Welcome to the International Association of Women Runners, a global community for women over 40 who share a passion for running.

The International Association of Women Runners is dedicated to helping women runners over 40 reach their goals for running and racing ……… injury-free.

Women runners over 40 have unique needs — different than the needs of younger women runners and male runners.

Our Personalized Coaching Programs, Personalized Training Plans, newsletter, special events, trainings and other resources are geared specifically for women runners over 40.

You won’t have to accept slowing down as an inevitable fact of life.

You can enjoy injury-free running for many years to come.

We are proud to contribute to the lives of thousands of women over 40 who share our passion for running; women for whom running is an extraordinary vehicle for success, excellence and personal transformation.

How Different Are Women Runners from Men?

DoctorWe regularly point out how women runners differ from their male counterparts. We’ve seen that due to lower body weight, women runners usually have lower caloric requirements and carbohydrate needs than male runners. Due to having lower testosterone levels, women frequently require greater recovery periods from hard training than men (testosterone promotes protein synthesis, which is critical in repairing the micro-tears that occur in your leg muscles during training).

How Your Menstrual Cycle/Menopause Affects Your Running

StressedSMConsider the following scenario:  Your training schedule includes a weekly track or hill workout.  One week, you hit your workout targets right on.  You are brimming with confidence.  The following week, the identical workout is awful with no apparent reason why.  You feel bewildered and discouraged.

Knowing where you are in your menstrual cycle can provide valuable insight into your performance. Let’s examine why and how to use this knowledge to your training and racing advantage.

The menstrual cycle is comprised of two phases.  During the Follicular Phase (Days 1-14), estrogen levels are low, except for a spike near Day 14.  Ovulation begins on Day 15.  The Luteal Phase (Days 16-28) is marked by relatively high but stable estrogen levels.  Also, progesterone levels peak, inducing a much-higher-than-normal breathing rate during exercise.

Science Has Great News for Runners Over 40

RunningInField2The common belief that we inevitably lose muscle as we age is being debunked by research. There is mounting evidence that muscle loss has to more to do with lack of use than age.  This conclusion is welcome news for runners (and other masters athletes).

A study by Dr. Vonda Wright at the UPMC Center for Sportsmedicine in Pittsburgh assessed the fitness and strength of recreational masters runners, cyclists and swimmers.  Her subjects ranged in age from 40 to 81.  Dr. Wright used MRI scans of the upper leg to measure muscle and fat content. She found no significant decline in muscle size or strength due to aging.  The MRIs of the quadriceps of her 40 year old and 70 year old subjects were virtually identical.  In comparison, MRI scans of a sedentary 70 year old’s quad show a shrunken muscle covered in fat. We use it so we don’t lose it!

When to Replace Your Running Shoes

OldShoesSMQ (from the email bag): I have a question about shoes. I bought my current pair in early January.  I’ve worn them for all my marathon training, putting on about 450 miles. On my last long run, my legs felt achy; they did not feel right.

My marathon is in 4 weeks. Should I get a new pair to race in? Should I consider going with a racing flat? I have run marathons in flats before and am wondering if it would be worth it in this race. There is a weight difference for sure.

Thanks

Ann

A:   Good questions.  Surprisingly, there is no consensus as how many miles you can safely run in a pair of shoes.

How To Defeat Negative Self-Talk

WalkingAwayRunning and racing long distances can be as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Here’s how to effectively manage these counterproductive thoughts.

At critical junctures of a tough workout or race, many runners experience negative self-defeating thoughts.  They begin to doubt themselves, telling themselves that the endeavour is too difficult. They compare themselves to other runners who look fitter or are running faster.  They begin to question if they will achieve their goal.  Their self-confidence becomes eroded.  Effectively managing these counterproductive thoughts is as critical to your success in running as is proper physical preparation.

In our coaching experience, we’ve witnessed runners that consistently race well are those whose mental game is in order.  Conversely, runners that continually fall short of reaching their racing goals usually haven’t yet developed an effective strategy to defeat negative self-talk.

What’s Running Through Your Mind?

human brain with arms and legs running, 3d illustration

By Dr. Kate F. Hays, Ph.D., C.Psych., CC-AASP

Jane, a woman in her late 30s and an experienced runner, wants to qualify to run the Boston Marathon. In order to do that, she needs to complete an upcoming marathon three minutes faster than she’s ever done. Her coach may offer some physical training tips, but as a sport psychologist, what would you suggest?

This question was posed during a recent sport psychology tele-consultation group meeting, and we all chimed in with some ideas. Jane, as I’m calling her, has been thinking about the mental elements of her race. She knows that her physical training has been thorough. According to her training program and the charts, she should be able to manage her goal time.

The #1 Best Workout for Distance Runners?

RunningonTrackSmallAre intervals more beneficial to distance runners than other workouts, such as steady state runs or tempos?

(Intervals consist of short bursts of high intensity runs separated by a recovery period of slow jogs.  Tempos are run at a “comfortably hard” pace, about 85% of max heart rate or an 8 out of 10 on the perceived exertion scale. Steady state runs are run slightly slower than tempo runs).

An article written by Alex Hutchinson in the March/April 2011 issue of Canadian Running reported on a Danish study that attempted to answer this question.

The study consisted of two groups that ran three times weekly.  The interval group ran 5 x 2 minute sprints (5 repeats of 2 minute sprints) at 95% max heart rate. The second group completed hour long steady state runs at 80% max. After 12 weeks, the group running intervals had increased aerobic fitness by 14%, whereas the steady state group increased theirs by 7%.

The Keys to Running Injury-Free

ButtPainPreventing injury is critical to consistently running your best; maximizing the physical, psychological and social benefits you derive from running.

Yet, studies show that on average, 63% of women runners get injured every year. That’s almost two-thirds that are forced to miss training due to injury!

What does science-based research conclude you must do to join the injury-free minority?

What to Eat Before Your Run

EatingBeforeRun“What should I eat before running?” is a question that I’m frequently asked.

While looking through the “email bag”, I came across a query from a reader:

“I usually run 7-10 km (4-6 miles) early in the morning.  Do you have a recommendation on what to eat before I run?” Heather.

Thank you for writing in, Heather.

For runs up to an hour in duration: Assuming you do not have diabetes, a blood sugar problem or any other related medical condition, try running without eating beforehand.  Many runners find that they can comfortably complete early morning runs of this distance without taking in prior food.

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