Starting Running at 70

by Sylvia Endacott
(Bognor regis UK)

At the age of 69 I joined the gym and then ultimately decided to try the local 5k park run. I have now joined a local running group. It is not easy, but due to injury I am currently marshalling at the Parkrun and the Junior Parkrun. What is great, is the encouragement from 'those much younger'. I am struggling and have not yet achieved a 5k run - managed the route in 51 mins, run and walking. But fully enjoy the atmosphere.

Comments for Starting Running at 70

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Jun 12, 2017
You are an inspiration Sylvia!
by: Nicole

Sylvia you are a total inspiration and I so hope I am still running at your age :). Very well done for doing a 5km - walk/run is a really good solution whilst you are building up the stamina. I hope that your injury heals soon as it can be frustrating sitting on the sidelines.

Jul 19, 2018
Running at 69
by: Janet

Been doing Couch to 5K for 2 weeks, never having run before. I can't believe how much I love it.

Aug 26, 2018
New Runner aged 72 !
by: Derek

I was overweight and needed to lose 2 stone. I went on a diet and started on the C25K about 3 months ago. When I started I found it difficult to run for one minute. Last week and ran 3.2 miles in about 35 minutes. My target is 5k in under 30 mins.
Oh, I have lost the 2 stones!

Jan 06, 2019
Started running at 71
by: Carole

After being told I was pre diabetic I decided to start running with my GPs approval. After about 4 months gradually building distance I have now managed 6 miles (don't do kilometres!) Really enjoy the running, I live in the countryside so I enjoy the scenery as well. I'll never compete because I want to just experience the feeling without any pressure

Apr 14, 2019
Still running at 74
by: Wayne

I first donned running shoes at 70 years . I was always in a good physical shape after riding and walking trails. But this was a total new challenge for me !! . My first jog was a 5 min one and it took 30 mins to recover . So I decided to change strategy and adopt a sensible approach by running for 2 mins then walking 2 mins at first 2x per week .then over 2 months increased to 3x per week at run for 5 mins and walk 1 min . My fitness level then started to improve dramatically . But the whole secret to this is to listen to your body and take adequate recovery where you need ie days off when sore . Remember anyone with motivation can improve your fitness . I can now run 3 x 5km ( 3 x 3.1 miles ) per week with relative ease as well as cycling or hiking for another 2 days per week . I have now joined a weekly time trial club to increase distance and aim for a 10km run soon . I am now addicted to keeping fit and certainly am stronger and fitter than I was at 60

Dec 14, 2020
70 yr old male above ave physical condition want to run a marathon. Is that a realistic goal
by: dennis

70 yr male in good physical condition. Would like to run a Marathon. Is that a realistic goal.

Dec 16, 2020
Bravo Dennis
by: Nicole

Hi Dennis, I applaud you for wanting to run a marathon at 70 as so many older runners feel that they can't/shouldn't or just feel that they are too old. Bravo!

In my opinion it is possible for a 70 year old to run a marathon but only if they are sensible. Running a marathon at any age is very demanding on the body and it takes weeks and months of preparation if you want to avoid injury and to do your best. The older you are, the tougher on your body it can be.

If you are not used to running, even if you are fit, I would say leaping into a marathon could be too much. Consider doing shorter distances first to see how your body copes.

Things to bear in mind:

  • Get a check up with your doctor before you start training and explain your plan.

  • Take months to prepare rather than weeks.

  • Take a lot more rest and recvoery time than younger runners.

  • Consider a run/walk training program.

  • Eat and sleep well.

  • Listen to your body and remind yourself that you are not 35 years old but at the same time give yourself a huge pat on the back for the fact that you are running.

I hope that helps a bit and if you do the marathon, I would love you to come back and let us know how you got on!

Jan 14, 2021
Wonderful Inspiration
by: Avril

I quite randomly Googled a thought that I had not as yet owned...a thought of going back to running, a pastime I loved some decades ago...I am 67 years old and very fat now. I was on the verge of not giving myself permission somehow, to do this, to ultimately feel that feeling again, of a decent run under your belt...and then my search showed me this article, which is inspiring indeed, and it's following comments. I am absolutely so glad to have stumbled in here. You are certainly saying Yes to your selves, in a most positive way, and it's contagious. I think I remember quite well how to say yes to myself. Thankyou for the reminder, the lot of you. Soon I will be running somewhere beautiful , just letting those huge globs of stress fall away onto the trail behind me.

Jan 31, 2021
At 69 am I overdoing it
by: Fred

Hi, nearly 70. Have been running about 15 years. last major run was Boston 2018. Im preparing for Canberra Marathon in Australia in April 2021 and running approx 40-50klm a week. Im hoping to achieve sub 4hour .

I feel fit & strong with the occasional niggle on my knee.

Am I overdoing it at my age ?

