LOLZLetter 138 | Running As You Age Series

Interviewing two people in their 50s

Welcome,

As many know by now, I'm doing interviews with how people's relationship with running has changed with age. This week I'm talking to two people in their 50s. This series continues to be fun, and I've enjoyed learning people's stories and their relationship with running. This week I'm talking to Andrew and Frank! 

Andrew, age 51:

Andrew started running in 2011, and his first half marathon was in 2012. Next month, he will run his 100th half marathon!

Have you noticed anything has changed as you’ve gotten older?

I’ve started noticing changes in the last two years. It takes longer to warm up, and I'm not sure I could do some of the crazy challenges today that I did in years past, like back-to-back races.

Has what do you do before a run changed?

Before starting a run, I'll often do a short (10-20 minute) warm-up ride on the Peloton bike. No impact gets the blood flowing and the heart rate up. And yes, more time and more care to make sure I'm feeling good. I used to just go.

What do you do differently since when you started?

More loops on long runs instead of long out-and-back. I like having a home base with water refills and the certainty of a clean bathroom.

What keeps you motivated to run?

Running, alone or as part of a triathlon, is my chosen fitness/sports activity. At this point it's just part of my personality. It keeps me feeling good in the body and calm in the mind, to the extent possible.

Has the race distance you like to do changed?

It's hard to judge because 2020 was going to be a banner year for me in the 5K, 10K, and half marathon. I was in peak condition and aging up into the 50-54 group. But after March 2020, it was all virtual things and solo long runs. The half marathon was usually my favorite, and when I really get back into racing, I expect it will be again.

I've done three races so far this year since lockdowns have eased up. One trail half, one mountain trail marathon (DNF 😐), and a 5K fun run with my spouse. With the fall season coming up, I have some things on the calendar but far fewer than a normal year. But I don't think getting older has really affected my race schedule.

What are POSITIVE things you’ve noticed since growing older with the sport?

Nobody cares how old or young you are, or your background, or whatever. We're all out here too early in the morning to have some fun and do the best we can, and we support each other. I love that, and I see it more and more every year.

Thank you, Andrew, for your time. You can find him here. 

Frank: Age 59

Frank has always run in one form or another. When he was younger, running was mostly part of other sports, primarily soccer. He started running track in college and ran his first road 10K Memorial Day 1983 and his first marathon in 1998. He's done 17 marathons since, with Philadelphia up next!

What have you noticed anything has changed as you’ve gotten older?

The first thing I noticed was in my 30s, recovery time from a hard effort seemed to take longer. I have used a heart rate monitor pretty consistently since the early 2000s and have seen my max heart rate drop by about 25 points. So that has certainly also impacted things.

Has what do you do before a run changed? 

Not much! I like the extra time between waking up and running, but I still get up about 45 minutes to an hour before I run. Saturdays, I tend to relax a bit more and get out a bit later.

What do you do differently since when you started?

When I started, there was no internet, so you learned a lot more by trial and error and talking to other people.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also changed my perspective. I don’t get hung up on pace and have no problem keeping an easy run easy no matter what the pace. I’ve also come to realize that time and effort are more important than distance and pace.

Miles per week and pace are just indirect measures of time and effort. If two people go for a 1-hour run at 70% max heart rate, they do the same workout. One might have run 10 miles and the other 6. Their bodies don’t know that.

So although I do look at weekly mileage and pace (I can’t help myself), I also look at how many hours I ran and what my average heart rate was. In the heat of the summer, I might have actually done more work in a given week, even though my mileage was a bit less. I also don’t hesitate to take a rest day or two if I think I need it, regardless of what the schedule says.

What keeps you motivated to run?

I feel better when I run. If I take too much time off, I feel sluggish and out of it. I also have a great crew that keeps it fun and pushes me. It's much easier to get out of bed and do a workout at 6:00 am in the middle of winter if you have someone to do it with. I would just go back to sleep otherwise!

What are POSITIVE things you’ve noticed since growing older with the sport?

Technical clothing and Body Glide!! My first 10K in 1983 was 50 degrees, raining, and we were all wearing cotton.

