going to be 90-years-old when you arrive in Poland.
What can you possibly be competing in?
Fee: I’m planning to break
a couple records there, particularly in the 400m
and the 800-metre races. If I have enough energy
I might also try for the 200-metre record on the
iRun: That’ll be
a game-time decision?
Free: Yeah. The events are very
close together and there might be some problems
with my legs or whatever.
iRun: You don’t
sound overly concerned. How are you feeling?
Fee: I’m feeling pretty
good. I can probably break some of those records
iRun: No aches or pains
or nagging injuries?
Fee: Well, I hit a problem a week
ago. I was taking dance lessons and this particular
move did something to my knee, so I’ve been
resting for a week. I think maybe I’ll stop
the dancing until I get back from Poland.
iRun: What kind of dancing?
iRun: What is the secret
to your extraordinary life?
Fee: I don’t think there’s
a secret. Running tires out your legs so to go
dancing after running isn’t a good idea.
Common sense might be part of my racing plans.
When I have problems with my hip, I go to the
chiropractor. Running curves on the track puts
you out of balance, but I’m doing very well.
I can’t complain.
iRun: How often do you
Fee: I don’t overdo things.
I run three times a week, mainly on a track near
my home. I don’t run outside. It’s
too hard on the knees, running on the roads.
iRun: I bet 90% of our
audience runs on the roads.
Fee: The marathon people, most
of the runners, have to run on the roads—they’re
stuck with that. I like to run on the track, it’s
a little softer, or run on the trails.
iRun: So what should we
Fee: Run half on the road and
right afterwards, run in the water. Save your
legs; running in the water requires the same exact
iRun: That’s a good
Fee: It’s in one of my running
books, How to Be a Champion from 9-90. I’ve
written five books, including books of poetry.
My autobiography will be out in a few weeks actually,
iRun: Everyone reading
this article—buy Earl’s books!
iRun: You’re going
to be our advice columnist and that’s very
exciting. What other tidbit of advice could you
offer before the questions start rolling in?
Fee: A lot of the shoes now have
heels that are lowered. To me, that’s not
good. It makes the arch collapse. I put an insert
in my shoe to raise the heel, this prevents the
arch from collapsing and could help prevent plantar
iRun: Do you have a favourite
Fee: I mainly like Asics, but
I think it doesn’t matter too much as long
as they’re comfortable. I like a light shoe
that’s not too stiff. The real stiff ones
are heavier. If you’re wearing orthotics
on top of that, it can effect your speed—like
an extra three ounces.
iRun: What do you like
Fee: The feeling of freedom.
Fee: With my running, I meet a
lot of nice running friends, and there’s
also the compliments you get when you’re
running well. Some people don’t admit it,
but the accolades give me incentive to keep going.
iRun: Do you find running
Fee: Some of the intense intervals
are hard work but I like the results.
iRun: I can’t believe
you’re 89-years-old and running intense
Fee: Interval training improves
iRun: Aren’t you
afraid you’ll get hurt?
Fee: If you want to be courageous,
pretend to have courage. The mind is often an
athletes weakest link.
iRun: So what’s
an Earl Fee workout actually look like?
Fee: I’ll run 400 metres
at race pace, then walk 70 metres, and repeat.
That’s a good workout, so I do that and
take a short rest, maybe 60 seconds, and then
run 200 metres faster than my 800 metre pace.
Then, jog for half a mile, but the key thing is,
and here’s more advice: I always do this
after warming up on the bike for 10 minutes, then
stretching, then running half a mile easy. Then
I’ll do my workout, then run a few laps
and stretch again. (And sometimes I’ll do
short or long strides to loosen up the body).
iRun: I don’t do
any of those things.
Fee: They’re important,
as is the cool down. I notice this also with weight
training. Most people don’t do any warm-ups
before, and that’s a mistake. Warm up the
body, jog and stretch, it’s important for
the muscles. There’s little things we can
all do to make our running much easier.
iRun: What’s your
Fee: Leg swings. They loosen up
iRun: How many records
do you have?
Fee: 56 world records. This is
iRun: You should’ve
started in 1977, you would’ve had 75 world
records by now.
Fee: Maybe, or else maybe by having
a long rest of 30 years which I did after university
I saved my knees. And also my enthusiasm. To keep
going for 50 years, you have to have enthusiasm.
iRun: I think maybe you
need enthusiasm to do anything.
Fee: You’re probably right.
Running has added to my longevity, for sure, and
exercise will make you live longer.
iRun: What should runners
know about you as our new advice columnist?
Fee: I’m happy to help out
and offer runners my thoughts but I don’t
want to go back and forth with people. They can
ask a question, I’ll answer, but then it’s
up to them to take it from there.
iRun: OK, sounds fair.
Fee: I give my opinion and that’s
To ask Earl Fee a question, regarding
anything, email Ben Kaplan at Ben@iRun.ca,
and he’ll give you a response. Photograph
by Tyler Anderson.