What? I can’t do that! I’m FAR too old to start…..”
I hear that excuse all the time. And that’s exactly what that sentence is – an excuse. I’ve seen so many people take up running well into their 50s and 60s and unless you have medical problems that physically prevent you from running, it is never too late to start.
I’ve spoken a lot about how lucky I am that both my brother and my Dad took up running shortly after I did and subsequently joined my local club (my Dad starting with his first tentative jog at Burnley parkrun at the tender age of 58). Well, allow me to introduce the latest member of the Howard running pack…..
My lovely mum. My mum who has asthma and who has struggled in the past with dodgy knees. My mum who has stood by the side of the road in rain, hail and high winds for untold hours to try and catch a glimpse of me as I race by. My mum, who is my biggest cheerleader and most loyal supporter has just successfully completed couch to 5k.
I have only helped out at a few of the couch to 5k sessions but every time I went I was amazed at the amount of effort given – both by the voluteers who lead the group and the participants themselves. It was a joy to be surrounded by such enthusiasm and determination.
Last Saturday was the group’s final session, in which they would run 5k over difficult terrain and with a few decent hills thrown in for good measure. I was so proud running alongside my mum (and she was rightly proud of herself too). I just couldn’t believe that nine short weeks ago she’d barely run a step – unless it’s a race to the bar before last orders (sorry mum). And now there she was, making it look easy.
She’ll be the first to admit that whilst she’s running, she hates it! But she loves the feeling of satisfaction she gets when she’s finished and she loves stepping up to the challenge that learning to run poses (so that’s where I get it from!)
I’ve purposely tried to not get too involved with her running (it was my mum’s own decision to start the couch to 5k and I was shocked when she said it!), as I don’t believe that running is a sport that everyone will love and I think it’s important to do it for yourself – because you want to – not because everyone else will like it if you do. But it was a joy to be at that final session and I’ve no problem admitting I felt quite emotional. Not just because of my mum, but witnessing everyone cross that home made finish line and seeing the look of pride on their faces was….well, it was an experience I’ll never forget.
So whether it’s running or swimming, learning to speak a new language or going back to school to study – it’s never too late. Just ask my mum.
N.B Interestingly, my mum’s dodgy knees are no longer dodgy since she started running. Please do not believe the myth that running ruins your joints – it actually strengthens them.
N.N.B It’s always good to get the advice of a health professional before you begin a new physical activity. If you ask me, the whole world would be a better place if everyone ran, but I ain’t got no PHD.