At 65, Sarah Made a Change

Richard Diaz, Mio Ambassador

If I were to ask, what is the most important outcome you would hope to achieve from your running workouts? I’d probably get a mix bag of responses. Surprisingly, the most common response I get from clients is “I want to be able to run when I am 70,” or “I want to be able to continue running for the rest of my life.”

You might think qualifying for Boston, or or another performance related goal would come up, but that’s not the case. Most people I meet really have a long term view of their state of fitness. They identify that their ability to run helps them stay fit, keep the weight off, and in general, keeps them healthy.

I’d love to share with you the story of a client of mine, Sarah Wilcox. Sarah came to me about 6 years ago and as she tells the story, “I was returning from a dentist appointment and happened by your facility. I said to myself, why not stop in and see what they do.”

Upon meeting Sarah, she explained that she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” After our initial visit, she began a fitness program with us privately that was pretty comprehensive. She had not exercised in years and at 65 years old, had never ran for recreation as an adult.

Within a matter of months, Sarah’s fitness level improved drastically, and she had lost a considerable amount of body fat. Suffice to say she bought in to fitness. How did Sarah drop so much fat and lose so many inches? We focused very closely on heart rate response while training. Regardless of the mode of exercise, we always paid close attention to her heart rate response, relative to our planned intensity.

This may seem like a pretty common success story but this story gets better… I decided to build on Sarah’s enthusiasm and her fitness by teaching her to run. Early on, I performed a VO2 max test on her to create a training prescription that would help guide our heart rate specific program.

Fast-forward 4 years and Sarah, now 69 years of age, ran her first marathon. We decided if we were going to do this we would pick an event that would be memorable, so we chose The Big Sur Marathon — one of the most picturesque and challenging marathons in the country.

Sarah was successful in her first attempt and ran right through the finish, unscathed. It’s important to mention that never once did Sarah experience a training related injury, which is pretty remarkable for a marathon runner, especially at her age. Sarah ran this race again the following year and bettered her time by over 30 minutes.

Just a few weeks ago I, retested Sarah’s VO2max. Her anaerobic threshold has consistently improved each year, as well as her metabolic economy. Now at 71 years of age, Sarah is better prepared, fitter and faster than ever.

I am certain that her path to fitness success was because Sarah refused to train without her Mio ALPHA 2; she wore it every time we worked together. Doing so helped keep her in check and avoid random intensity that tends to plague those who train perceptively. Sarah recently ran her first of the two scheduled 20-mile training runs leading up to her next race. I’m confident she will achieve another personal best. This is what most people I meet hope for.

Richard Diaz is the founder of Diaz Human Performance and The Natural Running Network. Read more at

Categories: Fitness & Endurance Training, Mio Experts & Athletes