The Secret to Enjoying Lifelong Running
By lifelong novice runner Bryce Betteridge, SmartCells CEO
What have I learned as a novice runner all my life? Let me begin by telling you that no, I am not a ‘serious’ runner-marathoner type— I just run to feel good. Now that I am 63, I have had to deal with a few more twists along the way compared to when I was 33. The first thing I encountered was knee pain in my early 40’s and my doctor said, ‘you are over 40, you should not be running every day, your joints need more time to recover between your runs’. Ok, so I stopped running 5 miles a day and started running every other day, and the doctor was right; knee pain went away.
As I got into my 50’s I realized just running to be running was ok but my motivation began to wane, I had no goals, so my brother said let’s do a half marathon. Wow, that sounded like a long distance, but he was my Doc and I thought, hey if he trained with me then I would survive and maybe enjoy it. We began training and running long every weekend. He told me don’t increase your distance more than 10% per week. We stuck to that guideline and had no injuries. I have learned to follow the 10% rule. Increasing your distance more than 10% a week is a sure-fire way to sustain an injury. I tried it once and learned my lesson— yes 10%, I stick by it. So, we started training together and ran the Sun River half marathon. The biggest take away for me was having a goal to run a specific race and preparing for it— once I set the goal and registered for the race, I would not let myself off the hook; you keep training and building and feel a great sense of accomplishment when you complete the race. And of course, as you train, you have greater motivation and purpose with a goal in mind.
I have run several races since then but now that I am in my 60’s and having just completed the SLC half-marathon, again with my brother, I recognize the value of running with a buddy. Having someone to run with, keeps you going when sometimes you do not feel like it on your own. There were times in the last 6 months as we trained for the SLC half, that I wanted to step off my training plan, but I realized I would be letting my bro down if I did. A running buddy keeps you going when it would be easy to skip a day or two of your training if you were solo.
I also have learned in recent years the importance of good shoes and cushioning. About 5 years ago in my late 50’s I began to experience knee pain again. I had to stop and walk more than I wanted to because of the pain. Coincidentally, at my business I had been developing cushioning shoe inserts for standing workers. I thought, let me put my anti-fatigue insoles to the ultimate test, and begin running with them. This was a game changer for me. As I ran with my new SmartCells insoles, the knee pain went away. For the last 5 years, I have been running with SmartCells cushioning insoles and have not had one bit of knee pain or foot pain.
Just a few years ago, my other brother arrived on the scene as a board-certified sports med doc and I shared my new insoles with him and my experience of running on them without pain. He said, that he sees 50 and 60 year olds all day long with knee pain and said that the key is to offload the impact forces on your joints. He said as people age into their 50s and 60s, they think they are still young and can keep doing what they have been doing. As you get older your joints are not as resilient and need more external cushioning. The SmartCells insoles were doing just that, providing an extra amount of cushioning. My brother has begun to recommend my new SmartCells insoles for those aging athletes or “wanna-bees”, just like me.
Simple stuff for the older athletes can really make a difference; a goal, trying NOT to be superman all at once (less than 10% distance increase week over week), a workout buddy, and of course cushioning for the joints! I am looking forward to my next race, but haven’t selected it yet. Still basking in the light of having finished in the top third of my age group at the SLC half, as slow as I was for being 63.
Being your best begins with the basics. At SmartCells Cushioning Technology we believe life should be enjoyed from the ground up. Get out there and live your dreams. We will be here supporting you every step of the way with ergonomically engineered cushioning technology in the form of mats, flooring, and insoles. Learn more today! www.smartcellsusa.com