Seriously though, the camaraderie. I’ve met so many great people just from seeing them on my regular routes every day. Social media and Strava have also allowed runners across the country to connect and share information and forge bonds. I’m also 59, fit and healthy, and can still get out there.

As you get older, remember, age-grading is your friend! We always say you run mostly against yourself. Age-grading allows you to also compete against your younger self. I keep a list of what my age-graded PRs are. I might not be able to beat the actual time I ran 25 years ago, but I can still put in a better performance. I’ll look at my PR for a given distance and figure out what I have to run at my current age to beat it. There is no reason you can’t continue to improve even if your “time” is not as fast. Embrace that and use it to your advantage.

You can find him on Strava, Instagram, or Twitter.

Thank you, Frank and Andrew, for your time. If you are enjoying this series, I appreciate you sharing and telling your friends!

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More of the running as you age series:

30s: Katie, Vanessa, and Jessica

40s: Melissa and Matthew 

40s (Part 2): Laura and Jonathan 

What is Keeping Me Entertained:

Santa Monica Classic 10k (42:34)

I was on a We Run This podcast: We talk about shoes and snakes

Brooks Levitate 5 Shoe Review

Retired Elite Runner Shalane Flanagan Announces Her Goal to Run 6 World Marathons in 42 Days, Each in Under 3 Hours

The Latest Research on Super Shoes and Fast Marathon Times

Bonus LOLZLetter 137.5 | Running as You Age

Interviewing two more people in their 40s

Welcome Back for a bonus newsletter!

Instead of doing the weekly forum, I'm adding a second newsletter from those who run in their 40s. I've enjoyed reading many people's stories, and I enjoy reading how running has changed in their age. Two full send newsletters will probably not become a thing, but I enjoy reading people's stories to the fullest and not cutting them down. I hope you do too! 

This week focuses on those running in their 40s; earlier, I interviewed Melissa and Matthew. Today I am talking to Jonathan and Laura.

Jonathan Age 44:

Jonathan is 44 and started running seriously in 2012.

What have you noticed as has changed?

As I've gotten older, the little dings and dinks that the body absorbs take longer to recover. So, even with stretching, I feel stiff or not so flexible in some places. I'd say I first noticed these changes at the end of 2018, beginning of 2019.

I've always needed more time to wake up, but that's because I work a second shift job, so I get home after midnight.

I feel better now than when I started. I understand my limitations and when I should take it easy on a run. I do more stretching, and I actually foam roll now. In the beginning, I didn't even know what a foam roller was.

What keeps you motivated to run? 
Staying in shape keeps me motivated since I have a horrible diet. I know that that probably isn't a great reason to run, but it motivates me to keep doing it.

I also want to PR my race times; I tend to be competitive with myself. The race question is hard to answer due to the last year and a half. I will say that I am NOT a fan of virtual races. I still enjoy the half marathon the most, but that may lean towards the 10K in a few years.

What is something POSITIVE you've learned with running? 
One positive thing over the years is that I feel more confident answering other people's questions about running. Initially, I wouldn't because, in all honesty, who was I to be answering anyone's question. I was no expert.

Now I know more, and I also know that we are all different types of runners, and with that comes a variety of ways to run, fuel, prepare, and determine what a successful run or an unsuccessful run is.

You can follow Jonathan on Twitter, Instagram, or his blog

Laura Scholz:

As a side note, Laura is one of my longest adult friendships. It's hard to believe we are celebrating a decade of friendship! Anyway-Laura started running in graduate school to stay in shape and lose weight. For about 10 years, she did 5ks and 10ks and completed her first half marathon in 2007. Then at age 31, she began racing every distance from the mile to the marathon regularly.

Have you noticed anything has changed as you've gotten older? 

I ran my best times at ages 38-40. My half marathon PR (1:40) was set at age 40. But a few months after that, my fitness took a big hit.  It was a combination of life stressors, injuries, undiagnosed hypothyroidism, and maybe some overtraining, so it's hard to know what was a result of aging and what was just bad luck or timing!

