Is it too late to start running at the age of 51?

I've wasn't any good at cross-country and endurance sports at school and my confidence has waned over the years. I have convinced myself that I'm not built to run and that I wouldn't have the stamina to run for any great distance. I do keep myself reasonably fit by hill walking every weekend but would love to complete the 5k.

Do you think I have missed my chance to start running at the age of 51?

32 Replies

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  • That will be a big NO!!! You are never too old. None of us had the stamina to run 5k before we started but if you follow the programme you will get there. You may even become addicted like alot of us on here!

    Good luck.

  • Many thanks Ali, it's great to hear from others who have started later in life.

  • Absolutely not. It's a great age to start, particularly for those of us who were rubbish at school sports. And if you can do hill walking, you will certainly have the stamina. Just don't try to run too fast. Take it steady and you will astonish yourself. xxx

  • Thanks Deb for the advice on taking it steady. I've only run on a treadmill before but want to start running around my area on the roads, so I will keep this in mind when I start my first run next week.

  • Jazzy, have a read through the blogs and you'll find plenty in exactly the same boat as you.

    Try it and you might just have a very nice surprise!

  • Thanks for letting me know about the blogs, I'll have a browse over the weekend to see what's on the site. I'm going to start my first run next week and see how I get on.

    Thanks for responding.

  • Definitely not! I am 49 and a half, was doing very little to keep fit until October 2011 when I started some moderate walking, and I am now on week 6. It's a great plan! And the community is very supportive too :-)

  • Thanks for responding, I feel more and more motivated with every response I get. I'm spending the weekend in Devon so can't start until next week, but who knows, I may just crack this running lark!

  • Mere youngsters! I am 62 and have just completed week 7. Yes it is tough but if you follow the podcasts you will get there. Good running shoes are a must and please go to a specialist shop where they will analyse your feet, stance and gait. Money well spent as you will never think about your feet again! Bite the bullet and go for it!

  • WOW, there's hope for me yet. Thanks for the advice about the shoes, I've just bought a new pair so I'll see how I get on with them. Thanks for responding, can't wait to get started now.

  • No way is that too late!

    There is a bloke running marathons at 100! He is one of my many running heros 8-)

    Have fun.

  • Ah Jazzy,

    I started the C25k last September after turning 51 in the August, so I'm proof that it's never too late. I was always completely crap at sports in school, being short with stumpy legs. I've now completed the C25K, the B210K and my longest run so far has been ten miles which was in the BUPA ten mile challenge training.

    I am running in my local half marathon on 6th May. There will be no speed to speak of but if you had told me last September that I would be able to run over 13 miles I would have fallen over laughing, so no, it is NEVER TOO LATE!!

    Go for it!!

    CaroleC :)

  • Definitely not! As you can see from the blogs there's lots of us over 50 doing this programme. I'm 57 & I'm on wk4 and hadnt done much exercise for years. its the best exercise programme I've ever done.

    I'd also suggest that you run on grass if you can as its kinder to the legs. The sense of achievement at completing a week is amazing. You'll love it!

  • Another "yes" vote from me! I turned 50 last August, and hadnt run since playing hockey in school 35 years before (hockey was the ONLY sport I did in school, being short and lazy, I forged notes from my mother excusing me from every other games session!), but this programme has transformed my attitude to exercise - and to life! LOL! I am training for a 10k in June.

  • NOOOOO!!! Go for it! I'm 45, Did hardly any exercise apart from the school run and I did it :) You'll feel wonderful for doing it and it will definitely give your confidence a boost and your self esteem a kick up the bottom;) We will be here to share your good, bad and ugly days so come on join the club :)

  • Here he is!

    bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-can...

    Quote of the year: He puts his stamina down to ginger curry, tea and "being happy".

  • Thanks Greg, I've just read this acticle and its very inspiring, especially his quote at the end!

    Thanks to all of you that have posted comments, you have really motivated me to get out there and just DO IT :-)

  • WOW....what a story. I wish I had his get up and go!!! Hope for all of us yet....maybe I'll aim to do my first marathon at age 100!

  • There's obviously plenty of running years left in all of us...only 49 more to go then!!

  • I am 63 and graduated 4 runs ago. I hated running when I was a midwife in the Army. But now I enjoy it. I was out at 07.00hrs today for a 30 minute run. I am a convert. So just go for it Jazzy. Enjoy.

  • I too used to hate PE when I was at school and I have kind of surprised myself by running later in life (and even entering a few races to enjoy the competitive aspect). I started running when I was 46 or 47 and now I'm 50. I'm much fitter than I was 10 years ago and I absolutely love it - I'm sure it stops me going completely mad sometimes!

    Sounds like you're already reasonably fit - what's holding you back?

    Do check out maximum heart rates though.

  • Snap, same age as I started. I had a birthday just a few days after I started. Graduated weeks ago and still running. Thought I would die the first few weeks but stick with the programme, take it slow and steady and you should be fine. Just go for it.

  • Well i may be younger but I am really unfit and hated running at school.

    From reading here I dont think your too old, give it a try you might enjoy it.

    I have found all this excercise much better now that I am motivating myself rather than other people telling me I should.

  • The answer (in case you haven't already workied it out) is NO!!!!! 55, 4 stone overweight, and currently bridging to 10k with a half marathon planned in September. Go for it!!

  • Just about to turn 55 and very overweight (but less so than was once the case). Haven't run in nearly 30 years after a knee injury in the army. Just about to start week 4 and am so driven to do the next run each time I complete one despite very sore knees. My wife is so impressed that she's going to embark on this madness too (and she's 58 but don't tell her I told you that).

  • Just about to turn 55 and very overweight (but less so than was once the case). Haven't run in nearly 30 years after a knee injury in the army. Just about to start week 4 and am so driven to do the next run each time I complete one despite very sore knees. My wife is so impressed that she's going to embark on this madness too (and she's 58 but don't tell her I told you that).

  • Never to old, I am 53 this year, and up to week 9 from tomorrow.

    goo for and join our community

  • Goodness I hope not - I'm 62 and just finished week 6 having never even run for a bus before. Doing it all on a treadmill in my garage as my one venture outside wore me out for days - must have gone much too fast! If I can do it, anyone can.

  • I feel like the child here i am only eh well i not saying lol but sort of looking forward to week 2. r1.

    If that gentleman runs 10 miles a day where will he be at the end of the year?

  • A very long way from home!

    Boom boom! :)

  • Go for it..i'm a 51 year old walker aswell, just completed W1R2, it never occcured to me that I couldn't do it, although I'll be surprised if I can do it in 9 weeks..but you never know...

  • my mother-in-law started at 50 and now does the Race For Life every year....and runs it!! Did the 5k in about 27 minutes last year!

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