It is inevitable that even the most dedicated and enthusiastic runners eventually retire from the sport. Running is not only a passion, but is also an excellent way to stay in shape and maintain good health. And let’s face it, running is much more exciting that working out in a gym with weekend jocks.
Running provides a complete body workout and allows athletes to actually see and experience the beauty of natural surroundings. Although many runners retire due to injury or age, some simply get tired of the seemingly endless training and the competitiveness of participating in structured events. Many long-term competitive runners have difficulty adjusting to retirement. Retiring from running is not the end of the world! There are so many interesting and exciting opportunities to explore.
After retiring from running, it is important to stay in shape. There are many options to consider, such as mountain biking, deep sea fishing, skydiving, bungee jumping or just walking. The transition from running to hiking maintains strong leg muscles developed during years of running and training. It was recently reported that many serious mountain trail hikers were former marathon and trail runners.
While hiking is not a competitive sport, it is a good way to keep in touch with running partners and friends. Although hiking trails may not be as difficult as running trails, retired runners can immerse themselves in the natural scenic beauty of the outdoors. Many hiking trails wind through lush forested areas and mountainous regions. Weekend hikes offer opportunities for camping, viewing meteor showers and even catching glimpses of scavenger wildlife.
Maintain Contact with Running Friends
Whether competing in marathons, trail running events or track running, runners build a community of lifelong friends. Although many runners in the same age group tend to retire in their 50s or 60s, many continue to compete in marathons well into their 80s and 90s. Retired runners spend time together, dining in favourite restaurants and sharing stories in local coffee shops. It is delightful to eat without guilt! Some retired runner band together to form volunteer groups to assist local charities in planning and organising running events.
A group of retired runners in Singapore helped organise the 2014 “Race for the Cure”, a marathon and walk to raise money for breast cancer research. Retired runners in many areas find it refreshing to work with high school runners teaching them the basics of proper training and conditioning. The younger runners know how to have fun and enjoy themselves without worrying about beating the clock or placing in a competitive event.
Plant a Garden
Many active runners have let other pleasurable hobbies, such as gardening go by the wayside. When not training or running marathons, there is time and energy to pull weeds, get rid of nasty roots and plant spectacular flower and vegetable gardens, certain to be admired by everyone in the neighbourhood.
Take Time for Reading
During training, trail running or participating in marathons, there is little, if any time for reading. This is one of the things many runners missed most while running. Since retiring, there is time to read at least 50 books each year. It is a good opportunity to catch up on the classics and literature everyone hated during college years. Reading enriches the intellect and helps replenish those brain cells damaged by years of running. Instead of spending quiet time before bed worrying about running, calculating times and planning upcoming events, runners can finally immerse themselves in literature or at least catch up on magazine subscriptions that have been piling up for years.
Travel the World for Pleasure
Most competitive runners have participated in events throughout the world. Unfortunately, many schedules did not allow runners to spend leisurely time in specific locations. Take time to travel for pleasure! Three weeks exploring France and Italy would be a good start. A month-long trip through Southeast Asia, Thailand and Indonesia may be the relaxing vacation of a lifetime. Pull out those worn running journals and target the places worth re-visiting for fun and adventure. It is not necessary to carry a camera and map, just get out and discover the world. When retired runners visit countries in which they competed, they discover the unique history, culture and beauty missed by running in competitive events.
Eat, Laugh and Be Happy
Most importantly, spend quality and joyful time with friends and family. Eat wonderful meals without worrying about calories, carbohydrates or fat content. Enjoy fine wines, pizza and chocolate! Retired runners have learned how to maintain health and strength, so enjoying fine meals will not cause weight gain. Being able to spend quality time with friends is a gift that can only come from the heart. Cherish each moment, laugh and be happy!