getting younger, and your body is becoming more and more fragile as the years pass. Consequently, it may be time for you to consider cutting back on the training days in total, and having extra rest to help your body recuperate for a better quality training session.
Although it may sound counterproductive, you’re actually doing your body a disservice if you train too much without enough rest. This will help prevent any form of stress fracture, or other injury resultant of working your body too hard.
2. Warm up.
Oftentimes, training can feel just as tiring as the marathon itself, which is why it’s important to warm up before training. As your muscle mass reduces as you enter the 30s and older, it’s crucial to treat your muscles with absolute delicacy and give them the treatment they deserve.
Before and after you train, you need to stretch to protect the muscles and the elasticity, which aren’t as guarded as they were when you were younger. Don’t worry – we all have to do it sooner or later as we age!
3. Don’t overwork yourself.
Running marathons (or running in general) is a very delicate sport, and unless you treat it as so, you’re likely going to be prone to an injury, such as stress fractures and pulled muscles – which is exactly what you DON’T want to do before a marathon (or ever, for that matter). When you train and plan your training, don’t feel obliged to complete every aspect you plan. It’s good to set goals, but sometimes you have to take a look at your goals and think rationally about them.
If you find yourself unable to complete a training session, don’t be disheartened. You could either just be having a bad day, or are simply not capable of training as much as you had anticipated. Don’t go out of your way and complete a training session simply because it’s what you wanted to achieve. Only you know your body, so it’s up to you to decide when you’ve had enough. There is no shame in not completing a training session: as long as you tried your hardest and put in a solid effort into the training. Don’t risk injury out of pride; it’s simply not worth it.
4. Variety is key.
Training for a marathon does not necessarily mean spending your time at a gym lifting weights, on a treadmill or other typical training techniques for runners. In fact, it is highly recommended (particularly for those over 30) to diversify yourself with different training varieties. This includes aerobic running, cycling, and swimming, among many others you can try out. These types of trainings help expose your body to different circumstances which overall increase endurance
and fitness level, which is important when running marathons.
5. Prepare for the worst.
One of the things I like to do the most is, when the weather is atrocious and everyone else is inside in front of the fire place with a warm cup of hot chocolate, I like to exit my comfort zone and train in those conditions. Anyone over the age of 30 can find this to be incredibly helpful to the success of your marathon, as it prepares you for what could potentially happen when running.
Unfortunately, marathons do not cater to the conditioning humans thrive on, which means it’s crucial to expose your body to harsher conditions and get used to them… embrace them, even. Not only does it help you in preparation for these circumstances, but it will also add perception to how easy it is running in modest conditions. If the weather is nice when it comes to marathon day, your experience will be far more enjoyable and tranquil which should result in a better
If you’re over the age of 30 and training for a marathon, I would highly recommend you execute these tips practically. Your body will thank you for it and you will perform better.
Curt Davies is a marathon enthusiast at marathondriven.com. His site is stacked with information and other goodies regarding marathon running and training for those over the age of 30. For more, visit marathondriven.com.
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Check out my book: The Summit Seeker
Stay tuned for my next book: Daughters of Distance