Lianne has been running since as long as she can remember. Her mom took up running when she was in her late 20’s because it was a way for her and her father & brother to bond. When she was growing up her family would travel to different races to cheer her on and she would take them to run local road races on the weekends. It was always a huge part of their family. Lianne ran cross country and indoor/outdoor track from 7th to 12th grade and then ran at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The summer going into her sophomore year her coach sent out an email saying he was going to cut the team to 14 girls that coming fall. She was sure she would be cut because she was just about the slowest person on the cross-country team the previous year. She decided to take running a lot more seriously at that moment and trained really hard that summer. She think's she ended up being 4th on the team that season and an All-American the year after. Right now she lives in Boston and train's with Team New Balance Boston. She is coached by Mark Coogan.
After all that you accomplished, what drives you to continue running?
My drive comes from my desire to see what my true potential is in the sport. I don’t feel like I have really come close to reaching my limit yet. It's really just curiosity to see how good I can be that drives me to keep doing it. That is just what continues to drive me at the elite level, though. Running in some capacity will always be a part of my life simply because I love it.
How do you motivate yourself on days when you don't feel like running?
There really aren’t many days that I don’t feel like running. When I don’t, I think about the goals I have and also all the times I’ve been injured and not able to run. When I am healthy I remind myself how grateful I am just to be able to run, and that usually gets me out the door.
What are your goals for the upcoming year?
My goals for this upcoming year are to stay healthy and consistent and lower my times in the 1500 meters and 5K distances. My biggest goal is to make the finals at the Olympic Trials and to put myself in the mix there. Anything can happen!
What distance has been your favorite?
The 800 is probably my favorite event. It is so short and sweet and by the time you’re hurting really bad it is almost over. Unfortunately, I’m not quite speedy enough to be an elite 800 runner, but the 1500 is a close 2nd favorite.
With all the athletes in the world, what's it like to be ranked in the top 100 in the 1500 meters?
I didn’t know about that ranking. It is cool to see how far I have come in the event, but at the same time I’m not satisfied with how fast I’ve run in the 1500 and I’d like to be ranked a lot higher in the US before I start looking at the world.
What was one of the biggest hurdles to overcome while balancing track and school at UNC?
The biggest hurdle was probably fitting in with the other students in my major. There are so many great academic opportunities at UNC but I wasn’t able to do all the extra clubs/internships/competitions that my peers were doing because of my track schedule. So in that way, I felt like I was a little behind.
What has been your most memorable race to date?
That is a hard question! I guess it would be NCAA XC nationals in 2012. Not that it was an extremely impressive result for me but I think that was the race where I realized how good I could actually be. It was my first national championship race and my goal was to be All-American, which was top 40. I went out way too hard and then died and was in about 70th with 1K to go. Since NCAA XC is so concentrated, I was able to pass a lot of people and I out-leaned a girl right at the line. I had no idea what place I got and the results kept getting messed up. First I heard I was 38th, then 42nd, and the final result was that I was exactly 40th. It was a very emotional day.
What does your weight training consist of and which exercise do you feel helps your running the most?
Since college I have had a bunch of different strength training programs. Currently I have been working with AJ Gregg from HYPO2 in Flagstaff, AZ. He is a chiropractor but also a strength and conditioning coach who works with the NAZ Elite team out there. My favorite thing about his weight routine is that he gives me a lot of flexibility to alter it depending on how I am feeling on any given day. The exercises that help me the most consist of core-strength work and single-leg balance. Weight training for me is mostly focused on injury prevention so I really just try to focus on how I can get my body to run the most efficiently.
What's the weirdest or funniest thing that ever happened to you while running?
I can’t really think of one specific occasion but whenever we see a snake or a similar creature on a trail I will let out a super girly shriek which is extremely out of character for me. I can’t help it, it’s just my gut reaction, but we usually have to pause our run because my teammates are laughing so hard.
