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The Little Engine That Could has it right; “I think I can” gets you places. It may be a children’s book that is meant to teach kids the value of optimism and hard work, but it’s a message that can be targeted to all ages.
This can-do attitude resides in 50-year-old Adrienne Lotson
, who is running her first marathon race on Sunday. Her motivation stems from the death of her mother a few years earlier, who lived a some-what inactive lifestyle. Lotson told The Wall Street Journal
, “While walking during a four-mile race in Central Park last year, [she] was encouraged by a fellow runner to try running the last mile. To her surprise, she pulled it off with ease, and since then has become a 12-minute miler alternating walking with running.”
Lotson used to think marathon runners were “certifiably insane.” But now, she is giving herself the ultimate challenge, all because she changed her mind, decided to amend her lifestyle and believed that she could do it. And it’s not just her who has decided to do so.
The Journal reported on a study, completed by Running USA, that “runners 50 years and older represent one of the fastest-growing age groups participating in the increasingly popular events. As the total number of runners finishing marathons in the U.S. doubled to 518,000 in the 20 years ending 2011, the number of finishers age 50 and older nearly tripled to 92,200.”
So as the population of runners (and their age) increases, growing concern over health issues arise. But the CBC News Health reported that older marathon runners face no greater health risks than younger runners. If you train well and stay hydrated, you should be OK.
According to Alan Culpepper, an Olympic distance runner who specializes in training older marathoners, older bodies generally need more hydration and nutrition, particularly during long runs. “If you’re in your 40s or 50s or older, you should be taking in something at every water station, ideally a sports drink if your stomach can handle it,” he told The Journal.
If you take care of yourself, and have an attitude that gets you motivated, you can accomplish great things. Just ask 81-year-old Ed Whitlock, he ran the Toronto Marathon earlier this month in three hours and 30 minutes, beating the previous age-81 best by 16 minutes. So where is the harm in trying? Switch it up a little bit and try something new! And for all those who have decided to challenge themselves, we know you can do it, and good luck!
And for all you tech-savvy runners out there, click here to see the top 10 essential iPhone apps for you!