(Running) Life Begins at 40
By Nadine Dexter
Whoever said that life after 40 is all down hill certainly wasn’t referring to me. It wasn’t until I turned 40 and I took up running in a serious manner that I discovered that running has affected all aspects of my life. Besides the obvious overall health benefits I discovered that running also helped me cope with everyday stress.
I had been an occasional runner since I was 35 and ran in a lot of the local races. But I was not dedicated and did not have a good training plan. I had also broken my left leg in an accident while on vacation and was in physical therapy for six months. So I was out of shape and in need of a good plan. Of course it helps now that my new husband (Joe Dexter) is my coach and running partner. It wasn’t until I met him while I was directing my first race for Temple Israel Sisterhood last year that I realized that I needed to get serious and start training. Joe is the GWTC equipment manager and that is how I met him! See, this is the best benefit of all for me from running! He was very helpful in designing a recovery training and improvement plan.
The plan I follow is very simple. I don’t exercise more than 30 minutes a day in any given exercise area (run, bike, swim, or weights) except for my weekly tough run of 6-7 miles. This is followed the next day by a long swim and then weight training. I vary the physical activities so I never get bored with my exercise routine. For example, one day I may run long mileage and then lift weights, then the next day swim and bike. Other days I may run short mileage then do weight training, or I will ride my bike then lift weights. You don’t need expensive equipment for these exercises and any bike will do for the bike ride. A simple home gym or free weights will take care of the weight training. With a good pair of running shoes you are on your way to better health and happiness.
Since the new plan I have lost 40 pounds, increased my muscle strength, cardiovascular strength and lung capacity. I have run in the GWTC 10 Mile Challenge (1hr, 37 minutes) and my best 5K racing time is now down to 27:40, a great improvement over my first 5K race time of 35:05 at the ECHO 5K in 1994. My goal this year is to shave my 5K racing time down to at least 25:00 minutes. I run an average of anywhere from 15 to 21 miles a week. Monthly mileage increases are built in to my training schedule.
I feel that I am well on my way to achieving my goal. But what is most important to me is that I learned that I can change my life at any age and really enjoy what I am doing.