How to Start Jogging After 50 (for Beginners and Athletes)

Learn how to start running at 50 and beyond, regardless of your experience, shape, or fitness. We'll get you on your feet and on the trail.

foot strike

Learning how to start jogging isn’t just for young people. In fact, you can learn how to start jogging at any age. It just takes time, commitment to a running program, the right pair of running shoes, and patience. One epic, commendable milestone is 50, and that’s why we wrote this guide specifically about how to start running at 50.

You could consider this a how-to for jogging for beginners, running when out of shape, or getting started with running when overweight. It’s all applicable. Follow our running tips to get you started, no matter your age!

How to Start Running at 50

If you’re a beginner runner, you might expect to hit the road right away. But, let’s get prepared with a running plan first. Your goal might be weight loss or to train for a half-marathon, but you need to invest in the right equipment first.

Visit your local running store and have an expert help you find the right pair of shoes. They should have you try several pairs and watch you run in them. Go with what feels comfortable! Next, pick out a couple of running outfits depending on the weather.

running shoes

You’ll need a few good pairs of quality running socks, running shorts or pants, and comfortable t-shirts or long sleeve pullovers. For the ladies, invest in a quality sports bra or two that gives you plenty of support–running is a high impact sport.

It’s a good idea to layer your clothes, especially if you’re running in colder weather. Your body heats up as you start jogging, so you’ll likely want to remove a layer or two.

Jogging for Beginners: Your First Week

Don’t expect your first week to be easy! Even if you ease into it, you should expect some soreness, especially at the beginning, but that’s okay! When you’re learning how to start jogging, limit soreness and make the first week bearable while limiting your risk of injury, consider the following running tips:

  • Start with a warm with a brisk walk for a few minutes to get your legs warmed up and heart rate up a bit.
  • Once you feel ready, jog at an easy pace for two to three minutes. Depending on your fitness level, you may be able to handle more or less. If you feel winded after one minute, feel free to stop and take a walk break.
  • After your first one to three minute stretch of jogging, walk for one to two minutes.
  • Repeat for up to 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how you feel
  • Cool down with a five-minute walk

Each week, you should be able to add on a minute to your jogging periods while decreasing your walk/rest time. By the time you get four to five weeks into jogging, you may be able to eliminate the walking completely. Consider following our training plan for beginners.

Discover Your Running Motivation

Every runner has different things that motivate them to train on a regular basis. What makes you want to start running after 50? Some people like to train with upbeat music and create motivating playlists for each run. Some people like to travel to scenic trails and enjoy running inspired by beautiful nature as a backdrop.

Many runners find it helpful to run with other beginner joggers who are also just getting started. Perhaps you have a friend at work who has expressed a desire to start jogging. Invite them to go on a run with you one day after work. Or, join a local running club–most have groups designed especially for beginners. It’s also a great way to meet new people!

two men running together

Monitor Your Nutrition

Nutrition is always important for athletes, but it becomes an even bigger factor as we get older. As we age, our bones before more fragile, which is particularly true for post-menopausal women. Eat foods high in calcium, and don’t forget to consume a diet with a fair amount of calcium like milk, yogurt, and cheese. It’s also a good idea to let your doctor know you’ve taken up jogging and get regular bone density screenings.

Food is the fuel that helps you get the most out of each run, so make so you are eating a balanced diet. This doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a bowl of ice cream or a bacon cheeseburger now and then, but it should be the exception rather than the rule. Focus on lean meats, green, leafy vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and avocados.

Pro tip: Proper nutrition can be immensely helpful in recovering after a workout. For example, the potassium in bananas helps curb muscle cramps. Furthermore, protein and good carbs help promote muscle recovery. One of my favorite things to eat after a good run is a homemade protein shake with plant-based protein powder, ice, frozen spinach, almond milk, and just a bit of steel-cut oatmeal. Throw it in the blender and you have a delicious, healthy, post-run snack!

Don’t Forget about Stretching and Strength Training

I remember when I was a teenager–it seemed like I could go out for a fun without stretching before or after and I rarely got sore later. However, as our bodies age, we require a stretching routine that keeps our muscles limber and helps s prevent injury.

woman stretching

It’s also important to keep your muscles strong for every run by building them up with simple strength training exercises. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on strength training or even lift heavy weights, just incorporate a few of these exercises before, after, or in the middle of a jog to keep your muscles ready for each run.

Finally, don’t feel like you have to go for a jog every day, especially in the beginning. You need to give your body time to adapt to the pounding your legs and entire body take when you run. You can supplement your off days with lower intensity workouts like yoga, pilates, swimming, cycling, or training on an elliptical machine. Don’t forget to check out our article on the benefits of yoga for runners.

How to Adjust Your Running After 50 Plan

Embarking on a running journey, especially at an older age, requires recognizing that progress is highly individualized. It's important to adapt your running plan based on personal feedback and progress. Here’s how you can adjust your plan to suit your unique needs:

  1. Listen to Your Body: The most crucial aspect of any training plan is listening to your body. If you're feeling particularly fatigued, experiencing discomfort, or not recovering well, it may be a sign to scale back. On the other hand, if you're finding the workouts too easy, you might be ready to increase your intensity or duration.
  2. Flexibility in Schedule: Be flexible with your training schedule. If a planned run doesn't feel right one day, it's okay to switch it with a rest day or a lighter activity like walking or yoga. The key is consistency over time, not sticking rigidly to a plan that may not suit your body on a particular day.
  3. Adjusting for Progress: As you build stamina and strength, gradually increase your running intervals while decreasing your walking breaks. For instance, if you started with running for two minutes and walking for three, you might progress to running for five minutes with shorter walking intervals.
  4. Monitor Health Indicators: Keep an eye on health indicators such as heart rate, sleep quality, and overall energy levels. These can provide valuable feedback on your training intensity and recovery needs.
  5. Celebrate Small Victories: Acknowledge and celebrate your progress, no matter how small. Whether it’s running a little further, feeling less out of breath, or simply enjoying your runs more, these victories are significant milestones on your running journey.

Start Jogging and Running Now

Are you ready to embark on your journey to better health and fitness with jogging or running? This guide on how to start running at 50 and beyond is just the start. We are here to help! Download our new mobile app full of tips, videos, training advice, and motivation to get you started. Don’t forget to check out our broad range of training programs to help you reach your running and fitness goals, too!