Most people who get into running start with a 5K as an initial goal. But then what? On this episode, Rachel and Allan discuss how to train for longer distances.
Let's Say Hello
[00:02:03.700] – Allan Hey, Raz, how are things going?
[00:02:05.890] – Rachel Good, how are you today, Allan?
[00:02:08.800] – Allan I'm doing great. We're not really going to have much of a preamble for this one because I want to get right into the meat of this. I'm going to have my favorite running coach on the show, Rachel Everett.
[00:02:21.070] – Rachel Thank you. Thanks so much. Thanks for having me back.
[00:02:25.840] – Allan So, yeah, to the last time you were on, we talked about training for running, just getting started running. And for most people, that's going to take the form of something like a couch to 5K type program, where they're just building up some basic endurance to be able to do a little over three miles, probably not in the overall training. They might not make it to three miles, but in a race, they would feel confident that they could keep going and complete the 5K, which is a 3.1 miles.
[00:02:55.390] – Allan Today we're going to talk about running longer distances after 40, which is a different beast.
[00:03:03.550] – Rachel A little bit.
[00:03:05.890] – Allan A little bit. It's something that a lot of us do because we we we master the 5K at least, you know, we realize that we're not going to be able to run any faster than we are. So we forget PRs in the 5K and we start looking to longer distances as that next challenge that's going to keep us excited about running. So, you know, we'll talk about some of the basic distances when someone saying, OK, I've run the 5K, what's kind of the things that they could see coming up and training for that, they would be in a really good position to to reach out and do?
[00:03:45.040] – Rachel Well after the 5K is the 10K and then the half marathon. And I lump those two together because they have very similar key points in training that we can talk about today.
[00:03:57.070] – Rachel But before we get to the 10K, I want to celebrate the 5K, in that you've made it this far and you should celebrate your accomplishments because not very many people run 5Ks, but the 5K is actually a special kind of race in and of itself. It's a challenging distance. You can improve your time. You can find different races to support. You can do them all the time. You can do one or two a month or three or four a month if you're so inclined. So the 5K is really kind of like a perfect distance for running in that it will maintain your weight, it'll improve your health. And there's still a lot of joy that you can get out of the 5K for sure.
[00:04:38.530] – Rachel But when you're ready to run longer distances after 40, the 10k I fully recommend is the next step.
[00:04:45.250] – Allan Yeah, and the other thing that I think is really cool about the 5K is when you're in 10k or even marathon shape, the 5K can still be a fun run. It can be a part of the training. So, you take you do a 5K and you use that as your speed or you run. That is an interval set. So you're trying to run faster and then, trying to use that as that.
[00:05:08.350] – Allan Or, when I ran my first marathon, it was the Blue Angels Marathon. The Sunday after that, they had a 5K over the bridge into Pensacola Beach. So since I was already in town, I didn't live in Pensacola at the time. I was like, I'll just stay over one more night. And instead of just getting up in the morning and driving, I will go ahead and get up and I will do a slow 5K as a way to get my muscles moving because I was pretty certain with the first one I was going to be I was hurting. And I kind of was.
[00:05:45.040] – Allan But it was good to get out there and kind of do that that short distance. I mean, at the time, relative to a marathon, the shorter distance just do it casually. In fact, I was running along at one point this woman passed me, she was pushing a stroller. So, yeah, I wasn't in any hurry. And I did it. And then then I was good to go for my five-hour drive home.
[00:06:07.840] – Rachel Oh, wow!
[00:06:09.610] – Allan If I had just gotten in the car right after the marathon and tried to do that drive, I wouldn't have recovered as well. And we're going to talk a little bit about recovery later. But to me it was a good way to flush the legs, get some more blood going through what we call active rest. So you can take these 5Ks and make them really cool.
[00:06:32.740] – Allan And the other thing that's really interesting about most 5Ks is there's usually a pretty cool charity associated with the 5K. A lot of the 10Ks is do too. And sometimes there's 5Ks and 10Ks in the same race or at least the same day. And sometimes there's even marathons, half-marathons, all kind of paired together. It's just a pick your distance kind of deal. And a lot of times they do have charities. But what you'll find with the 5Ks is that there's a lot more participants. And as a result, those can raise quite a bit of money for charity. They're typically not that much I mean, you pay something like I guess right now it's probably somewhere but 30 to 40 bucks in that range for most of the 5Ks.
[00:07:16.970] – Rachel Yeah.
[00:07:17.240] – Allan You get into some of the longer races because of the costs associated with the time distance that you're covering, they can get a little bit more expensive. Plus, for most people who are doing marathons, there's not five or six marathons going on a month in your general location. You're going to be traveling to many of these. So and that's also a big cool part of the whole half-marathon, 10K is to go someplace you've never been and make a weekend of it.
[00:07:42.080] – Rachel Oh, absolutely. I do love to play in races around vacations or maybe vacations around races. Either way, it is nice to get out of town, that's for sure.
[00:07:51.320] – Allan Or even work trips, because that for me that was a big part of it, me saying, okay, I happen to be working in Washington, D.C. when the Marine Corps marathon was going on. I also did I also did a 10K there. And so, yeah, I just happened to be there and I'm like, okay, I'm flying in already. I'll just fly in a day or two early and I'll just do this little race.
[00:08:13.870] – Rachel Awesome. That's wonderful.
[00:08:16.040] – Allan So yeah, there's lots of opportunities to do these, these runs. And so, Rachel, if someone is considering running longer distances after 40, what are some of the key things that they should consider?
[00:08:30.170] – Rachel Well, right off the bat, I would suggest you talk to your spouse and your family and friends and share your goal to run a 10K or a half-marathon. Like I said, we're going to lump both these two distances together. And the reason why I say that is because you're going to be spending a little bit more time on training for this longer distance than you had done for the 5K. And what that means is there's going to be a slight disruption of the balance of responsibilities at home.
[00:08:57.800] – Rachel You're going to have to balance your responsibilities at work and you may not have as much time to spend with your friends and social engagement. So you're going to be spending some time on training and that might kind of disrupt the balance of your normal daily life. So share your plans with your friends and family for sure. Yeah, I know.
[00:09:19.430] – Allan When I started training, I basically had a membership at a gym. I couldn't run around D.C. because it was just all concrete. And I didn't feel good running on concrete ever. I never have. I've never liked running concrete, but so I just went to the gym and I'm like, okay, I'll do, you know. 20 minutes on the treadmill. They limit me to 20 minutes on the machine. So I go to machine and do 20 minutes and then I've moved to a different machine somewhere else and do something else. And so I was doing elliptical, I was doing stepper, I was doing all kinds of stuff and so up about 20 minutes at a time and I built up to a point where I was doing that for four hours and the only way I could really do that was to leave work at six o'clock. And so to be able to do that, I had to be at work at eight o'clock and work my ten hours and not take a lunch to get my training in.
[00:10:09.890] – Allan And so I had to talk. I even had to talk to my boss because it impacted my work schedule if I wanted to get that training in. And so that's basically what I would do. I would do four hours for three days of the week and then Friday would Thursday be my day off. And then Friday would be another kind of medium speed day. And then Saturday and Sunday were my long runs. But I had to do my Sunday run early in the morning. My Saturday was kind of free. I could do it when I want to. But yeah, I had to have a conversation with my significant other at the time and say, hey, I'm going to be doing this run. And that means I'm not going to be at the house for potentially three or four hours on a Sunday.
[00:10:54.080] – Rachel That's right. Yeah.
[00:10:55.550] – Allan While I'm going and doing this thing and what's your schedule look like and just trying to make all that fit.
[00:11:00.650] – Rachel Yes. And when you have kids and school and other outside responsibilities, it does get kind of tricky. That's why you want to have the buy-in of all the important people in your life.
[00:11:13.040] – Allan Now, the second one you have on here is is pretty interesting because I think a lot of people think to run longer distances after 40, you just run more.
[00:11:23.120] – Rachel Yes. And most runners like that. Most runners like to run more, but there's actually more to it. And when you're moving up to a 10K or a half-marathon, many of the training plans you'll find will include specific drills like speed drills, hill repeats. They will also include cross training. You don't want to spend all of your time running and and hurting all your joints and just damaging your body. You just need to give your running muscles a break every now and then. So that's why there's cross training built into plans as well as rest days.
