The Dos & Don’ts of Running After 50


Running offers various benefits including enhanced joint and bone strength, improved circulation, heart health and positive effects on mental well-being.

However, running at any age is hard on your joints and can lead to injury if you are not careful.

Learning how to start and keep running at 50 (and beyond) can help you safely participate in the sport and get more out of it.

Know the Risks

“Overuse injuries from pushing too hard too soon are common,” says Mariah Taylor, RunSport clinic’s head coach and the founder of The Track Club at the Pacific Institute for Sports Education.

“A gradual build-up is crucial. Starting with walk/run intervals, like four to five sets of 60 seconds of running and four minutes of walking, is a smart approach to minimize risks.”

Moving slowly and improving incrementally ensures you are building fitness and strength while minimizing your risk of injury.

“A good warm-up and cool-down routine is paramount,” adds Taylor.

“Starting with an activation routine, followed by a gentle warm-up (walk or run), the run/workout and then cool-down and stretching, helps prevent injuries. Paying attention to small details is crucial in running.”

Get a Guide

Having a knowledgeable coach can be helpful. A personalized approach is essential as there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Incorporating strength training gradually introduces loading in a controlled environment, preparing the body for running impact and highlighting imbalances.

Find yourself a guide: a mentor, a coach or a bunch of like-minded individuals. A crew that keeps you inspired and accountable will go a long way.

Taylor coaches a woman in her late 60s who trains alongside women in their 20s and 30s.

“The dynamic within this group is electric, and propels her beyond solo achievements. It’s the secret to preserving that childlike sense of wonder, where the fear of failure was never a consideration,” she says.

“A curious mind paired with a growth mindset always discovers avenues for learning and flourishing.”

Set Goals

“Age doesn’t limit setting goals,” says Taylor.

“All you need to do is to ensure they are measurable, realistic and attainable. Incorporate process goals as checkpoints to keep you on track.”

Make sure your goals are appropriate for your age and current fitness level. It may take some time to learn what you are capable of so be flexible and ready to alter goals when needed. Be proud that you are becoming an active and committed runner.

Recover Properly

Recovery may differ at this age, so experimenting with strategies is vital.

Chances are, if you used to run, you won’t bounce back as quickly as you did when you were younger.

Listen to your body and don’t run if you don’t feel fully refreshed and excited to do so.

Focus on warm-ups, cool-downs, hydration, post-workout snacks, electrolytes, yoga and quality sleep for effective recovery.

Sleep is an important factor in running. Proper sleep allows your heart to rest and your cells and tissues to repair.

Bust the Myth

Taylor said the most common myth about running after 50 is that it is too dangerous or not safe.

“Forget the myth—it’s not too dangerous, not too hard and damn sure is safe,” says Taylor.

“Our bodies are champs at adapting. They are incredible organisms with unbelievable adaptation abilities. Focus on starting slow and emphasizing consistency and recovery. This is the secret sauce and can lead to surprising achievements at any age.”

Age is a factor in running but it is not a showstopper.

“Keep it consistent, be patient and enjoy the ride,” says Taylor.

“Listen to your body, invest in the process—that’s where the real magic happens.”