My ad­vice for stay­ing in­jury-free for­ever


On July 12, 2015,

I ran the Mis­soula Marathon (Montana, US), my 200th 26.2-miler, to cel­e­brate turn­ing 70. I com­peted in the 1972 Olympics in the 10,000 me­tres, and as I trained to re­main a top ath­lete I de­vel­oped an Achilles prob­lem in 1977. Then I had an epiphany: I wanted to en­joy ev­ery run, pain-free, for the rest of my life. I’ve run al­most ev­ery day since 1978 with­out in­jury. Here’s how I do it – and how you can, too. TAKE WALK BREAKS Do­ing a mix­ture of run­ning and walk­ing gives me con­trol over how I feel on a run and how quickly I re­cover. If I start to feel sore or tired, I can ad­just the amount of run­ning and walk­ing to heal while I con­tinue my daily runs. Run-walk­ing in races helps me bounce back quickly. SHORTEN YOUR STRIDE Tak­ing short steps and keep­ing your feet close to the ground re­duces stress on your feet, legs, joints, mus­cles and ten­dons. A short stride, paired with walk breaks, can keep your legs feel­ing strong even as your body loses flex­i­bil­ity and mus­cle mass with age. RACE YOUR WAY FIT I stopped speed­work in 1978 – if I wanted to run fast, I’d en­ter a 5K. I also started to look at marathons as long train­ing runs rather than races – two years later I ran my PB (2:16). Races of­fer a sense of com­mu­nity and a men­tal boost that help you run faster with less ef­fort. BE OPEN TO CHANGE Run­ners are stub­born, es­pe­cially those who’ve been at it for years. Many hes­i­tate to slow down, add walk breaks or run fewer days, even as they stop en­joy­ing their runs (and get in­jured). But change is good – the right strat­egy can al­low ma­ture run­ners to feel good on ev­ery run.

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