July 20 2016
How does one of the most decorated American runners and fastest women in the world keep things fresh for her fourth Olympic bid?
As America’s Sweetheart of running, Shalane Flanagan is known for her sunny disposition and kindhearted spirit. But don’t let her welcoming temperament fool you – she’s a fierce competitor aiming to run down her opponents every time she steps up to the start line. Women’s Running recently caught up with the Olympic Bronze medal runner (and July/August Cover Model!) for some exclusive girl talk about her training routine, her relationship with running girlfriends and why we might see her eventually tackle an IRONMAN triathlon.
Women’s Running: How did you begin running?
Shalane Flanagan: I started running because my parents were both runners and they were my role models. I just wanted to be like them because they ran everyday. Also, when I was in grade school in Boulder, CO we had a physical fitness test and I beat all the boys in my grade and I thought, “You know, I really like beating all the boys.”
WR: What’s an average day like for you?
SF: When I’m in serious marathon training, I run twice a day. I start at the Nike campus for my first run of the day, followed by a core workout with my team. Then I have lunch and take a nap. Later I might get physical therapy or get a massage. Then I do my second run, followed by dinner and bed.
WR: What do you typically eat during a normal day?
SF: Breakfast – oatmeal with fruit and nuts and coffee, followed by Gatorade
Mid-morning snack – apple or banana
Lunch – hearty turkey sandwich with fruit and yogurt with granola
Dinner – I’m more creative. I don’t limit myself for dinner – it’s whatever I’m craving, like good Mexican food or sushi.
WR: What do you think about when you line up at the start line of a race?
SF: I usually savor feeling really good because I know there are going to be moments that I will be tested. I savor the calmness and peacefulness before the storm begins.
WR: What do you think about in the final miles of a race?
SF: I really try to stay focused in the final miles because I think when you start to get tired, it’s most crucial to stay focused so that you keep your form together and don’t get sloppy. You have to keep it together in those last miles because that’s where true champions are made.
WR: Do you have a running mantra?
SF: With each build up to a specific race, I have a different mantras For the Olympics Games it was, “Run without any regrets.” For the Olympic Trials, it was, “Cold execution.” I wanted to put the emotion aside to make sure I made the team without letting the emotions of making an Olympic team get to me. My mantra is always changing and evolving with each race situation.
WR: What kind of training is your favorite?
SF: I really love good, fast 200-meter sprints on the track, but I also love a long, hard tempo run.
WR: Is the marathon your favorite distance?
SF: It is. It’s gut wrenching and can be heart breaking if it doesn’t go well, but it’s also the most rewarding race I’ve ever run. There’s a lot on the line because you dedicate so much time, and I love that you have to be all in for the race.
WR: If you could run anywhere in the world, where would you run?
SF: My favorite place to run is St. Moritz, Switzerland. It’s by far the most stunning scenery, beautiful trails, lakes – it’s my running mecca.