I’m so excited to bring you a guest post today from the fabulous Jeanne Andrus. I met Jeanne about a month ago and just finished reading her new book on thriving through menopause. It’s a game changer. So much so that I invited her to pay us a visit this week to tell her running story and share some tips on how to run your best throughout your 40’s, 50’s and beyond. So without further ado, here’s Jeanne!
(*Note: The term menopause technically refers to the day that’s one year from the first day of your last period. But to save time, I’m going to use it to refer to perimenopause – from when your hormones first start changing to that anniversary, menopause, and postmenopause – the rest of your life.)
I became a runner at the age of 48. Prior to then, I failed at every beginning running program known to woman, from Bowerman and Harris’s original Jogging craze of the 1960s (yep, that long ago!) to several tries at Couch to 5k™, to various programs touted in women’s magazines, including one that suggested ditching your watch and using phone poles to measure your running intervals.
What did I learn from those attempts?
- I wasn’t meant to be a runner, and
- Not all telephone poles are the same distance apart.
My final attempt at becoming a runner (I say final, cuz I still are one!) was somehow different. It was part of my last-ditch effort to reclaim my life at a time I thought I had nothing left in my life. And in that last attempt, I learned the secret. GO SLOW. Very slow. “Stop to let the turtles past” slow.
I’m faster now. I passed a turtle or two on my last run. I’ll always be a “back of the pack-er.” But that’s okay, because I will always be a back of the packer. No one can take away from me that I am a runner.
So, what have I learned about learning to run and keeping running once you begin that “magic journey” into menopause? (Warning: frank talk ahead!)
- 3-4 times a week is plenty. I don’t run every day. I dance. I bike. I swim. I kayak. Yes, I try to be active every day, but it’s not always running. My dog does not approve. But my bones and muscles do! If you’ve been a runner since you were a teenager, maybe you can run every day. But not me!
- Lift weights and do crunches. There’s more to staying fit than cardio. Doing weight-bearing exercise works to prevent osteoporosis, but only on the bones bearing the weight. Crunches and core exercises help you keep your balance and recover. Do the cross-training.
- Stretching is more important! And, for the same reason, so is massage. Stay loose. Take care of yourself. Pay attention to what your body tells you and work with it to stay happy. Injuries can happen, but it’s also common just to feel achy and sore and not know why. It’s often part of the hormonal changes
- Until you know you’re postmenopausal, always take an extra tampon. Always. And don’t buy white running shorts. Things get unpredictable, and the bouncing can make things happen.
- Speaking of making things happen, the combo of water and running is my go-to prevention and cure for constipation. It keeps things moving. Just sayin’
And most important?
- Life’s too short to run on a treadmill! If you can, run by a beautiful lake where there’s always a breeze blowing. Or run with friends in the early morning when there’s a snap to the air. Or run through a gentle spring rain and let it nourish your soul. Or run on a country road with the snow falling through the light of your headlamp. Running’s not exercise. It’s magic. Don’t miss the best part.
Jeanne Andrus is the Menopause Guru™ and author of “I Just Want to Be ME Again! A guide to thriving through menopause.” She works with women to redefine their journey through menopause, providing tools and coaching to help them choose their own path to their best lives yet. Jeanne is a certified Health Coach, personal trainer, and running coach.
If you want to learn more about how you can thrive during menopause, visit Jeanne at www.menopause.guru!