Training for a charity run in your 50s

Dr Mark Porter advises a reader who is taking up running in their late 50s.

Q: I am training for a 10km run for charity next spring. I am in my late fifties and have never run before, but I am in good shape. What’s the best way to build up my fitness?

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A:  Good for you. It is never too late to start. You should be able to run 10k (6.2 miles) in around an hour as a novice, even in your fifties, and the preparation isn’t that difficult. I would aim to do three training sessions a week and divide them like this. 

At the beginning of the week do a 20-minute interval training session where your aim is to alternate jogging with sprinting – start doing 200 yards at a walk and 200 yards at a jog, and build up to doing 200 yards at a jog and 200 yards at a sprint. This is the quickest way to improve your fitness, but is hard work.

Your next run midweek should be a straight 20-30 minute jog, starting slowly and building up your pace gradually. At the weekend try to do a longer run to get used to the distance. Start at two miles and add a mile a fortnight until you get to the race distance, perhaps increasing your pace if you are finding it easy.

Google ‘10k training plans’ for lots of variations on this. The key is to start off slowly.

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