How They Train!

Ron Christen - December 2015


  • 69, and soon to be 70!

Did you compete in high school or collegiate cross country or track?

  • No

How many years have you been running?

  • I ran my first GWTC race, Indian Mounds 5k, in 1983 at age 38.

Lifetime personal records

  • 5K, approximately 18:50
  • 10K, high 39s
  • Marathon, 3:22 … average of 3:40 during the 50-state quest
  • 18-holes of golf, 70 at age 63 (!)

What running events do you train for or what are your training goals?

  • Since the completed 50-state marathon conquest, whatever distance the next Grand Prix race happens to be.

Consider your training over the past 6 months to one year.  How many miles a week do you typically run when not injured and consistently running?

  • When my wife and I embarked on our quest to run a marathon in all 50 states over a 10-year period beginning in 1995, I was running 3-4 days a week and as many as 8 marathons per year.  Over the past 8-10 years I try to run 1 day per week, anywhere from 1M (Breakfast on the Track, if Grand Prix) to 26.2 (Tallahassee Marathon, if Grand Prix).  In the absence of a GWTC GP race, 8-10 miles.

What does your typical week of running look like?

  • Monday:  18 holes of golf in a.m.; 3 hours in garden in p.m.
  • Tuesday:   Birding or breeding bird atlas surveying for 5 hrs in a.m.; officiating FSU scrimmage in p.m.
  • Wednesday:   Same as Monday
  • Thursday:  Wade or kayak fishing and garden work, 8 hrs
  • Friday:   Beekeeping for several hours in a.m. 18 holes in the p.m.
  • Saturday:  Grand Prix race of 8-10 miles easy “with the boys” 
  • Sunday:  18 holes and maybe some garden work 

How does your training vary over the course of a year?

  • Virtually not at all from a running or golf standpoint.  Gardening peaks during planting and harvest seasons and birding peaks during spring and fall migrations and summer nesting seasons.

Do you take recovery or down time?

  • No. If it’s not raining I am active outside.

What injuries have hampered your training over the past year? 

  • None.  Fortunately, occasional bee stings and a sore shoulder from playing golf haven’t kept me from Grand Prix.

Do you take any dietary or medical supplements?

  • No.

What type of running shoes do you prefer?

  • Mizuno

Do you stretch? 

  • Never before a race/run; only afterwards.

What are your favorite running routes?

  • Lake Overstreet and the St. Marks NWR dikes

What running resources do you like that would benefit someone else?

  • None except for Peg Griffin, to see where the next GP race is and what time it starts.

What advice do you have for beginning or experienced runners to help them with their training?

  • Though I have always considered myself very athletic, I didn’t start running until I was 37. I have the late Dave Price, Tyler’s dad, to thank for that. We taught PE together at Wakulla Middle School for 24 years. As a physical educator I always stressed physical fitness and the pursuit of life time activities. Running fit right in with my coaching baseball, basketball, cross country and track (Thank you, Gary Droze!), so I ran 3-4 times a week, with weekly interval running and weight lifting for 25 years or so.

    As my speed started to decrease in my early 60s, I realized a number of competitive aging runners were continually getting hurt and that several had knee or hip replacements. That being said, I changed my goal to “maintaining” instead of training.

    So, whether you are young or old, my advice is this: find friends to train with; set realistic goals; seek advice but find what works for you; purchase proper shoes; start interval training; train on different surfaces; as you grow older, run off road, for it is easier on your knees; always stay hydrated; before races finds what works for your stomach; carbo load the night before long races.