How I started running when I was 40 and after 4 years I ran a half-marathon

Alexander decided to start running. And he ran. For the first time in 40 years.

Now he managed to run a half-marathon and continues to develop further. His story is an example that you can start running at any age and go to your goal calmly and confidently.

In October 2012, I overcame my first five kilometers, and four years later I ran a half-marathon in 2 hours and 17 minutes, and never took a step. This is a great result, which I did not even count on.

I remember how hard it was for me to run around the flower bed at first, and I remember how happy I was when I was able to overpower my first 10 kilometers.

Jogging became a part of my life, in a good way, turned into a routine that is fun and does not take much time. Now I run an average of 10 kilometers a week, although in the last month I ran 100 kilometers in preparation for the semi-marathon.

This article is the thought of an amateur who still remembers that he could not run. Hopefully, my experience will encourage those sitting at the computers to get up and go outside. At the half marathon, I saw a blind runner guided by a man running nearby. I saw a runner with the poster “Cancer is no reason not to run” after the third chemo. Believe me, you have no excuse not to run.

Unfortunately, running didn’t give me much self-confidence and heroic persistence. Perhaps I started too late, and these qualities are harder to change or develop.

The reasons why I run

I have formulated several reasons why I keep running:

– to make up for the sedentary lifestyle;

– trying to extend my life for an extra five or seven years. Running makes me feel better and look younger than my peers;

– putting aside a moment when my daughter will have to think more about my health than my own business;

– trying to live up to some revolution in medicine, like when they start growing organs or inventing a cure for cancer.

Running didn’t give me enlightenment. My attempts to start a business have not yet been successful. And if running has somehow affected my brain, at least it hasn’t made it worse, which, you might agree, is also the result. I’m less sick than I used to be. My lungs are working much better: I can hold my breath for four minutes.

In four years of training, I still do not understand why sometimes my muscles are clogged on the first kilometer of jogging. I have to choose whether to stop training or run further. But usually, it goes on 3-4 kilometers. It does not depend on either the warm-up or the weather, or on what I ate or drank before training. At least I couldn’t establish an addiction. Also, I haven’t figured out the anaerobic exchange threshold yet, probably because I don’t need it yet.

How did I prepare for the half-marathon?

  1. I only breathed with my mouth when I was running, “breathe three steps, breathe three steps.”

This rhythm is convenient for me because the volume of oxygen entering the lungs increases with acceleration. There’s also an air supply. Sometimes at intensive loadings, I switch to the “2 + 2” scheme. If it’s very hard, I breathe in and out at every step, but in this mode, more oxygen enters than necessary, so I do not advise using it.

  1. I’ve only been running from the sock.

Which style of running you prefer (“from the toe” or “from the heel”), depends on possible changes in the feet. I wasn’t aware of that and have never seen any mention of such effects. But I felt them on myself. My longitudinal flatfoot decreased from III degrees to I. Transverse flatfoot is also corrected by trained muscles and ligaments of the feet. Of course, the dribble under my leg won’t leak, but my footprint has become a recognizable mark of a human leg.

Also, running helps correct the valgus deformation of the toe. I had a pronounced degree of thumb pressure on my index finger. It’s what people call a “bone” on a thumb joint. After four years of running on the right to the thumb has moved away from the index finger, almost disappeared “bone”. The process on the left one is a little slower. For the sake of objectivity, I would like to point out that I saw very curved toes in the runners’ locker room. Not everyone’s benefitting from running.

Speaking of joints. If your weight’s normal and you’re running from a sock, it’s not a big deal with your knees. Especially when you’re making slow progress. To hurt your knees, you have to prepare for a year from scratch and run a half-marathon “on the heels” at an initial weight of 100 kilos. I’m sure you won’t do that.

  1. I’ve paid attention to interval training.

After them, even after one, there is progress in speed and range. I was lucky. Sometimes I run with my daughter, and now we make aprons sometimes. Also, running on the stairs helps well: loads atypical muscles and strengthens the ligaments. I only run on the heel with a sock roll. I read a good tip before the half-marathon – running in the slide should be done with frequent steps. Combined with running “from heel”, I got a rest for my feet when climbing bridges during the race.

When I increased the distance in one run by 30-40%, I alternated running with steps: at equal intervals, I made 60 steps. That’s how I did five, and then 18 kilometers. The last distance I was able to run was three weeks before the half marathon. Only after that, I decided to register. I’m not a hostage to a training plan. If I do not have time for an hour of training, I run two kilometers in 10 minutes, which gives a sufficient training effect.

  1. I ran without energy, but with a carbohydrate load.

A week before the start, I did a carbohydrate load and started taking multivitamins and Eleutherococcus in pills. During the preparation of the joint and ligament, I supported with supplements from sports nutrition. I liked liquid supplements more than a bunch of pills.

How I ran the half-marathon

The strategy for the race was simple – to finish, i.e. to finish in 3 hours and 10 minutes. The tactic is even simpler – run 10 kilometers without stopping, and then watch how you feel. On the track, everything was much simpler and more fun.

There were a lot of spectators, great weather and a sea of music – it was a Musical Half Marathon! The adrenaline level was so high that the heart rate rose to 90 before the start. 10 kilometers I ran calmly, meeting a good man running towards me, which added strength. At 15 kilometers, I realized that everything was fine, there was no desire to stop. 18 kilometers, I ran in 1 hour and 50 minutes. After that, I was able to calm down, because my record had already been set. From there I even accelerated.

After the finish, I felt like I could run another 3-5 kilometers. The goal set two years ago was achieved without injuries or overload.

I didn’t want to write about sadness, but I recently found out that a guy 29 years old died in the race. According to preliminary information, his blood clot came off. So practice carefully and see your doctors, especially if you’re over 30.

Now, after realizing how much time and energy has been spent on training, I am sure that without a coach and a doctor at my age I can not cope with such a task. It is necessary to make functional diagnostics and monitor the heart condition.

Good luck to everyone and athletic victories!


About the Author: Thomas Mitchell

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