[00:11:58.190] – Rachel So a lot of training plans will have you bike or swim and a rest day is not necessarily sitting on the couch and binge watching TV all day, they might have to do some act of rest and that could be just taking your dogs for a walk or just getting around the house, doing chores around the house, yard work, whatever. As long as you're staying busy, you don't want to sit too long.
[00:12:19.930] – Allan Yeah, I know. When I was doing my training, it was it was kind of one of those cross training things where I was like for a marathon distance. I needed to be able to move for four hours. That was kind of my target time was to finish the race within four hours. And that's how I trained. I trained to keep my body going. I recognized that there would be hills. And so you got to run some hills, although I was in Pensacola, so there actually weren't that many hills for my first one. Big Sur was an entirely different matter.
[00:12:54.220] – Allan But, you know, you you know the course, particularly if you know the course, that you're going to be trying to run understanding, okay, there's a hill and this is you know, this is what people are doing. And so if you're talking to people that know the race, they'll be able to tell you, yeah, there's actually a section of it that's in sand and that's really, really hard to run in.
[00:13:16.840] – Allan And you have to do that for a period of time that's going to really where your legs out if they're not stronger than you would think you would need to be to run on asphalt.
[00:13:25.880] – Rachel Oh, so true. Yeah. If you do have a goal race in mind, if you've picked the place where you want to run your first 10K or first half-marathon, it is good to check out some of the race reports and see a description of the race to see if there's a lot of vertical gain. If if there is a trail or like you said, sand. I've run a couple of races in the sand. So if you know what to expect on race day, those are things that you can practice during your training to make sure that you get some extra hill repeats in there or practice on the trails in the parks around your home or something.
[00:13:58.780] – Rachel So that type of specificity is important as you do get closer to race day and at the other cross training things are other ways that you can build up your muscle, strength and endurance as well as your cardiovascular system without beating up your legs by running day in and day out.
[00:14:16.870] – Allan Absolutely. So now the third one you have here on our list is clothing. One I would say with clothing, I think we're actually going to talk about this a little bit later. But there's a there's a lot of options out there, some that are very bright and shiny, fluorescent so people can see, which is important. And while people will tell you and it's true, running can be the cheapest sport there is because you literally have all the equipment right there with you right now, you don't even have to buy shoes. You can run barefoot if you want. Most people will buy shoes. And I advise people to invest in at least one good pair of shoes to start with. But let's talk a little bit about what should people be considering with apparel, particularly when they're trying to run longer distances after 40?
[00:15:13.870] – Rachel Well, I'm going to start with the shoes again, because the proper fitting shoes is probably the most important gear that you can possibly have. So take a look at the bottom of the running shoes that you've been wearing and see if you can see signs of wear and you'll see the lugs, the little knobs on the bottom of your shoe. They'll wear down in certain places. After some time, you'll feel the foam on the inside or the insole that you have in the shoe just doesn't feel quite as bouncy and cushiony as you had felt when you had first put them on.
[00:15:44.380] – Rachel And that means the shoes have worn. There's kind of a rule of thumb. Your shoes can last anywhere between three and five hundred miles, which sounds like a lot to a new runner. But you'd be surprised if you're wearing them and walking the dog or walks in the park as well as during training. The shoes get beat up pretty fast and even the foam needs about 24 days to recover after you pound them down on a run. So shoes are so critical.
[00:16:11.710] – Rachel I know that they are expensive because I buy a lot of them myself. But I can tell you too that they are a lot cheaper than visiting the doctor and rehabbing an injury because you stuck in the same shoes. So make sure you invest in the proper fitting shoes.
[00:16:26.980] – Allan Yeah, I'm a pronator and so the outside of my feet, that part of my shoe will wear down when I'm running. I went to a running store when I was training for the marathon. I said, okay, I'm going to be doing some running and training for it. And this I was getting into it and the guy goes on, he says, okay, I want you to run down the street here and then run back to me.
[00:16:50.830] – Allan And then he kind of sized me up and you said, okay, you're a pronator. And so he he kind of he said to measure my foot. You've got very wide toe set. So you to. I Toback's and you need something that's going to provide stability, and so he recommended a couple of different brands of shoes, I tried them on and found one that I liked that I didn't have to mortgage my house for.
[00:17:18.650] – Allan And I think the other two things I would add with shoes is one. One is more expensive. Doesn't necessarily mean better.
[00:17:26.670] – Rachel Right.
[00:17:27.330] – Allan OK, that's one thing is, you know, just get just look for better and you can pretty much go online to the running magazines are running really good running sites and they'll review the shoes every year. So you can go in there and kind of get an idea because they'll tell you, this is an overpriced shoe. Don't pay $500 for this running shoe, $120 is probably about as much as you would have to spend to have a really good running shoe, maybe even less than that in some cases.
[00:17:55.410] – Allan And the other thing is, I would say wear the shoes that you're going to run in to train it. Don't have a race pair and a training pair. Replace your shoes regularly, but have shoes that you break in and feel good with in training because the things you do in training will reflect how you do in the race as long as what you're doing in the race is the same thing you did in training.
[00:18:23.490] – Rachel Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And don't pick out shoes by color. They're all kind of crazy colors these days. And that's okay because then people will see you.
[00:18:33.600] – Rachel And similarly with their apparel, with your dry-fit shirts and shorts and socks and everything. This is where you're going to want to pay a little bit closer attention to what you're wearing. Now, when you were training in the 5K, you might have been running for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. And now as you're training for a 10K or half, that might extend into maybe 30 or 40 minutes at a time. And you might also even have a little bit of a walking warm-up and maybe walking cool down.
[00:19:06.810] – Rachel So you're going to be spending a lot of time in these clothes. And what you're going to want to watch for would be chafing and blisters on your after your socks and your shoes. So with chafing a lot of the tags and the neck of your shirt or in the back of your shorts that can irritate the skin around your neck and on your back, the seams that go around your shoulders or around the bottoms of your shorts or even on your waistband, they can get irritating as well and really irritate your skin causing chafing, which hurts a lot. You don't want that.
[00:19:42.900] – Rachel And you won't recognize that when you're training, when you're only running for maybe 20 minutes at a time, you may not notice. But when you're wearing that same shirt or that same pair of shorts for 30 or 40 minutes, you'll start to feel this friction, which is why you want to have clothes that fit well and that have that dry wicking quality so that when they do get wet, they can dry a little bit faster and not irritate your skin quite as much.
[00:20:08.310] – Allan Yeah, I had all kinds of blister problems. And I can just I can you know, it took them longer distances and really I didn't have a solution that got a lot better stuff today than they had when I was running. But moleskin is your friend. So if you do find that you're doing some training and you get a hot spot on your foot, go out and invest in some moleskin that will save your skin and keep you from blistering.
[00:20:31.530] – Allan So if your shoes giving you a hot spot, just be aware of that and you might have the wrong size shoes, as we mentioned before. So you might need to be fitted with another pair of shoes. But beyond that, moleskin can be your friend. If you just start noticing the hot spot and you notice it early enough, a little bit of moleskin can go a long way. And then the other thing I'd put out there, just as a general advice, don't wear a tutu.
[00:20:56.508] – Rachel Tutu's are fun. Skirts are fun.
[00:20:59.640] – Allan Skirts are probably fine. I don't know. I don't have any experience running. But we were doing a we were doing it but run it was a warrior dash. And the guys, we were kind of joking around about different things are going to wear. So we were going to wear these football jerseys. The girls wanted pink and they voted pink. And so they got pink. And then they also wanted us wearing tutus. So we were all wearing tutus. And I'll try to find a picture of that and put it in the show notes you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/480 and I'll see if I can have a picture of us in the tutus. But yes, chafing I didn't have I couldn't carry my arms high enough to not shave on the on the tutu. So I don't advise running with a tutu.
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[00:23:17.190] – Allan So, Rachel, then you talk about we talked I talked a little bit about this, the optional gear, the other things that you would potentially want to have with you or be have on you to help you while you're going through and doing your runs.
[00:23:31.530] – Rachel Yes. So when you're spending more time on the road, chances are you're going to be getting up early at the crack of dawn, maybe running later at night and reflective gear and lighted vests, any sorts of lights that you can put on your shoes, your visor, a vest. Those are all going to be really important, especially if you are spending any time on the roads or where there's traffic. There's no shortage of lights that you can get from any sort of running or a big box athletic store. That's super important.