I ran my second fastest marathon at age 41 and have had some decent 5Ks since then, but not close to what I ran before, even adjusting for age.

I notice my heat tolerance is way down, related to perimenopause. As a result, I require more prehab and recovery: lots of stretching and foam rolling, 8+ hours of sleep a night, a better diet, very minimal alcohol.

I used to be able to bust out a great workout or race on five hours of sleep after being jet-lagged or out late for work or fun, but not anymore! So I'm a big fan of grandma dinner and going to bed early.

Before, I was good about keeping my slow runs easy (60-90 secs slower than marathon pace), but now I'm even more aware of it, and it's probably closer to 90-120 seconds slower. I struggle with holding any pace above the threshold for longer than 10-15 minutes. Once my body gets to a certain point, it just shuts down, especially in the heat, so I prefer longer intervals and steady-state workouts if I do speedwork.

Has what do you do before run changes? 

I feel stiffer in the morning, especially in my back and hips. I'm a mid to late morning runner, and the 6:30 and 7 am race starts to feel rough, especially after a year of no racing. I say I stretch or do activation exercises before every run, but I don't always.

I always do drills, strides, and mobility work before a race or workout, whereas I could skip those when I was younger. I'm also a big fan of pre and post-run walks. I usually walk 20-30 minutes before my runs (if I have time) and love a good long walk in the afternoon or evening after a hard run, race, or speed workout. Amazing how a couple of miles helps me shake out the junk in my legs. I'm also really into hiking with my dog on off days as I can (or during down weeks).

I started strength training a few years ago, which has also helped me with mobility and injury prevention and my usual 2-3 days a week of Pilates.

What do you do differently since when you started?

I monitor my heart rate very closely on easy run days and warm-up/cooldowns, so I don't work too hard when I don't need to.

Until I hit 40-41, I hardly ever ran anything above a 10 min/mile, and now I do often—even if my race pace is in the 7s—and often creep into the 11s when it's hot and humid.

I got a Whoop band about two years ago, and it's changed my approach to recovery. I'm more diligent about meditation and stretching, limiting alcohol intake, cutting off-screen time, getting to bed early, reading before bed, taking baths, etc.

I rarely have a sleep debt, and I try not to go over my daily strain (a number based on recovery, which is a combination of sleep, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability) unless I have a race, long run, or workout. I think it's saved me from overtraining because I felt that when I was running my fastest, I was borderline overtrained/exhausted, and it was not a sustainable lifestyle for me.

Now, I may be a bit slower, but I can see myself running and staying healthy for many years to come.

What keeps you motivated to run? 

Gosh, this is a hard one. I'm very achievement-focused. I never expected to be excellent or competitive at running, and it's hard to realize that I haven't PRed in over five years.

And I ran well at 40, so I can't even try to make a race a master's PR—the pandemic kind of helped me make peace with everything. Running was one of the few "normal" things I could do, and I started to enjoy it for the sake of just getting out and moving and getting time to myself.

I run a lot with my dog in cooler months, which keeps me focused on her and not on time, distance, or pace. So right now, I take it season by season or training block by training block and try to focus on minor improvements or just feeling better day today.

My coach has me in race immersion therapy right now, where I'm just doing as many races as possible, so I have less anxiety and fewer performance expectations. However, I'm not sure I will ever do a marathon again. I've done seven, and it's not my favorite distance, and I'll likely not do one unless I know I can be fairly speedy because it's too much on my body, and I don't enjoy or have time for the training.

But as I said above, I'm realizing now that my lifestyle and my training when I was fast (even though I rarely did more than 45-50 miles/week) was not sustainable long term, so better to be running and healthy and a bit slower than perpetually injured or burned out.

What are POSITIVE things you've noticed since growing older with the sport? 

I initially started running to spend time with my dad, then for a cause (LLS), and I was very social. Then I took it way too seriously, to the point I wouldn't talk to people before races or be crushed for a few days after not meeting a goal. So now, I roll up to the start line and sometimes chat with friends so long we don't realize a race has started!