Aug 07, 2021
It hurts but it is still worth doing.
by: Ian Coleman

I am 69 (and a half))and I have maintained a running program since I was 25. I would no more have attempted to run a marathon that I would tried to swim across the Atlantic Ocean, but near-daily runs of two-to-five miles have kept me healthy all my life.

Now running two miles hurts. My legs and feet become heavy and sore, What was once a pleasant interlude in my day is now a hard, grim chore. But yet I do it, because I can tell that the running protects by overall health. I have a young man's blood pressure and a resting heart rate of 55.

Soon, in a few years, I won't be able to run any more. It will become too painful. But until then, I run, and I'm grateful for the ability to do it.

Sep 27, 2021
I recommend deep knee bends.
by: ian Coleman

Here's a tip. I have been able to strengthen my legs by doing deep knee bends. What I do is, I stand with my feet shoulder width apart, and then I bend my knees. As I descend, I lean forward and reach forward until I touch the floor with my fingertips. I stop descending when I can touch the floor, and I take some of my weight on my fingers. What this does is, I make myself safe from tipping over, and I halt my descent before I overstretch my knee tendons, and I avoid straining my joints. Then I stand up.

This has been very effective at building strength in my joints and feet. I feel minor aching in my knees and hips, but nothing really serious. I began by doing ten reps, and am now up to 50.

I suspect that one of those professional trainer guys would insist that I was doing some sort of damage by adopting an unorthodox and self-invented exercise, but these knee bends have delivered excellent results in just a few weeks.

Sep 27, 2021
Running in the 70s
by: Fred

My first Marathon was in 2014.

Just ran the Blackmore virtual Marathon on 19th Sept. Age70 & hit a PB at 3hr:55 mins.

Best Time for 60 +

Age is no barrier :)

Sep 27, 2021
Running in the 70s
by: Fred

Hi, further to my earlier post on running the blackmore virtual Marathon, looking at some other peoples comments, I should mention I too ran Boston in 2018. an iconic year for worst weather conditions in the history of the game.

My Garmin Watch currently tells me with VO2 Max of 55 I have the fitness level of a 20 year old :)

Age is no barrier ! You just have to want to do it!

I feel on top of the world with lots of energy to play with my 3 grandchildren aged under 3 yrs

Sep 30, 2021
starting at 75
by: Anonymous

I"m 75 and started Couch to 5K a couple of months ago, having never run before.. I can now run for 25 minutes nonstop and have done a few Parkruns with some walking. I plan to continue regularly doing short runs (approx 5 minutes) interspersed with walking as I find thet most enjoyable at the moment.

Oct 04, 2021
Still love running at 68
by: John Anderson

I've been running, cycling, skiing, hiking and backpacking since I was 15 years old.

Running has been the most important of those activities. I still run 20 miles a week through the Redwood hills in Northern California. I'm slow but it still give me immense pleasure.

Jan 31, 2022
Running marathons has little to do with actual fitness.
by: Ian Coleman.

So many people commenting here who have run marathons. The marathon distance is just an arbitrary mileage, and running it must be, for most people, painful and probably harmful. It's a show-off stunt, really.

When I ran, and still run at age 70, the idea was just to exercise my body to keep in it in good order. I like to run. It isn't a grim ordeal that I endure to prove to myself that I'm a superior person. In fact, I don't tell people that I run. I do it after midnight, when nobody is looking.

Meanwhile, my weight is still in the normal range,and I have ideal blood pressure readings. That's the benefit I take from it.

Jun 04, 2023
Is 77 still mid-life?
by: Jezza

Interested to see the comment about being a show off. Agree that running is a private affair - apart from organized runs I always run alone - and I've never run a marathon, having started running only at the age of 61 as part of a weight loss programme - for which frankly it does relatively little compared to diet. But the feeling of wellbeing after a morning run is essential to my day while still working full time.

So after deciding to run the New Forest Half Marathon at age 74, it was a challenge but not an exceptional one. Was it exhibitionism? Probably - one person asked me why, and I couldn't really answer. I've not done it since due to surgery two years ago since when I have never fully recovered my speed or resilience - but am interested to know if I should try again. I run 10k once a month fairly comfortably.

Jun 26, 2023
New runner at 70.
by: Rich L. Louisiana

I appreciated reading the comments here. I just turned 70 and did my first ever 5k in 14:46. Disappointed because I play. tennis 2-3 x’s a week and thought I was in shape. I huffed and puffed and fast-walked most of the 5k. My wife told me it’s apples and oranges with tennis and sustained running. I’m now looking at ways to increase my endurance

Nov 17, 2023
Started running at 71 no problems best thing I ever done
by: Seamus

Started running at 71 never ran before in my life. No problems best thing I ever done. My speed and distance improves every day and no problems with injury.

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