Early 40s, gonna start jogging a bit for the first time; precautions, warning signs?

I’m fairly healthy, I think, and AFAIK I’ve got no heart problems though I haven’t had an all day EKG or anything. I am a bit worried about my knee, however: it gets a little sore sometimes when I’m walking a lot, and at those times I can feel it especially when I’m walking upstairs. Would a knee brace thing be an adequate precaution? Anything else I should know or watch out for? I know I ought to stretch.

See if your local library has this book.

One word for you SHOES. I used to be one of these, buy the cheapo shoes at K-Mart.

I would always have shin and leg pain, when I ran. Then I bought my first pair of $50 sneakers, Reboks. It made ALL the difference in the world

You MUST have a nice pair of running shoes. If you don’t your legs will pay you back.

I would not use things like knee braces and such, unless you have problems. The thing is if you need a knee brace to run, that means you’re overdoing it to start out with.

Of course if you can’t get by without it, fine, but braces allow your body to do more than it’s ready for. Go slow and don’t rush it. The best way to injure yourself is to do more than your body says

Talk to your doctor first.

Following Markxxx, get your shoes at a running shop - one where they look at your feet, make you run a bit, and select a pair of shoes that fit your gait/running style.

Start easy (couch to 5K) or similar and work up. Stretch, and do some supporting exercise round the running joints if you can (squats, lunges, glute lifts, some others here), it does help.

Apart from that, you should be fine. I was.


IAMNAD, but I have damaged knees (early arthrosis) and the first advice from all doctors about jogging is “Nice if you like it, but not if you have knee problems” (Also a recent study showed yet again that most people do their running wrong. People believe that you can just start to run, but if you want to improve your health without incurring damage elsewhere, you need to learn it properly).

If you already are worried about your knee, I would recommend either
cycling - if you have a correct bike for your proportions, that doesn’t bend your knees over 90 deg., and lets you sit with a straight back

swimming - not the extreme breaststroke, though, where your knees are again overbent (old school; though Americans learn crawl first, don’t they? So they can’t do a proper breaststroke anyway). Crawl, Back crawl and dolphin are not stressful on your joints. Take care that the water is not too warm because you will heat up through exercise and need to get rid of the heat; in warm water swimmers can overheat.

skating - either inline skating or ice skating or both depending on season. Here again I recommend a trainer or course if you have never done it before, because falling and hurting yourself tends to turn people off. Also, always wear your pads when inline skating, the full set (knees, elbows, wrists and helmet) no matter how dorky. One fall from a pebble, and your knees are pretty much ruined for a long time.

Rowing - if you don’t have a river or lake with a rowing club near you, or it’s too exclusive to join, go to a fitness club and use one of their rowing machines. That at least is very good for the circulation system. (Actually rowing in a skiff on the water is additionally very good for your balance and gets you wet when you tip over :))

Oh, doctors that warn about joggers overdoing it by going too fast for their pulse and too long, have two basic rules:

Pulse = 180 minus age. Your pulse should not go above that

Talking - if you can’t chat easily with your jogging partner*, because you’re gasping for air, you’re too fast. You want to build up slowly and continue. After all, you want to improve your circulation system and build muscles, but that takes weeks and weeks.

There is one training method where you start out with 20 min. a day, first walking half the time and jogging the other half. Then in the second week, you decrease the walking time gradually until you’re jogging slowly, and then you very gradually increase the speed.

If you feel completly beaten and wrung out after your exercise, or muscles are hurting, you overdid it. You should feel only slightly tired.

  • Jogging with a partner or a group helps with the motivation problem, as long as the group doesn’t run faster than yourself.

Must? I’m 43, and run two or three days a week. Each run is 4 to 9 miles. I wear $12 running shoes I buy at Wal-Mart.

You seem to be an exception to the general rule, then.

How about this:

If you’re about to start running, it’s likely worth your while to buy good shoes. While there are some people who can run in cheap shoes with no problems, for many people, running in cheap shoes is a ticket to leg problems.

I really felt the difference, when I first started running, between the $15 cheapies I had from the discount shoe store, and the $90 shoes I got fitted for at the running store. Didn’t break the bank and was well worth the money.

