Shalane Training

How Olympian Shalane Flanagan Trains For the Marathon

The NYC Marathon is one of the most iconic races in the world, keeping its reign as the United States’ largest marathon, with Chicago and Boston coming in a close second and third. Next week, over 50,000 athletes will gather at the starting line in Staten Island, N.Y., ready to run through the boroughs, motivated by crowds of spectators. Among the fans will be Olympian Shalane Flanagan. Flanagan, who broke Kim Jones’ 20-year old record for American women by finishing second place overall at her debut NYC Marathon in 2010, understands the addiction and passion that comes from crossing the finish line. Here she shares her pointers for the thousands of runners lining up at starting lines everywhere. Take note:  

How many weeks out do you typically start training when you’re gearing for a marathon? 

I typically set aside 12-14 weeks to train for a marathon.

What is your taper strategy? 

Don't over think. I just listen to my body and cut back very gradually with my mileage and weight program.

What do you eat the night before, and the morning of a marathon? 

The night before I like to eat chicken, rice, sweet potato and a salad. The morning of, I eat my race-day oatmeal, which consists of Irish oats, fresh berries, banana, creamer, honey, walnuts and almonds or a nut-butter. This is paired with my hydration drink, coffee and HOTSHOT.

Any mental tips you can share for our fellow marathoners? 

Control what you can control and then give the rest up to the marathon gods :) I like to imagine I'm just going out for a typical hard workout so I don't let the moment of a big race overwhelm me.

You grew up watching the Boston Marathon.  What’s the best part about running marathons? Any particular moments that stand out to you? 

Running a marathon is a life-changing moment for many people. The Boston Marathon bombing, while being a horrific event, the aftermath made me fall more in love with my running community.  The resolve and beautiful resiliency displayed was something I will never forget. From that moment, I have never taken my freedom and running for granted. Running brings a fundamental joy to everyone.

Do you have a favorite marathon? 


Strength and conditioning workouts are important for runners – especially to help avoid injury. Can you share an example of a workout you incorporate into your training plan? 

I like hurdle walkovers. They are great for core stability, strengthening hip flexors and keeping our typically tight hips open. The range of motion required to walk or skip over hurdles strengthens while also increases range of motion.

What’s your must-have gear for marathon training?  

A training partner, delicious food, and inspiring scenery.



6 Warmups for Runners: Don’t skimp out on stretching

Carbs and Protein: 7 tips for proper intake for optimal fuel. 

Running Tips: How to taper for race day. 

Train Like Olympic Marathoner Amy Cragg:  Lacing up for a marathon soon? Read this.






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