Ten weeks off proved to have been just the thing Olympian Shalane Flanagan needed. The Champion marathoner was scheduled to race the Boston Marathon earlier this year, but was sidelined by an injury that resulted in a well-deserved break for both her body and her mind. She's back stronger than ever, and is now less than two months out from making a comeback at the NYC Marathon. Read more about her career, her running advice and the habits that help her run strong.
- Earlier this year you coached a class and created a playlist for athletes two days before the Boston Marathon. What was it like talking through the various parts of the race? I loved being able to share with the class how I mentally prepare and attack the Boston Marathon course! Pairing the music to my mental state and the rigorous course made for a fun and dramatic experience!
- You have been competing professionally for 13 years with an incredible career. What is your secret for keeping your body and mind in top condition for training and racing at a high level? I believe in habits. I have worked at creating an environment where I can successfully repeat the "same old boring" habits. This is what I think has made me resilient and consistent for over a decade. For example, it's a conscious decision at first to go to bed at 9 p.m. and wake up at 6 a.m. Eventually, however, it has become my culture, habit and lifestyle because I know it gives me my best chance to train and race well.
- This was your first year of interrupted training. What was it like to take some time off to take care of yourself earlier this year? Injuries totally suck! But unplanned rest must have been what my body and mind needed. I think many athletes have a tendency to keep piling on goals especially if there is nothing holding them back! So, forced rest this winter (10 weeks, no running) allowed me to step back and indulge in all the other amazing parts of my life. I took a vacation, spent time with my family and foster kids, worked on my second cookbook, and took a swing at sports commentary! It was fun to see what else I could be good at.
- What has been the most proud moment in your career to date? That is a tough question! I am fortunate to feel pride in so much that I've done; so probably my consistency is what I'm most proud of. But, honestly, I'm hoping what I'm most proud of has yet to happen:)
- Which athlete/person do you look up to as a mentor, be it in running or other sports? I'm lucky to call many people my mentors! But If I had only two phone calls to place and I needed to make a major life decision based on their advice, it would be my dad and my coach Jerry. I have full faith that they would be honest and give me the best possible advice to make my decision.
What are three pieces of advice you would give a marathon runner?
- Use your head for the first half and heart for the second.
- Embrace the training and you will love the result.
- The marathon is capable of changing what you thought was possible for yourself.
- What’s next for you? I recently raced one of my favorite road races: Beach to Beacon in Maine. It was created by my running hero and mentor Joan Benoit Samuelson. After that, I start preparing for the NYC Marathon!
MORE ON THE HOTSHOT BLOG
Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan: The dynamic duo talk about the importance of camaraderie in the sport of running. Read on.
Mental Toughness: 5 ways to stay motivated and build your physical and mental endurance.
Fuel Like a Pro: Shalane Flanagan's nutrition plan.