One of the things I’ve been doing lately over in the Facebook group is to post a quote from a previous episode of the podcast just about every day.
More often than not, the quotes that I post are words of wisdom that I’ve totally forgotten in the months/years since the conversation took place.
I can’t remember Tom dropping this wonderful pearl of wisdom, but clearly he did.
And I have to say, my goal is very much along the same lines as his.
Regardless of what my other performance goals may be, my truest priority is to be able to keep running until they put me in the ground.
A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish
When I saw this quote, I knew instantly that it was one that I needed to post as a Proverb del Podcast.
But as I got thinking about it, I heard the old adage that a goal without a plan is nothing more than a wish in my head.
So if Tom and I, and possibly you as well, would like to be able to run for the better part of the rest of our lives, we need to do more than just label it as a goal.
We have to have a plan. We have to take action.
The fact of the matter is that you can’t possibly try to develop a plan to follow for the next 30-50+ years that will keep you on track to run forever.
What you can do is adopt some principals that you adhere to that will put you in the best possible position to keep running well into the future.
7 Suggestions to Help You Keep Running for the Rest of Your Life
To be clear, none of these suggestions are a magic bullet to keep you healthy and running for the rest of your life.
But following these suggestions will give you a chance to still be running well into the sunset of your life.
Take a Break Once in Awhile
A lot of runners get stuck focusing on the next thing.
The next race. The next training cycle. The next goal.
There’s nothing wrong with that, in the near term.
But one of the biggest struggles that runners deal with is the mental fatigue/burnout that can set in when you’re constantly training for the next thing year after year.
Every so often, give yourself a break mentally and physically.
Don’t run for several weeks, not because you’re recovering from a marathon or an injury. Don’t run because you recognize that in the grand scheme of things, taking a month off isn’t that big of a deal.
Yes, you might lose some fitness. But it’s not going to be that bad.
And if you’re staying physically active in other ways, odds are your losses will be much less than you probably expect.
Try Something New to Keep Things Fresh
Nothing says that you can’t try something new from time to time.
Just because you’ve been mostly focused on running marathons (or whatever) for the past decade doesn’t mean that you can’t run anything but marathons.
Similarly, there is no rule that says that once you turn your focus away from the marathon you can never run the marathon again.
The world of running is huge, go ahead and explore it!
Switch from running the roads to the trails. Vary the distances of your races.
There are no shortage of variables, so go ahean and mix things up a bit from time to time.
Accept that Things Will Change Over Time
The fact of the matter is that you will never be younger than you are right now.
You can bitch and moan about getting older, but you gotta admit it beats the alternative.
If your goal is to run for the rest of your life, you have to accept the fact that running is going to be different for you in 10 years. And different still in 20, 30, and 40 years.
Your pace is going to be slower. You may not be able to physically run as often or as far.
There was a great article in Running Times several years ago, back when that wonderful magazine was still being published, that outlines some of the ways your running may change over the years that might be worth checking out.
Be Diligent with the Little Things
You know I couldn’t do a post like this and not mention the little things, right?
The little things are vital for runners, which is why I can’t help but mention them at every opportunity.
Stretching. Foam rolling. Diet. Staying well hydrated. Getting enough sleep.
If you aren’t taking care of your body, your body is going to fall apart on you.
And if your body falls apart, what do you think your chances are of continuing to run well into the future?
Not good indeed.
Learn to Love Cross Training and Strength Training
I have a habit of lumping cross training and strength training together as “little things” that should be a regular part of your routine.
That said, the older you get the more important cross training and strength training become.
From a purely physiological perspective, the older you get the more your muscle mass will decrease with time.
And as much as some running “gooroos” might tell you that running hills or sprints is all the strength training you need, that isn’t enough.
In order to keep running for as long as possible, you’re going to need to learn to love cross training and strength training.
Believe It’s Possible
How often do you set goals for yourself that, in your heart of hearts, you don’t really believe that they are possible?
If I’m honest, I’ve done that more often than I can count.
If you’re serious about running well into your retirement years you have to believe, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you will be able to do so.
Because if you don’t believe it to be possible, you have no chance.
Ignore the Haters
The older you get, the more people in your life that will tell you that you should give up running.
They will tell you that you should relax. Enjoy your retirement. Sleep in. Play golf.
I say you can tell them to go pound sand.
You’re a runner. It’s what you do.
There’s no rule that says that you’re too old and need to stop doing what you do, no matter what the haters try to tell you.
Enjoy Your Runs in the Moment
One last thing to remember: don’t get caught living in the future.
Yes, you and I both want to keep running for many more years.
That said, none of us are promised anything more than the current.
So take advantage of each moment. Enjoy each run.
And, good Lord willing, you’ll be able to keep running for the next several decades.
What do You Need to Do to Help You Keep Running Well Into the Twilight of Your Life?
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