[00:24:03.120] – Rachel But the second thing is, is that, again, now that you're spending more time outside at all, different times of the year, you want to have clothes that are going to be weather appropriate and comfortable. You never know if it's going to rain on race day. So you want to make sure that you have the running the rain gear, that you want to have to keep you as comfortable as possible while you're running in the rain or in the snow like I do up here. Go through the apparel section of your local running store and ask for input from the salespeople for maybe what type of gear that you can get for these different types of scenarios.
[00:24:40.800] – Allan One of the things that I think is really important, if you have any form of medical condition or things like that, make sure you have something on you that's going to tell someone that that's there. So like, if you're allergic to certain medications or just anything else that someone should know about you, if they find you. Just have that on you. So some ID so someone can contact someone. If they find you and they're taking you to the hospital, you're going to want that on you if you're not conscious and not that that's going to happen to you. But you're going on this run. You don't necessarily want to carry a bunch of stuff. So you're not running with your purse or maybe not running with your wallet, but you need some identification and maybe some taxi fare in case you just got a little too far out of and have to take a taxi back, but just kind of be situationally aware of what your needs are.
[00:25:38.070] – Allan If you're doing an out and back run as you're trying training run, you do have to make that back. And so just kind of being aware of that and having with you what you need is going to make that a much safer run
[00:25:50.250] – Rachel For sure. And when I when I personally run long, I actually do carry my driver's license and maybe a few dollars just in case I need to buy a water at the gas station or something. So I'll stick that in a Ziploc bag so that I don't sweat all over it and stick it in one of my pockets somewhere. Yeah, there's a lot of road ID type bracelets, medical bracelets. If you do have a serious allergy or something, have your stuff with you and as well as ID.
[00:26:18.900] – Rachel The other part of the gear that you might consider too, is some sort of a hydration item. When you're running a 10K and definitely a half-marathon, you're going to be spending a lot of time on the road. And although races have aid stations, in training you're not going to find those same aid stations quite as handy. So there are handheld water bottles, which I have plenty. And there's and I also frequently wear a hydration vest where I have a bladder in a backpack for longer distances and more water. So it's a point where especially in the summer when you get dehydrated, you're going to want to have water or electrolytes with you. So this would be one other item that I think would be very handy.
[00:27:00.030] – Allan Yeah, one of the things I used to do was I would set up my own aid stations before I did my run so I would drive the route that I was going to run, in particular, if it was going be an out and back or something like that. And I would set up my own laide stations and I'd have water sitting there, you know, at each just a little, you know, little bottle of water.
[00:27:19.770] – Allan And so I guess I came up on a location. I have that bottle of water. I'd scrunch it up and stick it in my pocket to keep going and not leave the plastic behind. But, yeah, I created my own aid stations. And, that's why I actually encourage people, if you're going to do some training, training on a loop other than when you're trying to do, you know, maybe hills or repeats or something. But if you can try to find a lap, you know what you're doing shorter laps of. Let's say you wanted to go do a 5 mile training run. If those can be half mile or one mile laps, that's going to give you an opportunity to have that regular aid station right there where you started.
[00:27:59.610] – Rachel Oh, absolutely. That would be ideal. That would be perfect.
[00:28:03.150] – Allan So let's dove a little bit deeper into nutrition and hydration.
[00:28:08.070] – Rachel This is a good topic, Allan, and I really think that we could spend probably a whole podcast talking about it, because, as you know, there are going to be carb-burners out there as well as the fat burners, which I am. I follow the keto-type of eating. Nutrition is still a really highly individualized situation that really you just have to experiment with and see what your body needs to run long distances or fast, as well as what you can tolerate, whether what your stomach will tolerate. Because as you're out there for longer, your stomach may not like the things that you've been eating and you might have a problem. So this is a big topic.
[00:28:55.190] – Rachel Let's start with hydration, you're going to want definitely water and or electrolytes with you, especially in the summer. If you find that you're that you sweat a lot and you're a salty sweater and that that little white grip is left on your face or on your arms, you're sweating out a lot of salt.
[00:29:12.140] – Rachel So in that case, you're going to want some electrolyte products, Nuun and Ucan are really great electrolyte products. Even Pedialyte is a proper electrolyte product. And you want to mix that up with water on occasion just so that your stomach doesn't feel like you just had the sugar bomb dropped on it. Although there's no not a lot of sugar in Nuun or Ucan, just the sweetness of it can irritate your stomach. So alternating that with water is very helpful.
[00:29:41.960] – Allan Yeah. You know, I think that that was that was one of the big wake up calls for me is I was running my first marathon, I think it was in the spring. And then by the time I was running my third or fourth, we were getting into the winter months and. I was running this, and it was it was in Mississippi, it was a long flat course, but it was cold, really, really cold. And I actually got more dehydrated running that race in the cold than I did running the marathon in Pensacola in the spring.
[00:30:19.110] – Allan And so, you know, it was warm and humid for that first one. And then for this other one, it was really cold. I wasn't expecting it. I occasionally ran by an aid station thinking, I'm not thirsty. But I realized after the run that I didn't hydrate properly. And so, you know, making sure that you're staying hydrated and in your training runs, there's no one there to look after you.
[00:30:45.230] – Allan So you're responsible for you, making sure that you have what you need and what you do and what you do in your training, again, must be something that you consider doing in the race. So don't change up your fuel. Don't change up your hydration. Find something that works for you. That's why you're training so you can learn your body and learn what you're capable of. And then in the race, that's when you're going to try to push yourself. You want to be doing the same thing so that you have a base for what you're trying to accomplish.
[00:31:17.570] – Rachel Yeah. And this is a good point to add. Again, maybe having a hand-held hydration water bottle of some sort is also a reminder for you to drink periodically. It's really interesting between heat and cold running, your body is just as thirsty on both occasions. However, in the summertime, it's obvious that you're you're sweating, you're feeling thirsty. The air is dry and it's almost as much of a habit as it is a physical need to drink in the summertime, whereas in the winter you don't feel quite as thirsty, just like you had experienced.
[00:31:52.370] – Rachel But your body is thirsty. It's just not recognizing that the same kind of sensations as you feel in the summer. So it is important to drink whether you're on a hot day or a cold day. And if you had that handheld water bottle, that might have been a good reminder to sip at every mile or a couple of miles or something.
[00:32:12.830] – Allan Absolutely. So, Rachel, number six on your list, I think, is maybe one of, if not the most important thing for people who are running longer distances after 40. That's recovery.
[00:32:26.900] – Rachel Yes, more recovery. And then when you think you've done enough recovery, do some more recovery. This would be a good time to really prioritize foam rolling and stretching after your run. I mean, mark that on your calendar and make it an item on your calendar that you do foam rolling and stretching after your run. It's really important to loosen up those tight muscles, especially as you're adding more miles to your training program. And then if you add strength training, biking, swimming, and other activities or on a day that you did speed work or hill repeats, you want to do more foam rolling and stretching to loosen all those muscles that you just tightened on a run.
[00:33:08.690] – Rachel And in addition to foam rolling and stretching, this might be a time to experiment with some compression gear, like there are calf sleeves and arm sleeves that can help promote circulation. There are socks that go all the way up to your knee that help promote circulation and ice baths and water baths are another recovery tool that you can experiment with.
[00:33:33.980] – Allan A lot of times people will not listen to their body and they'll push and they'll push and they'll be like, well, this is what my plan is. And so they had a plan and the plan was, okay, it's Sunday, it's my long day. But they're not really recovered from what the work they've done that week. And they get out there on their long run. And the next thing they know, they're hurting in a way that they can't run anymore.
[00:34:05.420] – Rachel Mm hmm.
[00:34:08.870] – Allan Your body is incredible. It's capable of doing so many incredible things. But if you don't let it recover. The way it needs to that wear and tear, and that's one of the things that a lot of people struggle with running is it is a repetitive activity.
[00:34:28.490] – Allan If you're doing it on concrete, I hated that because when I was heavier as a runner. So every impact on concrete for me was just huge. And I would run as litefoot as I could, but at one 195 pounds, there's a lot of hitting on my legs. And so I just had to be really, really careful to make sure that I wasn't overdoing it, or else I would have injured myself and potentially been out.
