I had a picture in my mind of myself, long, lean and running easily. One day, I noticed in the mirror at the gym that I was not far from that image. OMG! Could I give it a try, I wondered?
Of course, the ‘toned’ bits weren’t there, since I’d left my run a bit late. But skimpy silk shorts and top are not an essential ingredient in running. No reason not to preserve my secrets in pants.
I reached down “Run Your Butt Off” from the bookshelf where it’s been languishing for a few years. Not a good title, because as most women will know, butts disappear as we age, so what we want is to “run your butt ON”. And the extra muscle that you acquire will do that for you.
But the book is a great resource that makes clear that running is possible at any stage, and there’s lots of information and support for the beginner. Do remember that you’re not 30 any longer, and you may need even more time than the book suggests.
I’ve chosen to start my running at the gym on a treadmill. That way, I can check my pulse, and condition my heart, making sure I don’t drop dead on the road. I make sure my pulse is returning to an acceptable level in a reasonable amount of time before increasing run/walk time.
This programme is a clever way to gently ease your body and mind into running. It starts with a simple walk. When you can walk 30 minutes nonstop, then you start to add in short runs. First it’s 4 minutes walk + 1 minute run. You do that 4 more times and finish with 4 minutes walk. The pace is kept deliberately slow.
You take as many days or weeks as you need to be able to manage this, then it’s time to go up a notch. The intervals of walking get shorter and the running gets longer, until finally you can run 30 minutes nonstop.
I’m not sticking to the plan exactly because I thought I needed a bit longer to get my heart conditioned a bit better. But after 3 weeks, I’m comfortably running 1½ minutes and walking 3 over a ½ hour. At first I was exhausted by the end of it, but now I feel great.
So while I’m not up for a marathon yet, and in fact have no intention of ever running one, I know it won’t be long before I can go for a quick run when I’ve been sitting at the computer for half the day. Already my back, pelvis and hips feel much looser and less cemented together.
A bit further into the plan I’m thinking to have a look at Master’s Athletics and who knows what new friends and interests could be lurking there.
So running is certainly a possibility, no matter what age and stage you’re at. It can be as gentle as you want, done at exactly your pace, and over as long a period as seems suitable for you. And you might even find that it’s possible to keep up with the grandkids.