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.

The Depressive Edge? Going Downhill After the Race

WalkingAway

Aren’t You Supposed to Feel Happy, Not Depressed, After Running a Race?!

(Published on September 8, 2014 by Kate F. Hays, Ph.D. in The Edge: Peak Performance Psychology. Republished with permission)

A few days ago, Susan completed a marathon. Her hard training paid off: she did well. Now, along with the expected body stiffness, why, she wonders, is she feeling so out of sorts? She’s cranky, snapping at people, has no appetite, can’t find a comfortable position for sleeping, can’t focus at work. If she didn’t know better, she’d say she was depressed.

Then there’s her good friend, Sharon, who also ran this same race. Coming back from injury, Sharon wasn’t even sure she could complete the race. She did, but had been miserable—and achieved a miserable time. She too is moody, unfocused, and irritable. She keeps re-playing the race in her head, thinking “If only…” and “I should have….”

What Are Your Guts Telling You?

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The Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD Oct 2016

What Are Your Guts Telling You?

When I think about eating, I think about the yummy taste of food and the pleasure of feeling satiated. But after attending a Harvard Medical School conference on Gut Health, Microbiota and Probiotics Throughout the Lifespan, I now realize I am not feeding my body but rather the 100 trillion bacteria that live in my gut – my microbiome. We have about 3 to 4.5 pounds of microbes that outnumber human cells by a factor of 10 to 1.

The microbiome is a signaling hub. Gut microbes produce neurotransmitters that talk to the brain. This ultimately impacts our immune system, brain, weight, and mood. Genetics, diet, and environment influence these microbes.

How to Prevent Stress Fractures

XrayShinSmallFew injuries have as much negative impact on a runner’s training program than a stress fracture.  The treatment involves no running for six to eight weeks (12 – 15 weeks in severe cases) to allow the bone to heal.  Stress fractures affect elite and recreational runners alike.  Women’s marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe has suffered several stress fractures throughout her career. We know runners whose marathon times range from 3:20 to 4:40 who have all suffered stress fractures.

According to Dr. Cathy Fieseler, Director of Sports Medicine of Trinity Mother Frances Health System (Tyler, TX):   “My experience in my medical practice is that women comprise half of my stress fracture cases, but (women) are four times more likely than men to suffer a recurrent stress fracture”.

Research studies shed light on the biomechanical factors that increase predisposition to stress fractures, the differences between female and male runners that suffer stress fractures and a simple exercise or change to your training that you can implement to reduce your stress fracture risk.

Why Women over 40 Need More Rest Than Younger Women Runners or Male Runners

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Take time to recharge your battery. You won’t get the Golden Egg without first taking care of the Goose.

Frank McKinney

Daphne was a 64 year old nurse who had started running at age 56. Bitten by the running bug, she began to enter local races, working her way up to the marathon. She was now running 5 days per week.  In addition, she hit the gym for two strengthening sessions and a spin class every week.  She did yoga too.  Her dream was to qualify for Boston.  Daphne needed to reduce her marathon time by 23 minutes to qualify.

She asked me: “What is the best way to improve so that I can qualify for Boston without killing myself?”

We redesigned her training program to include more rest and recovery.  We reduced her running from 5 days per week to 3 weekly runs; two faster paced runs and either a long run, race pace run or shorter recovery run.  She kept the spin, yoga and modified the strengthening classes.  She was running 40% less frequently!

She implemented her new program. The increased rest and recovery paid off big time!  She slashed a whopping 33 minutes off her marathon, qualifying for Boston with 10 minutes to spare – just 6 weeks shy of her 65th birthday! (from 5:08 to 4:35:39 at the 2010 Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon).

 

Why Are Rest and Recovery Critically Important for Women Runners Over 40?

Put an End to Starting Races Too Fast

Group of spectators cheering runners just before the finish line. Female runner finishing the race with her team applauding her efforts.

We’ve all been there; most of us more than once.  You’re at the start line.  Excited, waiting for the race to start.

The (simulated) gunshot. The race starts.  Buoyed by the cheering crowds, adrenaline pumping through your veins, you take off like a sprinter out of the starting blocks.

Then, you look for daylight. “If I can just zip around these two football players and dart past that slow guy who should have started in the last corral, I’ll be in the clear and can run my race.

Repeat three or four more times during the first mile.

The result? Despite knowing better, you start way too fast. You spend too much precious energy running sideways searching for a clear path; looking more like a quarterback trying to avoid being sacked by the enemy linemen than like a marathoner.

You pay a steep price at the end of your race.  Tired muscles.  Legs that seem like they’re made of lead. Your form is shot. Your lungs burn. Your chest feels like it will explode.

Your morale takes a beating too. An endless stream of runners pass you as you stumble towards the finish line.  To add insult to injury, a few of them have no business finishing before you.

Why does starting too fast kill your race?

Wishing for the Perfect Body?

The Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD Aug 2016

Too many runners spend too much time complaining about their bodies:

I feel too fat. I’m too thin. I want a six-pack ab. I hate my spare tire.

Obviously, you will perform better if your body is the perfect size and bone structure for your sport—not too fat, not too skinny. If you have excess flab to lose, yes, you will run faster if you are lighter. If you are scrawny, yes, you will be more powerful if you can build some muscle. Agreed.

The target audience for this article is the many runners who already have an excellent body yet spend too much time wishing for what they believe is the perfect body. The perfect body is illusive and nearly impossible to attain. However, being satisfied with an excellent body is an attainable goal. An excellent body might be less muscular than desired, or have more body fat than you want, but it is more than good enough.

Fat is not a feeling

How To Prevent Hamstring Injury

Lack of running-specific strength in the lower limbs is the main reason why most runners get injured. Your hamstrings are no exception. We’ll examine what causes hamstring injuries in runners and the best way to avoid injuring your hamstrings.

In most non-running activities, a muscle is being shortened as it exerts force (e.g. performing a bicep curl). This is called a concentric contraction. However, in running, muscles are frequently being lengthened as they exert force. This action is known as an eccentric (pronounced ee-CEN-tric) contraction. Eccentric contractions are more damaging to muscles than concentric actions.

Your hamstrings undergo an eccentric contraction every time you swing your leg forward (during the swing phase of the gait cycle). They contract and pull back on the leg as it moves forward. Regardless, the leg moves ahead, resulting in eccentric strain on your hamstrings. Imagine your hamstrings being stretched to the max as they try to shorten – approximately 90 times per minutes!

Increase Your Stride Rate to Run Faster and Reduce Injury

Woman Sprinter

Your running speed is dependent upon two factors: stride length and stride rate (also called turnover or cadence). Increase either factor and you’ll run faster.

Recent research shows that increasing your stride rate may also decrease your injury risk.

Findings reported by Dr. Reed Ferber in the July/August issue of Running Room Magazine supports this conclusion. Ferber reports on studies involving recreational runners

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