Age-Old Runners: Liza Howard

“Age-Old Runners” is an article series where we explore runners’ performance potential after the age of 45 by interviewing excellent middle-aged runners. Is there still potential to improve? What roles do motivation, mindset, and specific training and recovery techniques play in allowing runners in their mid-forties to mid-sixties to continue to excel? To learn more about this series’ goals, check out its introductory article.

After over a year and half, 18 interviews of excellent age-group runners, and an emblematic photo gallery, we’ll transition this series into its next iteration. iRunFar’s Liza Howard will still author stories of age-group runners each month, just in a different way. Stay tuned!

Before we close the book on this version of “Age-Old Runners,” we turn the tables on this column’s fearless leader, Liza Howard, herself a decorated age-group athlete. The 49-year-old is a runner, coach, wilderness first aid instructor, nonprofit leader, mom, and an almost-decade-long member of the iRunFar team.

The following is a transcript of a Zoom interview with Liza. It has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Liza Howard running in the Texas heat

Liza Howard training at home in Texas. Photo: John Marcello

You’re an adult-onset runner, but I think you’ve run for quite some time?

I started running after college, so, yes, that’s a long time. [laughs] I ran my first marathon when I was 23 or 24. I cut a training plan out of Runner’s World magazine. I still have it. You know, the one with beginner/intermediate/advanced all on one page. I put it on the fridge and followed it to the letter. I ran the Philadelphia Marathon.

There was a really nice group of folks at a running shop in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where I lived. They were wonderful, and there was peer pressure, and I ended up running a bunch of marathons after that.

At what point did you learn that you were decent at running?

I qualified for the Boston Marathon on my first marathon without knowing what Boston was or what qualifying for it meant. As I was nearing the finish, struggling and cramping, people were yelling, “You’re going to qualify!” I was like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” So I had some facility for running long from the start. No one was more surprised than me.

How did you find trail running and ultrarunning?

When I was working for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), a friend and co-worker suggested we do an adventure run after we finished teaching for the summer. We ran the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim to-Rim.

The next summer he said, “Let’s do a trail race.” I don’t know what I placed, but I got a car-seat cover, and it’s been the best prize that I’ve ever gotten. I still use it. Then it was kind of like, off to the races, a little bit.

I fell in with the San Antonio, Texas trail running crowd, where I live now. When I moved to San Antonio, I was really lonely, not working NOLS courses anymore, and I had a new baby. And so when they said, “We’re training for a 50k. You want to do it?” I was like, “Yeah, let’s do a 50k.” Then they said, “Hey, we’re doing a 50 miler.” Then it was, “Bandera 100k is in January. We’re all doing it.” I responded, “I don’t even know how long that is. That sounds fine.”

I ended up being okay at it. It was a sweet little pat on the back when the rest of my life was a disaster. I didn’t know what I was going to do professionally. I wasn’t talented at being a mother of a baby. But, I thought, Here’s one thing that I’m not bad at.

I went up to 100 miles really fast and pretty much stayed there. I ran the Bandera 100k a lot, but otherwise it was just 100-mile races.

Liza Howard at the 2018 IAU 100k World Championships in Croatia

Liza racing the 2018 IAU 100k World Championships in Croatia. Photo courtesy of Liza Howard.

What are you currently training for?

I’m running the Keys 100 Mile on May 15.

Wow! Why the Keys 100?

If you win the Keys 100 Mile, you get a spot in the Badwater 135. I would like to run Badwater in order to coach people to run Badwater. Also, if the race goes sideways, you’re still in the Florida Keys.

Is your 100-mile PR of 15:07 going down at Keys?

I sure hope so, but it’s mighty hot and humid there, so who knows? My goal is that gorgeous belt buckle.

When you started writing this series a year and a half ago, your marathon PR was 2:54 and you said you wanted to try and progress it. Has that happened?

No. Everything got canceled [because of the COVID-19 pandemic].

Do you still think about your marathon PR?

I do. The pandemic was not the time for me to train for it. I ran a lot, but I learned that I need to run with people who are faster than me in order to push myself really hard. I also need to go to a marathon with friends, or it’s too easy for me to decide not to race.

