Fitness Articles

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

A Half-Block Jog Gave KASHMIR the Confidence to Run

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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

  • 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
    - 6/12/2016 1:49:04 AM
  • 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. - 3/25/2016 8:28:21 AM
  • 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. - 3/25/2016 6:25:14 AM
  • 52 years old and I started running last year. I LOVE trail running! - 3/24/2016 8:03:49 PM
  • I started a walk to run program with my local running store at the age of 51. I tried to run before, but never got the hang of it. After Running 101 (5k training), I took Running 201 (10k training, and now I train with a group from the store for half marathons and have a few running buddies. The store does a lot of events and group runs. Running was a big part of my 50+ lb weight loss. - 3/24/2016 7:45:47 PM
  • Your story is almost mine. I am 53 and started running last year. Keep on going!! - 3/24/2016 7:20:55 PM
  • Like you I started running in my 40's. Always hated every step but the only reason I hung in there was because I knew it was healthy and my husband and son were runners. One day last year while prepping for our local Turkey trot, I noticed I did not dread every step. I started to wonder how far I could go and now am training for my first half marathon at 50!. Your story is an inspiration to me, thank you! - 3/24/2016 4:32:06 PM
  • Awesome Article! Yeeaahhh!!!

    I have been walk/Jogging for almost a year & I am 52. Was never into sports, drank a lot with friends, no energy. Tired to stay healthy. Now since 50, I have now done a bunch of 5Ks, joined our gym by the house, we walk the Chambers Bay Golf course & get out as much as we can (it rains here a lot here but now carry umbrella even).

    Hope to be a runner soon though. - 3/24/2016 2:52:02 PM
  • Very inspirational! I love to run too, but somehow have convinced myself that since I've put a lot of weight back on over the past couple years, and I'm turning 45, that may not be in the cards for me anymore. Well, thanks for the kick in the butt for me! - 3/23/2016 8:35:51 AM
  • 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

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