Ultra Running in your 40s and beyond
How to juggle life, work and family with your desire to run long!
My ultra career first started when I was lucky enough to enter the Marathon des Sables in 2010. I actually had two years to train for the race and with my work, family and social life, I am so pleased I had that extra time. It allowed me to fit in being a Mum, Wife and friend to those that were close to me. My training was tough, as I ran everywhere around Richmond, London, UK, carry a heavy 9kg back pack to mimic my conditions in my race. I entered several races to train for the MdS and not only realized I was actually reasonably good at this running long thing but I really loved it.
Since then, I have run several long races, probably one per year to give me my fix as well as my long fun runs in the Rockies. I do love that sense of running far, and how it puts your body and mind through extreme conditions. And at the end of the run, you can be buzzing with elation, unable to walk or move properly, but knowing that you can do anything. That pure sense of achievement and defying your own mind when it screams "NO" at you, is an amazing feeling.
My goal now for this coming year is to train smarter than I have before. My training has sort of fitted in where I could. I completed over 120km a week for about 6 weeks running up to Sinister 7 and Lost Souls for the last two years. But being slightly more mature now, I feel I need to be sensible because I really want to keep running this year, next and into my 60s, 70s and even 80s! So this year is all going to be abut quality and not quantity.
Here are my 6 simple tips to keep you juggling work, life, family and running long when in your 40s and beyond.
1. Put a plan in place for your training. Commit to it!
This is key. Work on when you can train and have the flexibility to workout. Encourage your partner to try to understand your reasons for running long. To be honest you do not have to enter all these races, look at running some of the distances that have FKT (Fastest Known Time) attached to them and train for these. Also do not forget to add in strength work that is suitable for running. Include compound movements, that are just not one movement or isolate just one muscle. Add in running drills to improve your form and think about how you feel when you run. Get back to basics.
2. Children are training - how about working out as well?
So your children have soccer, ice hockey or some other practice. Why not work out when they are working out? You don't have to do this every time, but twice a week would be great to add in to your plan.
3. Eat smart and healthily.
This is a no brainer. We are what we eat. Eat well more than 80% of the time and it will have a huge impact on your running. Consume a good 5 a day in fruit and vegetables. Don't eat too many sweets or drink too much, as this all has an impact on your fitness and running.
4. Split your long run days into two to fit into life
You can always split your long days into two, so you run a 10k in the morning and then again in the evening. It just depends on how you can fit in these long runs with your life commitments.
5. No day is a rest day. Do something every day, keep moving!
I do not mean that you should be running everyday, but doing something like stretching gently, improving your flexibility, rolling out, doing some focused gluteal, core or back work should be added into your daily routine. Spending 10 minutes a day will really help to keep you moving.
6. Time on your feet, it all counts!
Even on your down/active rest days add in a walk. It all counts as time on your feet and will help with your running goals.
If you are an older runner, this is actually one of the best times of your running life. You are certainly stronger, more patient, resilient versus your younger counter parts. If you ensure that you train smart, look after your body, eat well, include some cross training in your plan and let go of any guilt or peer pressure, you can be running at your peek for some years to come. Enjoy!!
If you would like help with a training plan that fits into your life, I would love to help you out. Call me now to chat through your plans and lifestyle.