Body Age Buster
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Body Age Buster

After Starting Trail Running At 70 I Finally Ran My First 10km

I failed twice before, I needed a new plan

My regular cliff-top trail — Black Rock, Victoria, Australia. Image credit: The Author

I’ve been trail running for 2 years. Before that, I hated running, especially at the gym when circuit training included running or the firefighter’s beep test.

I built up to running 5km twice a week, but up to now had failed in my efforts to run 5km.

​In my last effort, I failed at 8.8km. Not from lack or lungs but from the pain in the ball of my right foot and right hip.

I hatched a new plan, and last Sunday in the early morning, I set out with new hope and determination — and patience — and recorded my first 10km. It was 10.4km to be exact — at an average pace of 5:21/km.

I’m pleased that I could do it. And not sure I will do it again.

Harder than I thought

I became interested in knocking out a 10km run, and so added interval training into one of my regular 5km runs.

But it proved harder than I thought.

After my last run failed at 8.8km, I wondered if I would ever be able to run 10km. I have a good pace for my regular 5km runs, and consistently average around 4:55/km for the distance. Aerobically it’s not a struggle.

But the longer distances were amplifying something not quite right about my running style. The wear and tear was showing up on the longer runs at around 7kms.

The hip pain was probably a product of me running every 4km every day since before Xmas — so about seven weeks now — not enough rest and recovery.

Slowing down

I saw the podiatrist.

She said that I am probably tiring and changing my posture by allowing my head to droop just a little forward. That transfers weight to the balls of the feet. She adjusted my inserts for that circumstance.

I also realised that I had to slow down and not run like 5km, as I was wearing myself out too early. My muscular endurance wasn’t up to it.

On the trail — up the steps and around the blind corner! Image credit: author.

I needed a new plan

My plan new plan was simple enough — hold myself back and don’t get hung about the average pace. I realised that I had become a little obsessed with the idea of doing the 10km in under 50 minutes. Let that go!

Last Sunday, I got up with the following plan in mind:

  1. Turn the volume off on Runtastic — just carry it for the record (volume off so I don’t feel tempted to run at my usual pace);
  2. Fuel up with some liquid carbs — I usually run fasted;
  3. Keep the opening pace “unreasonably slow” compared to my 5km pace;
  4. Just get to the end.

That worked!

I learned that, aside from the mechanical pain, that my main fault in previous attempts was starting too fast.

This time, although I felt mechanically tired towards the end, I was fine aerobically.

5:23min/km over 10.42km — First Time. Image credits: author.

Runtastic shows that my second kilometre was my fastest at 4:49, and then I went up to around 5:13 and then around 5:20 and then 5:30. Obviously tiring — and feeling the pain.

Perhaps if I can sort out my painful hip, I will have another go. I want to get under 50 minutes on the trail.

I’ve added three new exercises to my strength training and today stopped running 4km every day for a few days.

I’m hopeful that I will get my hip back into great shape, and the strength will keep me going pain-free through 10km.

I wish you well in your running.

I’m Walter Adamson. I write about life, health, exercise, life and cognitive fitness to help men and women over 50 live longer better.

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Walter Adamson

Walter Adamson

Optimistically curious, 70+ trail runner; 2X cancer; diabetic; Click “FOLLOW” for living longer better tips | Weekly Newsletter 👉