Since racing is one of the few safe social things I can do right now, I love it for the sense of community and normalcy. I've met some of my closest friends at races and through running. And I think just learning to love for the sake of getting outside and getting fresh air and not being so tied into performance has made it more enjoyable.

And that pace is relative—so many people would want to be as "fast" as I am, and there's always someone faster or slower than you are, but we're all runners, so no sense in getting caught up in comparisons.

Also, I think I am way more in tune with my body and much more likely to take a rest day when I need one or pull out of a workout that doesn't feel right, and I eat and sleep better than I have in my life.

Those are good, sustainable practices that will hopefully keep me running and healthy for a long time!

You can follow Laura on Twitter or her website

Thank you, Laura and Jonathan, for sharing your relationship with you running.

More of the running as you age series:

30s: Katie, Vanessa, and Jessica

40s: Melissa and Matthew 

What is Keeping Me Entertained:

Santa Monica Classic 10k (42:34)

I was on a We Run This podcast: We talk about shoes and snakes

Four-Time New York City Marathon Champion Mary Keitany Announces Her Retirement

As She Turns 30, Jordan Hasay Faces a Crossroads in Her Running Life

Running long distances to lose weight? This is why you're wasting your time.

You know I cannot resist a good cat meme…

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LOLZLetter 137 | Running as You Age

Featuring two people in their 40s

Welcome,

This week continues the series of running as you age and into your forties. You can catch up on changes people have experienced in their 30s here.

Instead of interviewing all four people together, I'll be sharing Melissa and Matthew's story now and Laura and Jonathan's story on Thursday. I've never done two full newsletters in a week (usually Thursdays are reserved for chatting but I loved learning from each person!). 

So this week I'm interviewing both Melissa and Matthew about how running has changed in their lives! 


Melissa:

Melissa just turned 49. As one of her goals before age 50, she plans to run a race in all 50 states.

When did you start running?

My first race was a Halloween-themed 5k. My only reason for doing it was that I'm absolutely obsessed with Halloween (I even work at a haunted attraction as a scare actress as a side gig ~ I am a friendly elementary school teacher by day, and then I terrorize adults at night for which my role actually involves running as I lunge out and chase people through a strobe-lit hallway).

I did the Boston 5k while taking my traditional autumn trip to the area to visit Salem, as it gave me one more reason to wear a costume! I was always considered a fast runner while having little impromptu races with friends in my childhood neighborhood but other than that and high school gym class; I did nothing more with this "skill" until I was in my early forties.

What keeps you motivated to run?

In-person races with themes are my strongest motivation, in addition to the desire to complete my goal of running some sort of race in all 50 states before I turn fifty years old. I call this quest "50 by 50," and I purposely look for quirky races to do.

I love wearing costumes or at least theming with my attire for each event. I also like races that are held in unique areas and/or have challenging courses. One of my favorites was a race I did in the Cajun Bayou of Louisiana in a sugar cane field. The fastest runners received a machete instead of a medal. I made sure to run as fast as possible to qualify for that, and I succeeded!

Unfortunately, I live in earthquake-prone, California, so my machete is stored in a chest instead of having it displayed proudly on the wall due to fear that it could fall and decapitate one of my precious pups!)

Has the race distance you like changed?

During my first 5k, I had to walk a bit for the parts of the course I deemed "hilly". In retrospect, I realize those were just tiny inclines. Fast forward to one of my more recent races; I ran nonstop on a 1/2 marathon course which involved at least 5 miles uphill in the high altitude of Montana. 

My favorite distance is 10 miles, but it's rare to find a formal event of that length. Therefore I mainly do 1/2 marathons. Around mile 11, I tend to contemplate how much self-loathing it takes to torture oneself like that, BUT the thrilling rush of crossing the finish line makes me forget that "pain". I've done two marathons and am scheduled to do a third in December.

A huge dream would be to qualify for the Boston Marathon. My students decorated a tee with motivational comments to wear at my first full marathon, which I did in the Las Vegas area-Mt. Charleston.

How many races do you do yearly? 