What is your training like? And has your training changed over the last 10 years?

Like most of the age-group folks I’ve interviewed in this series, I dot my i’s and cross my t’s much more than before. I get seven or eight hours of sleep. I do yoga now. It’s really more glorified stretching. [laughs] I do core work and some strength work. Before I could get away without any of that.

My volume is the same. I’m more consistent about maintaining 70-mile-per-week volume.

I’m also a lot more consistent with speedwork, which I didn’t do before. When I was in my twenties and thirties, I would just run with whoever was running and do whatever they were doing. And I could maintain a moderate pace without having to make moderate feel easy. It just felt easy. Now speedwork is necessary for me to maintain where I want to be running in a way that it wasn’t previously. So that’s different.

Yoga has made such a difference in how easily I can walk around after long runs, get in and out of the car, and just feel good the next day without little aches and pains. That’s made a big difference. I’m doing that at least 30 minutes a day. I’m trying to make it longer, but my low-grade hatred for it interferes. [laughs]

Strength work is only 12 minutes at a time. I do it every day except Sundays. It’s bodyweight-type stuff—box jumping and things like that. But 12 minutes is my commitment, which feels like it’s useful enough right now.

Liza Howard running

Liza. Photo: John Marcello

How do you feel about talking about food and eating? Is that an okay area to talk about? What types of food do you eat?

This is a dish of jellybeans I’m holding right here. I’m super happy to talk about it. I’ve got my jellybeans and coffee. Let’s go. [laughs]

I try to avoid sugar, but sometimes it finds me. [laughs and points at jellybeans] Sugar really affects my mood, creating energy and mood swings. I’m more even keeled if I’m not eating sugar. That’s good for my husband Eliot, the kids, and anybody who has to deal with me.

Otherwise, I eat everything. When you take sugar out of the mix, that takes a lot of processed food off the table, and I think that helps me eat in a way that fuels my running better. If I’m not stuffed full of ice cream and Flamin’ Hot Doritos, I’m more likely to eat broccoli. It’s a useful handrail. I’m not absolutist about it. Overall, I’ve felt a little stronger when running with a cleaner diet.

Do you see yourself as competitive?

I guess with myself. I like working really hard and pushing myself. But I don’t like to race. [laughs] It’s very stressful.

Has your internal competitor evolved as the years go by? 

There’s still the same desire to see what my particular body is capable of. And, you know, as my body gets older, [laughs] to see what’s possible. I think pushing really close to the edge, doing the hard training, and being scared by it is really useful to me still.

Why did you want to do this article series?

Initially, it was self-interest. I’d read a lot of writing by runners who were about my age and who seemed to be mourning their loss of speed. They wrote about making peace with their current abilities and trying not to judge their running based on their past performances. I admire that mindset wholeheartedly.

At the same time, I felt that I could still be a better runner. And I wanted to try to be. But all the talk of slowing down started to make me question myself and my goals.

So, I wanted to see what other runners’ experiences were. Are we underestimating our bodies’ potential? When should we expect to stop improving?

What did you learn from asking these questions of other age-group runners?

For a lot of folks, there’s this cognitive dissonance between their age and how they feel, “I don’t feel like I’m 60. I don’t feel like I’m 70. I feel like I’m me.” A lot of the runners also talked about being surprised by their slower paces. “I don’t feel like I’m running slower, but the watch tells me I am.”

Everybody who was still racing, loved racing either against other runners or themselves. That seems like a no-brainer. If they didn’t love it, they wouldn’t be doing it, right? But I think there’s a misperception about what motivates age-group runners.

There’s also baggage associated with aging. Just this morning, my seven-year-old asked how old I was, and when I told her 49, she said she promised she wouldn’t tell her teacher I was that old. I told her she could tell anybody she liked how old I was and that I was happy to have made it this many years along.

Still, the cultural expectations about what’s physically possible are a lot to carry around while you’re training. The message “your time is over” becomes harder and harder not to believe.

Those cultural expectations, are you reflecting on general society or the trail running and ultrarunning community?

Both. But in trail and ultrarunning, specifically, that message is reflected in the lack of coverage of age-group racing.