[00:34:58.640] – Rachel Well, that's a good point. And, you know, we've been raised with the no pain, no gain mantra. If it's not hurting, it's not working. But this is the time to really put that aside, especially after 40 when we are getting into these longer distances, pain becomes a different kind of signal. And, you know, your body is adapting as you're doing more miles and cross training and doing all these different things.
[00:35:21.740] – Rachel Your body is going to have the DOMS, the delayed onset muscle soreness that you often feel when you're doing a new activity. That's fine. A little bit of ache or soreness that's normal because you're doing all these new things, then pushing your body in a way you haven't done before. However, there's a really fine line where that becomes a pain and that is a signal to take a minute and reassess the situation. I have seen a lot of runners have a pain, which is very subjective, but it shows a stress fracture. And that stress fracture, if you don't listen to it, will become a real fracture and then you'll be spending a lot more time on the couch than you'd ever wanted to before.
[00:36:03.080] – Rachel So there could be muscle tears, you could have tendon injuries, and it could be just inflammation. But you don't have an x-ray machine or an MRI. So this would be the point where you go to a doctor and get a proper diagnosis. And the sooner you get to the doctor, even if it's a minor pain, you'll get one, the reassurance that it's nothing more than DOMS or a muscle ache that you need a day or two off or you'll get the treatment for a more serious condition and you'll get treated faster so that you can get back on the road faster.
[00:36:33.470] – Rachel So pain is a signal that something is wrong and you need to do something about it.
[00:36:38.060] – Allan Yeah, there's another version of recovery I kind of want to get into, because for a lot of people, particularly when they start trying to run longer distances, they'll find that they get this little ache right under their ribs. I would typically get it right on my right side, right up under my ribs. We called it a stitch. And for me, there was a particular strategy as I was. It was because I didn't want to not finish the run. And that was not enough. I was in pain and I didn't like it, but it was not a kind of pain that I knew I should quit running. So if someone gets something like a stitch or something like that, what's what's the recovery method for them to to be able to still complete the run and get and not and know they're not hurting themselves.
[00:37:23.630] – Rachel Sure. I've got inside stitches before. It's been a while, but I would I would stop and walk it off and do some deep breathing techniques, try and stretch out your abdomen, do some stretches, try and loosen up those muscles, practice some breathing, deep breathing to calm down a minute and then see how that responds. But what was your technique?
[00:37:45.530] – Allan It was it was basically just slow down the core of it. What I knew was that my diaphragm was not aligned with the way I was running and so it's just creating kind of a for lack of a better word, a cramp in there because things were getting tight and I just needed to slow down and let my breathing resume. You've got to get past the ego. You know, we're over 40 now. I had way too much ego back then. It was always just to me, devastating that I'm like, I've got to slow down and let this go. But I just knew it was not something that was going to go away on its own. I needed to slow down and let my body recover and kind of get its mojo back for lack of a better word so that I could complete the run.
[00:38:36.080] – Rachel That's absolutely perfect. And it's actually a bigger point there, Allan, because running longer distances after 40 means you do need to slow down your 5K pace will not be the same case that your pace that you run a 10K or a half-marathon. So pacing yourself slowing down is a good way to to run safely and injury free, especially over 40.
[00:39:00.590] – Allan Yeah. One of the things I like about the longer distances is that they become a thousand times more social.
[00:39:09.740] – Rachel Oh yeah.
[00:39:10.640] – Allan You know when you run a 5K for some reason or another, most people that want to have a good time, they're just running all out. There's like no conversations in the first two-thirds of the pack of a 5K. The walkers in the backyard or they're having a blast.
[00:39:28.080] – Allan But when you get into the longer distances, people kind of let go of the fact that we're racing something and it's more about completing the distance than it is about beating yourself or beating someone else. So it becomes a much more social thing as you start doing longer and longer distances. But you have one on here that I think's actually really, really cool, because a lot of times when we're trying to train running seems like a really lonely thing. And it's kind of hard to explain. It's like, no, you'll have more conversations on a marathon because you're running for four, maybe five, maybe six hours.
[00:40:07.020] – Allan That's one of the most social days of your year because you're making all kinds of friends as people are running slower or faster, walking or whatever is going on in that race. But you you recommend that people join a run club?
[00:40:19.890] – Rachel I do. And there are run clubs probably associated with the running shoe store. There could be just groups of people in your in your city or town that you live in. And the RRCA has a listing of run clubs. That's rrca.org, where you could look up different run clubs in your area. And the best thing about a run club is that you're going to find like-minded people trying to do the exact same thing you are. You're going to find other people trying to get faster at the 5K or maybe doing their first 10K or first half-marathon.
[00:40:53.850] – Rachel And you will find people that are at your pace. And it would be so much fun to meet people at the run club nights or different days depending on your schedule. And running with people at a similar pace is really fun. It's entertaining is a great way to meet people.
[00:41:10.260] – Allan And I think that you just touched on something that's really, really important is the longer runs are really are about pacing. To finish a longer runm you have to understand a pace and understand the pace, you have to practice the pace. So having someone else, maybe somebody who's even a little bit more experienced than you and you go into a run and you're like, okay, we're going to do an 11-minute mile for four miles.
[00:41:36.720] – Allan And so having someone who understands how to to do that versus we're going to say sprint out and leave you there and then you'll see him at the finish line, you know, later, you know, having someone there. I think one of the coolest things is, you know, if you and Michael couldn't find a run club, you started what we did.
[00:41:58.950] – Rachel Yeah, we did. Because everywhere that we have moved so far, there's always somebody who also likes to run. And so why not get together and run together and enjoy some conversation and the scenery at the same time while also getting fit. Run clubs are a great way to meet people and also push your speed because there's going to be somebody faster than you. There's also going to be somebody slower than you. But it'll be a good way to be pushed and see what other people can do.
[00:42:27.810] – Allan Yeah, and it's actually really cool to have people that are fast or news. So when you do the race, they're there to cheer you when you finish.
[00:42:33.860] – Rachel Yes, yes, yes.
[00:42:37.380] – Allan That was what was so cool. And I ran with was Redbud. Yeah. You guys are Redbud. You were Pea Ridge in Florida. That was so cool. I ran with you guys on that one run and everybody finished before me I guess because so many people stand at the finish line yelling my name. That's so cool.
[00:43:00.510] – Rachel Yeah. It's nice to have a bunch of people supporting what you're doing. It's just so encouraging and very motivating. Cool.
[00:43:07.710] – Allan All right, Rachel, so now that someone's considering running longer distance after 40, can you kind of just go over a quick recap of the seven things that they should be paying attention to?
[00:43:18.330] – Rachel Absolutely.
[00:43:19.350] – Rachel First of all, share your plans with your friends and family and get their Buy-In and support because you're going to be spending a lot of time on the road. Make sure you find a training plan that works for you. There's a ton of training plans out there from the couch to 5K, which they have the 10K. Jeff Galloway, Hal Higdon, if you're having problems finding a training plan, hit me up. I could probably give you some advice on how to choose a training plan for your abilities.
[00:43:44.520] Proper apparel shoes will always rein king. You need to have good shoes so that you can stay healthy and start to look at the shirts and shorts and other apparel that will keep you comfortable for these longer distances. As far as optional gear goes, reflective gear, lighted gear, weather-appropriate apparel as well as hydration items would be nice to have as soon as you can afford that or find a need for it.
[00:44:09.180] And nutrition and hydration is very individualized. We could have a whole podcast that talks about this. The best thing you can do is experiment with the products, the food products and drink products that agree with your stomach and training days always try and training and don't forget to do recovery and then maybe some more recovery. Prioritize foam rolling and stretching, just like you do every other training session. Make sure you take your rest days when you're training plan says to take a rest day, but that's an act of rest, not a sitting on the couch all day kind of a day.
[00:44:43.520] – Rachel And lastly, find a run club, get inspired and motivated by other people in your town and join other people in the same goals that you're trying to accomplish as well.
[00:44:55.220] – Allan All right. Well, if you have a run that you want to do and you see it on the horizon, you want to start training for that, I'd strongly encourage you to reach out to Rachel. Rachel, your site is strong-soles.com. And you have a strength training course there that will help someone with their cross-training as they're trying to get to these longer distances.