What's your favorite types of fuel before a race?
I like to eat a plain diet the day of a race just to keep things simple, like oatmeal and a bagel, lots of carbs. I do not have a weak stomach but I don’t want to take any chances on race day. My main concern with fueling before a race is just making sure I get enough in. Sometimes when I’m nervous I don’t really feel hungry, but there have been a few times I’ve been on the starting line and thinking about how hungry I am and it is an awful feeling.
Does this change for you depending on the distance of the race?
It doesn’t change for the distance because my race distances don’t vary too much. I’m sure if I ran a marathon I would fuel differently, but I haven’t raced over 10K at this point in my career. The only aspect of the race that will change how I eat that day is the time that the gun goes off.
What's your favorite cheat food & drink?
I don’t really have any cheat foods because I don’t believe in fully eliminating anything from my diet. I still eat sweets during the season in moderation. During the off-season I do indulge a little bit more…mostly with chocolate, beer and wine.
What venue has been your favorite to race at?
My favorite venue to race at is probably Franklin Field at UPENN. I love tracks that are in the middle of a stadium like that!
What's it like to represent New Balance?
I feel really proud to be able to represent New Balance, especially while living in Brighton where the company is based. I can’t speak for what it is like to represent other brands but New Balance really feels like a family. I think one of the hardest parts for me about post-collegiate running is missing that feeling of being part of something greater than yourself, so running for New Balance and for my team here in Boston has really helped me feel that again.
Who would you say is the funniest teammate?
That’s tough…we’re all funny in different ways that complement each other’s personalities. The teammate I can joke the most with is Síofra. We only met for the first time this past April in Flagstaff but after about a week of knowing each other we were crying of laughter almost daily.
Do you like ice baths?
Ice baths are okay but they’re not a part of my routine. In college we had a special ice bath room so it was easy to get in there after hard workouts but now I would have to go buy ice and fill up my bathtub so I just opt for other forms of recovery that I believe are equally effective.
In your free time when you’re not running, what other hobby’s do you enjoy?
I like to read, I like crossword puzzles and anything creative…that makes me sound really boring! I mostly just spend time with my friends when I’m not running, but I am taking a few classes at night right now so a lot of my time is spent doing that.
What's the most important tip you like to give new runners?
For younger runners I like to emphasize not doing too much too soon. If you want to run in college there is plenty of time to slowly build up mileage and intensity while minimizing risk of injury.
When it comes to running, what would you say is your biggest strength and weakness?
My biggest strength is probably being able to look at the bigger picture and bouncing back from pretty abysmal races and serious injuries. My weakness is being patient. Or going out too hard in workouts and races, but that is due to lack of patience!
Who is someone you look up to in the sport?
I’ve always looked up to my friend and former teammate Kim Conley. She was a big reason why I decided to continue running after college even though my collegiate performances were pretty average, in my opinion. She never made it to track NCAAs in college but committed herself to her training and became a 2 time Olympian and one of the best 5K/10K runners in the world. Her story gave me a lot of hope and was proof that you don’t have to be a multi-time NCAA champion to be a professional runner. When I graduated from UNC I moved to Sacramento to train with her.
Who is one of your favorite athletes to train with?
Probably my current teammate Katrina Coogan! She is super level headed and really consistent in training. A lot of athletes will get too excited in training and push the pace, including myself, or get too competitive with teammates but Katrina is really good at saving all of that energy and excitement/competitive drive for race day. We also have had some great conversations and debates on runs together.
If you could compete in one Field event, which would you choose?
Pole vault! It is just such an exciting event to watch and you don’t need to know anything about track and field to appreciate it.
What's next for Lianne Farber?
Right now I am on a two week break before I start training for the 2020 season. I’ve just been trying to relax and not think about running for a bit, but starting in October I will link back up with my team and focus on the Olympic Trials.
Click the links below to keep up with Lianne Farber
Published September 27, 2019