We don’t know what older runners are doing and what they’re capable of doing. I think this has a big impact on the goals people set for themselves. If you see a bunch of folks doing these extraordinary things, you’re going to think, My body’s not that much different. Certainly, genes and luck play a role, but in general, if you’re healthy then your body is probably capable of something similar.

Liza Howard at the 2020 Orange Curtain 100k

Liza being crewed by Cinda Brown at the 2020 Orange Curtain 100k. Photo: Ricky Haro

What have you learned about what trail running and ultrarunning can do to reduce ageism in our sport? One theme that emerged from this series is doing a better job of honoring age-group runners at races. Everyone you interviewed said they’d like to see more of this.

Yeah. It seems like making the age-group records front and center is more important to folks than prizes. The attention makes the records important, right? I think that would have a powerful impact. It might keep more older runners in the sport, or bring more in, and it might encourage more folks to give trail running a try.

And coverage of age-group racing is important too. We need to figure out the way to cover this racing when there’s not much actual competition in person. If there are only two 65-year-old women racing, say, how do you cover the race against the clock? Bob Becker is doing his fourth Badwater this year at age 75, and he’s going for a PR. If he does, he’ll set the age-group record by 13 hours. How do we cover that race?

Age-group runners definitely get the attention of younger people and the media when they compete well against younger people. While that’s amazing, how do we get people to care about the inherent value of age-group running?

People are drawn in by exciting racing, so a key part is putting runners’ goals and times in perspective. You need to know what the record is for 60-to-64-year-olds at a race like the Western States 100 and how long it’s stood. That knowledge helps.

Then you have to care about the folks going after those records. The more people know about individual runners’ lives, the more they’ll be inclined to follow them. Really, it’s the same reason we follow anyone. “Who do I admire or feel a connection with?”

Do you think you’re ending this interview series with a different “why” than when you started?

I started off believing I had the potential to improve and that many runners underestimate their abilities. I was looking for examples that would support my beliefs. I hoped the interviews would inspire both me and other runners to set exciting goals for ourselves. I hoped the stories and experiences of other runners might decrease the impact of the “too old” messages we hear.

My why did not change, but I started to prioritize the conversations and getting to know people’s stories more than I did fleshing out exactly how much potential for speed exists as we age and where that particular inflection point is. The series broadened my idea of potential and that exciting racing exists outside of the fastest overall.

I was kind of hoping to find some sort of magical elixir that everyone was using. “Oh look, everyone’s drinking a cup of maple syrup in the morning. I’ll do that.” [laughs] But the elixirs seem to be excitement and joyfulness—about racing, the community, and pushing themselves.

Why should everyone care about age-group running?

You should care because if you love age-group running now, then you’re going to love it later. And, that being the case, it’s good to know that you’re still capable of doing exciting things. It’s not going to be this unrequited love. If you love the competition, racing, and community, that’s still totally there.

You should care because the more you know about the racing and feats that others are doing, the more hopeful you will feel about your running future. It is a hopeful thing to see somebody who’s 20 or 30 years older than you still doing hard stuff. It can certainly help put bad days or races in perspective. “Yeah, I had a crappy training season but I’ve got 20 years to get my act together.” That’s hopeful. That’s a thing to hold on to.

Training specifics:

  • Weekly running volume: Consistently 70 miles per week, more before big races
  • Strength training: Core work, bodyweight strength work, and yoga for about 30 minutes per day in small, organized bouts in the garage or with online videos
  • Off-season: Not really
  • Sleep: Seven hours per night
  • Race nutrition: Liquid nutrition, like Skratch, with some jellybeans mixed in
  • Recovery: Cat naps whenever I can

Three factors Liza attributes her running performance to:

  1. Genetic good fortune
  2. A wonderfully supportive family
  3. Love of running

Call for Comments

Calling all Liza Howard stories and praise! It’s time to celebrate Liza and all she does for the running community. You know what to do in the comments section.

Liza Howard running in the Texas heat

Liza in the Texas heat. Photo: John Marcello

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Managing Editor and the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running.' The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 81 comments

  1. Rebekah

    Liza – I love the most the comment about low grade dislike of yoga!!! I am totally in the same boat with yoga and strength … how do you force yourself to make time for something not enjoyable??

