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!
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Member Comments

  • Yeah Robin! I've had the opportunity to run a race or two with you in the past and am glad you have kept it up. You rock! Kept up the good work. - 11/13/2015 3:56:46 PM
    This is a great story and inspiring for anyone who thought they could not run or be a runner. The advice is right on. It is truly amazing what your body can do. At 40 I am running faster and stronger than I ever did in my 20s and I feel wonderful. I cheer on anyone who is running, no matter how far or how fast-- keep at it, your body and mind will thank you. - 11/13/2015 10:40:00 AM
  • Almost forgot! Love this story and am in awe of folks who start running at a later age! The advice in the article is great for any runner! I Especially like the "Build your endurance" by running slow advice. This helps even if you have taken a short break from running or are in-between running seasons. Thanks for an inspiring story! - 11/13/2015 9:21:49 AM
  • For Noel 711. Recommendations to keep the aches away. I'm a 57 year old runner -- ran most of my life, but took a 8 year hiatus before I took up running again. My annual goal is a local half-marathon and several other runs around where I live. I think the main thing to keeping the aches and pains from taking over are: 1. Proper nutrition and hydration, before, during and after runs. 2. Good footwear -- I prefer zero gravity shoes and running technique. 3. Warm up joints before run and most importantly -- Stretch after the run (a combination of traditional runners stretches and yoga moves). 4. Massage your own joints and feet daily; and treat yourself to a total body myofascial massage once a month! - 11/13/2015 9:10:39 AM
    I'm 58 and have started running this year too. For the same reason, too. I was walking for miles and my body was too used to it. So I started doing the run til I'm out of breath, walk til I recover,then run again thing. I am still doing that, but I can run farther every week. - 10/22/2015 10:06:20 PM
    I loved this article & it made me feel hopeful. I tried doing the couch to 5K, but got discouraged because I couldn't keep up with their schedule. This makes me want to try your advice & go much slower. I also am trying later in life. I just turned 48. Thank you for sharing your story. - 7/13/2015 3:00:04 PM
  • Happy to see this. Apparently, I'm not the only "nut" who started running late. ;-) I'm 52,and started back into running a year and a half ago. It's the best thing I've done for myself in a VERY long time! Now my husband runs with me. Next stop, Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon! I'm SO excited!!! Keep running! We'll be the 80 year olds who blow everybody away! - 7/13/2015 1:24:29 PM
    So inspiring! I'm 41 and can finally run for more than a few minutes... I'm more than a little afraid to try running more than a couple of blocks but your story makes me think I could! - 7/13/2015 1:23:50 PM
    Good for you! This is such an inspiring article. I just turned 53 and have started adding a little running to my walks. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. - 7/13/2015 11:16:10 AM
    My 9 year old son is a member of the Run Hard running team. This is his 2nd season and he's asked me to run the 5K race with him. His first 5K race my husband literally got off the couch and ran with him with no problem at all, but my husband was active in sports for most of his youth. I guess he has muscle and endurance memory??? I'm a different story. I have never competed in any sport and I've never been interested in running (unless something was chasing me I always joked). But I want to do this for my son. He's been training me with some of the Run Hard training plans and I've been power walking with a co-worker the other days.

    Your article was extremely inspiring for me. I've been searching for information and tips online about running and really stumbled on this article by accident. I'm feeling hopeful that my body will surprise me too and I'll actually be able to pull this off. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. - 4/16/2015 6:42:36 PM
  • That's so awesome and so inspirational, thanks for sharing. I'm a walker right now, but I have dreams of becoming a runner once I reach that point where - like you said - the walks started getting longer. Thanks again! :) - 4/13/2015 6:09:43 PM
  • what an inspiring story! I'm almost 43, I can walk fast for kilometres but running has always been difficult for me. This story has inspired me to give it a try! - 4/6/2015 4:01:12 AM
  • This is the best story ever I have seen. Thank you for sharing you're inspiring real live story!!!! - 12/14/2014 8:21:18 AM
  • ProjectChrissie,
    I also was too embarrassed to run in public... I "practiced" in my basement jogging from room to room until I lost some weight and built some endurance. It wasn't a perfect set up but better than nothing! Then (after strengthening my bum ankle jogging in the basement) I graduated to outside or on my treadmill where people could see me.
    As for the name caller who heckled you: brush it off! I was on the receiving end of comments like that.... I decided to not let it bug me....they don't even know me nor I them, so why let a total stranger dictate how I feel or what I do?!
    Just do what you want...whatever works....and smile because you're getting HEALTHY! - 11/4/2014 7:00:26 PM
  • That story is amazing, I walk alot and am beginning to think that my body has gotten so used to it that it is not releasing any more weight. I have contemplated running but find it intimidating as well, I tried it once, on my evening walk only to be put up by some yelling from a car 'run fat lady run' this was very off putting, so am a bit worried about doing it in public. - 11/4/2014 2:04:46 AM

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