Here's What to Keep in Mind If You Are Over 40 and Training for a Marathon

Stephanie Emma Pfeffer has two young kids and is training for the New York City Marathon. Follow her journey on the road to NYC.

Here are some of my favorite ways to procrastinate on long run days while training for the TCS New York City Marathon as part of Michelob ULTRA’s TeamULTRA: Look at photos of my niece, pee, empty the dishwasher, respond to a few DMs, pee, realize I’m still hungry, eat some form of nut butter plus easily digestible carb snack, apply Body Glide, nearly lock self out of apartment while going to get iPhone arm band, pee one last time, wonder if I applied enough Body Glide, apply more in unmentionable places, drink another sip of water (but not too much!), wonder why I am doing this, change my mind, go back to bed.

Kidding! I head out.

But seriously, I was relieved to learn that even the pros need an extra nudge now and then. I spoke with Kathy Manizza, Head Coach of Track and Field/Cross Country at Eastern Connecticut State University about race prep. A friend connected us because Kathy, 61, is running her first marathon in 20 years on Oct. 12 in Hartford, Conn. So I couldn’t wait to pick her brain about training as a … not 20-year-old.

“I struggle with some of the same things,” she says. “I like to ride my bike, but after a 65-mile bike ride, my legs don’t feel like a long run, so how will I fit it all in?” I loved that she, too, has days where she balks at the time commitment of training.

As my training gets more seriously underway, I had to ask her: Is my not-that-young body going to break from this endeavor? Probably not! According to Running USA, a nonprofit that tracks the running industry, the average age for male marathon finishers is 40, and for women, 37. Overall, 50 percent of finishers are 40 or older. And we have all heard those amazing stories of people in their 70s and 80s who are out there running 26.2 miles like it’s NBD.

But, since Kathy and I are, ahem… over 20 (and 30, and 40), there are some things we need to consider:

 

 

 

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