    Inspiring article – really love it and loved following this project. I’m all the time thinking about what life looks like from a training and racing perspective when I get older and how I can make sure I can do what I love.

    Your sparkling personality really came through on this one (maybe it was all the references to jelly beans??).

    1. Liza

      Thanks, Rebekah! The thing that finally got me to commit to yoga was being so stiff after long runs that I kind of had to pull myself out of the car. I also finally found a number of short videos on YouTube that really only required me to stretch and change positions slowly. Yoga lite. I fast forwarded through anything involving breathing. ;)

    2. Chris Ferguson

      Liza – lots of great insight and ideas here, thank you! I love your easy approach to running that produces serious and effective results. You inspire!

  2. Julie

    It would be impossible to enumerate all the ways Liza has helped me and the entire trail community in San Antonio. She has paced me on training runs, given me drop bag packing suggestions over coffee, done core workouts with me. I remember her doing trail work, clearing rocks in 90-degree weather, when she was about 8 months pregnant. Her running is so inspiring. The first time I ran with her she was probably 6 or 7 months pregnant, and I had to ask her if we could slow down a bit. A few weeks after giving birth, she passed me running a relay leg of the Cactus Rose 100-miler. (I can’t believe her daughter is 7 already! I did a double-take reading that!) What a legend. Who knows how many lives she has touched through her trail running camps and Band of Runners. She juggles a lot of balls and somehow makes everything happen! I’ve really enjoyed this article series, and if it had to end, I’m so glad it ended by featuring Liza!

    1. Liza

      I’m just waiting until you age up, Julie, so I can interview you. Thank you for the very kind words. I’m all teary now and the cats are looking at me weird. I can’t wait for the days we can run together again.

      1. Tony Maldonado

        I think I can speak for most here in S.A. when I say that the San Antonio running community fell in love with Liza from the very start. When Liza says that she would run “whatever everybody else was running” she is so right. I often wondered how she would run with us mid packers and then go out and win 100Ks and 100 milers?
        I’ve often say my best runs have been when I have paced others at trail Ultras. I have been very fortunate to have paced Liza on a couple and still consider her first female finish at Leadville 100 in 2010 when I paced her to the finish as one of my all time favorite runs.
        I too have questioned my ability to continue to run now that I am in my 60s. Lately I have been feeling better about my running and this interview really helps! Thanks Liza!

  3. Lisa Hallett

    This interview was about so much more than running! Aging is intimidating, but Liza’s perspective truly celebrates our potential in running, no matter the age, which is such a metaphor for life. Liza’s sparkly personality is contagious. I needed this article this morning.

    1. Liza

      Thank you for making my morning, Lisa. I think intimidating is a good word to use about aging as an athlete — and in general.

  4. Jeff

    Great capstone article to the first iteration of this enjoyable and insightful series. Just a couple of quick questions for Liza: Do you own any other shirts? Is John Marcello some kind of paparazzi or stalker? and you have “Dad” written on your shoe in one of the photos. Do you wear your Dad’s shoes often when racing or training?

    1. Liza

      Oh my gosh! I didn’t realize you could see that on my shoe in that photo. My parents bought me those shoes for the race, so one says Dad and one says Mom. They are my life-long sponsors who don’t care how fast I run and whether or not I look lovely in race photos. They also don’t require any social media postings on my part. #momanddad ;) John Marcello is my wonderful dad, and you should follow him on instagram if you want to see some gorgeous bird photos. As for the shirt, all the cool kids are wearing them. I spotted Scotty Mills wearing one in the latest Ultrarunning Magazine. ;)

  5. Ron

    Meghan – Excellent job of “interviewing the interviewer”! I guess you’ve done this sort of thing before.

    I’ve been thoroughly fascinated with this series. At 59, I’ve now been fighting the decline for over 20 years. While at times this has certainly been tough to accept, the love of pushing the limits has endured. I love to read and hear about older athletes, and what it is that keeps them at such an incredibly high level of performance. Nothing has satisfied that itch better than this series of interviews.

