How to start running at 50

An aged man running on embankment

Grabbing your running shoes, joining the local running club, making your own running routine – there’s no excuse, it can all be done – no matter your age

As long as you can run you should run. Running is a limitless benefit, one that can be improved time and time again, no matter what number reads next to your age on social media. Admittedly, I am underplaying the hardships of reaching a certain age… and 50 certainly justifies the hard part.

But just because you’ve slowed, just because you have more considerations now doesn’t mean you can’t. From strength training to half marathon techniques, there’s so much you can do to help combat the hurdles of an older age. It’s not about hitting it hard to play catch up it’s about taking those baby steps that you took in the first place.

Let’s see how being a part of the older runners category might not be the disadvantage you think it is.

Let’s get physical

Usually, I’d suggest that most runners look into a running program and get their prep sorted. And in a way, I am. It’s just… this time, it’s not only about the right race day meal or perfect running shoes, today, you should also get a physical check-up first. It’s so important to check your vitals, detect any weak points, and spot potential risks. This isn’t however, to simply identify whether you should be running or not – it’s to identify potential tools to help you run for longer.

But before that, yes it is important to check for more serious illnesses, health concerns or bodily flaws. You don’t want to reach your PB only to find you’ve reached your heart’s limit and… well, let’s just say you wouldn’t be reaching another PB after that. Do the right thing, and incorporate a check-up into your running plan – running pressure’s one thing, blood pressure is another.

Cross training plan

One thing you may have noticed as you’ve gotten older, especially when it comes to cardio stuff, is that your strength may have deteriorated. Running clubs, a local running store, the right running track – none of them really matter if how you engage with each is going to amount to disappointment. You want to get your strength up by utilising the power, strengthening potential and supportive aids of different exercises.

Workouts like skipping or cycling, weight lifting, or yoga – all contribute to your body’s wider fitness ability and give you more than a boost when it comes to running.

All aboard

The right plan to train with is exactly what you need. It sounds obvious, but there’s so much in the way of training plan variety out there, it can be very hard to not get lost in it all. It’s like getting the right train at a busy station, except, at least with the wrong train, you’ll be going somewhere. Select the right plan for you with things like cross-training intensity, type, and frequency. The right diet, rest days, and lifestyle accommodating – it’s all down to you, so because you know yourself better than anyone else, it’s actually easier than you think.


Younger runners can think about themselves for a second, and hey, they don’t know how easy they have it. Nobody said it would be easy, but nobody said it would be impossible either. Just do the research, take your time, and get outside to run smart, not just hard.


Are older runners beginner runners if they haven’t trained in a long time?

Not necessary. An ex-runner could have a lot in the way of knowledge, strength, etc but just need to re-train to get back to where they were.

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