Welcome to Getting Fit at Fifty

My name is Art Davis and I started running in 2007 to lose weight. Check out my before and after photos at the bottom of the page. I ran my first 5K and 10K in 2007 I went on to run my first half Marathon and full Marathon in 2008.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Running After the Age of 40

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." - Mark Twain

 Running is one of the best ways to improve your overall physical fitness, balance, and muscle tone as you age. It is also one of the easiest ways to get injured. A fellow blogger that I follow recently posted: “Running is what I do in between injuries”.

You are never to old to start or continue a running program. In order to run safely and prevent injuries, you need to understand your physical capacities. As you age your muscle fibers shrink in number and size this is called atrophy. Muscles also become less sensitive to nerve impulses. This may result in decreases to cardiovascular endurance, strength, balance, and coordination. Most athletes start to see some decline by age 40, but the decline depends on more than just age alone. Other factors include genetics, diet, lifestyle, and physical activity levels. Research shows that much of the age-related loss of fitness is actually due to inactivity than age alone.

From the Country Music Marathon in 2011
Older runners who train harder and longer, often wind up with injuries. In the past I have made the mistake of  pushing longer, harder, and not listening to my body. I ended up limping into a doctor’s office, going to physical therapy, and taking pain pills.

 Here are some training tips for running over 40:
  • Slowly increase time and intensity. Ramp up your training more gradually then when you were younger.
  • For older runners, it is important to stay motivated. I find that having to train for a race keeps me motivated.
  • Do not forget to listen to your body. If you notice any pain in your joints, stop and walk.
  • Give your body plenty of time for rest and recovery. You may even find it necessary to take two days to completely recover.
  • Add one high intensity interval per week.
  • Include one or two days of weight training a week.
  • Balance training exercises can help you stay agile and prevent injury.
  • It is important to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.
  • Try to train on smooth and forgiving surfaces, to avoid falls and twisted ankles.
  • Try tracking your workouts in minutes instead of mileage. Include your minutes of cross training such as weight training.
  • Take advantage of your experience and you will not have to train as long or hard, if you run smarter, not harder.
One of my favorite souvenirs from a marathon
Do you have anymore training tips for aging runners?


  1. Great tips, Art. I think for runners over 40, consistency and weight training are critical. I'm also finding that the Maffetone Method is a great base-building tool and will most certainly result in a stronger aerobic capacity, which is a vital stepping stone to intensity. Keep at it! You are an inspiration!


    1. Thanks,
      I will have to check into the Maffetone Method.

  2. Keep it simple. Just do it. Run for fun and for pleasure. Listen to your body and over the years it will tell you all you want to know. I hardly ever stretch, don't use plans, take absolutely no notice of my watch when out running, seldom lift weights and rarely ever run on smooth surfaces. I avoid tarmac, sidewalks and treadmills like the plague (to protect my old joints) doing the majority of my running in hilly off road areas, communing with nature as I go. That's what I love doing and hope to continue doing for the rest of my life. Sorry I can't offer anything more technical!

    1. I like the kiss method - Keep it simple stupid.
      Sometimes that is the best way.