    The only thing missing from these articles has been the competitive status of the author herself. Now I know, she is still crushing it!

    Finally, I hope the next iteration if this series is not too different than what we’ve gotten to this point. It’s been fascinating and inspirational!

    1. Liza

      Meghan was a tough interviewer. I cried three times. ;) I think you’re going to like what’s coming next, Ron. It seems like the right next step. I’m grateful to irunfar for giving me the opportunity to figure out what will be most interesting and useful to folks — and give my awful transcription/typing skills a break.

    1. Liza Howard

      Yeah, I realized when I was looking over the article that I’d totally got that number wrong. Also, we need sponsors for the octogenarian and nonagenarian running teams.

  6. Chris

    “But the elixirs seem to be excitement and joyfulness…” That is fantastic. You are braving this monster of ageing, and in the process you’ve brought light to older and very dedicated, joyful runners who don’t typically receive any coverage. And while it’s a relief to hear about your own race anxieties (along with what your cats are thinking), you’re an absolute crusher in running, and that also pushes other people around you. Your responses are also hilarious, I hope irunfar will interview you on a whole range of topics, just so we can read those interviews later.

    1. Liza

      Syrup would be easier to be consistent about though, Chris. ;) I feel like I’m going to have to win something big, or acquire some cool new running-related skill to get irunfar to let me really hold forth about my opinions and anxieties.

  7. Tara Holland

    Great interview! The “low-grade hatred” for yoga made me laugh pretty hard. I also trained for my first marathon in the exact same way ;) I’ve loved this series Liza, and look forward to see where it goes next.

    1. Liza

      Thanks, Tara! I feel like my dislike of yoga is a character flaw. Cooked peas and yoga. Bleh. And both good for you though. I wonder how many folks out there used that Runner’s World plan.

  8. Ricky

    I loved these articles and especially this last one. This really resonated with me as someone who feels young but is navigating the slower waters of life. What I learned is a balanced life makes all the difference in running longevity.

  9. KristinZ

    I’ve loved this series the whole time and am very much inspired by the stories and people you’ve highlighted and continuing to hear that we keep just feeling like ourselves and not some random n+1 number. I’m thankful to have women in the next age group or two or three or four who keep inspiring me hugely. I can’t wait to see where your column goes! Well done, Liza!

  10. Ellie

    Liza is one of the most amazing folks ever – her ability to work hard and run around in circles (figuratively), and always want to learn. I see Liza as a learner – always wanting more knowledge to improve for herself and for the folks that she coaches. I mean she wants to run Badwater so she’ll be a better coach to those she trains for Badwater – that is going all in, and is not a surprise to those of us to know Liza. When I turned 40 she wished me a happy birthday and said that 40s are great so long as I could tolerate wrinkly neck skin – she didn’t however warn me of wrinkly leg skin, that was an unwelcome surprise. Good luck at Keys, Liza!

    1. Liza

      OMG Ellie! The wrinkly leg skin is the worst. It seems like such a betrayal. Who knew that that skin wrinkles?? Let me know when your hair turns gray. I’ve got a good shampoo. ;) Thank you for calling me a learner. Such a meaningful compliment for me. :)

  11. CINDY SCOTT

    Ilove this Liz, but you so not seem to be an ‘age’!! You seem ageless and I am following close behind you. (LOL)

  12. John Trent

    I’ve enjoyed reading every single interview Liza has conducted. What a great service this series has provided. Not just for us older folks, but for everyone about how there are so many universals (and so many quirky little things) that we can all learn from as runners face aging and how to handle the process with determination, meaning and grace. The questions have always been excellent, the back-and-forth always insightful, and the takeaways truly meaningful.

    1. Liza

      Thank you, John. That is a very kind thing to say. I’m going to head out on my heat torture run that I was dreading with a big smile now.

  13. John McAlister

    This has been my favourite column ever on iRunFar. Thank you, Liza, for all of your great work in compiling these interviews for us and for sharing so many words of wisdom and inspiration from these age-old runners.

  14. Brian Zachariah

    I’ve enjoyed all these interviews, this one especially. Even though I’m one of those older runners who will never set an age group record or quality for Boston. (But at least I’ve heard of it ).

    Hope those are at least Sport Beans.

    Thanks for the articles.

  15. BarthZ

    In the movie Field of Dreams, there is a 3:30 scene toward the end where father John (Jack) Kinsella meets his son Ray and family for the first time after Ray “went the distance” and built the field to “ease his pain”. I grew up in baseball so these cinema projections laser directly to my life experiences. Age will eventually eliminate those skills necessary to play with the Boys of Summer. But that baseball dirt…..I can still run in it, churned by the feet, spiced by the sweat, worn as a badge of courage by 100s of like minded yearning running souls. There are still a few of us ghost player runners who still want to play in that dirt. Just like the game of baseball plays with no time, trail running plays with no age. Just show up prepared, go the distance, and share the richest of life experiences with other players all wearing the same uniform playing for the same finish. Don’t stop now Liza and Meghan. The Writing! You both are very good. Running will happen.
    Addendum: Google Bob Hayes ultra runner.

  16. John Vanderpot

    As someone who spends most of his time in the company of people decades younger, there’s something really uplifting about knowing how many good times are still up ahead, just waiting to be had…thanks!

  17. Scott W. Kummer

    Thanks for interviewing Liza. When you say “good person” she’s one of the very first people that pop into my head. But wait, there’s more. She’s an awesome runner, an awesome coach and she raises money for awesome causes (Google Band Of Runner Trail Camp). I know she’s probably pissed I’m not taking a minute to make a joke about her, but sorry. We need to shine more bright lights on people for their goodness and kindness, in addition to crushing at races.

    1. Liza

      If you’re not busy when my funeral rolls around, can I bother you for a eulogy? :) Agreed about some sort Eye of Sauron on goodness.

  18. Nicole Yedlinsky

    Liza, you are an inspiration! I can’t help but notice you seem to be wearing a similar shirt in several of your pictures. Please tell us more about this magical shirt and how it has contributed to your speed and recovery ;)

    1. Liza

      The Band of Runners shirts do, in fact, confer perspective and fortitude during long training runs and races. #science

    2. Tony Maldonado

      I think I can speak for most here in S.A. when I say that the San Antonio running community fell in love with Liza from the very start. When Liza says that she would run “whatever everybody else was running” she is so right. I often wondered how she would run with us mid packers and then go out and win 100Ks and 100 milers?
      I’ve often say my best runs have been when I have paced others at trail Ultras. I have been very fortunate to have paced Liza on a couple and still consider her first female finish at Leadville 100 in 2010 when I paced her to the finish as one of my all time favorite runs.
      I too have questioned my ability to continue to run now that I am in my 60s. Lately I have been feeling better about my running and this interview really helps! Thanks Liza!

  19. John P

    Really fantastic series and saved the best for last! I would like to know whether it is true that treadmill hiking at a 15% incline increases life expectancy by a similar percentage. Asking for a friend interested in unlocking the fountain of youth.

    1. Heather Stadnisky

      John, remember that magic elixir she mentioned in the article? The treadmill hiking is it:) I don’t feel like I’ve actually officially started training for my summer ultras or for life in general until I start up those TM hikes again;) He he. I just remember the first time I hopped on to do that 15% at 4mph and thought “oh, this will be a nice break from all my running this week”. I remember feeling completely crushed and like I had done maybe one of the hardest things in my life (other than go through labor and delivery) after completing the first 3 miles of that sadistic workout. I also felt completely amazing and like I would live forever and could do anything:)

  20. Heather Stadnisky

    Liza, you’re my hero. For the past 6 years I always think “what would Liza do?” :) especially when running (or at the donut shop :) however I will point out that there was a time a few years back you seemed curious about my obsession with getting in at least 20 minutes of “glorified stretching” every day. See! But I think if I did less yoga I may be able to get up to 70 miles/week, maybe at least one week/year;)

    What a great article. It is helpful to see that the fire inside us doesn’t fade with age but only grows stronger if you tend to it in the right way. Love it. Thank you for sharing your fire with all of us. I couldn’t think of anything funny to say….except I did laugh out loud when I read about your daughter asking how old you were and then not telling her teacher! My son did the math the other day and told me how old I was going to be when he was in high school and I sort of tried not to cry a little….;) BUT, I was excited because by then he will be a running buddy and/pacer too (if he still loves running as much as he does now).