Unrelated to age, many of the events I was supposed to do were postponed and/or canceled due to the pandemic. Otherwise, my momentum would have continued to increase while trying to complete my goal of running in all 50 states as in between all of those.

I typically did at least one formal event per week, two to three of them being 1/2 marathons each month. I also had a daily streak of running a minimum of 5k per day in my neighborhood. My car was totaled in April 2021, though, and I had a concussion and other injuries, which caused me to stop the streak.

What are POSITIVE things you've noticed since growing older with the sport? 

The biggest positive (especially because I have a competitive mindset) is that I tend to place more at events for my age group as I move into older groups.

Anything else you want to add?

My miniature dachshunds (Carmella Macchiato and Thor) are also runners.

Carmella has made it to the winners' circle three times for Wienerschnitzel's annual Wiener Nationals competition!!!!

She can't wait for the events to return as, just like many of those for "hoomans", it has been postponed due to the pandemic. Both of my pups have participated in 5ks (in three states so far, actually). They sometimes take short breaks to roll in their stroller as their little legs have to run the equivalent of a marathon to keep up with my walking pace and dachshunds' backs are susceptible to injuries, so I want to protect them.


Matthew: 

Matthew began running during college in the mid-90s because he had a girl on the cross-country team.  He ran the Twin Cities Marathon in 2001, and it stuck after that!

What have you noticed? Has anything changed as you've gotten older?

I've definitely gotten slower, mainly because being a dad affords less opportunity to concentrate on workouts. So instead, I have to squeeze runs in when I can, and they're mostly being done to reduce stress vs. aiming for specific goals.

I began noticing a change when I hit my mid-40s. I had just wrapped up a year-long running streak of knocking out at least 1 mile a day. Once that was done, I had a big emotional hangover, not dissimilar to those felt after completing marathons, and then it was followed by my first significant injury and injured my shoulder. The combination broke up my habits, leading to weight gain, and I've been struggling since to return to form / personal expectations.

Has what do you do before run changes?

I actually do less preparation like picking routes or stretching because now I run at 5:30 am. So instead, I prioritize things like sleep or reserving time for morning meditation, mindfulness, etc.

What do you do differently since when you started?

I listen more to my body — although I am slower, I'm able to knock out significant miles still because I recall all of the prior lessons about injury, treatment, nutrition, tracking my heart rate, etc. I think this combination of compensating controls will ensure I am a lifelong runner.

What keeps you motivated to run?

My desire to live long. I come from a family whose men are overweight and tend to die before their time, and I really want to be a part of my kid's lives longer than my forebearers. I am definitely race-less, just because I cannot consistently train due to life's stresses.

Also, to be honest, I don't have much to prove on the courses. So instead, I am motivated to explore — try new routes, or experiment with new forms like trail-running.

I am also indulging in a fun side project: running every street in my city!

What are POSITIVE things you've noticed since growing older with the sport?

When I was younger, I was sometimes mocked for "jogging", which never occurs anymore. And as I drive around, I see all sorts of body types/shapes pounding the pavement, compared to the gazelles I was surrounded with when first starting two decades ago.

Thank you Melissa and Matthew for taking the time and sharing your stories! 

What is Keeping Me Entertained This Week?

Atreyu Base Model v2 Shoe Review

Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress Review

Lessons About Running Learned the Hard Way

After Leaving the Bowerman Track Club, Marielle Hall Will Train in Providence, Rhode Island

Olympian Allyson Felix On Her Met Gala Debut, Founding Saysh, And Making History

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LOLZLetter Discussion | Has Your Reason For Running Changed Since You Started?

This week in the newsletter, I’m interviewing people in their 30s who have noticed changes in running since they started.

Share: Has your reason changed for running since you started?

On the blog this week I’m talking about lessons I’ve learned the hard way with running. One of my favorite podcasts, Clean Sport Collective, is also discussing all of the summer doping cases related to running (including Shelby Houlihan).

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LOLZLetter 136 | Running as You Age

Featuring two people in their 30s

Welcome,

This week, I'm starting a new series about running as you age. I'll work my way through each age group. I'm really excited to share some of the stories of how running has changed in people's lives but also how they have changed their running routines throughout the years.

