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Misery of the middle aged runner

May 24, 2018

I was trying to find an excuse why I shouldn’t go out and run today when I came across this story of the 77 year old runner Greg Prom.

What’s so inspiring is that he started running in his mid forties and now, at 77 years of age, has run in over 400 races.

There’s a whole load of physical issues to deal with as middle age runners. There’s also some nasty psychological ones. Suffering new twinges and enduring the achingly long recoveries is a reminder that time is eating us away. When I’m passed by younger runners as I struggle up that mild incline, it feels like the burden of all those missed opportunities is slowing me down. A while ago I was almost happy to discover I wasn’t the only one experiencing moments of misery in middle age. It seems I might even get happier from now on! Finding that someone who started running in middle age is still going strong thirty years later made me even happier.

It is often said that regardless of the age you begin running, it will take five years to reach a lifetime best. So even starting to run in middle age offers the chance of improvement as motivation. The other reason to keep running is because it feels good or, as Greg Prom would say, for the “freedom”.

7 responses to “Misery of the middle aged runner”

  1. Found you on the Complete Running Network. You’ll find others stopping by soon.

    I’ve found those new aches and pains. And I’m still in the first five years so every race is a new PR. I have no hope to ever place in my age group. I’ll just wait for everybody else to drop out.

  2. @Greg on the Run: I’m looking forward to getting to know people the Network. Your strategy of waiting for people to drop out sounds just about right!

  3. Phong Chieng says:

    Also found from CRN, and this story is inspiring and depressing at the same time. I ran in hs, but have not really ran consistently since but hoping to get back into it.

  4. beginrunning says:

    @Phong Chieng: Although I hated running in hs I’m getting into it now. Better late than never I suppose. I hope to go back to the old course this year and run it for old times sake

  5. RKF says:

    I was wondering how you (us) middle age exercising people — not just runners, can manage those aches and pains, safely without taking a lot of tylenol, etc. Any suggestions? Thanks! RKF

  6. beginrunning says:

    @RKF – Those aches and pains do seem to be a part of my middle age and it’s nice to hear I’m not alone.

    I’ve found that the best way of dealing with them depends upon whats causing the aches and for that you need a good physiotherapist, chiropractor or surgeon.

    I had a couple of problems emerge from running, the worst being anterior knee pain. I knew I had flat feet and pronated but the physiotherapist recommended I strengthen the muscles the support the knee. This has worked wonders so far and it even seems to have improved my Plantar fasciitis.

    Another problem I’ve experienced is neck pain and severe headaches. These arose from years of bad posture and spending hours on a computer. I’ve done lots of strengthening and mobility work and focused on improving posture which has really helped, however I still occasionally get the headaches, especially when I’ve been hiking. At these times I reach straight for the painkillers and the heat patch! I guess this just goes to show that we can do a lot of the recommended mobility, rehab and strengthening work but may still have to suffer sometimes.

    The manipulation/massage performed by the physio also seemed to generally help a lot. I also try and do some gentle static stretches on the days I’m not doing any exercise and always stretch after exercise. I did try Pilate’s classes for a while which seemed to help my posture. I also try to get help for new problems when they arise. I’ve recently noticed a sharp niggling pain from my left hip so will have to deal with that soon.

    Your right about avoiding the anti-inflammatories and painkillers if possible as they bring their own issues. I’ll stop rambling now as the nurse has arrived 😉

  7. Phong Chieng says:

    @beginrunning: Better late than never I suppose. I hope to go back to the old course this year and run it for old times sake

    I have never thought about doing that. I mean we started having an alumni race where the graduates and current runners would race each other on our home course. But I stopped doing that a year or two after graduating hs. I would really like to take a stab at one of the harder courses that we ran in high school. The course was literally just 3 really big/hard hills. Good times..