Runner on a path

Why Older Runners Must Focus on Strength and Conditioning

AD | Collaborative post

One recent study found that runners in their late 50s lose leg strength at an accelerated rate even if they maintain their muscle mass. As we get older, we also begin to lose bone mass, and the only way to counterbalance that loss is with strength training. Having a strong body is essential for runners of every age because of the toll running can take on it, but it’s especially important for seniors who use running as their main form of cardio. Here are some of the reasons why older runners need to focus on strength and conditioning.

Fewer Injuries

Did you know that your legs have to withstand three times your body weight when you run? This might be fine when you’re younger, but it’s much more difficult to deal with when you’re getting up there in age. Strength training will give you more stability and allow your legs to absorb shocks better. 

It has also been shown that seniors tend to modify how they run as they age to minimise the shock on their legs, and so they start using their hips more. This could eventually lead to hip injuries which is one of the most persistent types of injury you can suffer at that age. 

If you’re beginning to suffer from hip pain already, we would suggest that you consult this Guildford orthopaedic centre. The experts at the One Orthopaedics centre are used to working with older patients and have extensive experience working with athletes. They will be able to tell you exactly what the issue is, and they can work with you to find solutions, whether it’s changing your routine, modifying your training regimen, or surgery.

Strength Increase Endurance

A lot of runners seem to think that cardio is the most important thing when it comes to endurance, but strength is also very important. When you constantly work your muscles, they start to become more efficient when performing tasks, and that includes running.  An NY Times study found that people who lost lower leg strength showed inefficiencies in their running form. These inefficiencies could lead to you getting tired faster. So, if you want to maintain or improve your performance, you’ll need to add more strength and conditioning to your routine.

You’ll Have Better Posture

Your posture also makes a big difference in your performance. A lot of runners, especially older ones, tend to have suboptimal lower back strength. This is an area that is very prone to injuries, and if your body senses that your lower back strength is lacking, it will limit its power output to prevent injuries. This is something you could easily fix by adding deadlifts into your routine. Only doing one set of five deadlifts per week at about 80% of your one-rep max should be enough, so don’t be afraid to incorporate them into your routine and increase your load by 10 pounds every week until you hit a plateau.

Strength and conditioning should be part of every runner’s routine. Do not neglect it as you age or you’ll have to pay for it in one way or the other.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.