Lifelong runners train for a lifetime and running becomes a lifestyle. Running through a lifetime demands overcoming and conquering many challenges from ageing to work stress and busy life schedule. Most lifelong runners actually use running not only to stay fit and healthy, but also to release stress and manage life pressure. We need to follow some strategies that are as good as our motivation to keep running for life. There are so many benefits in lifelong running and training, we just need to find the right motivation skills and appreciate all the health benefits that will keep us fit and healthy for a lifetime.
Tips to Run for a Lifetime
1. Keep Running: To run for a lifetime can change our life and body completely. Some people worry that as we are getting older it might have some negative impact on our body; the opposite is what happens. Running regularly, for a lifetime helps to improve blood pressure, it makes our bones stronger and denser, like a treatment for osteoporosis. If we run reasonably it also can prevent fractures of the hips and spine. Running forever makes our lungs stronger, and makes our physical reserve stronger.
- Running delays age-related disabilities
- Runners are seven times less likely to need knee replacement
- Running lowers the risk of cancer and neurological issues
- Runners will increase their chances of a longer life by 50% than non-runners
2. Include Time for Recovery: If we don’t look after our body, runners will not get all the benefits from all the training.
- Post-Workout: Runners need to replenish their body post-run; stretch, rehydrate and refuel with protein and carbs to recover the muscles and body.
- Sleep: Getting enough sleep repairs cell and muscle damage, strengthen the immune system, increases the flexibility. Not enough sleep can lead to injuries and illnesses.
- Rest Days: Including a weekly rest day will allow the body to adapt to hard training sessions and long runs. It also helps repair damaged muscle fibres and tissue.
3. Include Higher Intensity Sessions: We start to lose muscle mass at around 25 years old. Our slow-twitch (endurance) muscle fibres are resistant to aging, fast-twitch (speed and power) muscle fibres lower at a rate of 1%/year after 25 years old. Including fast interval training session at least once per week will help to prevent the fibre shrinkage. A weekly speed training session can will also help maintain much of our speed.
4. Maintain your Stride: As we age, our stride length tends to shorten by up to 40% as we get closer to 70 years old. We need to focus on maintaining our proper running form, stride length and cadence in order to avoid a decreased range of motion in our hips and knees.
5. Keep your Muscle Strength: Runners need to include at least two weekly sessions of strength training to prevent loss of muscle mass and strength. Maintaining our muscle strength and quality increases our endurance training, speed, and running form.
6. Find a Balance: Listening to our body to make sure we don’t over or under train is crucial to keep running for a lifetime. We need to adapt to all the changes that happen to our body, whether it’s ageing, health, work schedule, family schedule, whatever affects our daily life. As long as we keep training and adapt to the reality of our lives, we will succeed in our long-term training.
7. Make it Fun: Run with friends, pick a race goal and train for it, cross-train, volunteer at a race or support a friend, keep a running log to stay motivated. Enjoy running for a lifetime:)