Fitness Articles

''How I Became a Runner at Age 48''

A Half-Block Jog Gave KASHMIR the Confidence to Run

Robin (KASHMIR) has been a member of SparkPeople since 2006. She has lost 95 pounds and is training for her first marathon.

Robin Before Robin After
Robin Before Robin After

What made you decide to start running?
I noticed my evening walks were getting longer. As my weight went down, the walks had to last longer in order for me to burn a good amount of calories. One evening, I was feeling particularly peppy and figured I’d give running a try—and it was hard! I managed to run half a block the first time I tried. It felt good! After my first run, I knew I could do it again.

How do you keep your runs fun and interesting?
I love running outside! One of my favorite places to run is a nature trail located about a mile away from my home. I also enjoy running through the neighborhood and taking in my surroundings. For the first year, I always ran alone, but this year I decided to run in the Portland Marathon. I joined our local marathon training group, and now run once a week with other people. I’m always looking for new places to run, so I started running in some local races too. Next up—trail running!

Were you intimidated to start running? How did you overcome that?
I was very intimidated. I convinced myself that I would never be able to run—or at least that I couldn’t run further than a 100-yard dash! After my first attempt at running, I decided to give it a try every once in a while along the nature trail. The trail has quarter mile markers set in the asphalt, so when I would feel like running, my starting point was one of those markers. I slowed down when my heart rate got too high and would then walk some more. As I continued doing this, I realized I was going a little farther each time. I finally set a goal for myself to do what I’d been convinced my entire life was the impossible: run from one quarter mile marker to the next. Once I accomplished that, I was totally blown away! At almost 48 years old I did what I couldn’t do at age 14.

Any tips for someone just beginning to run?
The most important advice I can give is to go slow—slower than you think you should. Don’t worry about running fast. For the first year, focus on building your distance. By not running faster than your body is able to maintain, you will build your endurance and stamina, you will strengthen your heart, you will teach your body to use oxygen efficiently, and you won’t put as much stress on your bones and muscles. When you run fast, you can’t run as far. Also eat a little something before you start to run and refuel after your run. And, don’t forget to hydrate!

Besides weight loss, what other improvements have you noticed?
Since I started running, my body fat has dropped from 30% to 17-20%. My lung capacity is amazing now, and when I had a recent VO2 test done, my running coach's response to the results was, "Wow. Wow. Wow." My balance is better, and I feel younger today at almost 50 than I did in my 20s. I’ve also been informed by several people lately that I’ve become a female Benjamin Button. I’m aging backward.

What are some of your running goals and accomplishments?
My main goal is to complete the Portland Marathon. My current mileage accomplishment is 15 miles. It totally blows me away that I was able to do that! After the marathon, I would like to find some trail runs because I think that would be super fun!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Every time I tie on my running shoes, I amaze myself with how far I’ve come and what I find my body is capable of doing!

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Member Comments

  • Awesome. You are an inspiration.
  • i only started running at 39 - completed half marathon in august 2015 - 3 hrs 18mins
  • So true. I started doing the same when I was around 270 lbs. Eventually I was doing 4-5 miles before work each morning. Unless we have a physical impairment, it just goes to show our age or weight does not limit us. Thanks for sharing!
  • Inspring! Thanks for sharing.
  • For those that find some Couch to 5K programs too hard to keep up with, try the ZombiesRun 5K app. The story is entertaining, and it goes at an easier pace--lots of "free form" runs so you progress depending on how hard you push yourself. I made it through once post-40 (and could not believe that lazy me actually could run for 20 min straight!!), then stopped for some dumb reason or another, and looking forward to making it through again! Then onto 10k!
  • Way to go. Keep up the amazing work
  • I too am a late bloomer in running. I started trying to run only because my husband and son are both fantastic runners and I didn't want to be left behind. I started the same as you did and at age 50 finally started to enjoy running!!! Ran my first half marathon this past year and reduced my pace for this yrs Turkey Trot (8k) by 8 minutes. Thanks for your inspiring story. Glad to know I'm no alone.
  • Great inspirational - informational article!!!! Keep it up!!!
  • I see this is an old article, there are comments from 2011 and an update from the author in 2013. Now that it is being featured, there will be lots more comments. I hope the author will give another update.

    I also began running late, in my late 40s and am now 58 and love it, started very slow, one year of 30 minute interval runs three times a week before I started running more. I have run half marathons, now run mostly 5 and 10 k runs.
  • I became a runner at 16 63. I love it. I love the high get and am a half marathon runner. I had to stop running in October due to surgery and have been given the go ahead to return to it January 1st,. I will have to go back to the beginning but that only makes it more exciting when you are just starting out. As one gets stronger and has more endurance, the high you get is insurmountably.
    I am looking forward to my next half Marathon race in June.
  • I started the NHS Couch to 5k a couple of years ago, got to week 7 and then seemed to hit a wall and stopped. I started again this summer, doing each week twice. I get pain in my bum bones, but even lazy me is starting to look forward to it rather than dread it. Hopefully I can keep going this time. I'm 54
  • There was no mention in this article on how someone should go to their doctor to see if they "should" develop a running program. I was told by both a Sports Medicine doctor as well as my a physical therapist NOT to run or do any high impact aerobics. They indicated I had some structural issues where my body had little or no "shock absorbers" (their words) and I could do damage to my body.
  • How nice to read the similar stories here in the comments. There are a lot of us here.
    My first run lasted 30 seconds. That was nearly 30 years ago. I'll be 69 in June.

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