Athletics Magazine

What I'm Doing to Stay Healthy and Fast Over 50 (and a Cool Video)

By Brisdon @shutuprun
I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of aging. It gets a bad rap. It seems to most people getting older = losing your edge, not being as fun. When you hit 50 oftentimes the message is that the best part of your life is over and it's all downhill from there. And, you are just moments away from shitting your pants, chugging Ensure and spending your evening with Pat Sajack.
NOT TRUE, obviously
I'm wondering if any of you have felt what I've felt. That you're looked at differently for being older. This becomes very interesting when you forget you are 50+ because you feel like 30, but then people treat you in a certain way. Like you won't understand them or you're fragile or you're not cool or you don't get what they're about because you're an old lady.
Getting older is humbling in some ways and so uplifting in others. I'm probably happier and more comfortable in my own skin than I've ever been and I would take 50 ANY DAY over the high school bullshit years. God, those were the worst. I definitely look happier here than I did my senior year of high school while I watched General Hospital and ate a gallon of cookies and cream ice cream from Giant (anyone remember that east cost grocery store)?

What I'm Doing to Stay Healthy and Fast Over 50 (and a cool video)

Taken at Snow Canyon State Park in St. George, UT this past weekend

But, I still struggle. I am sandwiched between my parents (who both turn 80 this month) and my kids who are both now technically adults (well, Emma turns 18 in 20 days. So on April 10 she can be found smoking a cigar while getting a tattoo followed by buying a lottery ticket and fireworks. Such milestones when you turn 18!) It's a rather unique place to be and one that all feels very out of control.
And, then there's running. Most people say you get slower as you get older. I am fighting that every step, literally. I know that pace and age group placings are not what is most important about the sport. But, these things keep me motivated in my training. They keep me committed and interested. Sure there are days when I couldn't give a shit about how far or fast I'm running. But, I like being competitive with my peers. This, of course, means focusing on how others in my age group are doing because that's apples to apples, right?
So, I did an experiment. After clawing myself back from major injury and finally being solidly healthy (I fell on May 11 at 9:07 a.m. and tore the mother eff'ing shit out of my hamstring), I can now work on fine tuning things. There are two secret weapons I'm using (these are not purely original, but they are tried and true).
1.  I decided to add in a day of speed work each week just to see how it might affect my overall performance. Typically I do "junk miles" where I just go out and do whatever. For the past 5 weeks I've been reluctantly jumping on the treadmill (trying not to do that when it's on like this time). As the weeks go by, I mind it less and less because I see the gains. Here's the workout I do (I made it up, it doesn't come from some fancy running website):
1 mile w/u: 6.0 mph @ 1% incline
1/2 mile: 6.5 mph @ 1% incline
1/2 mile: 6.8 mph @1% incline
1/2 mile: 7.0 mph @ 1% incline
1/2 mile: 7.2 mph @.5% incline
1/2 mile: 6.5 mph @ 1% incline
1/2 mile: 6.8 mph @1% incline
1/2 mile: 7.0 mph @ 1% incline
1/2 mile: 7.2 mph @.5% incline
1 mile c/d: 6.0 mph @1-2% incline
Total: 6 miles
I see results. Just in the past two weeks or so, I am consistently running faster with less effort. I have cut about 15-30 seconds off per mile.
2. I'm focusing on sleep. From some research I've done lately on recovery, the findings seem to be that the absolute best thing you can do to recover (even better than ice baths, stretching, etc) is to get good sleep. I know I'm an over achiever so I get about nine hours of sleep per night. I can hear you gasping. It is the truth! That is unless the dog barfs or I wake up worried that the picture hanging above our bed is going to fall and behead me (<I love the shit we dream up to worry about in the middle of the night). One thing I'm enjoying is that my new Suunto watch tells me how long I sleep and how many hours of deep sleep I get. It is highly satisfying.

What I'm Doing to Stay Healthy and Fast Over 50 (and a cool video)

Last night's deep sleep

What I'm Doing to Stay Healthy and Fast Over 50 (and a cool video)

Total sleep time average this week
Hi Pussy!

Sleep duration is measured by an accelerometer - a motion sensor which detects movements from your wrist. An added benefit of using a sleep tracker is that your heart rate while you sleep is a good indicator of how well you are truly recovering. If you are over-training and/or not recovering properly, your resting heart rate could be elevated.
Pro-tip (I'm not a pro at anything, but I like the jargon): I take two full rest days each week. Old ladies need it.
So, there you have it. My secret sauce for the moment.
Oh, and hey, meet my new team mates! Can you find me? I'm pretty sure my legs are spread wide eagle..not sure why I always do that.
What I'm Doing to Stay Healthy and Fast Over 50 (and a cool video)

How many hours of sleep do you get per night on average? 8-9

Did you like high school? Why or why not? No. Mostly because I went to my freshman and sophomore years overseas then moved back to the U.S. my junior year. It was tough breaking into the cliques.
How old are you and what's been your favorite phase of life so far? I'm 52. I actually like this phase of life right now.
Treadmill, yes or no? Being outside wins for me - but I do the treadmill if it serves a purpose - like for speed work or when it's icy outside.

PS: Check out the 2 minute video from this weekend. Don't blink or you will miss me.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog