An Olympian Runners Inspiring Journey: Yuko Gordon on Running and Walking Past 50

An Olympian Runners Inspiring Journey: Yuko Gordon on Running and Walking Past 50

Dr. Chris Daily


Physical Therapist and Golf Performance Specialist

As we age, adapting our fitness routine becomes crucial for maintaining health and preventing injuries. 

Yuko Gordon, a former Olympian marathon runner, represents this beautifully. 

At 70, Gordon's approach to running and walking offers great insights for the over 50s, blending passion with practicality.

Yuko's Running Renaissance at 61

Yuko, who began her serious running journey at 28 and competed in the 1984 Olympics, took a long break from the sport to focus on her family. It wasn't until she turned 61 that she returned to running. However, this comeback was different. Yuko noticed changes in her body post 60, particularly in her joints.

She quickly realized that her mental strength and drive to run fast were not in sync with her older body's capabilities. She experienced increased discomfort in her knees and hips – a common issue for many her age. Accepting this, she made a conscious shift towards walking more and adapted her training, which she found to be gentler on her joints while still offering significant health benefits.

Embracing Adaptation and Joy in Running

One of the most significant changes Yuko made was that she reduced her mileage and avoided running too much to prevent overexertion. Her philosophy centered around being the best you can be at the moment, accepting that what worked in the past might not be suitable now. Most importantly, Yuko emphasizes the joy of walking alongside running. She advises older athletes to pursue what brings them happiness, as our time with good health is never guaranteed.

Future Plans: The Trail Walking Transition

Looking ahead, Yuko plans to take up trail walking with friends. This new venture is not just about staying active; it's about embracing new challenges and finding joy in different forms of movement. Trail walking will add to her smaller running routine, offering a balance between keeping up fitness and being kind to her aging body.

A Lesson in Adaptation and Enjoyment

Yuko Gordon's story is a powerful testament to adapting with age. Her approach to running and walking post-50 is a lesson in listening to your body and finding joy in movement, regardless of age. It's about tailoring your fitness routine to suit your current abilities and accepting our new challenges with enthusiasm.

For those in the over 50s demographic, Yuko's journey is not just inspiring; it's a practical guide on how to balance passion for exercise with the physical realities of natural aging.