[00:45:20.540] – Rachel Yep. On the first page of my program on my website, strong-soles.com, scroll down to the runners' workout that'll be emailed to you directly. And if you have any other questions, there's a contact page on the website as well.
[00:45:35.550] – Allan Awesome. So you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/480, and I'll be sure to have the links there. All right, Rachel, this was a great conversation. I hope you have a great week and we'll talk next week.
[00:45:49.790] – Rachel Thanks, Allan. Thanks for having me on again. Take care.
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Maybe you've wanted to get into running, but being over 40, it seems so hard. On this episode of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, Rachel and I discuss how to start running after 40.
Let's Say Hello
[00:01:48.900] – Allan Rachel, how are you today?
[00:01:51.000] – Rachel Good. I'm good. Allan, how are you?
[00:01:54.090] – Allan Good. Good. So we're, we're putting a little twist on the podcast this week because we wanted to is as we're getting into and I know it's probably really, really cold where most of you listening to this are, but it's we're getting into the running what we normally call the running season, particularly in North America and in Europe. This is the running season. We get into the spring. Now COVID's probably going to affect this running season as much, if not more than last year. Things are getting better and worse, depending on how you're looking at things. But in a general sense, this year is going to be kind of the same thing. But no one can really deny that running is a really good protocol for getting yourself in better shape. It helps you build stamina, helps to a lot of different things. We're going to talk about that today with running coach Rachel Everett.
[00:02:49.410] – Rachel Yea!
[00:02:50.590] – Allan All right.
[00:02:52.020] – Allan Rachel, you've been a co-host on the podcast now for a few months, but just so folks know who you are, what you're doing and why you're relevant, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?
[00:03:05.700] – Rachel Oh, thank you. Thanks for having me on today, Allan. I just got my NASA certified personal training certificate earlier this year or earlier in 2020 during the shutdown because I had a lot of time on my hands. But prior to that, I have been running for about 20 years, a little over 20 years and I've run hundreds of 5K and 10k distances. I'm closing in on probably 40 half marathons, couple of fulls, and a couple ultra's. And this year I'll be hopefully lining up at my first 50 miler later in the summer.
[00:03:43.080] – Rachel So I've been running a really long time and you could probably tell I really love it and I really do get excited when people choose running is a great way to get outside, regain their health. I mean, there's so many reasons to start running. And Strava actually recently released some information indicating that they saw a huge increase in activity in 2020, probably directly due to COVID. And a lot of people are out there putting in a ton of walking and running miles. So this is perfect. This is a great time to talk about starting running over 40.
[00:04:21.510] – Allan Good. Besides not getting caught by a bear, what are some of the benefits that someone will get running after 40?
[00:04:32.730] – Rachel Well, it's a really great way to improve your cardiovascular system. It's a great way to burn some calories. And in times like this, it's actually an ideal way to burn off some stress. And if you're having a problem sleeping at night, like a lot of us do as we get older, burning off these calories and that stress can actually improve your sleep habits as well. And and it's really important that we get all the sleep that we can, especially when we're doing new pursuits like running.
[00:05:02.490] – Allan Yeah, the sleep thing is is important. And one of the reasons I think you're seeing a benefit was sleep, is that you're getting blue light, you're getting outdoors. One of the things that we've gotten away from in our modern lifestyles is we're in an office and we're cooped up and it's artificial light. It's not the same. And so getting outside for a run is going to expose your skin to sunlight. It's going to basically turn on your hormone cycles. It's going to tell your body what time of day it is based on the light and the time of day you run. And then, yes, because you've done that thing to set your clock, your circadian rhythm.
[00:05:46.360] – Allan You've said that you've set that clock now. Yes. Your body's going to be a much better position to sleep. And it is a good step for that. And it is a good step. It does burn some calories. Again, most of your weight loss should come from what you do in the kitchen, what put your mouth. But yes, it's a good way to to get some extra calorie burn going, if that's what you're after.
[00:06:08.770] – Allan And then the other thing is just general stamina. You know, people who don't run at all when they find that they need to do something like run or jog or try to catch a bus or something, just something. That's why they're winded, going up the stairs quickly, they're winded. Whereas someone who has been training for a 5K or something like that, they'll notice that they can get up a flight of stairs a lot easier. So really good, really good reasons to consider running after 40.
[00:06:39.460] – Allan So let's just say I'm a person who's come to you, Rachel. And I say, “Okay, look, I want to start running. I was I was I was active when I was a kid and I was all running all over the place back then. But now I've got all these aches and pains. I've been in an office job for 25 years, but I want to start running. I know it's you know, I don't really get back in the gym right now. I just don't feel safe there. But I know if I could get out and do some running, that's going to do a lot of benefits for me (the benefits we just talked about).” So if someone wanted to get into running, what are some things that you would tell them to to do?
[00:07:15.430] – Rachel First, I would say congratulations. I'm glad you're ready to run and I'm ready to run with you. I'd be so happy to, but I would start with finding a way. What is your motivation to run? And a lot of people will set their own a goal. And maybe there's a five K in the town for a really good charity. A lot of charities, a lot of churches, a lot of schools, local parks, systems, a lot of people will host a five K race.
[00:07:43.630] – Rachel And it would be great to put that on your calendar. You've got some big neon sign that you can look forward to and you could get ready and prepare for that particular race. I know that there may not be a lot of in-person races going on in 2021, or at least not for a while. But there are still a ton of virtual races and in many cases these charity teams.
[00:08:09.373] – Allan Like the sloth running team.
[00:08:09.400] – Rachel You bet, like the sloth. But a lot of these churches and schools and park systems, all these other charities still need the same amount of money, whether there's people in person or not. And so if you could find something that you can support in your local community, look to see if they're going to host their five K in person or if it's going to be virtual and go ahead and sign up, that would be a great place to get started.
[00:08:32.450] – Allan OK, now, so I decided I'm going to run a five K, OK, you've convinced me I'm going to run a five K. I look on I look on the calendar and there's a virtual five K that I can do because there's not 5Ks here on my Island. But I say, OK, I want to do a virtual five K and I want to sign up for it. And so I go and I do the sign up online and it's going to happen in about ten weeks, 12 weeks.
[00:08:57.550] – Rachel Perfect.
[00:08:58.280] – Allan OK, what do I do next. What do I do.
[00:09:02.350] – Rachel Well to get started I would say find a plan of some sort that you could follow. The coach to five k plan is really well known and it's very successful and it's a very similar plan to what Jeff Galloway, former Olympian Jeff Galloway has put out with his walk run program. And both of them are walk run programs where there's a ratio.
[00:09:27.790] – Rachel So, for example, you might start with three or four minutes of walking, followed by thirty seconds of running. And then you repeat that ratio for a set amount of time, whichever the plan dictates. And the great part of having a walk run program is that it's going to teach your body slowly how to move faster. And so when you're in the running segment, for example, you might have a 30 second run. I want to make sure that people know this isn't a sprint.
[00:10:00.190] – Rachel This isn't where you just turn on the afterburners and go all out for that thirty seconds. This is actually just go a little faster than what you were just doing during the walk. And the whole point of that is that a lot of people just assume you go out there and you zoom around the block or something and your heart rate goes up. You're breathing. It's not comfortable and then it becomes not fun and then a lot of people will quit right then and there, so you start off walking, you do a little segment of running like maybe at a jogging pace and then you walk again. And it just is a slow introduction to running. It's really perfect.
[00:10:39.110] – Allan We had Jeff on the show to talk about his run, walk, run method. So that's an episode. I'll make sure to have a link in the show, notes to that one. And then again, yes, as Rachel mentioned, the goal is not to red line as in Jeff's book. In fact, you don't want to because that's going to cause a buildup of lactic acid. And that's where you're going to feel that burn. That's where you're going to feel the pain afterwards.
[00:11:03.140] – Allan You're going to be sore. Whereas if you're doing that kind of the way I put it, gentle, nudging a little bit faster than your walk gets your heart rate up to 75 percent, maybe 80. But that's kind of the line. And then, you know, you could still generally have a conversation with someone and then you're 30 seconds is up. You drop back down to your walk, you do a little bit of recovery. And those those intervals of walking in the running really do help you build that endurance and the way these plans are structured, you the couch to five KS or several of them you get on your phone, some of them are pretty cool.
