My wife and I are both generally fit, neither of us run and both of us are interested in introducing it to our fitness plan.

I study (and teach) Taekwondo while she does extensive aerobic exercise every morning. We both have good cardiovascular systems and good endurance. It would be great to introduce recreational distance running to the exercise plan since we live in an area that offers a lot of gorgeous options for it. However, we're both middle-aged now so we're trying to be sensible about getting started.

  • What are some risks for us to watch out for? Skeletal stress? Muscles?
  • Should we be looking for different gear?
  • Does the target stride change as you get older? The pace?

For what it's worth, I've seen this older question:

What are the basics to slowly becoming a runner?

While "Use Couch 2 5K" is a suggestion, it doesn't really address age-related issues beyond "this is a pretty good app."

  • I will add an answer when not on mobile, but what type of tkd?
    – JohnP
    Sep 27, 2016 at 2:17
  • C25K is too easy for you, just go and run a 5k. You probably could do a 10k if you tried hard.
    – John
    Oct 17, 2016 at 8:14

3 Answers 3


I'd say that you should pay close attention to any kind of joint pain, and to avoid running if you encounter such pain in the hips, knees, or ankles. As we age, the cartilage and synovial fluid in our joints become less robust and able to deal with the high impact of running. Recovery takes longer, and if the joints experience excessive wear, this is something that no amount of recovery time will fully resolve, unlike many of the muscle pains typically encountered in running.

Care should be taken to go slow at first, to not run with a speed goal in mind, and to not run in a way that requires a long stride. Shorter strides and avoiding extending the foot beyond the knee, are recommended: this avoids heel strikes and reduces ankle and knee joint stress. In terms of cardiovascular fitness, you can get significant benefits from running even if it is not particularly fast or tiring. I would begin on a treadmill and focus on your running form, before running outdoors.

Good shoes are a must, but there are so many possibilities here, and everybody's individual biomechanics are a bit different, so what works for me might not work for you.


Join a local running club. Usually there are similar people with similar fitness levels and they are a great resource for learning what is best to do, avoid, and what is normal.

Include walking breaks in your running.

Don't pay attention to your paces or distances but focus on getting some time on your feet even it includes walking. In my opinion, this is the basis for why couch to 5k type of apps work.

When there is any pain go to a doctor first before trying to self treat by completely stopping your running routine or other self aide that might delay the doctor's visit. Find a doctor who runs when possible.

Drink lots of water but only when you're thirsty. Bring food for runs more than an hour.

Use those gorgeous options you mentioned for motivation. Mine was Pikes Peak and is now the Smokies. These goals have stopped me from overtraining and running them have been more memorable to me than any fast times I've ever posted.

Stride and cadence will change based on your relative speed between your fastest to your slowest.

As far as gear goes I don't have much to say except take care to not tryout new fades when it comes to shoes, and don't run in shoes that could be worn out and no longer protecting your feet.

Don't be shy about considering to hire a coach because they can save you lots of time and save you from many potential problems.

I'm an amateur but there are a few running experts on this site and I hope they will see and answer your post. If not then a good running club always have a few too.


I can recommend what works for me. I tried different methods, from spontaneous random style to become consistent, keep and elevate pace and increase time, also doing hills and intervals. Every kind of exercise was a pain. I usually started fast and got tired very quickly. Nothing worked well because I was too tired every time I run.

Things got changed dramatically since I read Running With Lydiard book and started to follow Lydiard approach. First of all I started to run very slow and keep the pace low and consistent. I forgot of all types of running exercises. It started to work, pain went away. Right now I'm building aerobic capacity running on 135-145 bpm which is a beginner's phase. Yesterday I was able to run 18km without any problems, more to say I accelerated at the very end and was impressed how my body reacts. Start slow, stay in aerobic zone, keep heart rate low approach this is what I was looking for!

I took from this book that without proper aerobic base it is not possible to run long distances, so marathon runners spend most of time in aerobic zone, which require them to build aerobic capacity before, maintaining low heart rate alongside with fast pace ratio. This book is great investment to make running fun again.

Re your questions: right shoes/insoles help to provide injures, better to get a consultation in local runner shop. Stride length depends on the surface you are running on and elevation, this is a general rule to keep cadence up to 170-190 depends on a runner's speed, many devices (like Garmin) help to answer that particular question.

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