How Shalane Flanagan And Amy Cragg Are Preparing For Rio

Since their amazing teamwork and finish to make the US Olympic Marathon team at the Olympic Trials, Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg have been hard at work getting ready for the Olympics and their trip to Rio. We had a chance to catch up with the teammates to see how they are preparing and what they are looking forward to most about heading to Rio.

…on the experience at the Trials:

Shalane Flanagan: “My trials preparation was definitely a bit stressful and hectic, because I had my first major injury heading into it. I had a very short buildup, so every workout was super important and it was imperative that I kind of nail it to in as much fitness as I could for each one. It was a little more stressful and a shorter buildup. Concerning the Olympic Games, I feel much more relaxed in a sense. I have a bigger, longer buildup, which is more typical of what I would do.”

…on their training block for Rio:

Amy Cragg: “Training has been about the same as before the Trials, except that where we are at right now is where we were for the Trials. We have another 6 weeks of just kind of steady building, I would say. This one was a longer buildup than before the Trials and because it is a little bit longer, our workouts will end up being a little more intense.”

SF: “Amy and I are the fittest we have probably ever been for the marathon, we both ran PRs in the half marathon and 10K road races we picked out. It is always nice when you can be the midst of heavy training and still run fast and compete with really great, talented fields. We are trying not to get too greedy with training—just because we could dig deeper and we could push harder—but we are trying to ride that fine line of not doing too much because we are excited. We are in a great place and are going to keep doing what we are doing and not overdo it.”

Photo via HOTSHOT

…on their ‘not-so-secret weapon’—HOTSHOT:

SF: “I am very picky with who I partner with, so I have to believe in the product.”

AC: “The development of HOTSHOT was based off of things that have been kind of like old-wives tales about things that cure cramps, etc. So they did all of these experiments of different types of foods to figure out what actually helped prevent and stop the onset of a cramp. They created this formula and it is pretty awesome. I drink it about an hour before my race and it is a big relief knowing that a cramp will not impact my race.”

SF: “It is a [drinkable] shot that prevents cramping. It is super important in an endurance event, especially coming up in Rio where it is going to be pretty hot and humid. It applies to certainly to our event and what we do. You want to control as many things as you can control with the marathon because there are so many variables that could go wrong on the day. It is like insurance. Knowing we won’t have cramping problems if we take HOTSHOT is really huge in terms of performance.”

…on their other ‘not-so-secret weapon’—their teamwork:

AC: “We still do everything together. We do all of our morning runs together; sometimes we have evening runs and those are just shakeout jogs so we sometimes do those separately from home. Besides that, we pretty much do every step together.”

…on heading to Rio:

AC: “We did some research at a bunch of areas of what August 14 in Rio traditionally is and compared it to different parts of the country. We found that Madison, WI is actually very similar to Rio. We will probably spend two weeks there, which is great because my coach knows the area and it is going to be very similar to Rio conditions so we will do our last two weeks and get acclimated there.”

SF: “We will only arrive in Rio about 4-5 days before the marathon. We feel like sometimes if you hang out too long in the site where you are competing, there are too many nerves and too much expended energy. This way, we get in, we adjust to the time zone and the climate and then we race. There is not too much hang time where you waste energy.”

AC: “We actually went out a few months ago and checked out the course to see what the course was like—and there were no surprises there. It was pretty straightforward. Also, we were able to get a feel for Rio. I was a little nervous going down there because of everything I have heard. Then I got there and I was completely at ease. It was beautiful, everyone was really nice and helpful and we saw maybe one mosquito the whole time we were there.”