Marathon training in your 40s
Marathon training in your 40s will inevitably boost your general health and fitness. Running is great for improving cardiovascular fitness and bone density, and combined with other complementary activities such as such as yoga, swimming and cycling can lead to increased muscle strength and flexibility.
Its marathon season
As the London Marathon is fast approaching (Sunday 2nd October) and just today (Sunday 4th September) ‘The Big Half’ Marathon took place between Tower Bridge and the Cutty Sark (Greenwich) with plenty more marathons being hosted internationally all over the world.
Why do people run marathons?
Have you ever noticed how many marathon runners appear to be over 40 years old? and some in their senior years? Why and how do these amazing, disciplined people do it?
There are plenty of reasons people run marathons, many take on these types of challenges because it’s simply something on their bucket list, others are raising money for charities (often for personal reasons relating to something that has affected their lives), and many take up the challenge simply to try something new and because they can. Whereas others are doing it to improve their fitness and experience something new.
We thought that this is an appropriate time to share the account of one of our beloved clients who completed 4 marathons over the age of 40 in the last 4 years. Such an achievement and humbling to hear the ‘why’ and ‘how’.
We sat Francesca down and asked her a bunch of questions. We were really interested in the WHY and specifically ‘HOW’ she used Whole Body Cryotherapy, Localised Cryotherapy and Sports Massage as part of her pre and post-training and recovery. Here’s her story
I’m Fran, in my 40s (!), and decided to take on my 4th marathon in 2022 to raise money for Evelina London Children’s Hospital. The first 2 marathons I did in my 20s and the 3rd in my late 30s (also for Evelina) and after the third one, I had sworn never to run such a long distance again. However, given the debt I owe the children’s hospital for saving my son Kasten’s life, when they called me in the spring of 2022 and asked if I would run for them again, I knew I couldn’t say no.
How do you plan your marathon training in your 40s?
The first thing I did was to contact some friends to ask if someone would run with me – luckily I had one taker! Together, we trained a bit, but she was much faster and fitter than me! I downloaded a 20-week training program and got to work. In actual fact, I had not run since finishing the 2019 marathon, as it was so hard on my body… and I was scared going into this one. I knew that I need to start gentle short frequent training sessions before dipping into the meat of the 20-week training program. I started my training 25 weeks before the marathon so this gave me 5 weeks to get my fitness levels up before even starting official training.
What did you learn (to do and not to do) from your first marathon?
One of the most essential aspects of longer-duration training is to stay hydrated and really give time and focus to muscle recovery (especially in your 40s). I found cryotherapy to really help with the latter. I stretched after every run, but this alone wasn’t enough. Once I was doing regular 10-15 mile runs, I found having a “quick freeze” after the run really made a difference to the quality of my training the following week.
How did hear bout whole body cryotherapy?
I first heard about Cryotherapy from a friend and then started reading about it. She said it gave her energy and made her feel like she could tackle her day, so I would have been very happy if this was the extent of the benefit I had received from it when I first started – caring for a child with brain injury acquired epilepsy, do a degree and training for a marathon was taking its toll on my energy levels.
How did you feel after using cryotherapy?
My first experience was after a 5-mile run, and I was so pleased to notice what it did for my muscle recovery. I was able to get up and run the next day with no aches or pains. Plus standing in the freezing cold, listening to either “Fight Song” or “Lose Yourself” really pumped me up and made me feel like I could take on the world.
I also used localised cryotherapy to target small niggles I felt. Local cryotherapy is a targeted cold therapy treatment to help with pain relief and support recovery from sports and lifestyle injuries and post-op rehabilitation.
Sports Massage was a must for me, a sports massage is a type of bodywork that is used to improve physical performance. It can also be used to help with injuries and other conditions.
What other methods do you use for recovery?
Aside from cryotherapy (which I did between 3-4 times per week – if you go for a membership subscription and are training, it will be worth every pound!). I made sure to incorporate yoga into my training and recovery, as well as to HYDRATE. That was probably my biggest mistake in 2019 – my body was so dehydrated at the end of the marathon I think it literally went into shock – I was completely blue at the end of the race!
How did you feel when you crossed the finish line?
I am proud to say that I finished the marathon in 2022 in just over 4 hours and 30 minutes, similar to my time in 2019, but this time I didn’t feel like absolute rubbish – I even sprinted at the end! And was able to walk home and get on the train without needing to be carried. I would highly recommend that anyone considering endurance sports and marathon training in your 40s, especially if you are just working your body up to long runs, incorporates Cryotherapy into your plan. It kept my old bones working throughout my training!
Congratulations to Francisca
We at Cryojuveante are super proud to have helped Francisca (marathon training in your 40s) and her recovery during her training. In her case, it has made a significant difference to the speed at which she recovered between training (unlike her first 3 marathons). If you are considering a marathon we wish you every success throughout the whole process of training and the experience of running the marathon. We are here to help if you would like to book a session, we have great intro pricing available.
Another great source of information about ‘marathon training in your 40s’ can e found here by former marathon world record holder herself – Paula Radcliffe who actually says “your 40s is actually a great time in your life to take up running. Learn more here
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With many thanks to