I'm 31 and have been running for just over a decade. My own running mentality and routine has definitely changed since my early twenties. It’s funny to look at my blog posts from the 2010 era and think…I really thought that about running?

I rarely "wake up and go for a run." I like to “wake up.” Unlike when I first started running, I now enjoy other activities, and I'm not hyperfocused on "just running."

I find myself doing more maintenance and taking more rest. If something feels "weird," I'm more likely to take a rest day or two versus trying to run through it.

What’s the same? After running a few marathons, I still enjoy the 5k and half marathon, so I guess that hasn't changed.

You can read about my own running journey on my own blog, and these next few newsletters are about you, not me.


This week, I talked to 3 people in their 30s, Katie, Vanessa, and Jessica. Enjoy!

Katie M Age 37

Katie started running freshman year of high school for other sports teams. She ran in the "off-season" to stay in shape. She continued running in college when she wasn't on any sports team.

What have you noticed has changed as you’ve gotten older? 

As I've gotten older, I've had to pay far more attention to when my shoes wear out because I can feel it! When I was younger, I never noticed achy knees or joints when my shoes were worn down. I noticed it in my early 30s. If I don't stay on top of pre-hab exercises, I WILL have IT band troubles.

What do you do differently since when you started?
Pre-hab exercises! (You can learn more about Pre-hab here). My glutes tend to be weak, so I absolutely feel it if I don't do my PT exercises. It may not be immediate, but in a few weeks, I feel painful effects. I also do far more speed workouts than I did when I started. Now I do some speed work or hill workout once a week. I used to run all of my easy runs too fast and never changed up my pace!

What keeps you motivated to run?

I run because I want to be healthy - mentally and physically. Of course, running allows me to maintain my weight, but it also helps me be physically healthy in other ways. I have a family history of stroke, and I want to do everything to keep myself healthy.

My mental health is also a reason I keep running. I suffer from diagnosed depression and anxiety, and running helps me manage both.

I don't LOVE races and probably sign up for maybe 1-2 a year. I've done three half marathons and plenty of 5ks. I'd have to say I far prefer half marathons over 5ks!

What are POSITIVE things you’ve noticed since growing older with the sport?

I'm such a happier person after I run! I always felt better after a run, but now I notice that I don't just feel better; I feel HAPPIER.


Vanessa:

Vanessa had to run for high school gym class but didn’t start consistently running until college.

What have you noticed? Anything has changed as you’ve gotten older? When did you first start noticing the changes?
I'm already a bit injury-prone with bad ankles from almost 20 years of dancing and tumbling, so I'm more likely to roll an ankle these days.

I honestly think that the biggest change is not caring what other people think. When I was in college, I would be scared to run outside and have someone see me and make fun of me for needing to stop. My other option was to feel like a gerbil in the rec center on a treadmill.

These days, if I need a break, I need a break. My ego has really no place in my running world, and it has lifted expectations I set on myself and made running more fun.

Has what do you do before run changes?
Er...I do nothing. I go out and start running. If I run first thing in the morning, I know my first mile will be more sluggish than any other mile I run but nope - I do nothing, and I have never done anything.

In grad school, a few of us went to a race, and it was chilly out. We all stayed in my car and stayed warm until right before the race started. As we were sitting in there, we saw several people doing dynamic warm-ups and loosening up and for a moment. We looked at each other and were like, "should we be doing that?" and we ultimately decided to stay warm. We ended up finishing 1st, 2nd, and 4th, overall women in that race. Lol.

What do you do differently since when you started?
I think I stopped caring so much about frivolous things like time and pace and really tried to enjoy just being able to run. I've gained about 30 pounds and had several ankle injuries in the past few years - one so bad that I was out for close to 4 months. I try to enjoy the time and not worry about what my watch is saying.

Do I feel like I'm pushing myself?

Do I feel like I'm enjoying the process?

Am I happy with what I'm doing?

