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.

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

Relaxingsm

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

5 Essential Tips to Ensure Your Nutrition Supports Your Training

Middle aged woman with grey hair eating salad sandwich and holding plate (selective focus)

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

For runners who want to optimize their nutrition with a sustainable plan, I offer these suggestions:

  1. Evenly distribute your calories throughout the day. Most female runners need about 2.400 to 2,800 calories a day; male runners may need 2,800 to 3,600 calories a day. This number varies according to how much you weigh, how fidgety you are, and how much you exercise. That’s why meeting with a professional sports dietitian can help you determine a reliable estimate. To find a local sports dietitian, use the referral network at www.scandpg.org 

Flying Is Hazardous to Your Training

Tlphone Mobile Senior

Many of us know that runners are more susceptible to catching colds after racing and running longer distances. Research has shown running longer than 90 minutes increases the risk of developing an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI). How to Prevent Colds and Illnesses after Racing and Running Long.

What other common activity increases your risk of illness? It’s not going outside without a hat during winter (sorry, Mom).

It’s flying.

Dehydration Myths

WaterBottlesmConventional wisdom among runners is that dehydration is to be avoided at all costs.   After all, doesn’t dehydration cause overheating? Doesn’t dehydration often result in heat distress? Doesn’t dehydration severely impair performance? Aren’t runners who collapse near or at the end of a race severely dehydrated and should be treated with rapid hydration?

Most of the running community will answer these questions with a resounding “yes”.  This all seems very logical and commonsense……….but it is not true!

WordPress Website Design by Lisa Marie Designs