    1. Liza

      We need to start a line of trail running t-shirts. “What would ‘this trail runner do?” We could put the answers on the back. Mine would read: Eat a donut. Yours would be: “More than seems humanly possible to do.” :) Yeah, that math learning is a double-edged sword. ;)

      1. Doug K

        I was in a gas station somewhere in darkest Nebraska, the sign over by the coffee said, ‘eat more hole foods’ with a picture of a donut..
        good for marathon drives, and marathon runs too ;-)

        as I confidently advance in the direction of a sixth decade of running, find myself pre-diabetic with a heart condition and arthritic knees.. but still moving ! a victory ! ha.

  21. Shannon Ellis

    Thanks for this interview. Liza is delightful to be around and is the best coach. I feel confident that I can keep running for decades longer with her wise counsel. She also roped me into volunteering for Band of Runners and I am grateful to have gotten connected to the group.

    1. Liza

      I rope all the good people in eventually. (If you’re reading and a good person, send me a note and I’ll get you involved too.)

  22. Cam Karr

    Love this, Liza! Thanks for keepin us old gals moving forward and tips on yoga. I’ve never been a fast runner but Coach Ellie’s helping me gain some speed on these 57-yr old legs and I’m still hoping to get into WSER by age 60 :-)

    1. Liza

      Coach Ellie is the very best! I feel like 20 year-olds are also saying the same thing about WSER these day. “I’m hoping to get in by age 60.” ;)

  23. Crystal

    I’m sorry but if you don’t just adore Liza, we simply can’t be friends. She is a sparkly, class act of a human being. Seriously who decides they want to run Badwater so that they can help other people be successful at it?

    She is talented, hard-working, humble, generous, caring, and freaking hilarious.

    Go crush the Keys … I’ll be cheering you on with a 5K and donut eating.

  24. Jason Laurie

    Wow! Turning 49 this year, I had no plans of slowing down going forward. Loved her perspective and am going to take this theme and incorporate it into my local run groups page. Shine a light on us older runners. I got a 20 minute 5k to accomplish still.

    1. Liza

      Thanks for spreading the good work, Jason. I’m hoping more and more people will do the same with their local groups and sharing that they’ve done it.

  25. Cheryl Anderson

    Liza is a terrific coach, friend and person who absolutely deserves to be celebrated! Thanks, Liza, for all your wise advice, fun conversations, and motivation to do strength work/box jumps. After reading this interview, I might have to up my game to 5 days a week! This series has been amazing and has changed my outlook on what Is possible in running as I get older.
    And, I agree…I always feel faster wearing my Band of Runners shirt!

  26. Rick

    Liza, so I am trying to put together the perfect Jellybean concoction to fuel my next race, and I am looking for some good recommendations. What brand of jelly beans are a favorite; Jelly Bellies, Starburst, Brach’s, Sweetarts, Jolly Rancher?? Next, what flavors will get the job done, fruit flavored, sour or some of the exotic flavors or mixtures?? What about the ones with electrolytes, caffeine or just plain old sugar and high fructose corn syrup?? Do certain colors work better at the beginning, middle or end of a race?? How about sparkly ones, will they make run faster?? Difficult decisions to make for sure but I know I can count on your expertise and advice.

    On another note, have loved the older runner series and want to see it continue in some form or fashion, as you see fit. As a youngster of 60ish years or so, one of my goals is to run 100 miles on my 100th birthday. My coach will be roughly 87 years old and still be able to out run me by miles! :)

    1. Liza

      You want to go with either the cheap no-brand dollar jelly beans or Jelly Bellies. There’s always a risk with Jelly Bellies that you’ll get one of those buttered popcorn ones during a race, which is usually vomit-inducing, but their size and the watermelon flavored ones make it worth the risk. Deal about the 100 100.

  27. Kevin Munt

    These articles and the photo feature are so inspirational. It is great that age group runners achievements are being brought to the fore. Thank you for putting in all the great journalistic effort to put this feature together. Long may we all run!