It isn't all rainbows and sunshine - I can be tough on myself, knowing the paces and times I once was capable of doing and wondering if I will ever be able to do that again. But I try to remind myself that the whole life is a marathon thing, as cheesy as it is.

What keeps you motivated to run?
I genuinely enjoy it - good, bad, and ugly. When I get injured and can't run, I'm really sad and bummed out about it.

I TUCK IT AWAY when I have a bad run, knowing that one bad run doesn't define me or who I am as a runner.

What are POSITIVE things you’ve noticed since growing older with the sport?
When I first started running, my relationship with the sport was as a punishment for eating - I had to burn off the calories. It made it impossible to enjoy running because it was purely a punishment for me.

Then as I worked through my eating disorders (with a therapist, not through running), my running became my outlet for my competitiveness - which also made it tough to enjoy the sport because a bad training run would send me into a mood.

One time I was doing a turkey trot and thought I would easily beat someone, and when I saw them ahead of me at the finish line, I literally ripped my race bib off in frustration. It made my relationship to running completely tied to the numbers, the results, the time.

But really, as I have gotten older - as much as I would love to have not had to deal with injuries or weight gain, it really has humbled me. I'm really thankful for the runs that feel amazing, the runs that I push myself, and the runs that I decide: Nah, I'm good; I'm cutting this short.

For the runs that I "bomb," or don’t go according to plan- I know it is one run. Or it is one bad week. And I tend to move past it much quicker than I ever did in my youth (is it weird for a 33-year-old to say "my youth" like it was 50 years ago?)

I really try to not make running my identity.

Vanessa’s Grad Work Can Help Any of Us:

In my grad work, we learned about the concept of "re-framing," which I utilize a lot in my day-to-day life. Initially, I feel frustrated after a run I was hoping would go smoothly, and I bailed out.

If I actively re-frame it, I am getting outside, now I'm taking a walk instead of a run, and I'm not working in front of my computer. All are good things in my book.

It's ok to be human and feel a certain way, but re-framing has been one of the best things for growing and aging in this sport.


Jessica:

Jessica started running about a decade ago just after she turned 26. 

What have you noticed anything has changed as you’ve gotten older?

I actually love and enjoy running now. When I started it was a means to an end (attempted weight loss).

Has what do you do before a run changed?

I used to spend more time thinking about when, where, and how fast I would run. In fact, I would spend more time thinking about THAT, than I would actually spend running. Now I follow a training plan and it’s much more streamlined.

I also work full time & have a 7-year-old daughter, so I don’t have the freedom in my schedule that I did in my 20s. I have to be strategic and plan my workouts for the week.

What do you do differently since when you started?

I race much less often and focus exclusively on trail/ultra-endurance runs. However, my weekly mileage is actually lower than when I trained for road marathons.

I learned that my body doesn’t need X amount of miles, it needs time on my feet, and variety through cross-training. My weekly mileage is anywhere from 25-45 on average, I ride my Peloton 2-3 times, and practice hot yoga. I’m sure it’ll change again, but for now, this is a sweet spot for me.

What keeps you motivated to run?

I don’t believe in motivation as it’s generally understood. Most days I don’t feel like getting out of bed early to run, but when I do get up early, I never regret it.

I am relentless about pushing my boundaries to see what I can achieve come race day. I love that running gives me the opportunity to clear my head, move my body, and go after scary goals.

Has the race distance you like to do changed?

In terms of road racing, 10 miles was always my favorite and still is. For trail and ultras, I prefer a timed format with loops, and that’s basically what I run these days.

I just finished the Labor Pain 12 Endurance Run, which is as many 5-mile trail loops as you can complete in 12 hours. Next up I’m running the 24 Hour at One Day, which is a paved 1-mile loop. 

What are POSITIVE things you’ve noticed since growing older with the sport?

The FOMO has waned.

I used to register for anything and everything if my friends were running. Now I’m more discerning and only race when I really want to and it makes sense in my overall me.

I also found and fell in love with running community over the last decade, and for that, I’ll forever be grateful.

You can find Jessica here

Thank you to Vanessa, Jessica, and Katie. I appreciate your time!


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