What 60 years of running has taught me. 7 top tips to live by

More often than not, older runners are the best people to listen to when it comes to longevity, fitness and running tips. Rich Castro is no exception.

If you’re an older runner and in the market for running tips that will keep you going into your sixties, seventies and beyond, Rich Castro is the type of guru you just can’t help but look up to. Especially if, like me, you’re an older runner and you want to know how get the most out of yourself.  

I first met Castro in the late 1980s when I was on a training camp in Boulder, a USA running Mecca high up in the Rockies. He is 15 years older than me and immediately came across as so much wiser and generally more passionate about running. You couldn’t help but hang on his every word. He has amazing advice on everything from running tips to strength training for runners – and so much more. 

A fit runner celebrates life by making a heart sign with his handsCredit: Shutterstock / Marian Weyo
Celebrate life and fitness in the best possible way – with a run

Top tips for the older runner

And now, almost 40 years on, I see that amazing wisdom in still intact and, more importantly, so is his love of the sport, despite him being, by his own admission, an older runner. Just as that chance meeting impressed me so much as we ran stride for stride along a mountain trail and chatted about fitness-related topics, his recent running tips on a forum about what makes us tick as older runners are so relevant to us all.  

“Training at this age is not an exact science; we’re the first generation to be this active at this stage in life,” he says, perfectly (once again) identifying what we’re all about. We’re all different and, as Castro says, “all experiments of one”.  


Older runners are different in a good way

Mix it up

Is running enough to stay fit? That’s a question that gets asked a lot. As a youngster, the answer is probably yes but, according to Castro: As we age, I believe we need to keep all our systems in-line. A little strength work, balance and agility exercises, and some alternative crosstraining (cycling/swimming) is a good way to stay active and have a programme. 

A black runner in his 60s doing some weight trainingCredit: Shutterstock / sirtravelalot
Use it or lose it; a top tip for older runners when it comes to strength

Understand the role of recovery

I don’t run on consecutive days. I crosstrain on off days,” says Castro. That doesn’t mean he’s slowing down. Far from it, in fact. “I use a thera gun (massage gun) as part of my routine. I also have a sauna in my home and take an ice bath post workout. 

Choose your running surface wisely

I seldom train on the track much anymore at 75,” says Castro. It’s good for a time trial every now and again but I can get much the same benefits from sticking to trails and softer surfaces. If you are planning on racing on the track, then I believe specificity becomes more important.”

Hilda Coulsey, second in the World Mountain Running champs for over 70sCredit: Paulo Sardinia / WMRA
Hilda Coulsey will tell you a top tip for older runners is to stay off the track and head to the mountains – where she was second in the World Championships for over-70s

Follow a training programme

I have been creating training programmes for more than 50 years now, and I know myself and workload responses very well, so I lean on my training diary,” says Castro. We are all an experiment of one, so go with what works best for you. Keep good notes about what you do, how you did and how your body responded to the activity. That will tell you a lot.” 


Get off-road

Castro is lucky enough to live in the mountains, but we’re all close to parks or dirt paths. Running on trails helps keep you free of injury, it reduces the repeated pounding effect of harder surfaces and the continually changing angles and stride patterns are all helpful. Add to that the mental benefits of getting into nature and it makes for a good combination. 

Train to how you feel on the day

Slow runs can be very slow and involve walking and running and long hikes in the hills. Enjoy. 

Remember, it’s a daily tonic

“Running and being active on a daily basis gives me a strong sense of wellbeing,” Castro told Lifetime Running.  It gives me the energy to enjoy my lifestyle. It also provides me with a sense of community and being connected with family and friends.” 

Paul Larkins

Written by Paul Larkins


Paul Larkins has been a sports journalist for more than 30 years, covering two Olympic Games, one Paralympics, numerous World Championships and, most recently, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022. He’s also been a magazine editor, heading up titles covering everything from running to cooking and buying tractors.

But his real passion is running. As a former GB International athlete and sub-4-minute miler in the 1980s, Paul has a great understanding of life-long fitness and the benefits it can provide. In fact, he’s still very competitive. In 2022 he ran in the World Masters’ Mountain Running Champs in the over-55 age group and is now looking forward to moving up a category and taking on the 60-year-olds.

He’s also part of the England Team Management set-up in road running as well as being an England team coach in the U18 age group for track and field athletics. Currently, he coaches a group of athletes ranging from 13 years old to 55 at his local club.

Outside of work, Paul loves cooking and driving classic cars. He’s owned everything from a 1966 Ford F-250 pickup to a clapped-out 1987 Porsche 944. He’s married to Elaine and they have a West Highland White Terrier named Benji, who’s not that keen on being timed for every run!