OK, I’m not *quite* to 50 yet, but that big round number is looming in my near future. 2020 is a big year around here – Beer Geek and I will have been married 25 years, Jones goes off to college, and I hit 50. And I’ve really been struggling with my fitness since the 50K training messed with my hamstring. I’m finding that my body does not recover as well as it used to and all those things I skipped in my younger years are coming back to haunt me.
I’m currently back on the FWTFL program, which has 3 weight workouts each week, plus HIIT which can range from a kettlebell workout to bodyweight tabatas to sprints. Since life is a lot busier than the days when I had time to run for more than an hour every day of the week, I find the super intense, fast workouts are perfect. I’m able to fit in 4-5 running workouts each week as well, but only one is much longer than 30 minutes. Totally different from how I’ve always trained, but my body is changing and I have to respect that. So here’s why I’ve added so much weight lifting to my routine.
- To keep as much muscle as possible. On average, people lose 3-5% of their muscle mass per year starting around middle age. Strength training is one way you can slow (or even stop) muscle loss related to age. (Things like walking and sufficient protein can help as well.)
- To prevent injury from running. While I seem to finally be improving, I’m pretty sure the source of my hamstring/glute issue was weak muscles. I completely stopped lifting weights and cross training while I was training for the 50K (there’s only so much time in the day after all), and I paid the price.
- To prevent weight gain. Or more accurately, size gain. I don’t really care about the number on the scale as long as my skirts fit. And, umm, the older I get, the harder it is to keep the fit the way I like it.
- To run faster. I have no expectation that I will ever be as “fast” as I used to be. But I did find that last year when I was lifting regularly, I saw some speed gains and, more importantly for me, found I had more stamina at that faster speed. At this point, I’d like to get back to comfortably running half marathons in my normal window of finish times.
- To get rid of the “wings.” Yes, I’m really that vain and you totally know what I’m talking about. I’m sure that there is some age related sag, but I’m going to fight the good fight to keep my arms firm and that tricep sag from happening.
Don’t get me wrong – running will be a part of my life for as long as I can keep it there. But I’m learning that the older I get, the more I need to actually care for my body and make smart choices.