[00:11:38.600] – Allan They've got voices. The guys are they're talking you through it. Some of them are built up like zombies are chasing you and things like that, you know. And so so there's there's some there's some fun things out there that'll get you going and get you moving over time. And that kind of that gentle nudging getting you to a point in the interesting thing I like to tell people that are training for five kids, you don't have to be able to run five K, which is three point one miles to do a five K.
[00:12:05.480] – Allan In fact, a lot of people will train. They won't quite have ever really run a full three miles. But on race day, the adrenaline kicks in and suddenly they find themselves running a five K, so you realize your race will probably be faster and actually probably easier than the training was. There's the people, there's the thing unless it's virtual. So in that case, find some buddies to do it with. But yeah, there's those programs are really, really good.
[00:12:35.210] – Rachel They are very successful. I actually took the Jeff Galloway training program when I was training for my first full marathon, and I was resistant to try it at first because I just couldn't comprehend how if you were to walk, you know, a third of the time that you're running it, how you're going to get to the finish line any faster. But truth be told, it's true and it's easier on your body.
[00:12:58.670] – Rachel And when you're over 40, things are changing. You're not a teenager or a kid running around the baseball diamond anymore. I mean, when you're 40, you just need to ease into it. And a walk run program is so safe and it's designed to reduce your risk for injury. So it's really important that you find a couch to five K or Jeff Galloway type plan to get yourself eased into the repetition of running.
[00:13:25.580] – Allan OK, so now I'm getting ready to go out and run and, you know, what are some things I want to consider as far as you know, obviously, time is great. You know, you say, OK, walk for three minutes, run for 30 seconds. But I kind of also want to know how far I'm going. Right?
[00:13:43.590] – Rachel Right. So when I started running over 20 years ago, I did not have a GPS watch. I had a car and it had an odometer and I would drive around my subdivision. I marked out a half mile and a mile and I use those landmarks to find where I was going. Well, nowadays we have these fancy watches, although you don't need to buy one if you're going to just start running at this point. But you can look for a track or a local park system with trails and find a place where you could do this walk run program safely.
[00:14:18.950] – Allan Yeah, that's a that's a key if you're out on the roads, you know, that's and we're going to talk about safety a little bit later, but find a route that is something that you know very well. So you're not getting lost. I went I went for not so much to run, but as a long hike when we were traveling in Hong Kong. And I went up this hill and it was beautiful up there. And I was like, Really you know, because you're thinking Hong Kong a big city. But we were over on the Kowloon side. And so I go up this hill and it's like wooded and pretty and just really nice park. And then I got to the other side of the hill and I'm like, OK, I'm going to come back. And I came back and I was at an entirely different place than where I started up that hill. And I had no idea where I was, like none.
[00:15:01.310] – Allan And I had not brought my phone with me. And so I had zero idea where I was. And so I was like I literally just got into a taxi. I told them where my hotel was. And I was on the exact opposite side. I mean, it's just amazing how far away I was from where I thought I was because I just made a wrong turn. So, yeah, kind of knowing your route, knowing some of the risk of the route.
[00:15:24.980] – Allan And then, of course, you've always, you know, now these days you've got a GPS on your phone. So that's going to help. You know it. I use an app called RunKeeper that will basically track my runs-walks. So when I go out, I know my timing, my splits and all of those things. So, you know, if you're into data, there's some pretty cool apps out there to help you with that.
[00:15:46.640] – Rachel Yes, that is perfect.
[00:15:49.100] – Allan Now, one of the reasons that I think a lot of people aspire to running versus some other things that they might do is one, you know, it's something you can do on your own so you don't have to have a partner. So it's not like playing tennis where, you know, at some point it's no more fun to just keep hitting the ball against the wall or serving yourself. At some point, you know, you have to have a teammate or someone to go against.
[00:16:11.900] – Allan And so a lot of sports let things go that way. And with running, you can be outside. But the other thing that's really cool about running is that it costs virtually nothing. I mean, let's talk about the equipment because thats one of the…
[00:16:27.860] – Rachel Yeah, it's true. Running has a low barrier of entry, which is great. You really only need a pair of athletic shoes, although it is kind of a joke, because once you get into running, things can add up. But you don't need all of these fancy gadgets, fancy clothing, fancy nothing until you really know what you actually need. So I'm sure everybody has in their closet a pair of tennis shoes or running shoes of some sort. We all have leisure wear shorts of some sort, basketball shorts.
[00:16:59.510] – Rachel There's actually a famous ultra runner who runs in basketball shorts. That's her choice. And so just dust out those dust off those shoes out of your closet. And but if you are lacking shoes, I do totally recommend going to your local running store and talking to the salespeople about shoes. When you're ready to buy running shoes, they will be able to answer all your questions. They will ask you what kind of mileage you're going to run, if you're going to be on the road or the trails.
[00:17:32.720] – Rachel If you're a heavier person, you want to sturdy shoe. If you're pro, if you pronate one way or another, you want a stability shoe. So get advice from the local running people. They actually do know what they're doing. So it's a good place to go first.
[00:17:47.480] – Allan Because you know, when I started getting into the longer runs the marathons, that's exactly what I did. And so you go in and you know, at that point I was considered heavier. You're not one hundred ninety five pounds and running marathons and ultramarathons, at least not a lot of people were back then. So I was I was big for runners, so. Yeah. And and because my foot is generally wider, I had to have a shoe had to have a type of shoe that would have a larger toe box.
[00:18:14.420] – Allan So I couldn't use Nike's, I couldn't use Reebok's because they were cut too thin. They really didn't have a wide shoe box. So at that point it was new balance was the brand that had the the wider toe box, that was the right shoe for me. Now, would I have ever walked over and bought New Balance and the answer is probably not, because Nike was the king of running shoes that came out of Oregon for that very reason.
[00:18:42.080] – Allan And then Reebok was coming behind. And then there was this other brands that you would see in running stores and say, I went into a running store. The guy was running, says, you pronate a little bit. You're going to need some support. Your foot's generally wider than most, so you're going to need a big toe box. And so he pulled out a set of new balance and said, put these on. And, you know, I did great, you know, and it is important at some level, particularly if you have had problems in the past, because when I was in the Army and did a lot of running, I started having knee problems.
[00:19:14.180] – Allan And that was on the concrete that was, you know, not having good shoes, in some cases combat boots. And then so I had knee problems when I was in basic training in the first year or so that I was in the army. And then here I was trying to basically four years later start running marathons. And my knees could have easily gotten shot again with the volume of training I was doing. But I had the right shoes. I went in and bought a good pair of shoes and it went a long way.
[00:19:43.520] – Allan But initially all you need is just a comfortable pair of shoes because you're looking at lower distances. You're just going to be doing some walking and some jogging. I actually also use basketball shorts when I run, but if I'm going to a longer distance, I realize there's a chafing issue. Then I get runners shorts on. So, you know, if you're
[00:20:03.650] – Allan doing the shorter distances just in any pair of comfortable shoes, shorts and some halfway decent shoes and, you know, moisture wicking clothing and you're typically good. And then, of course, if you're running and it's cold, you need to layer. If you're running and it's hot, you need to somewhat layer. So you can also kind of cut down to a lesser profile of clothing, but it's really easy to get started.
[00:20:30.350] – Rachel Yeah, and I totally recommend that you just go through your closet first and get in a couple of training runs and see how all this equipment works for you. When I started running, I did wear cotton t-shirts, just your basic hanes, white cotton t shirt. Well, you know, after I put on some more miles, I realized that the dry, wick clothing would be a lot more comfortable to wear. And you can buy that at any big box store, Amazon, any anywhere running, of course, you're running store.
[00:20:58.550] – Rachel But the point is, is that you don't need it until you recognize that you need it. So don't go out and get all outfitted for running until you know exactly what you need. And the same goes with your shoes. Once you've run in your own shoes from your closet for a while, see how your feet are feeling, see how your knees are feeling. And if you're getting aches and pains, then go to your running store and get some advice on getting a better fitting shoe.