  28. Rob

    I really have enjoyed the Age Old Runner, this being my favorite. Liza is this incredible combination of all the positive attributes you can imagine. Listing them all would make this a long, boring list that would make Liza uncomfortable. I am grateful for all that Liza is and all she does. Every time think about Donuts I smile, or when I come across “strange” things on a run I think of stories Liza has shared. She is amazing runner, person and inspiration !!

  29. Olga King

    What wrinkles? Hey, I don’t know how your yoga is helping you, but I am surrendered to not being able to get out of the car, or sit down to take my shoes off even after an hour run. I’ve been doing yoga religiously for over 20 years. However, damn hamstrings decided they are going to be the only part of my body to age with vengeance.
    The series of articles were great, thanks, and loved catching up with you Liza. Too bad I am off FB, but then again, you never posted anything there:) Hope Asa (omg, is he an almost teen?!) and Ruby and Eliot are all well. Best of luck at Keys 100, you got it! I am going to channel you on my own return to 100’s, well, maybe not for a win, but I’ll take a finish! Miss you, girl! Come visit!

  30. Jan Schelter

    Love the interview!! I just wish I found this series earlier! I, too, want to inspire older athletes to get out there and go. I, myself, am training to do the Harvey Manning Peak Challenge as a fundraiser for the WTA (Washington Trail Association). While not trail running, it does involve tagging 18 peaks over ~100 miles and 30,000 feet. I hope to do it in 3 days this July. Oh – and I am 61 years old. I am definitely one of the those people who says “I don’t feel 61”. Any help and or advice in spreading my story would be great!!!

  31. Karen Ray

    I love everything about this. Not only is Liza an incredible runner, she is also an incredible human!!!

    Liza, Best of luck in the Keys and if it turns out you run Badwater in 2022 and need a crew member, I would definitely be available!

  32. Chase

    What a great article! Liza has such a positive impact on every life she touches. And this whole series has been incredibly inspiring, challenging our concepts of aging and the realm of possibility. Thanks for all that you do!

  33. Heather Golden

    Hi Liza, your parents proudly shared this article with me, and I’m so glad they did. Not only did I get to see more of your dad’s photography ; ) but what you do amazes me. I appreciate the wisdom and the humor that you shared here. I’m excited to forward this to my dad who is still running in his 70’s after two heart surgeries, but is struggling with the idea of ‘slowing down’.

    Best wishes next weekend!

  34. Lea Ivy

    I love the age-old runners series! Liza is the absolute best! She’s an amazing coach, mentor, and friend. She understands my love for the roads and the trails. She’s been my coach for five years, and here’s to the next five. People sometimes ask, “But, can’t you just coach yourself by now?” My response is, “Of course, but you don’t understand. This is like a healthy, stable marriage minus the sucky parts. Yes, it’s remote, and I pay her, but it works really well. You should try it!” :)

    Seriously, go kill it in the Keys, Liza! I’m so proud of you. I’ll be cheering your every sweaty step!

  35. Sridhar

    This series is the best and I loved this interview. It’s so great to learn more about you, Liza, especially since you have made so much of a difference in my life and that of many others. Thank you so much!
    I especially liked Liza’s comment about prioritizing the conversations around getting to know people’s stories. To me, that’s what all running at any age is about!

  36. Stefan

    Thank you for all the kindness and teaching you have sent our way Liza. You are an inspiration to be a better human. What a marvelous last interview in the series. Bravo.

  37. ReadEatWriteRun

    You know when you follow someone online, and read their blog, and listen to them on podcasts, and think “what a neat, smart, funny person, and what a stellar human she seems to be!” Then somehow you start chatting with them on Twitter (starry-eyed) and years pass then eventually you get the opportunity to meet them in person? And it turns out they really are as wonderful as you thought? That’s Liza. Kindness, service, love, honesty, compassion, caring, generosity, a terrific sense of humor (which she aims at herself and life) and a delightful laugh I am always waiting to hear bubble/spill out of her – maybe these qualities are more intense since they’re concentrated in such a tiny package. :) Thanks for teaching me about “firgun” – I know I experience it every time something good happens for you. xo

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