You should look into the Couch to 5K program, OP. It’s a conditioning program that starts with run/walk intervals and gradually progresses you to fewer walking intervals and more running intervals until finally it’s all running. It’s how I started out, and I think it’s great for beginners.

There’s actually some recent research indicating that running isn’t as bad for your knees as the conventional wisdom suggests. I’d just keep an eye on things. My knees felt much stronger and better after I’d been running for a few months, personally.

Thanks for all the replies! I’m sold on the idea of getting a new pair of shoes, though I don’t know how feasible it will be to get any kind of custom fitting (or even a pair that fits me) where I am.

Any running store will do it for you, if you have one. (If you don’t, well, yes, that would be a problem.) It’s not that involved, really. You make sure to bring in your old pair of sneakers, and they’ll look at those, and maybe watch you walk or run a little bit, and make some suggestions based on that. If you can’t get to a running store, there are instructions online for analyzing your gait in order to get the proper shoe.

Agreed – I started with Couch to 5K in the spring of '10. I’ve now completed two 5K races, and a 10K race. Here’s one site with the plan:

A few other thoughts:

  • If you’re concerned about your knee pain, you should consult with a doctor first, just to make sure you’ll be OK.
  • Yes, stretching is very important. It’s boring, it doesn’t feel like you’re running, but it’s a must-have for most runners. I have extremely tight muscles; if I don’t stretch every day, I get tendinitis in my knees.
  • Consider where you’re going to run. Sidewalks are convenient in a lot of places, but concrete is a very hard surface, and the pounding can take its toll. Asphalt is more forgiving, but it may mean running in the street – in some neighborhoods, that may not be a problem, but it may be rather risky in other places.

Runner’s World Shoe Finder.

This will at least get you in the ballpark.

Good luck.

What MsWhatsit said.

I was worried about knees and hips starting out, but I learned that the normal aches and pains of aging joints were just that – normal. When I get a pain that is not part of that “normal” spectrum, I don’t ignore it. And regular running has reduced the pain appreciably (or I’ve just gotten used to it.)

I’ve never had a custom fitting. Where I live, I’m lucky if I can find a clerk in a sporting goods store that has ANY knowledge about shoes beyond what’s on sale that week. I have custom orthotics, so I’m assuming that takes care of most of my foot mechanics. When I find a shoe that accommodates my orthotics without being too loose in the heel, that’s what I buy.

I’m about the same age, and started jogging/running about five years ago. After about a year and a half, I developed unbearable pain on the bottoms of my heels. Stopped running but the pain never went away, and sometimes (morning especially) I would almost collapse upon taking a painful step.

Got it checked out: huge bone spurs. Went to a PT who worked on stretching, stretching, stretching my leg muscles and plantar fascius. Got arch-supportive inserts. Started running again about four months ago.

Here’s the thing: if I am careful about stretching, especially after running, I’m good. If I start to neglect the post-run stretches the pain starts coming back.

tl&dr version: Stretch! Especially after each run. It will help you avoid injury.

I’ll frequently develop an aching joint when I run…but, hey, I’m 46. They’re expected to do that. :smiley:

My rules of thumb are:
a) Does it keep hurting for longer than 2 minutes?
b) Does the pain increase?

If either of those wind up being true, I’ll stop the run. Otherwise, I’ll just run through it.

Walk. Walk fast. Don’t jog or run.

Whatever immediate health benefit you may incur by jogging/running now will be negated down the road with bone/joint/muscle problems.

You might also want to read up on the difference between heel-strike versus mid-strike running. There are a lot of different opinions and I think a lot comes down to what works for you. But in general, a mid-strike will result in less impact on the knees (and more on the calves/achilles). You can also get away with cheaper shoes with a mid strike, because you don’t need the shoe to absorb the impact.

I switched from heel to mid strike a couple years ago (I’m also mid-40s), and have had fewer injuries since then. I also often run in Chuck Taylors, which provide about as little support as you can get without going to Five Fingers. Other people who switch get more injuries with mid-strike running, so take that for what it’s worth.

Here’s one link to get you started: http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=20570