[00:21:23.990] – Rachel And similarly, while you're getting shoes, take a look at the running socks. Now, I personally have always been prone to blisters. I just have bony feet. And so there's a friction element in between your shoe and your sock. So cotton socks, they're not going to last you for very long. If you start getting blisters, then definitely go to your running store and look for some dry wicking socks that will make you a whole lot happier to be comfortable. And they're not terribly expensive either. So socks would be a good thing to buy pretty early.
[00:21:57.140] – Allan OK, so now I go out and I do this good, good run the first day. I feel really good. Do I just do it again tomorrow and then the next day and the next day, or do I need to take some days off?
[00:22:10.520] – Rachel Well, that's the exciting part about having a plan, is that the plan will tell you when to do these routines and usually plans like the couch to five K will have maybe three or four days of running during the week. And and then that'll tell you that you can cross, train or take rest days and the other days. And I have to say that as we are 40 and over, this is really important to do some cross training as well as take the rest days when you need it.
[00:22:40.550] – Rachel You really do have to listen to your body. You know, when you start a new workout routine, you're going to have the delayed onset muscle soreness, the dams. Everybody knows that feeling. But if you're getting something more serious, more aches and pains, you really need to pay attention and and listen and take that rest day if you need it. Even if the plan says to run, take that day off.
[00:23:02.690] – Allan Yeah, you know, one of the things when you when you get which which if you if you get into running and you do some of these things, you start doing a five K or you join a running team and you do these different things, you're going to start running more. And when you start running more, you start recognizing some some aches and pains, you know, running after forty. You know, even though I'll say this. When I started running marathons, I was a baby, you know, from their consideration, I was twenty nine years old and they consider they all consider me a baby.
[00:23:31.700] – Allan There weren't many young guys like me doing Ultra's. Most of the people, you know, you start talking to them. They didn't start running marathons until they were after 40. They're over 40. And in one case, I finished an ultra. The guy was 68 years old. So, you know, this is an old man's an old woman's sport, if you will. I mean, unless you're doing it competitively, then, of course, you know.
[00:23:53.140] – Allan Yeah. Uh, Hussein, Boltz and the you know, all those folks out there, they're younger. But in a general sense, if you're looking at the recreational runner, most of us are a good bit older. But your body talks to you, you have a language in your body. And there's some there's some pains that you definitely want to pay attention to. And there's some that you you don't just need to change something. So, like, you know, one thing that will happen when you're doing some running, you might notice that you have an ache, a really bad ache in some cases called a stitch that occurs right under your ribcage, right under your diaphragm.
[00:24:26.200] – Allan It hurts a lot, but there's a way around it. So you make a change. And that's typically the case with any time you feel pain. So, Rachel, let's talk about some of the common things that runners experience and what they need to do. Just generally a little short clip-clop. This is some things to consider with regards to each one.
[00:24:45.130] – Rachel Well, I know a lot of runners end up with tight caps. It's part of the push pull of the motion of running. And it can have something to do with the shoes. It can have something to do with overtraining, it can have something to do with too much vertical climb in your route. Which is tough. I live in a very hilly area, so I struggle with my calves. And so when you get these aches and pains, you really need to take a minute and assess the situation.
[00:25:15.880] – Rachel Is it your shoes? If you especially if you have new shoes that could upset your gait a little bit. If you're maybe twisting an ankle on a trail on a route or a rock, you just need to take a minute, walk it out, maybe go home and try try it again another day. But for runners over forty, I have a pre-hab in a rehab. And the pre-hab is you need to do the dynamic kind of warm up before you go out and run.
[00:25:48.520] – Rachel If you think of your muscles and tendons as a rubber band, if you've got a rubber band that's cold, it's going to snap under pressure. And your muscles, they need a minute. They need to get warmed up before you go out and start doing anything vigorous. So a little foam rolling, little dynamic stretching, you know, some jumping jacks, get the heart moving, then go into your run. And then equally important is coming home and getting your body back down to normal equilibrium.
[00:26:17.230] – Rachel So I like to walk before I start. So I usually take my dogs out for a walk in the morning before I run. And then when I get home, I usually walk it off. I'll get out the foam roller and I'll hit my tight calves or any other particular muscle group that's tight. So it's important to pay attention to your body and then act to resolve those issues.
[00:26:38.620] – Allan Yeah. So, you know, with the tightness, I think that's really kind of one of the big ones, because that's that's one of the most common things I see with people who are over 40 is we do have tight calves that comes sometimes from wearing heels. So not just the shoes you're wearing when you're running, but what you're wearing at work and things and sitting at a desk and that. And you're not getting the what we call dorsiflexion from a personal training perspective that you would normally be getting.
[00:27:07.660] – Allan And yes, running is definitely going to tighten up your calves. I have extremely tight calves and so I do have to make sure I stretch them and in some cases, you know, go ahead and roll them. But I am not rolling, I'm literally pressing into the muscle to make it release. It's painful. And I have to use a one of those girls softball. So, you know, this is a hard round object that I have to do because my my calves are that tight.
[00:27:33.280] – Allan It takes that much to get them to to release, but it affects every bit of my movement pattern. So if I'm trying to do a squat, if I'm trying to run, if I'm trying to do anything, if my calves are tight, my movement pattern is messed up. And so if I don't do that for my knees, or for my calves, here's what's going to happen. The front of my the front of my shin, the periformis, I think it's what it's called, it's going to cramp because it's going to try to get tight to to compensate and it's going to start to really hurt.
[00:28:06.310] – Allan And then what the other thing is going to happen is I'm going to not be getting a good gait, so I'm going to be putting additional stress on my quadriceps and my knee. And if I run for a long time that way, I risk really missing my legs up my knees and all of it. So, yeah, it's a very important aspect of understanding your running habits and you're running your body and what it's telling you so that you're addressing those types of things. So really important.
[00:28:33.010] – Rachel Shin splints are a nightmare and that happens a lot for new runners. And it's and it's because you're you're moving in a new way. I mean, everybody walks every day, but not very many people actually run. And so when you get into that running gait, definitely shin splints are a real pain. And then on the opposite side of that plantar fasciitis, that's the tendon that goes up through your soleus in the back. And that that is causing some pretty intense heel pain.
[00:28:59.260] – Rachel So the calf muscle is kind of like the epicenter for all of these problems. And it's really important that you address that. The technique you had mentioned to me earlier this year, along with using a softball on my calves instead of a foam roller, when you find that really tender spot and I know that it hurts, that's when you want to sit on that softball, put a little pressure on it to get that muscle to release. And that works so well for me this year with my tight calves.
[00:29:26.320] – Rachel Another garment that might be worth investing in, it's not terribly expensive are the compression socks or compression sleeves. It's basically a calf sleeve without the sock portion on your foot. And that pressure can help loosen up some of those tight muscles as well. It's a sometimes I wear them running, usually I just wear them for recovery. But that could be a very helpful piece of equipment to get.
[00:29:51.250] – Allan Yeah. OK, so Rachel. OK, so now we're dedicated. We're going to run this five k, really excited about it. What are some other secrets that are going to make sure we're successful in completing this five K.
[00:30:07.120] – Rachel Oh well take a look at your nutritional habits would be a good thing for right now. I like to have people think that an athlete doesn't exercise and diet. They fuel and train. So if you think of food as fuel, you'll be able to hone in better on the on the foods that help fuel your run and not weigh you down. So this would be a good time to cut back on the sugar and the junk food and give yourself the nutrition it needs to work harder on a run.
[00:30:40.640] – Allan I think a lot of people, think they will see these products particular. If you go into the run store, you're going to see this these products, particularly at the front counter. And what I'm going to be called goo. And there's a lot of other brands out there now. And, you know, all this different stuff in it. But if you look at the main ingredients of every single one of those, it's sugar or some form of sugar, probably high fructose corn syrup. In the bay still is that they think you've got to refuel while you're doing the run.
[00:31:11.380] – Allan Here's here's the the cold, hard facts. You have enough glucose and glycogen in your body right now that you could go out and complete not just a five K, but easily a ten K and probably even half a marathon without ever needing any fuel at all.
[00:31:32.020] – Rachel Yes, I caution caution people. They look delicious because there's really fun flavors out there, like birthday cake and an espresso coffee flavors. But no, you certainly don't need any of these running nutritional products for a five K or a 10K. I think that I, I would wager to guess people have probably closer to twenty miles of glucose in their bodies before they really hit the wall, which is a common running term. But so I would stay away from these products until you get into the higher distances.
