1. Keep running. A 2008 Stanford study confirmed that runners suffer fewer disabilities, are 7 times less likely to require knee replacement, suffer less cancer and neurological problems, and are half as likely as non-runners to die early. Running also delays age-related disabilities by almost 2 decades and does NOT lead to increased hip, back or knee problems.
2. Maintain your stride. As we age our stride rate remains about the same, but our stride length decreases due to workouts that fail to produce enough power to generate a longer stride and decreased range of motion in hips and knees. Form drills (high knees, bounding, butt kicks, etc.) and hill repeats are great to add to workouts to produce power and increase range of motion.
3. Run hard. One or two weekly session of hard running can maintain, or recapture, much of our speed.
4. Train heavy. Strength train to prevent age-related loss of muscle mass and strength.
5. Rewire your system. Balance training (or tai chi for a dynamic approach), resistance training for opposing muscles, and training at varied paces are ways to rewire and create more efficient running bodies.
6. Stay healthy. It takes years to develop running fitness - don't rush it, pushing too hard can lead to injury. Stretching is also essential for avoiding injuries. An ounce of prevention - washing hands, healthy diet, stretching - all help keep us healthy. It takes time to recover for injury and illness - make peace with downtime.
7. Recovery, recovery, recovery. Recovery is a multi-layered strategy for ensuring that we benefit from the training that we do. 15 minutes after a workout replenish muscle glycogen, rehydrate and do static stretching. Get enough sleep at night. Recover between hard workouts. Find ways to recover from the daily grind.
8. Embrace change. Change happens - to our bodies, families, careers, finances, friends, etc.
9. Eat to run. Best diet for endurance lifers is one we can run with. Fruits, vegetable, carbs, proper hydration - a diet should not cause stress and suffering. It should satisfy hunger, replenish energy stores, provide building blocks for our cells, keep our bodies in balance and - taste good.
10. Keep it fun! Run with friends, join a club, cross-train, volunteer at a race - do whatever it takes to ensure there's a next run.
Running isn't a sport, it's a lifestyle.
Do you have any strategies to add to the list?
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