HOKA ONE ONE Trials Athlete of the Day: Cancer Rearcher Liza Reichert
by LetsRun.com (Sponsored by HOKA ONE ONE)
February 11, 2020
February is Marathon Month on LetsRun.com as the month ends with one of the greatest events on the athletics calendar, the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta. From the contenders, to the dreamers, to the mountain men and women, HOKA ONE ONE has 17 athletes competing at the Trials, and LetsRun.com is partnering with HOKA to profile all of them. We hope these profiles not only show you the cool stories of the people running the Trials, but also help gets you pumped for the Trials, and gives you some advice for your own running.
Olympic Trials qualifier and cancer researcher? That’s a pretty impressive combo and is the story of the HOKA Aggies Liza Reichert.
Name /Nickname: Liza Reichert
Hometown: Moss Beach, CA
High school: Half Moon Bay HS/2005
College: UC Santa Barbara/2010
Occupation: Clinical Research Manager at Stanford (Pediatric Hematology & Oncology)
Training Group: HOKA Aggies RC/Self coached
Family: Husband Kota & Daughter Madeline (“Maddy”, 2 yrs old)
How qualified? Napa Valley Marathon 2019 (2:44:06 FTW).
High school claim to fame: I won the Mt SAC XC Div 4 Sweepstakes race my Senior year, ran 5:02 for the 1600m (held the school record for 13 years), I was inducted into the HMBHS Hall of Fame in 2017
College claim to fame: Was part of the women’s team that took 9th place at the 2006 NCAA XC Championships
Post college claim to fame: 2:42 marathon, part of the Aggie women’s team that won the 2019 Club XC Championships
Road to the Trials
How did you start running?
I started running during my Sophomore year of high school. I had previously been very focused on ballet. I joined the cross country team because I wanted to get involved in a sport at school, and since I had never played any team sports before, running was really my only option – I had no illusions of being fast and competing at a high level. The team camaraderie drew me in, and it turned out that I was somewhat of a natural. I continued to dance ballet, however it became less of a focus as I kept improving in running. I ended up attending UC Santa Barbara on scholarship, and improved further there; however, like many collegiate athletes, I had a number of injuries and never felt like I reached my potential. It’s been 10 years since college, and in the past year and a half I’ve PR’d at nearly every distance. For now, this improvement is what keeps me going in the sport, but I suspect I’ll continue to run even after my best performances are behind me.
What’s your goal for the Trials?
To compete as well as I can and walk away knowing I gave it my best shot. At the 2016 Trials in LA I dropped out of the race, and that was pretty frustrating.
What do you think of the course?
I haven’t seen it in person, but by all reports it sounds like it’ll be challenging. I’m not a rhythm runner though, so I’m hoping that will play in my favor.
How has your training gone in the buildup for the Trials?
Training has been going well. I was injured this past summer, so my primary goal has been to stay healthy. Because of this, I’ve perhaps taken this build-up a little more conservatively, but I’ve still been able to get in the mileage I had planned for.
What was your highest mileage week? Your average week?
Highest (so far)=82 miles, average week is about 70 miles
What is your favorite workout?
In and out miles within a long run – I like mixing up the pace and it keeps me engaged.
How much sleep do you get a night?
I have a 2 year old.
How do you balance training and working or training and being a parent?
It’s undoubtedly hard, but there is a certain synergy. The bottom line of my “real” job is to find better treatments for kids with cancer, and that can get pretty heavy – training is a good outlet and is also when I do a lot of processing. Between my job, training, and chasing my night owl 2 year old around, I can get pretty exhausted, but ultimately, I just feel grateful.
Anything else you want to share?
I couldn’t do this without the support of my husband and family. Kota convinced me to try the marathon in 2015 and has been my biggest supporter through the ups and the downs.
Free Training Advice
What one piece of advice would you give to a high school/ younger runner?
Take prophylactic days off here and there – you won’t lose fitness.
What one piece of advice would you give to a first-time marathoner?
Figure out your race fuel! I’m continually working on this myself.
What is the #1 piece of training advice you’d give another runner?
I like to come up with mantras. A recent one I’ve used is “stay in your lane”, meaning, try to not get caught up in comparing what workouts/mileage/etc other people are doing.
What one piece of advice would you give to a runner pursuing their dreams?
Keep on keepin’ on.