[00:32:04.810] – Rachel They're just not necessary. But what is necessary would be obviously water and possibly electrolytes, especially if you're training in extreme heat and you're a big sweater like I used to be when I was in Florida. I used to sweat buckets in that heat and humidity. And so electrolytes would be could be very helpful. And even in the winter, even though you're not thirsty in the winter, you still need that hydration. So be sure to have water before and after. May not need it during, but maybe a handheld water bottle could be helpful if you find that need.
[00:32:41.920] – Allan Yeah, I think one of the one of the core things to think about and it's it's more important when you get to longer distances than maybe a five K, but you are how you train and you should eat the same way you would eat. So don't change up your routine, your food routine for your five K for your race, find a way of fueling yourself that feels comfortable.
[00:33:05.260] – Allan Some people don't want to have anything in their stomach when they're running. Some people need something to eat before they run. So find out how you are as far as your training, particularly as you get towards the end of your training by focusing on what you eat and then following course to do the exact same thing on race day and you'll you'll you'll feel a lot better and you'll be properly fueled that way.
[00:33:28.800] – Rachel That's a really good rule of thumb, is never try anything new on race day so that and any new equipment, that food or anything at all. Definitely. And it is true. Once you clean up your diet a little bit, you'll find that the heavier foods, the junk foods will weigh you down. They don't give you the energy that you need. You don't need sugar to give you that boost. And when I lived in Florida, I remember one evening I took my kids to Chick fil A for dinner, and then I met my run club at night. That was probably the biggest mistake of my entire life. So, yeah, just be careful what you eat and when you eat before you go out on a run.
[00:34:13.710] – Allan Yeah. And a part of that, you know, one of the cool things about these things like 5Ks, particularly when you start getting into some of the longer distance, like half marathons, marathons, is they're typically a road trip. You're typically traveling to another location in another state, maybe even another country. And so if you're doing that, one of the things I'd caution you is, like she said, having the same stuff. Don't check you're running apparel.
[00:34:40.770] – Rachel Good point.
[00:34:41.880] – Allan Don't check it. Carry it with you. I was going to the Marine Corps Marathon and they lost my luggage. And the only good thing was I arrived on a Friday night for a run that was Sunday. And so I had Saturday to go to the expo, which I wanted to do anyway. But what it meant was I bought a new pair of shoes. I bought new running shorts, I bought new running shirt. And so everything I was wearing was new and I had blisters and chafes.
[00:35:15.960] – Allan And it was it was it was a wonderful run, don't get me wrong. But at the same time, it would have been a much better experience if I was wearing the stuff I had already broken in and that I was comfortable with. So, yeah, just just little things like that you'll pick up on as you as you get into this. OK, so Rachel, I'm ready to go. I've got I've got everything planned. I've got my nutrition set. I'm ready to go. What are those things that are just going to keep me moving. It's going to keep me excited. Keep me seeing progress.
[00:35:48.480] – Rachel Well, the big secrets to success is basically consistency. You just got to keep at it. And a lot of people will follow that couch to five K plan repetitively because it's such a good plan. And then then maybe aim for a bigger distance like the 10K or half marathon. But the plan should keep you on track. And then the specificity, you know, if you're going to do trail runs, get out on the trail and see what it's like to run on a trail versus the road.
[00:36:18.660] – Rachel And enlist your friends. A lot of people do the couch to five K with a friend because it's fun to run with someone and it's encouraging to have that accountability as well as the motivation with their friends, which is why I'm a huge fan of run clubs. I have been in several run clubs. And when you've got 20 or 30 people out there cheering for you at a race, there is just nothing more satisfying and motivating than hearing your name being shouted as you're approaching the finish line. It's just wonderful.
[00:36:53.790] – Allan Yeah, and the cool thing with the way Rachel and I run is everybody else in the run club is at the finish line before we get there.
[00:37:00.210] – Rachel Yes, that's right. Which makes it very special. Yeah. Yeah. We get the most out of our runs. That's for sure.
[00:37:09.410] – Allan Yeah. Yeah, so, you know, joining a run club, having a training partner, you know, and then making it fun because you know, I think that's one of the cores of this is if you if you find yourself being the competitive type, well guess what, they're going to tell you the time of your five K maybe the next year when you run that same five K, you try to get a better time. Or like when I was doing the marathons, it was like, oh, here's, you know, in this Run magazine, because I got into buying the running magazines at the time.
[00:37:45.660] – Allan We didn't really have the Internet to the extent we do today. Was here was this run this, you know, marathon in California, it was deemed the most beautiful marathon. It's called Big Sur Marathon. And you're running through the rainforest and then over the Bixby Bridge right along the coastline in Northern California. And it is beautiful. It's also a very, very hard marathon. But at the same time, it was it was wonderful to fly out to California to spend some time in Carmel by the sea and to to do this marathon with a lot of other people.
[00:38:27.110] – Allan So it was just a lot of fun and, you know, less so with the five KS unless you're running with some people, you know, but the longer the run it seems, the more social they get. So, you know, over the years, as I was doing it met some really cool people. We had some great, great times on the runs and there were some of them that I actually see them at another marathon somewhere else in the country, you know, so this guy who was at the Big Sur was then also at Washington, D.C., you know, so I ran into the same guy. You know, there were thousands of people at one and then over 17000 at the other.
[00:39:01.880] – Allan And I happened to run into a guy I met on another run. So it's a very social opportunity and the run clubs are really cool. If Rachel moves somewhere there isn't a run club, rachel's going to start a run club.
[00:39:15.690] – Rachel You bet!
[00:39:15.690] – Allan But, you know, they talk about run clubs. So that's not one of the rules.
[00:39:20.720] – Rachel That's right. It's the only thing to do is talk about it. Yeah.
[00:39:25.700] – Allan And I think the final thing is and this is also very important, particularly if you're if you're looking at you're running and you either want to make sure you're doing it safely and you're doing it the right way beyond the apps, beyond the programs. And you just want to have that that that tool that's going to make you a better runner it's going to make you safer runner. You really ought to consider getting some input, getting a trainer, because that can go a long way towards helping you improve your gait.
[00:39:57.860] – Allan So your form is there. You understand if your calves are too tight, you understand if your gait is going to cause you some problems in the future. You also understand, like, you know, I'm a pronater, heavy pronater. And so I did a special kind of shoe to prevent some problems with my knees and ankles in the future if I'm putting on any kind of distance. So, you know, having a coach is going to go a long way. And Rachel is our running coach here at 40+ Fitness.
[00:40:24.650] – Allan So if you're looking at getting into running after 40, I definitely consider hiring a coach because it's going to keep you from a lot of aches and pains and injuries that you hear about a lot in this sport. So, Rachel, thank you so much for joining us today. If someone wanted to learn more about you, learn more about your run coaching, where would you like for me to send them?
[00:40:49.370] – Rachel Well, I just launched my business and I'm at strong-soles.com, and I'll send you that link. And through my website, you could find my Socials. I'll be on Facebook and Instagram as well. And there's some contacts, some easy contact forms on my website. So if you did have any questions, go ahead and shoot me an email and I'll see what I can do to help you. I've been running for over twenty years, so I have been through it all.
[00:41:16.370] – Rachel I have blistered, I have changed. I have done crazy things and all my many miles out there and I bet I could help you get through running. And I and I love it and I want you to love it too. So let me help you make it enjoyable as well.
[00:41:29.120] – Allan And Rachel, you have a freebie for us, too, don't you?
[00:41:32.780] – Rachel Yes, I've been working on a runner's workout, and while it is important to run, it's also important to cross train and also to do some strength training. And I have a very simple circuit style training, which is just body weight movements. You don't need anything except maybe a towel or a yoga mat for your floor. So these are all movements that runners need to strengthen their glutes, their hands, their quads. And it'll be a great cross training for you on the days that you're not running. It's called the runners workout. And if you go to my website, sign up for it and it'll be automatically emailed to you.
[00:42:10.550] – Allan And I will be sure to have a link in the show. Notes you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/470 and I'll have the link there. So Rachel, as always, it's such a pleasure to have you on the podcast now, but also as a CO. So thank you so much
[00:42:27.020] Thanks so much Allan. I love running and I hope that your listeners will too.
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