Staying Fit As You Age
First the Bad News
As You Get Older, You Will Slow Down. You will probably run less--and ache more. You might get frustrated, especially since you remember the glory days when you could rip off a PR by merely adding a few 800s to your workouts. Now, the much better news: A slew of masters runners (a.k.a. the over-40 crowd) have been exploding age-group records in recent years, proving that with continued smart training and sharpened goals, you don't have to slow down as much as you suspect. (More: Get Fit and Lose Weight After 40)
"Anyone who thinks you have to be younger than 30 to do something in this sport is simply not paying attention," says running coach Greg McMillan. "The more you continue to run, the longer you'll be able to run. Sure, you might have to work harder and pay more attention to what your body's telling you, but it shouldn't be surprising to see individuals become better runners--I didn't say faster--as they get older."
To that end, we gathered the stories of everyday runners--who happen to be over 40 but who grapple with concerns that even younger runners will find familiar--as well as some scientific data and tips from top training and injury-prevention experts to keep you, on both a practical and inspirational level, running strong no matter how many candles you will be lighting on your next birthday cake.
As you rack up the miles, you can melt off the fat. Find out how to Run Your Butt Off.