Carmen racing in the Masters Division at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships last December

Longtime Austin runner Carmen Ayala-Troncoso knows how to run. Fast. At 60, she’s still a force to be reckoned with. A regular at the prestigious Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K in Albany, NY, she’s the event’s 2010 masters champion, and was the 1st Master at the 2019 Austin Marathon Manzano Mile and 1st Master at the 2018 Portland Festival of Races 3K.

Always a speedster, Carmen boasts lifetime PRs of 15:50 for the 5K and 33:25 for the 10K—and taking it out a bit further, 56:25 for 10 miles and   1:14:50 for the half marathon.

A member of the USA Masters Hall of Fame—the Masters section of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame (since 2012)—Carmen has competed internationally, and raced in the Ekiden Relay in Seoul, South Korea and in Japan. Additionally, she represented the U.S. in the 1994, 1995, 1999, and 2000 World Cross-Country Championships. Additionally, she’s the American masters record holder in the 3,000 and also had the 5,000 record as well until Deena Kastor seized it this year.

Carmen was born in New York City, but grew up in Mexico. There she was a sprinter and long jumper at Monterey College. An Austinite since 1982, she became a star middle-distance runner, and at 60, she’s nothing less than a local legend.

Carmen’s always been a middle-distance runner at heart. In the past, she rarely exceeded 55 miles a week in training, and builds in a regular recovery period each year, taking a week off two-to-three times a year.

“I take one or two days a week off now, and probably run 30-35 miles a week,” said Carmen. “Every few weeks, I’ll throw in a 10-mile run.”

As a coach, Carmen espouses the same philosophy to her runners as the one that brought her to the pinnacle of the sport: high-intensity quality workouts and lower overall mileage. “It might not work for everybody, but I feel like your body just gets used to distance. So, for me, the real gains come from quality workouts and less mileage.”

With a background in exercise physiology, Carmen is able to apply very specific training to bear.

“I’ve coached for some 30 years,” said Ayala-Troncoso. “I find I can adjust to each individual runner’s needs. My experience allows me to narrow things down for each runner. Currently Carmen coaches a about 50 people.

She recently broke 20 minutes at the Carlsbad 5K, on April 7, posting a 19:44. “It’s still 30 seconds off the 6O-plus record. So I’ll still go for it,” she said. “I’ve beat Joan Samuelson a few times, but she usually beats me.”

Upcoming Races: Saturday, June 22, at 8:00 a.m. the Hero Hustle 5K/10K at Brushy Creek Lake Park
3300 Brushy Creek Road in Cedar Park. Saturday, June 29 at 7:30 a.m., the Thumpin’ 5K Run at 2953 North Magnolia Ave. in Luling.